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I ran across this list from Good, who chose the 51 magazines that are the “Smartest, Prettiest, Coolest, Funniest, Most Influential, Most Necessary, Most Important, Most Essential, etc.” In the introduction to the list, Graydon Carter writes “a magazine—like the smart, charming gazette you hold in your hands, even in this age of electronic everything…

The 51 Best Magazines Ever

I ran across this list from Good, who chose the 51 magazines that are the “Smartest, Prettiest, Coolest, Funniest, Most Influential, Most Necessary, Most Important, Most Essential, etc.”

In the introduction to the list, Graydon Carter writes “a magazine—like the smart, charming gazette you hold in your hands, even in this age of electronic everything everywhere, is a marvelous invention.” Its a message editors should remember in this online age in order to reconnect with readers on the page. Carter also writes, “Another essential difference between newspapers and magazines is this: Newspapers tell you about the world; magazines tell you about their world—and by association, your world. Writers, photographers, editors, and designers bundle the slice of the world they have chosen to explore and deliver it to you in a singularly affordable, transportable, lendable, replaceable, disposable, recyclable package.”

I think it’s a very good list. Nobody believes magazines are going away anytime soon. But many in the profession do believe that there is a shortage of “great” magazines. Even Carter senses there is the need for better energy in the business. “The single binding aspect of all the magazines subsequently mentioned in this issue, and this will seem obvious, but far too many editors ignore it, is that for a publication to succeed it has to have a point. It can’t just come into being because the owner wants to impress his friends. Or because market studies have shown an opening in a certain line of interest. Many of the big magazine companies, such as Time Inc., are run these days not by people who love magazines but by people in search of profit. Great magazines come from the gut and the heart.”

Posted by Joel on April 29 2007 • Journalism

A New Order

It’s hard to watch as newspapers adjust to current market conditions. Will other forms of trusted journalism fill the void being left by struggling newspapers? A couple of stories shows the continuing drama, both from the New York Times. First, the Philadelphia Inquirer is considering new forms of sponsored editorial sections, something they wouldn’t have considered when times were better. And finally, more staff cuts in newsrooms, this time in Los Angeles and Chicago.

Posted by Joel on April 29 2007 • Journalism

Your Own Private Library

The Christian Science Monitor has a story about private libraries. This sounds rather nice: “The Boston Athenaeum, dating back to 1807, is the country’s largest such institution, with 600,000 volumes (in addition to more than 500 pieces of art) and 5,000 members. Stepping through its red leather doors at 10-1/2 Beacon Street is a little like falling down Alice’s rabbit hole. Within the 12-story structure, now in the throes of its 200th birthday party, lies an elegant hodgepodge – part library, part museum, part gallery. There is little delineation between where one part leaves off and the next begins: Paintings hang in every room, busts are nestled between bookshelves, and the books themselves – colorful, leatherbound – are works of art.

“Just beyond the circulation desk, a gold plaque reads “Here remains a retreat for those who would enjoy the humanity of books."”

By the way, if you want to own your own piece of the museum and make your own Athenaeum at home, you can buy these wonderful replica bookends from Levenger.

Posted by Joel on April 08 2007 • Books

What We Call the News

A new one from Jib Jab called “What We Call the News.” As always, it’s very funny, but there’s a little too much truth here.

Posted by Joel on April 02 2007 • Journalism