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Friday, September 18, 2009

Obamacare Death Panels have bad news for Newsweek: Doctors will pull the plug on mag at $75 a year; Newsweek R.I.P.

Obamacare Death Panels have bad news for Newsweek:
Doctors will pull the plug on mag at $75 a year;
Newsweek R.I.P.

Well, it's not like we didn't get a well-informed
head's-up from South Beach Hoosier favorite
Michael Kinsley
about five months ago on
what was to come from the magazine side of
the Post-Newsweek family, of which Local 10
(WPLG
) is a blood-relative.

(I discussed the positive side of this family
relationship in my March 31, 2007 post
about my 1982 summer internship at
Channel 10 that fell by the wayside because
of some very silly and truly
anti-competitive
rules at the IU
Telecommunications Dept.)
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2007/03/hbs-national-moment-in-news-proves.html )


In case you already forgot or never ever
heard about Kinsley's all-too-true LIVE
autopsy on Newsweek and traditional news
magazines in general, i.e
The shot that was heard around... well,
The Beltway
and certain media-centric
zip codes in New York City
, here it is:

The New Republic

B
ackward Runs 'Newsweek'
Blah blah newsmag remake blah blah.
http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/backward-runs-newsweek
---------------------
Two takes on what Kinsley wrote:

New York magazine
Daily Intel

Michael Kinsley Attacks the New
Newsweek,
and
We Feel Bad About It
May 22, 2009
http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/05/michael_kinsley_hates_the_new.html

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen:
Michael Kinsley, don’t be hating on Newsweek

http://trueslant.com/lisacullen/2009/05/22/michael-kinsley-dont-be-hating-on-newsweek/
--------------
As to Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham?
Very, very bright guy, obviously, but he
seems almost blind to the fact
that in the
eyes of many, including other journalists
I know in Washington and elsewhere
whose names you'd recognize, he is,
quite literally, the
placeholder for all the
journalism blandness that stretches from
coast-to-coast.

The sort of too-clever-by-half editorial
commentary -hello, Miami Herald-
on
illegal immigration that routinely takes place
in news articles, and not just on the editorial
page.

Supposed news articles where some basic
journalistic questions are never asked or
even hinted at, perhaps for fear of queering
readers about what are undoubtedly intended
by the editors to be sympathetic heart-wrenching
stories about American-born kids of illegals.

Illegal aliens who routinely ignored court orders
and ICE for years and finally got deported
back to Colombia, El Salvador or fill-in-the-blank.

Meacham is also emblematic of the very
high self-regard of many in the MSM,
as well as their cozy relationships
with
powerful corporate elites, whom they
are generally loathe to criticize by name,
even while they joke together with the
likes of a Jeff Immelt, GE's Chairman
and CEO,
about their latest appearance
on The Charlie Rose Show at the
afterparty at an Aspen Institute event
or over in Davos, hanging out with Bono..

(I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said
before in this regard, but whether in Davos
for the
World Economic Forum and chatting
with Tom Friedman, or in New York
for
some Clinton Global Initiative meeting,
any place where
Queen Rania is, by default,
almost always
THE place to be!
See http://www.queenrania.jo/ and
http://www.style.com/vogue/feature/2009_March_Queen_Rania/
and
http://www.youtube.com/QueenRania
)



As Michael Kinsley coyly notes in his excellent
New Republic essay:

In his editor's letter--one of many traditional newsmagazine features that have survived the scythe of change--Jon Meacham says, "We are not pretending to be your guide through the chaos of the Information Age," which concedes a lot of ground from the get-go. Why not at least pretend? Why else would people pick it up, let alone subscribe?
Later, he writes with disdain:

And so we progress to "Features," which seems to be longer articles on myriad subjects, many written by outsiders (Michael Bloomberg, Tina Brown…), who are prized because they bring an independent luster. Also, you don't have to give them health care. But the section's lead story is the magazine's cover story: an essay about and interview with President Obama by Meacham himself. This kind of thing was a staple of the old newsmagazine, and it follows strict rules. It always opens with an anecdote or telling detail that flaunts the magazine's access to the great, and illustrates whatever the point of the piece was supposed to be. Disappointingly, Meacham's reinvented Newsweek has not abandoned this stale formula.
Then comes a deft and well-delivered Kinsley punch to the jaw of D.C-dom.:
Another piece in the issue--I guess it's supposed to be a "reported narrative … grounded in original observation and freshly discovered fact"--is about curing autism. "It's spring in Washington," the piece begins, "and Ari Ne'eman, with his navy suit and leather briefcase on wheels, is in between his usual flurry of meetings." It's spring in Washington. That doesn't seem to qualify as either an "original observation" or a "freshly discovered fact." Nor does it have any apparent relevance to the story that follows. Could it be a "provocative (but not partisan) argument"? And what about that blue suit? I have news for Newsweek: Washington is the blue suit capital of the world. Let's give them the leather briefcase on wheels.
Killing with kindness!

The current purge of reporters across the
country for bottom-line economic reasons
is a
particularly tough pill to swallow for
many journalists
in D.C., New York and
other hipper-than-thou urban hubs,
particularly
among those who were in
J-School in the early to mid-90's,

during the golden era of reporter as
highly-paid and sought-after social
commentator.

