12 Feb 2009 8:00 am   //   Filed under: Media, Stray data

The magazine as a fashion accessory

Item: As magazine circulations fell last year, “The Economist’s circulation rose 9.2 percent, to 787,000.”

The Economist has been doing well while other magazines are sucking. Why? I had a theory: It’s because smart is cool again. With the resurgence of reason and science in America (thank you Barack) the tide of culture is suddenly in favor of this smarty-pants British news magazine. People will spend money for good information! Gotta love it!

Then somebody I had a conversation with recently offered another theory: The Economist is a fashion accessory. He described a friend who always carries the current issue of The Economist around in her purse, its red flag conspicuously protruding. The anecdote implied that people who buy and carry the Economist don’t necessarily read it. It’s a better theory than mine.