Teen People

Speaking of the diminishing teen magazine market (and who isn't?) it came as a shock last week when Time Inc. announced the abrupt shuttering of the print version of Teen People. (The dear departed will continue to live a half life, digitally, on the Web.)

Attention must be paid! (''Do I have to?'' Sound of slamming door, and, '' I hate you! You're ruining my life!'')

Anyway, making a big deal over whether kids read print or on the Internet is so, like, eight years ago. To paraphrase the Randy Newman song, does Teen People (in print) have reason to live?

When it was launched in 1998, it was groundbreaking. Who else was going to cover all those boy bands? Justin Timberlake was such a hearthrob! And Britney was just starting to tart up her schoolgirl outfits.

The need for such an outlet has changed with teens' growing sophistication in music and all the customization they seek on the Web (My Space, Face Book, are factors, but even 10-year-olds are downloading songs to their iPods and their phones) Plus, Teen People generally appeals to Girl People, who, while forced to turn their phones off while getting manicures and pedicures, would rather move up to Us Weekly or InStyle or Glamour (Or even pick up regular People People, for those touching humanitarian stories.) They're so inundated with up-to-the-microsecond celebrity news on sites like TMZ or Pink is the New Blog that a monthly becomes hopelessly dated.

But let us examine the August issue. (September will be the last.)

OK, here's the problem with monthly print deadlines:

The cover girl is "American Idol" loser Katharine McPhee ("Her secret weight struggle.") The story says she will begin working on a CD while on the "American Idol" tour, which kicks off July 5--though she famously delayed her start due to a ''sore throat'' or some such. Still, we do get to see that she says ''I love being a role model! It's great.''

There's lots more of "Idol." "Taylor Talks!" is an exclusive interview with "Teen People's special celebrity correspondent, Paula Abdul." The newest "Idol" winner admits that the he took his moves from "Soul Train" and he practiced in his room, alone, in front of the mirror (paging Napolean Dynamite!). An item easily moveable to the Web.

Indeed, a feature like ''What's your ringtone?'' which provides answers from three celebs, is wasting trees. ''10 ways to make the month of August rock!''do not require the printed page. Ditto with ''Would you take back a cheater?'' or ''Embarrassing Moments'' (If a maxi pad falls out of a pocket, but nobody's around to hear it...) All those, plus horoscopes, would probably be better suited to the Internet.

"My Super Sweet Bat Mitzvah" chronicles, with no editorial comment and a straight face, the $500,000 Bat Mitzvah of Amber Ridinger, daughter of dot-com millionaires James and Loren Ridinger. (The "Sunday Styles" section of The New York Times covered the blow-out about six months ago.) Musical guests included Ashanti and Ja Rule, and, as a caption tells us, ''We had a candy room with chocolate fountains, says Amber (here with Mike Piazza and his wife.) And we hired little people to pass out the candy!'' I guess they figured it would be politically incorrect to mention the word ''dwarf.'' Better suited nowhere. There's a photo special on Orlando! (the cute Brit Bloom, not the Disney outlet) that's easily transferable to the Web, as well.

Obviously, the Interact works best for simple interactive stuff, and I found the quizzes on quite satisfying. The voting majority agrees with me that watching Nick Lachey kissing his new girlfriend on MTV's "TRL" was ''awkward'' and that Christina Aguilera's outfit was way too skanky. I also took a quiz on whether I'm meant to be famous, and I was told I like to hide from the spotlight and ought to come out of my shell more.

And, despite the fact that the editorial didn't especially deserve to live, to put it in context, this is a shut-down case only for a company as large as Time Inc. At closing, the magazine still had a circulation of more than one million, even if ad revenue was diminishing.

But someone should alert the Webmaster about the news. On the site, there's a box offering ''2 Free Preview Issues of Teen People.''

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