My Favourite Magazine Essays


What's the concept?
Renegade sets out to give an honest impression of the world, to inspire people to travel, of course, but also to go back to the reason we travel in the first place – to attempt to understand a place by seeing it first hand. We also wanted to bring the traditional sense of literary travel writing to the fore, and bring it up to date.

What motivated you to make it?
We were seeing so much excellent work going unnoticed and we wanted Renegade to become a platform on which these stories could be published. We're also constantly inspired by the ever-growing market for independent magazines. It's exciting to live in a time when, thanks to the internet, print is an unknown again and there are plenty of people out there doing wonderful things with it.

Who works on it and what are their backgrounds?
Amy Sohanpaul and I edit Renegade together. Amy has been editing another travel magazine for the best part of a decade and used to work in book publishing. I left university in 2009, and have been writing, editing and working in magazine publishing ever since. The magazine's art director is Pieter Stander, who's worked with us numerous times before.

Tell us about the feature you're most proud of
It's difficult to pick, but two seem to have stood out: the first is Barnaby Rogerson's essay about the current state of travel writing. The second is a piece we commissioned by LA-based poet/translator David Shook who wrote about his journey to Equatorial Guinea to find Marcelo Ensema Nsang, a poet whose work he'd become mildly obsessed with. We even got to publish one of Marcelo's poems for the first time.

Can you recommend any other travel publications (print or online) that we should read?
We've been following Boat since their first issue on Sarajevo. The concept is incredibly fresh. Another Escape is also great. And though not strictly travel, there are a few surf/skate magazines out there which instil a sense of wanderlust, especially Acid. And online there's Sidetracked, a magazine about exploration and expeditions (see below).
Freddie Reynolds


What's the concept?
Sidetracked is an adventure travel brand that captures and presents the experience of some of the most breathtaking adventures taking place throughout the world. The stories are told by the men and women who undertake them, accompanied by incredible photography or video. Sidetracked started as a website but recently moved into print with a premium quality bi-annual journal, and we're looking at additional digital channels too.

What motivated you to make it?
I've been a freelance graphic designer for 12 years, working mainly on promotional and ecommerce websites. Three years ago I decided to combine my passion and training for good design and typography with my other interests – in particular, being engrossed in adventure, expeditions and exploration. The website has grown rapidly to become a great resource for adventure travel inspiration and the move into print has been a long-term ambition for me.

Who works on it and what are their backgrounds?
I look after the website production and design side of things and deal with the writers and photographers. We have two editors; Jamie Bunchuk, an explorer and writer with a couple of expeditions under his belt, and Andrew Mazibrada, a lawyer, author and freelance writer. Martin Hartley, a leading expedition and adventure photographer, has recently joined the team as director of photography, and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Alastair Humphreys has also been involved in the project.

Tell us about the feature you're most proud of
That's incredibly difficult! The piece by Kenton Cool on the risks as well as the rewards of high-altitude adventure is an extraordinary and humbling story. For the website, I'd say The Land That Never Melts (a pulking expedition on Baffin Island), Sitka to Hoonah (an Alaskan kayak adventure) and 125 days in Amazonia (an expedition to cross Brazil from north to south).

Can you recommend any other travel publications (print or online) that we should read?
My favourite printed publications would include Boat Magazine, Another Escape and The Ride Journal – all stunning and great reads. I enjoy browsing through Exposure online and and regularly check out Outside Online as well as the National Geographic Adventure blog too.
John Summerton

The American Guide

What's the concept?
Before The American Guide, there was The American Guide Series – an Encyclopedia Americana of tour books and pamphlets published on every state during the Great Depression era of the 1930s and early 1940s. It was a public works project paid for by the US government in which out-of-work artists, writers, photographers and editors across the country were put to work in their hometowns and states to create America's first great self-portrait. Today, The American Guide is a revival of this unique spirit of service to document the country. The goal is to make a state-by-state record of America, documenting people and places, both pretty and hard.

What motivated you to make it?
Six years ago we came across a copy of one of the original American Guide series books still in print and used it to explore modern-day New York City. We read about feuding gangs in Chinatown, the Coney Island boardwalk, and an old sailors' home on Staten Island. We loved that it was written, not by travel pros parachuting in to find the best hotel, but by New Yorkers who crawled the sidewalks talking to line cooks and kids playing stickball. It seemed like a missed opportunity that nothing similar existed in the present day. And with the astonishingly talented community of regional photographers and writers on Tumblr, we realized there was an opportunity to create a sort of crowdsourced, 21st-century version of the original series. Six years later, we almost have a complete set of the original American Guide series.

