During this period, Discover was a fairly in-depth science news magazine. Stories tended to be on "hard science" topics, and avoided fringe topics such as UFOs. Most issues contained an in-depth essay by a well-known scientist, notables such as Stephen Jay Gould. Another common article was a biography, often linked with mentions of other scientists working in the field. One column, "Skeptical Eye," attempted to uncover various scams and flim-flam in the popular science world, and was the medium for James Randi to release his Project Alpha results. It was the most-read section of the magazine when it was first launched, according to its editor. Discover was one of the first popular magazines to mention (albeit in a sidebar) what was then known as gay-related immune deficiency (GRID), the disease that is today known as AIDS.
The introduction of so many new magazines aimed at the same readers led to a rapid commoditization of advertising dollars, forcing most of the magazines to attempt another format change in order to find a subscriber base. Science was later purchased by Discover, on the proviso that the format would not change significantly. Science News returned to a pure-news format. Science Digest turned to fringe topics, and was for a short period "into" spontaneous human combustion, before attempting to return to a pure news format again, and then going bankrupt. Omni maintained a blend of fiction and gonzo journalism that remained fairly popular until the early 1990s, when it appears the blend of web-based information and magazines such as Wired led to its closure in 1995.
Discover was left largely alone in its market space by the mid-1980s, but nevertheless decided to appeal to a wider audience and introduced a new format around 1984/85. "Skeptical Eye" and other columns disappeared, and articles covered more controversial, speculative topics like "How the Universe Will End". This change in format appears to have been a great success, and the new format remained largely unchanged for the next two decades. The April 2006 issue saw the introduction of a new design and new monthly columns (see Content).
Recent features have included articles on genetics, astronomy, energy, archaeology, physics, conservation, and psychology. The magazine's website includes additional content and science-oriented blogs.