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Distinctions Among Types of Periodicals: Appearance

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

Appearance

APPEARANCE

Appearance is a "quick and dirty", although not foolproof, way of determining in which of the four categories a periodical belongs.  Possible qualities to look for are type of paper (matte vs. glossy), prevalence of the use of photographs or other illustrations, frequency and type of advertisements, and style of the front cover.

   Back to main chart Academic Journals Substantial
News/General
Interest
Popular
Magazines
Newspapers
Appearance Usually plain black print on white paper. May contain graphs and charts but seldom contain photographs or colorful graphics  Some photographs and graphics but usually not as many as popular
magazines 
Slick and glossy with photographs, illustrations, graphics, and interest-catching cover stories  Usually thin, inexpensive paper stock and black ink. The amount of color and illustrative matter are determined by editorial policy
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Academic Journals -- Usually plain black print on white paper. May contain graphs and charts but seldom contain photographs or colorful graphics

This example from a page in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology illustrates the typical appearance of articles in academic journals.

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Substantial News/General Interest -- Some photographs and graphics but usually not as many as popular
magazines

This example from an article in Sports Illustrated includes primarily text as well as some photographs and some color.

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Popular Magazines -- Slick and glossy with photographs, illustrations, graphics, and interest-catching cover stories

The photograph takes up the majority of space on this page of an article in a popular magazine.

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Newspapers -- Usually thin, inexpensive paper stock and black ink. The amount of color and illustrative matter are determined by editorial policy

USA Today is known for its use of color. Below is an example.

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