Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BBC Knowledge magazine: a review

I'm not exactly a magazine person, but some good ones warrant a review. I picked up a couple of issues the the BBC Knowledge Magazine, and was quite impressed.

My strong bent towards religious studies prompted me to first pick up the Mar-Apr 2011 issue, because its cover story promised to debate a question that has long plagued mankind - Does God Exist? The article described at length the various theories of logic that have been put forth over time in a bid to prove or disprove God's existence, but I was a tad diappointed by the lack of religious points of view. But a magazine such as this needs to stay informative and non-committal at the same time, especially in delicate matters like religion, and the restrain is understandable.

But the reserve is restricted only to that religion-sensitive feature. All other articles are thorough, exhaustive and most importantly, lucidly-worded. The lead article of the Jan-Feb 2011 issue on modern espionage, for example, is rather compendious. It traces spy technology from the World War days to the modern day of Facebook and even adds a little about what you must do if you want to be a spy! But I, especially, like their news in context feature, which is a fantastic clue-in for people like me, who do not much follow current affairs or political news. It gives a nutshell histori-political account of the current news, offering a much needed perspective. Two other things that most people would find appealing/accessible are the photo features and the QandA sections. The photos are expectedly award-winning, but it is the trivia that comes along with it, that is the important value addition. Also, what is special about this magazine's QandA section is that the answers are well-researched, unlike most other magazines, where similar sections offer highly general and 'common-sense' answers.

The magazine is neatly divided into history, science, nature, features and experts sections, and the spread is varied enough to cater to all sorts of readers. Although I might go as far as to say that science and nature aficionados will find more meat in the magazine than others. But most articles (science or otherwise) strive to offer a fair number of perspectives, and are highly credible, what with a small army of experts on the magazine's panel. That said, the articles are quite readable, despite their knowledge-heavy nature. The articles are logically structured and have some rather informative boxes within them. BBC Knowledge quite simply offers you what it means to - knowledge.

Flipping through magazines like this one wonders what one finds here that they cannot on the Internet. Truth be told, nothing. But then again, if it weren't for magazines like this, you wouldn't know what to look for.

1 comment:

Nikhil said...

So the opinion is divided on the 'Knowledge' content of the magazine then. Hope the content improves with time. Will try and pick up a copy of it if as and when. Will be happy with your reviews till then.