Publications have been struggling to continue printing its issues ever since the word Publishing started, although the ones which we can call mainstream or commercial publishing still get to survive and more over thrive in their readership markets, but what about those less popular ones, those which follow a political party, ideology or a cause, those which are often called Alternative publications, How can they survive in this behemoth market where skill and resources are crucial?
Well, most probably for the larger portion of these publications they don’t survive. How this can be fixed? There are two approaches has been widely argued the Comedia approach which gives great emphasis on utilizing the capitalistic methods in management, finance and advertising. I would have liked to argue that it is imperative and rather would be unrealistic to disregard such methods, after all you have to know where are you sailing; a magazine needs to know who is its target audience, what’s their preferences, do they want a magazine that covers many topics or one with a focal focus, it’s also important to know numbers in terms of cost, budget and revenue. But after all this said an example that can dispute the success of a fully capitalist approach rise in the form of Red Pepper magazine which according to Gholam Kiabany in his paper “Red Pepper: a new model for the alternative”1 a Leninist theory of socialist press proved to work.
I find Red Pepper is an interesting case study for how a publication stemming from the British leftist politics survived. Though it was not easy, it went through stages of failures and many versions and adopting and shifting in its strategy till it reached its final shape. I believe its survival is due to a marriage between adopting capitalistic methods for managing things and a socialist view by not aiming for financial rewards and resilience from its founders and mainly its editor Hilary Wainwright who witnessed two flopping versions of the magazine but still she did not lose hope in making it work and also not to forget the other workers and writers who volunteered in running and writing articles for the magazine. Today you can find Red Pepper still exists and its online (www.redpepper.org.uk), and this is a proof that it managed to survive.
After what’s said, an important factor is being introduced today, which is the Internet, online publishing can cut costs and allows reaching a wider audience within shorter time frame, although one must not neglect to utilize online strategies where there are specialized experts who are hired just to do that.
After all, this marriage between a capitalistic methods and socialist perspective proved to work, so maybe it can work out in real life between nations as well to bring more balance to the world.
“Red Pepper: a new model for the alternative press?”: https://mcs.sagepub.com/content/22/4/447