Who works on it and what are their backgrounds?
Tom McNamara and I are the creators and co-editors. We grew up in Minnesota and Florida respectively and both spent several years as producers and journalists at the Public Broadcasting Service. These days, we work at two different natural history museums. But as we said, the local guides are really what make The American Guide so special. There's an architect, a librarian, a skateboarder, a teacher, and a hotel maintenance man among their number.

Tell us about the feature you're most proud of
For the past two Novembers we've hosted American Guide Week on Tumblr — a throwback to the original American Guide Week that took place in 1941. It's when we turn The American Guide over to our 165,000-strong Tumblr community and ask everybody to tag images and words about where they live. We then feature their dispatches on the site.

Can you recommend any other travel publications (print or online) that we should read?
Drawn the Road Again is absolutely one of our favourites and features amazing illustrations, while Atlas Obscura is indispensable on our road trips. We also like This Belongs In a Museum, which features some cool spots we'd probably never find on our own.
Erin Chapman


What's the concept?
Boat Magazine is a nomadic travel and culture magazine that focuses on a different city for each issue. We physically move our studio to the new city, bringing a few writers and photographers with us, and work with locals to find and tell the stories that don't normally make the news. Because we spend a few weeks in each city we work really hard to get under the skin of the place and talk more about the root of some of these issues, or at least another side to them.

What motivated you to make it?
Being American, and someone who's lived abroad and travelled all over the globe, I get frustrated with traditional coverage of the rest of the world. A lot of the time it seems to be recycled and usually focuses on stories where a catchy or shocking headline can be gleaned. You can't get to the bottom of another culture in 48 hours, so the coverage doesn't seem authentic to me. I know these places have incredible, inspiring stories and people that really deserve to make the news and so that's what Boat tries to do.

Who works on it and what are their backgrounds?
We keep the core team tiny and nimble so that our overheads stay low – it's the only way we can keep going. I edit the magazine and go to each city and our design team is based in London. Otherwise, the small team of contributors for each city is picked based on their work and specialty. We've had Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, world-renowned photographers, illustrators, translators, poets, painters, filmmakers, even a musician came to Sarajevo with us to learn about the music and instruments in Bosnia.

Tell us about the feature you're most proud of
The feature I'm always the most excited to get back is the introduction to each issue. We always ask a local, well-known writer to introduce their city. I can't pick a favourite as they've all been amazing but some come quickly to mind. Nick Hornby's introduction to our London issue, without having read any of the other articles, perfectly summed up what all the other stories seemed positioned around: a city of incredible diversity and rapid, constant change and yet, still very much Charles Dickens' city. Our next issue (Issue 7 – Lima, Peru) is introduced by Rafo Leon, a fantastic writer who is astoundingly knowledgeable about his city and country and very poetic in writing about it.

Can you recommend any other travel publications (print or online) that we should read?
The Travel Almanac and Zoetrop: All-Story which isn't strictly a travel magazine, but always has great stories and writing from around the world. VNA is a magazine about street art around the world and so naturally touches on the culture of the cities these artists work in.
Erin Spens

Jungles in Paris

What's the concept?
We're a travel website that goes for quality over quantity – we only release one new story every week, prioritising film-making and photography. We try to provide a genuine, albeit brief, immersion into a foreign place. We never spotlight a destination. Travel trends don't interest us. Instead, we take on "micro-subjects" in the categories of craft, culture, geography, and wildlife. When choosing subjects we gravitate towards things that are timeless. Or at least they seem so at first glance, for the reality is that many of these amazing places are in danger of disappearing as the world gets more crowded and connected. In celebrating them we hope to increase the chances they might somehow be safeguarded.

Who works on it and what are their backgrounds?
The founders are my brother Oliver Hartman and me. We both live in New York and collaborate on almost everything: but to break it down, I do more of the writing/editing/trip organising, while Oliver's focus is more on the technical and filmmaking side.

What motivated you to make it?
As a travel writer, I wanted to spend more time on subjects that had nothing to do with new five-star hotels, celebrity chefs, new cruise destinations, spa treatments, and the like. These topics seem to dominate travel writing nowadays. I enjoy them, but only up to a point. My brother has a film production company here in New York, which does commercial work. Both of us really enjoy what we do. But we also wanted to take the knowledge and expertise we'd built up and apply it to something more exploratory and meaningful.

Tell us about the feature you're most proud of
The short film we shot with a boat-maker named Boniface in Zambia. These dugout canoes, called makoros, are a big part of life in parts of southern Africa, but you don't see them made out of wood that much anymore. It was the perfect Jungles subject – tradition, craft, local knowledge, these beautiful and mighty rivers – and Boniface was the perfect storyteller to help us capture it.

