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This is a rather touching story. In an effort to cut costs, The Dallas Morning News has offered buyout packages to most of its reporters in the Arts and Entertainment section. One casualty: the book column will be no more. Jerome Weeks wrote his final column this week, which incidentally, newspaper management chose not to…

A Final Column

This is a rather touching story. In an effort to cut costs, The Dallas Morning News has offered buyout packages to most of its reporters in the Arts and Entertainment section. One casualty: the book column will be no more. Jerome Weeks wrote his final column this week, which incidentally, newspaper management chose not to run.

“What’s more, book culture may seem a dwindling, quaint endeavor to advertisers in mad pursuit of illiterate teens and at a time when arts coverage in general is getting dumped or fragmented into a million Web sites,” writes Weeks in his column. “But there are hundreds of thousands more new books released per year than TV shows, sports programs, movies or CDs. For all the talk of the death of print, more people have access to more books now than at any time in history.”

Posted by Joel on September 21 2006 • Journalism

While I Have Been Away

A couple of things that have caught my attention since I’ve been away from my blog:

1. From Folio magazine: “Fifty-four percent or 348 of the 654 consumer magazines that report their total paid, verified and analyzed non-paid circulation numbers to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, reported decreases for the first six months of this year ... Time and Newsweek saw unit sales decline 19 percent. Time recently announced it would try to stop newsstand declines (the magazine averaged 119,466 in newsstand sales in the first half of the year, compared to 157,215 in the same period a year earlier) by moving its on-sale date from Monday to Friday in hopes of appealing to Friday grocery shoppers.”

2. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Book Editor Bob Hoover has a good editorial about literacy that starts, “Americans are both fat and illiterate. He questions the logic of more literacy programs and Starbucks recent announcement that they would contribute to such programs. Interesting take on the subject. “Perhaps what’s needed is the acknowledgment that reading and the writing of good books needs to be encouraged after the literacy program ends. Great literature and nonfiction demand a sophisticated, educated audience.”

3. I learned about an interesting new magazine last week called Good. Right idea (which sounds much like my final project presentation for my graduate degree). Jury is still out on this one. I will have to read it some more.

Posted by Joel on September 18 2006 • Current Affairs

Quiet Computing

I am back in the blogging world again. It has been a couple of weeks since I posted a comment, and I feel like my blog has been neglected. But I do have a good reason: I recently purchased a new MacBook Pro. I loved it (still do), but it seems that I received one of the noisy ones. Maybe some of you have had the same experience?  It seems that many of the first batch of MacBook Pro laptops had logic boards or processors that made an annoying high-pitch whine. At first, I thought it was the fan, or other natural noises computers make. Nope. Working in a quiet room, the whine had its way of getting under your skin. Long story short, while I had to wait a few weeks, Apple made it right and they replaced both my logic board and processor. (See if any other manufacturer will do that.) If I wasn’t a fan for life before I had this problem, I am now. I think this is the point of this blog post (aside from making excuses for no posts). I think problems offer companies the best of opportunities. Companies can use the situation to prove just how dedicated they are to their customers, and just how they differ from their competition (whether you are making computers, cars or, my profession, magazines). Instead of covering a problem up and acting like it isn’t there or acting like they never happen (they happen even to the best of companies, like Apple) use the mishap as a chance to show just how unique you are. That’s the end of my sermon - now go out and buy an Apple computer.

Posted by Joel on September 18 2006 • Multimedia