By 2007, the only sound coming out of Newsweek was a death rattle. A half-million subscribers were cut from the rate base; in 2008, more than 100 staffers were axed; and, in 2012, editor Tina Brown folded the print edition and announced the future was digital. Whereupon, Newsweek totally dropped off of my radar screen.
A catalog that keeps dead brands alive—memories of your grandparents' childhood—is Voice of the Mountains, published by the Vermont Country Store. Among the stuff they sell: Wooden Pick-up Sticks, The Original 1935 Monopoly Game, Zud Heavy Duty Cleanser Powder. Plus slews more oldies and goodies
In the final week of May 2009, BookExpo America—the vast annual book publishing conference—took place at the Javits Convention Center on the West Side of Manhattan.
According to the MediaBistro blog GalleyCat, a panel featured 56-year-old editor Tina Brown (Tatler [U.K.], The New Yorker, Talk, Vanity Fair and currently TheDailyBeast.com) railing against Amazon.com for its lowball pricing of books for the magical new e-reading machine, Kindle.
"$9.99 is a paltry, pitiful sum," Brown proclaimed.
Brown is a great editor, but she doesn't know squat about book publishing or business models.
On Tuesday, March 31, my daily Web prowl came across the mention of a major story about The New York Times Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. in the upcoming May issue of Vanity Fair.
I hied over to VanityFair.com and found the story, which I downloaded into my archive. The tedious, 11,415-word piece could be compressed into a four-word sentence: “Pinch is a weenie.”
But Pinch is not the story here. While I was at it, I downloaded articles about Rush Limbaugh; hottie cover girl Gisele Bündchen; Christopher Hitchens’ piece on Lebanon; a long story about the rich, conservative and powerful who attend summer blowouts in Northern California’s Bohemian Grove; and James Walcott’s “What’s Wrong with Washington.” I also swiped some terrific illustrations. Whereupon, I went away to ponder my loot—33,339 words plus pictures, the entire worthwhile contents of the issue.
All this was free from Vanity Fair. I paid nothing—nada, zip, niente. Were any advertisers on the scene hoping for a clickthrough? I didn’t notice.
What’s more, this material was in my computer and in my head a good week and a half before the May issue of VF hit the newsstands and two weeks before subscribers received it in their mailboxes. Meanwhile, VF’s insecure publisher and editors are so desperate for affirmation and buzz that they're happy to screw paying customers, causing them to be one-upped at cocktail parties by computer geeks like me.
Which takes us back to the lede from IN THE NEWS elsewhere on this page:
Multiple sources tell us that 20 or more employees were laid off at Condé Nast Digital today.
What’s wrong with this picture?
By Ken Schneider This month, I'm going to treat you to some ramblings from the mind of an A-list copywriter who should be working on a new cookbook project, but would rather put it off another day or two. For instance: ... Does anybody in consumer marketing at Time Warner return phone calls or reply to e-mails? ... When was the last time you saw a direct mail package that made you say, "Wow!" (in the positive sense)? ... I still can't get used to Greta van Susteren's new face. ... Why don't the different consumer marketing groups at