hidden hit counter
From the Latest Entry...
I’m beginning to create a winter reading list and a new title is high on my list. It’s called Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts by Christopher de Hamel, a longtime Sotheby’s employee and Fellow and Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Recently published in the United States, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts looks to be a wonderful…

Remarkable Manuscripts

image I’m beginning to create a winter reading list and a new title is high on my list. It’s called Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts by Christopher de Hamel, a longtime Sotheby’s employee and Fellow and Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Recently published in the United States, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts looks to be a wonderful read for bibliophiles and history lovers alike. I’d recommend buying the actual hardcover book, as it is filled with many maps, photos and reproductions of some wonderful one-of-a-kind artifacts. Here is a portion of the publisher’s description of the book:

“The idea for the book, which is entirely new, is to invite the reader into intimate conversations with twelve of the most famous manuscripts in existence and to explore with the author what they tell us about nearly a thousand years of medieval history - and sometimes about the modern world too. Christopher de Hamel introduces us to kings, queens, saints, scribes, artists, librarians, thieves, dealers, collectors and the international community of manuscript scholars, showing us how he and his fellows piece together evidence to reach unexpected conclusions. He traces the elaborate journeys which these exceptionally precious artefacts have made through time and space, shows us how they have been copied, who has owned them or lusted after them (and how we can tell), how they have been embroiled in politics and scholarly disputes, how they have been regarded as objects of supreme beauty and luxury and as symbols of national identity. The book touches on religion, art, literature, music, science and the history of taste.

“Part travel book, part detective story, part conversation with the reader, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts conveys the fascination and excitement of encountering some of the greatest works of art in our culture which, in the originals, are to most people completely inaccessible. At the end, we have a slightly different perspective on history and how we come by knowledge. It is a most unusual book.”

For other treasures check out this story from Atlas Obscura: The Oldest Treasures from 12 Great Libraries. They ask each library to highlight the oldest item in their collection.

Posted by Joel on November 05 2017 • Books

Battle for Magazine Readers' Attention


Folio published an interesting infographic this past summer that highlights some of the efforts magazine publishers are making to attract and keep reader attention. A couple of interesting stats show that longform writing can still attract readers when it is good:

* 3.4 million, number of minutes of combined reading time garnered over a 24-hour period by GQ Style’s 6,000-word profile of Brad Pitt.

* 2, consecutive single-day traffic records for TheAtlantic.com set by Alex Tizon’s June cover story, “My Family’s Slave”

A couple extra stats caught my eye:

* 9 months, lifetime of Conde Nast’s Style.com from launch to shutdown

* 37%, share of marketers who will plan to add messaging apps as a distribution channel in the next year

Posted by Joel on October 05 2017 • Journalism

News We Trust

In this era of “fake news” what media brands remain as trusted sources of news? The University of Missouri recently conducted a survey to find out.

Ad Week highlights the results of the questionnaire that reached 9,000 people. Twenty-eight newsrooms asked their audiences to answer questions about how much news they consume and how much they are willing to pay for content. Of the respondents, 67 percent said they “consider themselves likely or very likely to trust the news” while 33 percent do not.

“Additionally, both white and liberal respondents were more likely to trust and pay for the news than non-white and conservative respondents,” writes Sami Main. “Older respondents were also more likely to pay for their news regardless of race or political leaning.”

A chart of the most and least trusted brands:


Posted by Joel on September 06 2017 • Journalism

The Unexpected Value of a Liberal Arts Education

There is a great examination of the value of a liberal arts education at The Atlantic. In The Unexpected Value of the Liberal Arts, George Anders looks at how first-generation college students find value from a liberal arts program. And while salaries for first jobs for graduates call into question the value of a liberal arts degree, many of those with a broad background in the arts, history or sociology tend to go on to pursue higher degrees and often remain lifelong learners. In the long run, they eventually become successful entrepreneurs and professionals. It’s a great look at what we are losing by not supporting liberal arts education in America.

What will a liberal arts education look like in 50 years?

Posted by Joel on August 05 2017 • Current Affairs

Does Paper beat Digital?

Does paper beat digital? What does neuroscience say?

An interesting post at Forbes says that paper still has its place in many cirlces. “Those marketers who have been looking forward to the day when print content is gone entirely may be surprised by the latest neuroscience research,” writes contributor Roger Dooley. “Rather than an all-digital world, it appears that a multi-channel approach that leverages the unique benefits of paper with the convenience and accessibility of digital will perform best.”

Here are some results from a study conducted by Temple University, which used fMRI brain scans to compare digital and paper:


Posted by Joel on July 30 2017 • Content Marketing

Brand Magazines

imagePrint is very much alive, writes Clare McDermott at the Content Markting Institute blog. And she highlights nine brands that use magazines as a central piece to their marketing initiatives.

