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Lapsed Magazine Subscriptions
December 9, 2010 - 8:30pm

The most important shift brought about by the Web has been to move more of us from being consumers to producers. The fact that you are reading this blog now, and maybe will comment on the post - or tweet or blog yourself, is testament to this fact.

Distressingly, the practice of higher ed has largely lagged this transition - too little of our student's time is spent producing for the world (writing, making videos, posting and sharing) - and too much time is still spent consuming words from the mouths of our professors.

Today, in some of our courses and on some of our campuses, the transition to student as producer (student as research, student as writer, student as colleague), has already begun. In some courses, the lecture model has been inverted - so that the student time shifts lecture material at her convenience - and precious in-person class time is spent debating, discussing, creating, and sharing. In some courses and on some campuses, the Web has transformed learning into an active experience in the same way that the Web has transformed media.

Which brings me to the subject of magazines in which I no longer subscribe.

I'm somewhat saddened by my abandoned identity of a magazine subscriber. In days past, most of us defined ourselves by what we consumed. Magazines were a big part of my self-identity. Now, with more time spent writing - I have less time to consume - and many more options to consume via the Web in small chunks. The reams of paper that previously moved through my home have been replaced mostly by bits - but I'm nostalgic for those days of magazines strewn around the house.

I now subscribe to two magazines - the Economist and Wired. Wired is wonderful and cheap ($0.83 an issue), as the cost of the subscription only offsets postage and qualifies me as a motivated reader for advertisers. The Economist is expensive and smart, and does not need to be read each week as the long articles and single-topic surveys hold up well over the year.

Here is a list of my past magazine subscriptions, in no particular order, categorized by the age in which I was a subscriber:

Age 31 to Age 40:Fast Company, The Industry Standard (sadly gone now), Time, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Harpers, the Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Scientific American, The New Republic, Vanity Fair
Age 21 to Age 30: The Nation, Utne Reader, The Progressive, The American Prospect, Rolling Stone
Age 11 to Age 20:Sports Illustrated, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Road and Track, National Geographic, Popular Science

Should I re-subscribe to any of these? Any great magazine that I don't know about that I should get now?

Which magazines are in your past?


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