Greek popular magazines research project
Popular Magazines in Greece (1900 to the present day):
Critical Study, Quantitative Data, Basic Theoretical Guidelines, Research Challenges
The periodicals known as popular magazines are a specific publishing phenomenon and a product of their times. They were published in almost all countries in Europe and the Americas, with special features reflecting each country, but also with obvious mutual influences in their aesthetics, subject matter and style, as well as visible common points, including their readership, the cheap paper on which they were printed, their glamorous covers, the emphasis on illustration, the competition to attract readers, etc. Wherever they were published, their impact was striking and massive.
They appeared in Greece in the early 20th century, reached their peak in the interwar period, and changed after World War II. Their last glimmers were marked in the 1970s when they were succeeded by other forms of mass communication, such as television and specialized broad-circulation magazines.
Popular magazines are “not purely literary, scientific, political or with any other specialization, but are addressed to a broader public with their varied content, that goes from political reporting to cooking features, with a wide range of quality, according to the public it is addressing (famous contributors, luxury appearance, hastily written texts, exciting photographs, and scandal-reporting).”
Outline of the research proposal
There is a significant gap in the recording and study of popular magazines, which cover an entire period in publishing history.
The Greek Press History Lab (ETMIET) of the Modern History Research Centre (KENI) at Panteion University, with the collaboration of Mr. G. Zevelakis, author and collector, undertook to record and study these periodicals within the broader research programme entitled: “Popular Magazines, Critical Analysis, Quantitative Data, Basic Theoretical Guidelines, Research Challenges.”
ETMIET’s collaboration with the Journalists’ Union of the Periodical and Electronic Press (ESPIT) has been essential to the progress of the research. These two organizations, together with the Cultural Foundation of the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (ESIEA) on matters related to the daily press, plan to organize thematic seminars/discussions to which researchers and press professionals will be invited to talk on themes related to the data emerging from the research.
This programme is part of the ETMIET research that aims to put together a comprehensive history of the Greek press from the late 18th century to the present day and to compare it with other countries’ press histories, as recorded in the international literature.
Starting with the initial listing of popular magazines that was drawn up in 1981 by G. Zevelakis and L. Papastathis, and the former’s personal archives, the research team indexed the existing literature (D. Chanos), first cataloguing all magazine titles – weekly, monthly and annual (calendars) – then going on to study the magazines in libraries and in public and private archives, to make a systematic record of their style, typography, publishers’ details and analytic data regarding their content, as well as their human resources (owners, publishers, contributors).
The entire undertaking presupposes the digitization of all popular magazines, especially those that are hardest to find. Parts of the periodicals in the Zevelakis collection (covers and the identity of the magazines, and many anthologized articles) were digitized by the Evonymos Ecological Library. The digitization of those periodicals or issues that have not yet been digitized by other organizations (public libraries, university libraries, etc.) will continue with the contribution of the Panteion University Library, as part of its own digitization programme. The study of the magazines will follow. The intention of the research team is to organize seminars and discussions on specific topics to which speakers, researchers and press professionals will be invited to discuss the various aspects of this publishing phenomenon. Such contributions are deemed useful in promoting and facilitating the research.
The data collected will be accessible on the ETMIET website, and the conclusions of the research project will be made public at organized events (exhibitions, published articles, lectures by researchers from abroad who have undertaken similar projects, publication of illustrated books, etc.). There will be a concluding conference in which the history of the periodical press will be examined from various viewpoints and in particular the publishing phenomenon of popular magazines, their contribution to the history of Greek journalism and their many-faceted influence into the country’s cultural and social life.