“While marketers flood new digital channels and explore the latest amplification strategies,” she writes, “a number of companies continue to invest in the “traditional” media of print to reach their customers.” While print distribution isn’t utilized by many brands, CMI research shows that those marketers that do feel it is the most important part of their brand strategy.

McDermott showcases nine brands that utilize magazines, including TDAmeritrade, Harley Davidson, Walmart and Allianz SE.

Posted by Joel on June 24 2017 • Content Marketing

Churchill and Orwell

image Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Ricks has written a new book that I believe will be another best-seller: a dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell. From the publisher’s description of the book: “No one would have predicted that by the end of the 20th century they would be considered two of the most important people in British history for having the vision and courage to campaign tirelessly, in words and in deeds, against the totalitarian threat from both the left and the right.” Churchill and Orwell both believed that freedom was the important issue and that “a government that denied its people basic freedoms was a totalitarian menace and had to be resisted.”

Also from the publisher’s description: “In the end, Churchill and Orwell proved their age’s necessary men. The glorious climax of Churchill and Orwell is the work they both did in the decade of the 1940’s to triumph over freedom’s enemies. And though Churchill played the larger role in the defeat of Hitler and the Axis, Orwell’s reckoning with the menace of authoritarian rule in Animal Farm and 1984 would define the stakes of the Cold War for its 50-year course, and continues to give inspiration to fighters for freedom to this day. Taken together, in Thomas E. Ricks’s masterful hands, their lives are a beautiful testament to the power of moral conviction, and to the courage it can take to stay true to it, through thick and thin.”

I’m looking forward to picking up a copy. Watch an interview with the author from CSPAN here.

Posted by Joel on June 11 2017 • Books

The Future of Media

imageTablet has an interesting story written by a “struggling writer” who attends a content marketing conference in Boston. “The future of media is here,” writes Sean Cooper, “and I was there.

“The S.W. is here because the roaring fire that was 20th-century nonfiction magazine literature has been hosed down to wet coals,” writes Cooper. “In this new 21st-century post-literature era, the techniques and tools of the journalism trade have been plundered by scavenger industries, which rightly foresaw profit opportunities in what has been called branded content, native advertising, or content marketing, which agglomerates techniques used to build characters, create narrative arcs, and establish tones of voice that once served as conduits for nonfiction writers attempting to intimately mind-meld with readers. While journalism continues to struggle, burgled storytelling devices are being leveraged at scale by content-marketing agencies and branding studios that publish content stories to satisfy shareholder expectations. One industry analysis estimates that the content-marketing business will be worth $215 billion in 2017. The Struggling Writer is here to see them count the money.”

Another interesting insight:

“In the absence of stories told by humans to communicate about being human, companies tell people stories about being consumers. Readers consume the information made available to them in this way because they are unable to turn off the human impulse to understand the world.”

And another:

“Being a journalist today requires the maintenance of an active presence on the same social-media platforms and search engines that took away all the advertising dollars that once supported journalism. Today, 80 percent of all new digital advertisements are booked through Facebook and Google. The journalists are curating their work on behalf of these stock-traded corporations that thrive by selling advertisements against work they have not commissioned. Everyone ultimately works for the social-media platforms.”

It’s certainly an interesting time for journalists who are making a transition from journalism toward ... something else.

Posted by Joel on May 20 2017 • Content Marketing

Field Notes

Notebooks are making a comeback; there’s something to be said about pen and paper. I prefer Moleskine notebooks, but Field Notes makes an array of notebooks as well. These (from a collection called National Crop Edition) draw their inspiration from promotional notebooks given to American farmers over the past 100 years from seed, tractor, and other agricultural companies. Pretty cool.

Posted by Joel on May 07 2017 • Multimedia

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman

imageThis looks to be an interesting read from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Miriam Horn: Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland. The book was also recently made into a documentary, narrated by Tom Brokaw. From the book description:

“Many of the men and women doing today’s most consequential environmental work—restoring America’s grasslands, wildlife, soil, rivers, wetlands, and oceans—would not call themselves environmentalists; they would be too uneasy with the connotations of that word. What drives them is their deep love of the land: the iconic terrain where explorers and cowboys, pioneers and riverboat captains forged the American identity. They feel a moral responsibility to preserve this heritage and natural wealth, to ensure that their families and communities will continue to thrive.Unfolding as a journey down the Mississippi River, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman tells the stories of five representatives of this stewardship movement: a Montana rancher, a Kansas farmer, a Mississippi riverman, a Louisiana shrimper, and a Gulf fisherman. In exploring their work and family histories and the essential geographies they protect, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman challenges pervasive and powerful myths about American and environmental values.”

Posted by Joel on April 30 2017 • Books