Can you recommend any other travel publications (print or online) that we should read?
Roads & Kingdoms and Nowhere magazine (tablet-only) are two of our favorites.
Darrell Hartman

Yonder Journal

What's the concept?
Yonder Journal promotes the exploration of "outsider" America. We publish impressionistic guidebooks.

What motivated you to make it?
We'd spent years of unsuccessfully/successfully (it really all depends on how you look at it) hustling brand content for various clients, most of whom were wonderful, but all of whom were consistently sub-flush in the money and imagination departments. Two years ago we decided to self-publish, on the internet, and in print. We were already making the stories, we were already doing the work, we were already finding the people, so we bought a URL and created an Instagram account, and here we are.

Who works on it and what are their backgrounds?
We are Emiliano Granado, a commercial and editorial photographer living in Brooklyn, New York, and Daniel Wakefield Pasley, a documentarian living in Portland, Oregon. We started working together about five years ago producing brand content, and it was immediately clear that we both wanted to document (and publish) an anthropological study of outsider America.

Tell us about the feature you're most proud of
We're proud that we haven't given up. And the guides are bona fide helpful.

Can you recommend any other travel publications (print or online) that we should read?
Is Vice a travel publication? Monocle?
Emiliano Granado and Daniel Wakefield Pasley

We Are Here

What's the concept?
The idea is to travel to a different city or district each issue and focus the whole magazine on it. It's very lo-fi and an attempt to move past the clichés that dominate most travel magazines. I also wanted to feature local voices, as a lot of travel magazines parachute a journalist in (often on a paid-for junket) and the content is by-the-numbers – how can you expect to understand a place without having lived there?

What motivated you to make it?
I love travel literature and magazines, but there was no travel magazine that I wanted to buy.

Who works on it and what are their backgrounds?
I do most of it – the design, photography, and commissioning. And when I am on the ground, will meet as many people as possible, explain the concept and get local writers to pitch ideas. The latest issue (focusing on Kathmandu) was written mainly by local writers, so it goes beyond the clichéd 'Shangri-La/hippies/trekking" narrative that most magazines focus on.

Tell us about the feature you're most proud of
In the first issue, I was surprised that the article How To Write About Dubai passed the censors in the UAE. It is basically a satirical article advising travel writers how to capture the city – it was written after a spate of poorly researched pieces were printed in the British press.

Can you recommend any other travel publications (print or online) that we should read?
There are a few newish publications I like from The Travel Almanac to Ling, a really cool in-flight magazine from Spain. I also love Freunde Von Freunden, a website that interviews creatives in their studios or apartments around the world. It might not be a conventional travel journal, but I also love Wilder Quarterly, which is a slightly trippy nature magazine from the US.
Conor Purcell


What's the concept?
Cereal is a quarterly travel and lifestyle publication that takes great inspiration from classic books. You can see this influence in our design, structure, editorial voice and approach, and even in our logo – the thin lines between each letter of "Cereal" are meant to emulate the lines of books on a shelf. We love and appreciate the sense of gravitas that comes with considered, beautiful printed titles and wanted this to come to life when creating Cereal.

What motivated you to make it?
What motivated me to start the magazine, at the risk of sounding trite, is passion: a passion for travel, a passion for writing, and a passion for great visuals. Cereal allowed me to combine all three, and is my dream job come to life.

Who works on it and what are their backgrounds?
We currently have three full time members of staff: Rich Stapleton (creative director), Robbie Lawrence (features editor) and me (publisher and editor). We've also recently hired a part-time advertising manager (Abby Witherick), and work with a team of both local and international contributors to bring each volume to life. We all come from varied backgrounds. I have a background in luxury fashion and beauty marketing (I worked in this industry for about five years in New York) and moved to England to get a MA in English Literature. After graduation I did some freelance writing jobs, then worked full time for a local magazine before setting up Cereal.

Tell us about the feature you're most proud of
The feature that I'm the most proud of is one that we're currently working on. We are doing a travel chapter (as our magazine is divided into destination-specific chapters) on Vancouver, which is my hometown, and there is a series of features in this chapter that are some of my favourites to date.

Can you recommend any other travel publications (print or online) that we should read?
My go to travel publication is National Geographic – it is my favourite magazine. I also love getting tips on cities from Monocle.
Rosa Park

IELTS Cue Card Sample 11 - A newspaper or a magazine

Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2017 14:28
Written by IELTS Mentor
Hits: 49549

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe a newspaper or a magazine.

