Why they make me sit on my own

To you, they’re a handful of words scattered across a magazine’s cover.

To those of us in the magazine biz, they are possibly our biggest source of angst every month.

‘Teasers’, we call them.  Three- to five-word lines that sum up the main articles to be found between the covers, every last one of them sweated over by editorial staff and management alike, down to the last syllable, because expert opinion has it that the success or failure of an entire issue can hinge on the calibre of those one-line come-ons.

I’m not an expert, so I wouldn’t know. I only know that I never read them when I’m buying a magazine, because my idea of being teased depends on what I see when I actually flick through the pages in the newsagents.

At a subliminal level, though, maybe they work on me more than I know, because when Moldy Chum recently posted this reminder of the days before teasers, I was blown away by the contrasting simplicity of what I saw.

These covers call rather than yell to me, yet I hear them just as clearly. I warm to the idea of a magazine that trusts its subject to sell itself and I can’t get away from the feeling that I’m being pitched to by this rather than by this.

But then I’m getting old and have no training in these things. Maybe such minimalism would be doomed in this info-saturated age.

And maybe there’s a reason Trout Fisherman editorial meetings see me banished to the far corner of the office with crayons and some paper.


Pic of the Day – Colorado, USA


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