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Distinctions Among Types of Periodicals: Intended Audience

This will help you understand what type of print publication you are dealing with.

Intended Audience


The intended audience effects all aspects of a publication. The subjects covered are chosen with an audience in mind. Contributors are hired based upon how well they could possibly connect with the desired audience. The length and difficulty of articles depends on who the editor thinks will be reading them. The overall appearance of the publication as well as the presence and the nature of advertising are dependent upon what type of people the editor hopes to attract. Even citations in scholarly journals may be affected by who the author thinks may potentially read her/his article.

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Academic Journals Substantial
Intended audience Researchers and specialists who are peers of the contributors  A general but educated and well-read audience A general readership of non-specialists  A general audience with an interest in the news 
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Academic Journals -- Researchers and specialists who are peers of the contributors

This article from an academic journal is intended for an audience well-educated in the field of psychology. The author often uses technical language or "jargon" and assumes that the reader is already familiar with principles of psychology.

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Substantial News/General Interest -- A general but educated and well-read audience

Substantial news magazine articles like this one report research that is of interest to the general public and assumes an awareness of current events, although not in-depth knowledge of a particular field. Writers frequently use technical language but will usually define the word within the sentence.

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Popular Magazines -- A general readership of non-specialists

This article is written at a level that is easily understood by a general audience.  Vocabulary tends to be very basic and descriptive.

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Newspapers -- A general audience with an interest in the news

The item below is typical of news that is covered. A meeting of the U.S. Gymnastics Congress is what prompted the piece. The reporter writes in a very accessable style and quotes a variety of sources.

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