Difference Between Journal and Magazine

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: June 03, 2023


Difference Between Journal and Magazine

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We, humans, are always hungry for entertainment and information, and we get them from many sources. Two sources have been around for ages and they are journals and magazines.

Journals and magazines are both periodicals as they are both published at fixed intervals. They contain many articles meant for information and entertainment.

Apart from that, journals and magazines are vastly different from each other. They both have different purposes and target different kinds of readers.

While journals are mainly written to provide information to researchers and experts, magazines are meant for the entertainment of the general public. Journals are written in technical language, while magazines do not use technical language. Likewise, there are many differences between them.

Journal vs Magazine

Although both journals and magazines contain written articles, they provide different kinds of information. While journals deal with particular subjects meant for scholarly publications, magazines are meant for entertainment and information of the general public. Journals are written with a specific format, and writers must adhere to this format, whereas magazines do not have any specific format.

Journals are read by students, researchers, and experts belonging to particular fields. Only they can understand some of the technical language or jargon used in the journal articles. The articles of magazines can be read by anyone interested as one does not have to be an expert from a particular field to read them. Journals and magazines are indeed very distinct from each other.

Difference Between Journal and Magazine in Tabular Form

DefinitionIt is a publication that contains scholarly articles on particular subjects written by researchers and experts.It is a publication that contains articles on various subjects meant for information and entertainment.
TargetIt targets students, researchers, and experts.It targets the general public.
ContentIt contains news and research on a particular field.It contains articles based on current events and popular topics.
Technical languageIt has technical language.It does not have technical language.
VisualIt contains charts, graphs, and tables.It contains pictures and illustrations.
WriterThe articles are written by researchers and experts in particular fields.The articles are written by journalists, writers, or freelancers.
Length of articlesIts articles are lengthy.Its articles are brief.
FormatIt has a specific format that must be followed while writing the articles.It does not have any specific format.
SignatureThe articles are signed by the writer.The articles are not signed by the writer.
AdsIt contains many ads.It may contain few ads or may not contain ads at all.

What is a Journal?

A journal is a publication meant for a specific subject or field. It comprises scholarly articles, news, or other editorials related to specific subjects. They contain some technical language related to a particular field that can only be understood by people who are from this field or have knowledge about it. Therefore, journals target limited readers who may be students, scholars, or experts from the specific subject area the article is written on.

The articles in journals are written by experts and researchers. They discuss the latest research and development. The articles are peer-reviewed meaning; they are reviewed by a panel of peers and experts in the particular subject. It is to check their genuineness and to see if they fulfill the criteria of a good research article. These articles are well-researched from trustworthy sources and are also refereed. The articles are also evidence-based, and references are provided in them. The articles contain visuals like tables, charts, and graphics that showcase the data of the particular research study. This makes journals quite lengthy. Journals are usually published by academic institutions or associations. The cover pages have a simple and formal look to them.

Some examples of journals are – Harvard Business Review, Econometrica, Journal of Advertising Research, etc.


The following are some types of journals:

  1. Specific Scientific Journals – These journals are about specific fields. For example – Nature Immunology, Science Translational Medicine, Nature, etc.
  2. General Scientific Journals – This type of journal contains articles on various subfields or subtopics under it. Examples are – PLOS One, The Lancet, etc.
  3. Open Access Journals – We can gain access to these journals openly and for free. They have a transparent peer review process. For example – Directory of Open Access Journals, Frontiers in Oncology, etc.
  4. Subscription-Based Journals/Hybrid Journals – These journals give options to the authors to pay a required amount and publish the articles as open access, or not pay and get the articles published behind paywalls. These journals require a fee to gain access to the articles published under them behind paywalls. They usually have less stringent reviews or no review process at all to get published.
  5. Pre-Print Journals – These journals require researchers to publish their research before they are submitted for peer review.

What is a Magazine?

A magazine is a periodical published mainly for the general public. The articles in a magazine neither have any specific format nor use any technical language. Therefore, they are easily understandable.

A magazine's consumer rate depends on the trust it creates among its consumers. Magazines can maintain their reading count by providing good quality articles for consumers.

They can contain news, celebrity interviews, food recipes, fashion, lifestyle articles, travelogues, etc. However, the content may also depend on the type of magazine. The articles are based on current events and topics of public interest. They are brief and consist of pictures and illustrations that make magazines more attractive. Even though magazine contains topics of various subjects, special-interest magazines concentrate on publishing articles based on specific topics.

The articles of magazines are written by journalists, writers, or freelancers which then are reviewed by editors and then published. They are published weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.

Some examples of magazines are – Forbes, Vogue, People, National Geographic, National Geographic Kids, etc.


