Khabarnegaran.info-Niki Azad: Local journalist Mahdieh Amiri speaks of the hardships of practicing journalism in the southern Iranian province of Bushehr. Amiri has been working as a journalist in Bushehr for years. Since 2007, she has been the editor-in-chief of a few local websites, biweekly and quarterly magazines. She is now the editor-in-chief of hamooniran.com website and Ava-ye Dashtestan biweekly.
First Family Press Exhibit in Iran
Family Press from Target Audience to Tabloids24 September 2012
Reported by Saba Etemad
Translated by Rose Arjmand
Khabarnegaran.info-This is the first time that an exhibit is held especially for press with specialty in matters focused on families. The one-week exhibit started from 13th of September. However, the exhibit was not welcomed well in the capital city Tehran. The almost empty exhibit served as venues for 80 magazines in various areas from lifestyle and fashion to psychology. A massive number of the magazines focus on cooking.
The press in the exhibit are mostly monthly magazines or biweekly magazines. They are printed in different numbers of copies; from 3,000 to 400,000 copies. Jahangardi (Tourism) Magazine, which its speciality is on tourism and is distributed in hotels and airlines, is printed in 10,000 copies. Zendegi-e Irani (Iranian Life) Magazine is printed in 30,000 copies. Bashari (Humanity), a magazine for visually impaired readers, is printed in 3 thousand copies. Machine Magazine, which is published since 1980, is printed in 100,000 copies. the highest number of the copies belongs to Khanevade-ye Sabz (Green Family) Magazine that is printed in 400,000 copies.
Khanevade-ye Sabz Magazine told us that their first secret is honestly: "we are honest with our readers and have never published a fake interview." She points at an actor’s photo on the cover of the magazine and continues: "we interviewed this actor after midnight at his house. Such exclusive interviewed have helped us to gain a high readership."
However, editor in chief of a magazine that has a lower circulation says: "newsprint and paper are very expensive. Independent magazines that do not enjoy the support of the government cannot afford it in long term. The sale of the magazine is not enough to cover the expenses of the magazines, from the staffs and freelancers’ payment to the office expenses and publishing expenses. Printing a magazine is nothing but loss. The best case scenario is that we do not lose money. I cannot even imagine some profit in this industry."
Another editor in chief of a magazine talked about his concerns too: "broadcast my concerns and criticism, but do not mention my name." He went on to add: "glossy paper was 50 cents per 100 grams last year November. The price of the same type of paper is 1.5 dollars this September. It means that we witnessed a dramatic rise of paper price. I will not be surprised if the price rises to 1.8 dollars this October. People should be encouraged to invest in paper industry instead of gold or stocks. I think I’d better make my magazine an online magazine. Then I do not have to deal with such crisis. You have to enjoy a support from the government, you will survive such a misery."
Although economical problems seem to be the major problems in this field, target audience is another major concern. An editor in chief of a monthly magazine states: "political and cultural press in the society are losing their target audience on everyday bases. How can you expect our readership would be guaranteed? The young generation of the country is an oral generation. They prefer to listen to music and watch films rather than to read a book or a paper. reading is a skill that should be taught to children since young age."
Family Magazines not Tabloids
An editor in chief of a psychology magazine says: "family magazine are supposed to cover all the matters that a family deals with, from education to cooking. Such wide coverage of everything made many people call such magazines tabloids. Tabloid do not have any definition of desks and they cover everything at the depth of one millimetre. There is not much thought behind the matters covered in a tabloid. However, entertainment is not the main goal of the family magazines."
Mrs Hosseini, one of the visitors at the exhibit, says: "we must differentiate the tabloid from popular magazines. Family magazines did their job pretty well that they could become popular and attract target audience from various layers of the society."
Two meetings are held at the sideline of the exhibit. Two actors and a pop singer attend the meetings to talk about the troubles they went through because of fake news. Shahram Ghaedi, cinema actor says: "I went through so much trouble for an interview with one of the family magazines. They focus on a part of the interview that I did not wanted to be highlighted. After that 10-minute inetrview, I was to apologising to friends and colleagues for a month. Publishing photoshopped photos or copying other magazines’ interviews are other unprofessional measures taken by such magazines."
Alireza Jalali-Tabar is another actor complaining about such magazines. He states: "interviewers are not professional enough. They start their interview with cliche questions. There is not much creativity in such media coverage." He recalls: "once I traveled from a city to Tehran to meet a reporter at the office of their magazine. We had to a long time waiting for a photojournalist to arrive to take photos. After a while, a sleepy man arrived and did not know anything about the subject. I guided him about it and he took photos according my guideline."
An editor in chief of a monthly family magazine says: "our problem initiates from a point that we do not have professional reporters in this field. Mostly amateur journalists or even amateur psychologists join family or psychology magazines. Such points lead to an unprofessional magazine.
Shahram Ghaedi hopes: "I wish professional journalists enter this filed." Children section has its own story as well. Kayhan Bache-ha (Kayhan for Children) is one of the oldest magazines for children. Yet, unfortunately today it is not as popular as it used to be. The supervisor of the Kayhan for Children magazine says: "our magazine is not printed in high quality in terms of colour and print. Still, it is not that bad that no children would be attracted to our stand."
A visitor log at the Kayhan stand is full of memories written by 65-year-old, 50-year-old, 30-year-old and 23-year-old former readers of the children magazines. A 53-year-old man wrote: "I remember beautiful days of my youth. I hope you live a long life full of prosperity so that my children experience such feeling.
Khabarnegaran.info-Niki Azad: How is life for Iranian journalists after prison? Does their attitude toward their journalism – the profession that put them in jail – change? Are they more conservative than before? Or bolder?
Khabarnegaran – Niki Azad: He has been put in jail three times for his journalist writing, though he says that jail has not made him feel disappointed with the profession of journalism.