You should say:

  • What it is and why you read it
  • What are the benefits of reading a newspaper or a magazine
  • How often you read it and what are the contents of it

and explain why do you like reading this newspaper or magazine.

Follow-up Questions:
• What do you think are the important qualities for a news reporter?
• What's the main difference between newspaper and magazine?
• What’s the function of a report to the society?
• What kinds of books/newspapers/magazines do adolescents read in your country?
• With the popularity of Internet, do you think newspapers and magazines will disappear?

Possible Answer:
I read the newspaper almost every day and sometimes I purchase or borrow magazines to read as well. I'd like to describe a magazine that I usually buy each month and enjoy reading a lot. The name of this magazine is PC World which is a global computer magazine published monthly by IDG in the USA. It offers advice on various aspects of PCs and related items, the Internet, and other personal-technology products and services. In each publication, PC World reviews and tests hardware and software products from a variety of manufacturers, as well as other technology related devices such as still and video cameras, audio devices and televisions.

I have been reading this magazine for the last 6-7 years or so. It is specifically useful for people who love computers, other technology devices; software and IT-related news and updates. I am doing my graduation in Computer Science and Engineering and love to learn about new hardware and software. This is a magazine that offers great hardware & software reviews, tips on advanced computing and many other useful articles.

Reading a newspaper or a magazine is always helpful for learning new information. Newspapers provide contemporary local news, international news, editorials, entertainment, news, sports news and so on. Without reading newspapers or magazines one can't keep himself / herself updated with the latest news and views of the world. I purchase the PC World magazine every month and read it for about 7 days. Sometimes I read older versions as well to find out any particular reviews or articles. This magazine is helpful for basic, moderate and advanced computer users and techno lovers. Someone who has a computer should read it to increase his/ her knowledge of hardware and software. Even it’s helpful for those who are going to buy computers, printers, cameras, scanners, software or other hardware devices. I enjoy reading it a lot.


Sample Answer 2:
Today I’m going to talk about one of my favourite magazines. It’s quite fun to think about it, first I’ll tell you what it is and why I read it. Then I’ll try and persuade you of the benefits of doing so, and a bit about how often I read it and what the contents are. Finally, I’ll explain why I like to read it so much.

The magazine is called ‘Women’s Running’. It’s a monthly publication, dedicated to helping female runners, at every level to improve their running and learn more about the sport.  

For me the benefits of reading this periodical are huge. It has great information about running techniques and nutrition; advertising features on new running related products; helpful articles on topics like ‘how to choose new trainers’ and advice on running events and how to prepare for them. That is great in itself, but even more importantly for me, it contains lots of human interest stories. Real women talking about their experiences of running, why they do it and how they stay motivated, keep positive and enjoy the sport.  

Even though I do like the magazine, it is really expensive, it’s £4 a time, so I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t buy my own copy. Instead, I have a friend who subscribes to it regularly. Every few months she has a big clear out, and she drops off a great big bag of magazines for me to read. I then have a binge of reading about running – which is a bit ironic really, I should be out doing it rather than reading about it! So I don’t read it each month, but every few months I’ll have a whole weekend curled up on the sofa avidly soaking up every article. I read each copy from cover to cover. I like the personal accounts best. Women talking about perhaps overcoming injuries and illness to keep on running; forming friendships and achieving goals they never thought possible. It can be really inspirational! It makes me believe that I too can do more than I think. Once I’ve read all the magazines I keep them for a while to refer back to, but eventually I too need to de-clutter, so I’ll pass them on to another running friend, and so the cycle continues!

Through reading the magazine I’ve started to think of myself more as part of the ‘running community’ whatever that means! I’ve started to realise that not everyone who takes part in running is choosing to do ultra-marathons, we can all run at our own level and still get the fitness and social benefits at whatever level you are at. The main competition is not with other people but with yourself, other runners can support and help you whether that’s with advice on how to up your speed or distances to get a new Personal Best or agreeing to go out with you on a wet and windy night when really the sofa looks a great deal more appealing than a rain soaked pavement in winter!

[ Written by - Lucy Marris |  Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher ]


Tips for answering this Cue Card Topic:

To answer this cue card, first, decide if you are going to talk about a newspaper or a magazine. If you want to talk about a newspaper, decide which one you would like to talk. For the magazine you should finalise the magazine name also. Deciding a particular newspaper or magazine would help you focus on the features and characteristics of it.  There are some differences between a daily newspaper and a magazine.

