Given this background, it was a brave move by New Zealand magazine Investigate to try its luck in Australia. This monthly magazine has been established across the Tasman for some time, but has only this year ventured into the Australian market.
To title the magazine "Investigate" is highly misleading. For sure, the feature article was a fascinating show-and-tell amongst the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Phillipines, for which journalist Matthew Thompson and photographer Ranae Carlson deserve plenty of credit. That is investigative journalism. The rest, though is a collection of opinion, commentry and muckraking, with a distinctive conservative bent. The magazine is quite deliberately slanted to the right: take the editorial, for example, which carries the subtitle "Douglas Wood's rescue reveals the Left's moral bankruptcy" - ouch!
The collection of contributers gives heart to any bloggers - ahem - who dream of one day making it into the mainstream. Amongst their number are columnists Alan Anderson (formerly The View From The Right), Adrian Neylan (Adrian the Cabbie) and Tim Dunlop (Road to Serfdom - and the sole lefty to make it into Investigate). Whilst it's wonderful to see bloggers make the chasmic leap across to the print world, it must be remembered that bloggers are primarily armchair commentators rather than well connected investigators.
Ultimately, Investigate is a welcome contribution to the Ausrtalian media landscape. The cover price of $7.95 is rather steep, and market economics (of which Investigate would no doubt be big fans, given its politics) will surely force it down if the magazine is to have a future. However, with a distinctive conservative voice, high production values and a modest display of investigative skills, this is a magazine of both style and substance. This will be one to watch, and deserves to enjoy a longer lifespan than its blink-and-you'll-miss-it predecessors.
Anyone else likely to read this stuff, or am I going to be the only one, sheepishly hiding it inside something more dignified? (Perhaps you'd call is a respectable receptacle?)
UPDATE 16/8, 9:04pm: As if on cue to prove my point about the difficulties of sustaining an independent magazine at the moment, one of the more glossy and insubstantial publications on the market has bitten the dust. From the Herald Sun:
Jobs go as magazine folds
MELBOURNE Magazine will fold less than three years after it was launched.
Managing director John Allan said the monthly magazine would release its final edition in September after its board decided it was not financially viable to continue.
The magazine was founded by Steve Harris, the former editor-in-chief of The Age, and was first published in 2002.