Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Print publishing is not having an easy time right now. In a fierce Darwinian struggle, online media — armed with its newly-evolved Kindles and iPads — is beating it to the limited advertising revenue resources it needs to survive. Starved and demoralised, many magazines and newspapers are either going digital or going under.
But despite the changing landscape, magazines are far from extinct. Their natural habitats of waiting rooms, office receptions, bars, Metro stations and toilet cubicles are enclaves — reading ports in a virtual storm.
In Barcelona, the English-language printed press is limited in its number of printed publications but broad in its range.
Catalonia Today used to be a weekly newspaper but has adapted to the new paradigm by becoming a monthly magazine. Somewhat reminiscent of the weekend supplements of quality broadsheets, it tends to be well written and intelligent with articles that aim to provide some genuine insight.
Barcelona Metropolitan is found all over the city and is probably the best overall English-language guide to popular culture. Increasingly dominated by adverts over articles it nevertheless still features an excellent Eating & Drinking section and a comprehensive What’s On guide. Their website has improved radically in recent years and offers archived content from many back issues as well as the Classified Ads in English for those who can’t spell ‘IKEA sofa’ in Spanish…
Barcelona Connect is a mini-guide similarly packed with adverts and classifieds, mainly designed as a directory to what’s on. The content seems to consist mainly of material submitted by readers and as a result can vary hugely in its quality. Most features tend to be short but there are some useful tips for visitors and tourists.
Another mini-guide is Le Cool. The Barcelona edition of a range covering ten cities in the same format, Le Cool aims to keep readers up to date with the latest dj sets, exhibition openings and other fashionable happenings. The website and online newsletter are well-designed and the personalised calendar will ensure that you need never miss another opportunity to wear an ironically-sloganed tee shirt and sunglasses indoors
Also aimed at Barcelona’s hip young things is BCN Week . A mix of Spanish and English content, it lives up to at least two thirds of its title of ‘Barcelona’s Alternative Newsweekly’. News is fairly thin on the ground but a lively selection of opinion columns and short articles in a variety of alternative — even anarchic — writing styles provide plenty for clubbers, music fans, cinephiles and art lovers to read after they have checked out the excellent listings section.
Listings are the raison-d’être of Miniguide, another pocket-sized what’s on-guide for newcomers and residents. It doesn’t have much to actually read — the features are extremely short — but it’s a convenient way to find somewhere to go for a night out.
In complete contrast, Business BCN is a quarterly, Spanish-English bilingual magazine that, as its title suggests, concentrates on business news in Barcelona and Catalonia. With interviews, conference reports and feature articles on aspects of local business, it probably won’t help you find this month’s hottest nightclub but might help you make enough money to pay the entrance fee.
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