The Vision & Future of the NEW OXFORD REVIEW
Sometimes I think the New Oxford Review, as a serious journal of ideas, is lost in the slick, razzle-dazzle world of the media, and there is no safe niche for us to fit into. I say this for several reasons.
With the rise of movies, television, cassettes, and VCRs, et al., the world of the serious print media almost seems archaic. The rise of the “electronic” media, which are so much easier to “consume,” has contributed mightily to a drop in ordinary literacy. And it’s a vicious downward spiral. The decline in literacy itself drives people away from the print media, making people ever more dependent on the electronic media.
It is understandable that in this situation many serious magazines have been folding up. The most recent fatality is Worldview, long a friend of the NOR. Of course, the sharply rising postal rates for magazines are accelerating this process.
Many periodicals have tried to adapt. Once-serious magazines change to glossy paper; fill their pages with lots of color photos and pricey ads promising pleasure and success; shrink their book review sections (who reads serious books anymore?); and concentrate on how-to advice (among certain religious periodicals we find everything from lessons on how to dress properly for church to eight painless steps for improving your spirituality). In so adapting, many religious magazines have “survived” — even if survival is purchased at the price of shaving the truth and forgetting the purpose for which they were originally founded.
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