If you decide to talk about the magazine focus on following points:

a) What type of magazine it is: weekly, monthly etc.
b) What's it about?: Lifestyle, technology, fun, business travel, fashion etc.
c) For magazine describe the topics and issues it covers. Like a computer related magazine often covers the software and hardware reviews, tips on computing, tutorials, and price list etc. whereas a fashion magazine highlights the current trends in fashion, new arrivals and focus on brands.
d) Why do I read it? Entertainment, tutorials, academic or professional benefits, new recipes etc.
e) Why is this magazine better than similar other magazines? Article presentation, economic, has subscription facility, exclusive etc.

If you talk about a newspaper focus on their news presentation, editorial and overall contribution to help people get unbiased and quality news and articles.
Since, almost all the daily newspapers cover the same type of news i.e. political, sports, editorial, international, business etc. you should focus less on the type of news they present. Rather emphasise what makes it a worth reading newspaper.


Part 3: Details Discussion:

Q. What do you think are the important qualities for a news reporter?
Answer: First and foremost, one of the essential characteristics a news reporter should have is passion for his work.  Academic training would be another important aspects to become a great news reporter. Next, if a news reporter has tertiary education, their knowledge will be broader and they will be specialized in the field of the news exclusively. Furthermore, experience in news agency is an important element as this factor is indispensable in every occupation and many times lead to better results. In addition, being objective, curious, passionate to excel, motivated to do something better  for people are some other important qualities of a professional news reporter. Finally, being able to judge information received on different subjects and not misinterpreting facts are two other qualities that every news reporter should have.

Q. What's the main difference between a newspaper and a magazine?
Answer: It's a really difficult question because as readers, people often think that these two are almost the same. But if we examine deeply, we will see that there are some differences indeed. First, newspapers contain short articles on current news and events and they are mostly daily and sometimes weekly publication. Magazines on the other hand, include longer articles on a variety of subjects and are weekly or monthly publication. Apart from these differences, there are some minor differences as well. For instance, magazines are smaller in size than newspapers and usually more expensive. Newspapers contain fresher contents than magazines. In addition, magazines are like a book while a newspaper is much larger in size though there is lesser number of pages than in a magazine. So we could conclude that although these two forms of print media look like the same, there are many differences between them.

Q. What's the function of a report to the society?
Answer: A report is any useful informational made with the specific intention of relaying information or recounting certain events in a widely presentable form. With regards to the function of a report, we could say in brief that it is multifunctional. Initially, it should provide information on what has to be done or needs to be done. Moreover, reports are used for keeping track of information and this action results in making decisions. Hence, they are used in different fields such as the government, business, education, science, and so on and they can be divided into categories with annual, book, demographic, inspection, military and police reports being the most know types.

Q. What kinds of books/newspapers/magazines do adolescents read in your country?
Answer: Puberty is a transitional period of life so most of children's hobbies and pastimes change during this time. As far as my country is concerned, I think that girls at adolescence read gossip and fashion magazines and novels with mainly romantic plot. Regarding boys, they read sports magazines most of the time, but there are some of them who read novels as well. When I was a teenager, my peers used to read Harry Potter books and as far as I can remember they were a mainstream.  

Tip: Adolescents in different countries read different kind of books, newspapers or magazines. Just talk about the most popular types in your country. For example you can say that boys read sports magazines, sci-fi, poetry, mystery and adventure books. With reference to girls, you can mention that they mostly read literature, romance, contemporary and beauty magazines, magazines and books about relationships.


Q. With the popularity of Internet, do you think newspapers and magazines will disappear?
Answer: That's a controversial yet important issue to discuss about. Some people believe that magazines and newspapers will continue to be publicized irrespective of Internet's rapid progress. The way we are accustomed to read a hard copy of a newspaper or a magazine will never get lost. The appeal of reading something printed is in our blood and it would not fade away very soon. However, it is undeniable that a large number of people would read it in a computer or a handheld device. There are many really large news and magazine companies that were established many years ago and they employed many workers. If printed newspapers and magazines disappear, all these corporations will automatically go bankrupt and thousands of people will be unemployed. My personal belief is that as the Internet is constantly advancing, the publication of the press will be restricted to some extent and all the major newspaper and magazine companies will have their online versions for readers. I can see for myself that I prefer reading the news online rather than buying newspapers, but that does not mean that I never buy a magazine or a newspaper to read it.


[Part 3 answers were written by Mary, UK, Economist with Main Field of Studies in Business Economics]


Use the same techniques to answer the following cue cards also:

1. Describe a magazine that you read often.
2. Describe the newspaper that you read daily.
3. Describe you favourite magazine.


Categories: 1

0 Replies to “My Favourite Magazine Essays”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *