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How To - Distinguish between types of publications

About Popular Magazines


Generally, popular magazines focus on one (or more) of the following:

  • Entertainment
  • Information about current events
  • Special interests (health and wellness, hobbies, etc.)

Intended audience

Like newspapers, popular magazines are aimed at the general public, so their articles are written so that the average person can understand them.

Special interest magazines are generally written for a very targeted audience - people who have that interest.


Articles are typically written by journalists or freelance writers; some special interest magazines may have articles written by scholars or researchers.


  • Magazine stories tend to have lots of color photographs and images
  • Some articles do not have authors listed
  • Articles are usually short, and do not include references to their information sources
  • Usually contain advertisements


Many popular magazines are owned and published by media conglomerates, such as the Meredith Corporation, the Emerson Collective, and Lumina Media.


Magazines are usually published either:

  • Every week
  • Every month
  • A few times a year

What are some examples of popular magazines?

Purpose: Entertainment

The cover of the July 30, 2018 issue of People magazine

The Economist
Purpose: Info about current events

The front page of the July 14, 2018 issue of The Economist

Purpose: Special interest

The front page of the August 2018 issue of Mindful magazine