Barack Obama's State of the Union Was Awesome

Pareene · 01/28/10 10:56AM

Barack Obama's first State of the Union was not a particularly soaring or pretty speech. But it was really the model every future president should look to when composing their own.

Media Beginning to Realize That Someday This Election Will End

Hamilton Nolan · 11/04/08 11:19AM

On this election day, the cold-blooded monsters like us whose business is our nation's flow of public information are thinking not about political hope, but about hope for continued high ratings; not about political change, but about people changing the channels. (Speechwriter-ly!). What it comes down to is this: once this election's over, will the public still care about all these media outlets who've been living it up thanks to public interest in politics? Let's round up the media's nervous take on the media's future!

The Plight Of The Standalone Magazine

Hamilton Nolan · 09/09/08 11:12AM

In nature, introducing an invasive species into an ecosystem has a domino effect. A new insect predator eats all the bugs, which are food for all the birds, which flock elsewhere, forcing the predators of the birds to migrate themselves, etc, etc. Also the beating of a butterfly's wing can cause a hurricane halfway across the world, I hear. So too goes the media industry! That's why you can thank the internet for driving all the rarefied magazines you love straight to the edge of a big big cliff. Why else would there already be an Us Weekly spinoff? The magazine industry is far more insulated from the economic pressures of blogs and news aggregators than newspapers are. But! High-end papers like the NYT and the WSJ, watching the internet eat away at their business model, are desperate to make up some of their revenue loss. So they start fancy weekend magazines—T and WSJ., respectively—to cater to luxury advertisers and bring in money to subsidize their real news operations, which are increasingly unprofitable. Both T and WSJ. have thus far done a good job of drawing in upscale advertisers. But guess who that hurts? Every other magazine that would like to draw in upscale advertisers. Which means all your favorites! So while newspapers are sprawling enough to extend their brands in a different direction, standalone magazines are not always so privileged. (Unless they have no fear of ridicule, like Us). In this way the internet screws newspapers, and newspapers screw magazines. And magazines screw... ?

1912 Campaign Analysis Was Awesome

Pareene · 09/08/08 03:04PM

"Prior to the reelection of General Grant in 1872, there was a superstition prevalent that no man possessed of a middle name could be elected President a second time. The notion was based upon the fact that every President so endowed, up to that time, had, for one reason or another, failed to be reelected: John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren-if his was a triple name,-William Henry Harrison, and James Knox Polk. Even since Grant, who may be said to have been exempt from all rules, the tradition has held good. Rutherford Birchard Hayes, James Abram Garfield, and Chester Allan Arthur, were not reelected; William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt were; also Grover Cleveland, after the lapse of an intermediate term,-who, it may be suggested, escaped the hoodoo by dropping his first name, Stephen, which his parents incautiously gave him." [The Atlantic via Andrew Sullivan]

Time Out's Big Problem

Hamilton Nolan · 09/04/08 01:40PM

So the rumor—which is still, we should note, just a rumor—is that listings-and-more magazine Time Out New York is in financial trouble. Tipsters say the money trouble is a result of bad investment decisions by management. But TONY has even bigger problems: its entire business model is built on quicksand.
TONY is light on content and heavy on listings. That's probably not going to change significantly. So consider what they're up against:

War: Even More Horrible Than Previously Estimated

ian spiegelman · 06/21/08 11:30AM

Even in America, most people know that the last 50 years have been a nightmare of war and death for much of the planet. Turns out, it was actually three times worse than most people thought! "Wars around the world have killed three times more people over the past half-century than previously estimated, a new study suggests. The finding supports the notion of armed conflict as a 'public health problem' whose instability leads not only to violent deaths, but to indirect deaths from infectious disease and other causes, experts add. 'War kills more people than we had previously thought,' said lead researcher Ziad Obermeyer, a research scientist at Brigham & Women's Hospital, in Boston. 'And that has to be taken into account when we're looking historically, and it's important for people and policy makers to know when they're looking at the consequences of the war. It's important that there's an awareness of how many people actually die.'"

Cable: The Old New Big Thing

Hamilton Nolan · 06/12/08 01:49PM

TV is dying, right? We read about it online. Kids these days spend all their time on YouTube, and television is left to geriatrics watching Depends ads, right? But no! One word, friends: Cable. Just today, news came out that the executives at Discovery Communications, home of the Discovery Channel, are some of the highest paid in all of the media—their CEO took home $20 million, right up there with the Viacoms and Time Warners of the world. How did little old cable get so rich? Good timing, good programming, and a little bit of luck. Learn and marvel!

The New Digital Reality

Hamilton Nolan · 05/14/08 03:25PM

The Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" photo retouching controversy was left as an unresolved disagreement between truth-in-advertising purists and photo professionals who say retouching is a necessity. Television and movies may be moving in the opposite direction; a lighter touch with makeup is needed in the face of exacting HD cameras. But for print ads of all kinds, the wonders of Photoshop manipulation will prevail. James Danziger, the photo gallerist who represents celebrity image producer Annie Leibovitz, weighs in with a cogent postscript to the Dove controversy and its legacy: "We are living in both the digital age and the age of hypocrisy.":

Katie Couric, CBS, the 'Wall Street Journal' and the New York 'Times' in Journalism Love Quadrangle

Pareene · 04/11/08 01:46PM

The Wall Street Journal broke a terribly large piece of media news this week—CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric is leaving the network after the elections, before her contract is up. That they had this story and not, say, the Times—who generally handle the TV media beat pretty well and on their own, thank you—is a nice coup for Murdoch's newest acquisition. It took a little while for the Times to catch up, but they came out last night with their own story on the meeting that ended Couric's career. (Amusingly, they credit "press reports in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere on Thursday" for breaking the Journal's exclusive scoop. Petty!) While some speculate as to what Katie will do next, or when she'll leave, Henry Blodget wonders who killed her. We're inclined to believe she killed herself.

Adventures In ROYGBIV: Why The 'Daily News' Is Going Color

Maggie · 02/13/08 05:47PM

The Daily News was very busy this afternoon telling everyone and their mom that the city tabloid will go all color by the end of 2009, making it the "first major market daily newspaper in the United States" to do so, according to a release. (Never mind that Europe's been doing this for years, along with plenty of far more inferior weeklies stateside.) Publisher Mort Zuckerman may not be losing quite as much money on his tabloid as Rupert Murdoch does on his Post, but we're fairly sure Mort's not changing the hue of his paper just so it'll look a little prettier at the prom.