There are a few news outlets that have transcended their status as merely being a source for the latest in current events. A select few publications have risen up over the years to become nothing short of institutions of pop culture. These rare publications have managed to stand the test of time, remaining relevant for decades. I’m talking about magazines such as Rolling Stone, Time, People, New Yorker, Playboy, and National Geographic – those outlets that you just can’t imagine not existing.
There are a few central factors in common between all of the publications that I just mentioned. For one thing, they all quickly earned reputations for themselves regarding how high the quality of their writing is. All of these magazines have featured legendary writers at one point or another, and all of their contributors at the very least create fascinating, well-written, and unique articles. You can’t expect to become one of the pillars of periodical publication without stellar literary contributions!
Another thing that they all have in common is the fact that they created a very distinct brand for themselves. In most cases, from day one they all had a fresh and distinct vision, fulfilling a much-needed demand from readers that no other publication ever filled before them. People often underestimate the value of good branding. But I would go so far as to say that without it, nobody would have bothered to pick up a Rolling Stone. Unlike books, people frequently do judge a magazine by the cover. So, an iconic public image was a necessary aspect of all these publications’ successes.
Another magazine that I have yet to mention in this list of influential and legendary periodicals is Entertainment Weekly. Although this one is quite different from the majority of the others in the list – they do not cover news or politics or offer up what most people would refer to as ‘literature’ by any means – they are no less a magazine with a rich legacy. A legacy that they have managed to successfully carry with them into the digital age.
Entertainment Weekly has carried its shelf presence into a very lucrative online presence with grace, pushing out new content on the world’s favorite celebs all the time, keeping up with the constant demand of the social media age with ease. Not every 20th-century publication can claim that it has done so with the same effectiveness. It is almost as if Entertainment Weekly was made for the 21st century before they even knew it.
The first issue of Entertainment Weekly was published on February 16th of 1990. It was a sister magazine, actually, of the already insanely popular magazine, People, and, as such, it offered a more mainstream-ready glimpse at pop culture icons than its sister publication did (often steeped in more elaborately in-depth features, profiles, and interviews). It could be said, I think, that Entertainment Weekly was something like People express.
Entertainment Weekly was created by famed journalist Jeff Jarvis and founded by Michael Klingensmith (the magazine’s original publisher until October of 96). When it first hit the racks, it was described by some as “… a consumer guide to popular culture, including movies, music, and book reviews, sometimes with video game and stage reviews, too.” In the years since its debut, however, the magazine has lost sight of some of the higher-brow concerns (such as book and theater reviews) and has become more of a celebrity gossip rag, but we’ll get to that in more detail later on.
Nevertheless, Entertainment Weekly was well-received upon its initial publication. In 1996, the magazine won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence, which is handed out annually by the American Society of Magazine Editors. In fact, they took home the same award again in 2002, which speaks volumes to the magazine’s ability to consistently flourish over decades and into the new millennium.
Entertainment Weekly has not stopped at just print media either. In September of 2016, EW teamed up with its sister, People in order to launch the People and Entertainment Weekly Network – a free online video network that is supported by ads and streams both short and long-form content surrounding celebrity news, lifestyle concerns, pop culture, and human interest stories. The network was rebranded as People TV (which has a much better ring to it, does it not?) in September 2017.
Since August of 2019, Entertainment Weekly has transitioned its print publication to a monthly model. However, they are not rebranding as Entertainment Monthly. The website, ew.com, still published content constantly, with no regard for periodical time constraints.
Speaking of the website, I rather like the way that Ew.com is designed. It has a sharp and minimalist look to it. It is very sparse (in a good way) with its white background, black text, and occasional pops of color lent by Entertainment Weekly’s iconic sky-blue logo. It is a gentle and calm news site layout, easily guiding the eye where it needs to be.
Plus, the site could not be any easier to navigate. You have recent stories flowing down the center of the page, featured stories on the right-hand side (clearly separated), and a handy site menu bar at the top. Here, feel free to browse the site by interest: TV, Movies, Music, Books, Theater, Podcasts, Events, Celebrities, and Awards.
Well, in addition to all of the sections that I just mentioned, EW.com also offers a well-balanced blend of text and video content. Almost every article is accompanied by a relevant video (some, however, are a little more relevant than others I would say). You can also, of course, subscribe for the monthly hard copy of Entertainment Weekly here if you so desire, order past issues, sign up for the EW newsletter, enter sweepstakes, and keep up with awards season. By visiting Ew.com, you will have access to literally any and all entertainment and celebrity news, as well as film/tv, book, and play reviews. There is a great mix of content here, a little something for everyone if you ask me.
Desktop and Mobile Experience
As I have already mentioned, I love the in-browser site experience of Entertainment Weekly. I think it looks sharp, there are plenty of interactive and immersive features, and it is sophisticatedly understated. The app, on the other hand, I cannot speak quite so highly of. Instead of making the app in the same clean-cut and streamlined fashion, the design is basically just like opening up an issue of EW magazine but on your phone.
You can toggle between layouts, but it still pales in comparison to the desktop site in my opinion. It looks as if people agree with me, though, as the app has only received an average rating of 3.3 stars on the Apple App Store.
Pricing and Plans
The site is free to use to your heart’s content without any pesky paywalls or subscription fees. Just ads here and there. As far as subscribing to the magazine is concerned, it is a fair price. Pay per month (per issue) for only $2.99 (recurring until canceled); or save some money and pay per year ($24.99). These prices are not bad at all for a hard-copy magazine of this stature.
Suggestions that I have for Entertainment Weekly
I would like to see EW dig a little deeper with some of their articles. I get that you cannot make every article you publish on your website (when constant content is the name of the game these days) extremely profound or poignant in some way, but it seems to stand to reason that you could attempt this occasionally. Although EW is much better than, say, the Hollywood Reporter with its content, I still think that they could strive for a bit of a more thought-provoking style overall.
All in all, if you are looking for a reputable and dependable source for entertainment (particularly pop culture) news, Entertainment Weekly is one of the best sites out there. Also, if you are a fan of physical copies of monthly periodicals, EW has one of the best deals on the market. You won’t find much in the way of deeply considered, thought-provoking content, but if you want to ensure that you never miss a pop culture beat, Entertainment Weekly is the way to go.