By Theodore Peterson
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Additional resources for Magazines in the twentieth century
Before examining the growth of the magazine industry in detail, let us look at some of the reasons for its growth. The burgeoning of the magazine industry was the result of an expanding market in a twofold sense: a growing demand for advertisers' goods and services, and a growing demand for the publishers' own products, magazines. The magazine industry shared in the expansion of the American economy as a whole in the first half of the twentieth century, just as did the manufacturers of automobiles, refrigerators, and dentifrices, and such other communications media as newspapers and radio.
In 1950 some two hundred leaders in advertising, marketing, public relations, and allied fields were questioned by Tide, an advertising trade magazine, on the objectivity of media research. More than 75 per cent of those replying agreed that criticism of media research was largely justified; 85 per cent believed that an impartial group should be set up to evaluate such research. One of the men who replied pretty well summed up objections to media research: "Too many surveys start out with intent to prove a specific point rather than to discover the truth about the point in question.
When the national magazine was still in its infancy, publishers began running editorial copy alongside advertisements. From then on, editors experimented with techniques to build reader traffic throughout the entire magazine—running cartoons in the rear of the book, for instance—so that advertisers in all positions would benefit. It was to increase reader exposure to advertising that Otis Weise, editor and publisher, completely redesigned the makeup of McCall's in 1950. He compared his plan for increasing the amount of timely copy alongside advertising to traffic planning by cities to give stores in every neighborhood a fair chance in attracting customers.