There are three common types of magazines. They are consumer magazines, trade magazines, and organization magazines. These three types again have subtypes which are all discussed below:

Consumer Magazines – These are the magazines that come to our mind when we think of magazines. They target the general public and have a wide range of consumers. They include articles on diverse areas of interest like food, lifestyle, fashion, travel, and politics.

The subtypes are:

  • News and General Interest Magazines – This type of magazine is meant for news items and events that the general population would be interested in the most. The articles here are written on topics that are trending and consumers want to know more about them.
  • Cooking magazines – As the name suggests this type of magazine would contain food recipes, cafes, and restaurants, and 'how to cook' articles.
  • Fashion magazines – Almost everyone is familiar with the magazine 'Vogue'. It is a fashion magazine, and this type of magazine is one of the most popular types of magazines.
  • Technology magazines – Tech magazines are meant for updates on new technology and innovations. These are great sources of updates for technology lovers.
  • Health magazines – This includes dietary plans, workout guidance, and tips to live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Children's magazines – Yes, there are magazines for kids as well, and they are not just for entertainment but also to educate young minds. Magazines like National Geographic Kids can help keep children away from their screens and provide them with essential knowledge.
  • Business magazines – These magazines provide information on the latest technologies and trends that could keep the readers up-to-date. This would help their business in running on track with the new trends and stay competitive in the market.
  • Travel magazines – Travel magazines let people explore places they may have never been to. The articles present travelogues, pictures, guides, and recommendations for the readers. Readers get a glimpse of various places around the world, learn about different people from different places, and get to know their food and lifestyle. People who want to explore new places get an idea of which places should be included on their bucket list through these travel magazines.
  • Cultural magazines – These magazines are about arts and culture around the world.
  • Automotive magazines - These magazines contain car publications and features of the new cars. These also have high reading counts among consumers.
  • Pet magazines – These are for pet owners who want to know more about their pets and want to keep them healthy. These consist of guides for diet and healthy lifestyles for pets.
  • Sports magazines – Every sport has its magazine, or there are magazines for news and updates on various sports under their umbrella.
  • Entertainment magazines – These magazines are solely created for entertainment. It contains celebrity interviews, TV and movie reviews, the latest gossip in the entertainment industry, etc.

More magazines include men's magazines, women's magazines, farm magazines, etc.

Trade Magazines – These are read to keep industry members aware of new technology, trends, and methods. This is helpful for business people as they would be able to match their business with the demands of the public. These magazines also help brands to advertise their products to the right people. People who want to join the industry also get an idea of how to work in the industry through these informational magazines.

Organization Magazines – These magazines again have three categories which are:

  • Society – These are magazines we get if we are members of a society, an organization, or an employee in a company.
  • Promotional – These magazines are used as promotional tools for organizations or companies.
  • Product – These are magazines that advertise products.

Main Differences between Journal and Magazine in Points

  • A journal contains scholarly articles that are written on specific subject areas. On the other hand, a magazine contains articles on more than one subject.
  • A journal’s customers are professionals, students or scholars of a field. A magazine’s customers, however, can be of any field with an interest in reading about the latest topics on entertainment, fashion, or current affairs, etc.
  • Journals are written by professionals and experts of a particular subject area and are peer reviewed by experts of that particular field. On the contrary, magazines are written by professional writers or journalists and are edited by journalists.
  • Journals contain lengthy research articles, whereas the articles of magazines contain are brief and easy to understand.
  • The articles in journals contain some technical languages only meant to know by professionals, experts and students from the particular field the journal is about. Therefore, it cannot be read by general people.

Magazines, on the other hand, do not contain any such terms that the general people would fail to comprehend.

  • Journal articles would have a list of references to note the sources of the studies. However, magazine articles do not usually have a reference list.


Since journals and magazines are both periodicals and contain articles to provide us with information, many believe they are the same. However, they are very distinctive from each other. Journals consist of researched articles written by scholars and experts on specific subjects. On the other hand, the articles in magazines can be on any subject or topic that interests the public. These articles are written by journalists, writers, and freelancers.

Journals contain some technical words and jargon that only researchers and experts from the particular field would be familiar with. They are targeted toward specific readers. This may be the reason journals have lesser consumers. Magazines, on the other hand, do not use any technical language and contain articles that most people are interested in. This is why magazines have more consumers.

Articles of journals are long as they contain full research articles with graphs, charts, and tables used for interpretation. They do not contain any colorful pictures, unlike magazines that are filled with colorful images and illustrations that make them look more attractive.

Both journals and magazines are good sources of information and entertainment. They have been around for ages and are still widely used, although comparatively, their purchase has been going down due to digital media. Although they may not diminish suddenly, people have started preferring digital-centric information more than printed ones. Hence, time will tell what the future holds for printed magazines and journals.


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"Difference Between Journal and Magazine." Diffzy.com, 2023. Thu. 28 Sep. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-journal-and-magazine>.

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