For the readers of this text: I am absolutely biased. I was one of the founders of the DOX magazine way back in the first half of the 1990’es at the time where the EU MEDIA Programme had its office called Documentary in Copenhagen. I have followed the magazine since then, contributed with articles and sees with pleasure that it is very much alive and renewed since Norwegian Truls Lie took over as editor-in-chief in 2009 after almost 12 year’s of brilliant work by Danish Ulla Jacobsen.
Today DOX is exclusively a FILM magazine. The focus is on the films, which are written about in features, critiques, festival reports, interviews and essays. The more debate orientated and informative articles connected to activities in the industry, and targeting the professionals are not a priority any longer. That is of course an editorial line to be discussed as the major part of the readers are professionals, mostly producers who are members of the publishing organisation EDN (European Documentary Network). Anyway, this is how it is now, where the magazine comes out 4 times per year, and not 6 as before. You might easily argue that to deal with actuality and debate in a quarterly magazine does not make sense - leave it for the internet.
The political and social films do get most space. In two recent issues (88 has come out) focus has been put on North Korea and Africa with a thematic treatment of relevant films. The critiques of films are in general good, the festival reports suffer from what festival reports always do: name-dropping of titles, seldom the author gives him/herself the liberty to go deeper, there is a list of note-worthy films at the back of every issue, it is extensive but lacks factual info on where or how to get hold of the films mentioned... The best, however, in the last many issues, is to read the editor-in-chief’s own essayistic articles that are excellently written, always with a interesting angle and luckily not afraid to touch on film history as with the text(s) on Pier Paolo Pasolini in 87. Or the article from the festival Cameraimage, the cinematographer’s festival, in 85.
Take a subscription If you want to be updated on the world of documentaries You get a well layout’ed (although the font could be bigger for eyes that are 50+!) documentary magazine, and you will even get a dvd sent along with each issue.