Why do people read magazines? That might sound like the semi-delirious philosophising of an editor as publication deadline nears, which it almost certainly is. But it also seems like an important question to ask in a year when New Zealand lost 18 of its most beloved publications during a 10-minute company-wide Zoom call.
There are many answers, of course: people read magazines to be informed, to relax on a weekend afternoon or ease the tedium of a commute, to decorate their coffee tables. But there are plenty of ways to do all of the above. What makes magazines like this one truly special is that they help you see the world from a perspective other than your own.
Which brings me to North & South. For more than 30 years, this magazine has chronicled life in every corner of this country. There is nothing else like it in New Zealand journalism, which is why we are so thrilled and proud to bring it back to Kiwi readers, under the independent ownership of journalists Konstantin Richter and Verena Friederike Hasel. We owe an enormous thanks to the subscribers who stuck with the magazine during months of uncertainty — the return of North & South is only possible because of you.
A writer spends weeks or months with the subject of a story, bringing a person to life on the page so the reader sees them as a human being, not a caricature or a statistic. An investigative journalist reveals the systemic causes of events in the news — not just what happened, but why. You might pick up a magazine intending to read a piece about the election, and instead lose yourself in the one about snooker, a subject you had no prior known interest in. This year, we’ve seen what happens when entire countries splinter into factions that essentially occupy different realities. Simply taking the time to understand another person’s life is a small but powerful way to prevent that from happening here.