Observer closes magazines: some thoughts


It’s with a half-heavy heart that I read about the closure of the Film monthly, Music monthly and Woman monthly magazines from The Observer.

As a somewhat regular reader of the Observer, I like having the extra magazine on a specific subject every month, however sometimes I felt that it had been tacked on at the end and had pages to fill rather than being crafted out of love and passion for the subject contained within.

Instead of supplying extra magazines, the paper itself and the standard Observer Magazine will be extended to include the subjects lost from the extra mags. I think this will work better, as it will allow for weekly coverage of topics such as music, sport and women’s issues (Whatever they may be) which these subjects deserve and are already covered in their monthly formats in a variety of other more weighty publications.

The head of publishing at the NUJ is worried that the move will make the Observer less competitive in an already competitive market, but I personally I think it will allow each article to flourish and shine. If there’s not a dedicated magazine to say, music, then each music article will really need to work hard for its place in the new magazine and will have to be more interesting, read-worthy and well-researched – or least that’s what I hope.

It’s interesting to note that the Food monthly mag is getting a stay of execution – in the competitive market of food magazines, with the Olives, delicious and Good Food’s of this world it seems surprising that it’s this mag that makes its mark among the rest and is flourishing. Or perhaps random recipes would just look a bit odd chucked in the standard mag, with a standout mag working best?

Of course, I feel for anybody that is going to lose their jobs over this changearound, but earlier in the year it seemed like the Observer would be gone forever, so hopefully this will be a sacrifice that will save my (and countless others’) Sunday treat for a bit longer at least.


  • I agree with you that sometimes the supplements looked as though they were thrown together, to the point of sometimes coming across as a little odd, (a feature on gay men getting married in the women’s mag for example).

    However, I don’t think the retention of Observer Food Monthly is a great surprise. It was the most intellegently thought out of the four, and was by far the best put together. There is also their audience to think about; to put it bluntly, I always found the thought of a middle class sport supplement faintly amusing. The music mag was also devoid of any focus which I could see.

    Here’s to hopeing they can improve their newspaper on the back of this though!

  • Yeah have to agree Hannah, I’ve always found it weird to have a sport monthly – with so much going on every day/week/whatever how they manage to capture everything from that month in one mag I don’t know (I must confess I’ve only arbitrarily flicked through a couple of times – sport’s not really my bag).

    I’ll be interested to see the new expanded mag when that comes out, hopefully they’ll do a nice re-launch and get some good stuff in preparation, the same way the Sunday Times did.

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