That's because they
imagined that they'd
be the natural inheritors of the self-aggrandizing

corporate and college speaking tours of
Cokie Roberts and her husband
Steve
Roberts
, before and after their various
books came out.

The culture which so aggravated longtime
South Beach Hoosier favorite (and Asia
expert) James Fallows when he took
over
the reins at U.S. News & World Report,
that he engaged in addition-by-subtraction
by dumping Steve Roberts
to show he was
deadly serious about ending that kind of
behavior at any
magazine he was at.

http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/

In fact, if you listen rather carefully when
Jon Meacham is on a TV chat show,
you might even say that it's apparent that
Meacham has fallen under the spell of the
sound of his own voice, pontificating thru
18th-century historical allusions, something
that was never true of the late Robert Novak


It's my personal belief that we need more
journos digging for facts and examples of
hypocrisy in Washington and among the
powerful, like Bob Novak, not more Jon
Meachams
drawing imprecise comparisons
to matters little remembered by most
Americans, as if he was channeling Shelby
Foote's
powerful and pithy anecdotes in
Ken Burns' masterpiece, The Civil War.

Please leave the grandiloquent American
historical allusions to George F. Will.
He's already got it covered.

In a media universe that actually made sense
and reflected current and future economic
and social realities, one of the things we'd
have in this country
is a weekly one-hour
network TV program starring Fallows or
Kinsley
-or both.



They'd one-up Charles Kuralt, John Madden
and the C-SPAN Bus by going on the road,
interviewing and interacting with some of the
dynamic people who are changing the face of
our country with their thinking, acumen and
boldness.
Despite what Congress and the president
say or do to screw with that effort.

A variation of this theme was tried with Tom's
excellent foreign policy/economic specials
a few years ago, on what was then called
the Times-Discovery Channel but is now
called ID: Investigation Discovery.
http://investigation.discovery.com/

Below, Tom's
The Other Side of Outsourcing



Hm-m-m... how about calling their series
on business and technological innovation,
The Road to Innovation.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know.
LOL!

That
title has only been used a million times
over the past 20 years, based on my last
1.001 trips to the Business section of
Borders or Barnes & Noble.

Who are the leading thinkers, engineers and
managers at Google, Microsoft, Intel or
JPL, and what sorts of problems are they
routinely running into in trying to continue
their research and innovation?
What sorts of things/solutions might be
possible if those roadblocks didn't exist?

Who are the brilliant former NASA engineers
and technicians who've been so thoroughly
burned-out and exhausted by the myopic
space policy in Washington of the past
twenty years that they've left the Feds,
Cape Canaveral and Houston in the
rear-view mirror, and are now using their
natural curiosity, enthusiasm, brains and
network of smart, savvy friends, to create
their own innovative companies?

Companies that will help make the country
more economically competitive internationally,
to get the country closer towards the sort of
smart, adaptive and energy-efficient technology
that made them decide to apply to grad school
in the first place?
Curiosity.
The sort of firms that ought to be all over the
place in Central Florida if Tallahassee was
paying any kind of serious attention.

(But do you really think such non-serious
pols like Sansom, Geller, Gelber
and Crist
did any critical thinking along those lines?
C
ould their collective neglect and failure to
seize self-evident opportunities here be
any more patently obvious?)


What's going on these days in a chastened
Silicon Valley
among the smart set who
didn't put all their eggs in one basket?
What areas are successful VCs putting
their money into so they can put their money
where their mouth and hearts are -and why?

Are so-called innovative Foundation-funded
'strategies' in local communities really producing
practical and tangible results that will have
staying power after the initial round of grants
and media hoopla have run their course?
Why or why not?

That leads to an important related question.
Who are the decision-makers at the
well-known national Foundations like
Ford, MacArthur, Eli Lilly, et al,
i.e.,
the groups that bankroll the only PBS
programming that most Americans actually
watch.

What are the common characteristics of
successful applicants, whether individuals,

government agencies, cities or counties?

What do they do to prevent their personal
or institutional biases and daily exposure to
corporate cronyism from impeding their
funding decisions?

Or from clouding the necessary empirical
fact-finding that takes place afterwards to
determine whether the grantee was successful
or not?

Do they have a pronounced tendency to
only give money to those groups or individuals
who will produce most positive publicity
for the Foundation versus those who
actually need it the most?

And name some names the way that Sixty
Minutes
did in the mid-70's when it was
earning its stripes, not doing fawning celeb
profiles on over-exposed Tiger Woods.
who bores me silly.

That the particular subjects I've just
highlighted here are all ones that I'd also
like to see in a smart weekly newsmagazine
like Newsweek, but won't, is precisely
the point.
Buh-bye Newsweek.

-----------------------
Washington Post
Newsweek Changes Subscription Strategy

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
September 12, 2009

Money-losing Newsweek hopes to break even by 2011 and plans to as much as double its subscription rate over the next two years, the magazine's top executive said Friday.

Ann McDaniel, managing director of Newsweek, which is owned by The Washington Post Co., said the magazine will aim for a "smaller base of very committed subscribers and get more money from each of them," while speaking at The Post Co.'s annual shareholders meeting at the company's D.C. headquarters.

See rest of story at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/11/AR2009091103713.html

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