BBC Knowledge magazine: First Impressions

Magazines are some of the few remaining artifacts of print media that have any kind of promise left. They don’t compete against real time news outlets but nevertheless manage to be neat little capsules of curated information. They are qualitatively on a different plane than newspapers, which focus on what has happened in a given cycle of time (a typical 24-hour news day). Most non-news magazines are predominantly topic-based and feature news only as a tertiary element.

I received two copies of the new magazine BBC Knowledge for review and read them in the course of the last two days. It helped me put some of my thoughts about the fate of content (especially printed content) in the changing media landscape. BBC Knowledge is a magazine devoted to three explicit topics — science, history, and nature. Technically, there seems to be a little overlap here but the labels do a good job of conveying what the magazine is about. If there is any doubt, the rest of the tagline — “for the curious mind” removes it.

The two issues I read covered things as diverse as dinosaurs, cosmic events, the history of science, and espionage. Suffice it to say that diversity is not something you will be left wanting. But I did feel the absence of content geared towards Indian interests. The only story I found interesting from an Indian geek’s point of view was about the promise of dinosaur fossils excavations in the sub-continent. But seeing as how BBC Knowledge is only beginning its life as a magazine in India, one hopes this will be remedied quickly.

I would personally like to see a lot more variety in the magazine market. With news becoming something of an exclusively online concern, printed capsules of topical content can keep the print market alive. With something like science especially, fact-filled magazine issues are more money-worthy than real-time feeds of information.