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Magazine or Journal?

Magazine or Journal?
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This week on Ask a Teacher, we answer a question from Felippe in Brazil. He says:


Hi! I'm from Barra do Piraí, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and I have a little question: What is the difference between a magazine and a journal? Thanks!

- Felippe, Brazil


Hello Felippe,

There are several differences between these two kinds of publications.

Magazines contain things like news, interviews, essays, how-to guides, pictures and advertisements.

Magazines are usually published weekly or monthly. They are aimed at the general public and use language that most of the public can easily understand. The articles are written by professional writers and reporters. Some are experts on the subjects they are writing about. But many are not. Suppose, for example, someone is writing a health-related story for a magazine. The person may gather information by speaking to health experts, reading about the subject on the internet and looking at study reports. They may even include information from press releases on the subject.

That is very different from a journal.


A journal is a publication aimed at researchers, academics and experts in a professional field. Journals contain reports that describe original research and study findings.

For example, a team of social scientists might study how COVID-19 has affected people’s desire to spend time in groups. A team of insect experts might study how chemical products are affecting bees. One or more people from these teams then writes a report describing the study and its results. These reports contain formal language and technical terms known within a particular field.

Most journal articles are also peer-reviewed. That means they are carefully examined by other researchers from a specific field before they are approved for publication. Most journals are published just a few times each year.

There is something else called a “trade journal.” This is not the same as an academic journal. Trade journals are publications that promote education and skills within a specific trade or industry.

And that’s Ask a Teacher for this week.

I’m Alice Bryant.

Alice Bryant wrote this lesson. Bryan Lynn was the editor.

Do you have a question for the teacher? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section below.


Words in This Story

interview - n. a meeting between a reporter or writer and another person in order to get information for an article

essay - n. a piece of writing that tells a person's thoughts or opinions about a subject​

academic - adj. of or relating to schools and education

formal - adj. suitable for serious or official speech and writing

promote - v. to help something happen, develop, or increase