How Tiger and Obama became golf’s bogey men

Golf-digest-tiger-tips-obamaIn an effort to extend the shelf life of its products, the magazine industry uses cover dates that bear little relation to the point at which the publication is produced and available.

And thus the January issue of Golf Digest, available now, went to press on the 14 November – and its now-infamous ’10 Tips Obama Can Take From Tiger’ cover (pictured right) was “completed and closed” in the first week of November.

In other words, well before what the magazine’s editor describes as “the Thanksgiving week accident“.

What’s interesting, judging by the emails to the editor, it is not so much the image of the tarnished Tiger Woods on the cover that’s upsetting subscribers – it’s that of the US President.

The Me, Me, Me Blog Post

jon_bernstein2I think I’ve finally got this blogging business cracked.

Self-indulgent? Check.

The worst kind of vanity publishing? Check.

All about me, me, me? Check.

From 12 November I am joining the New Statesman as deputy editor.

I’ll be working under Jason Cowley and alongside his very talented team. And I’m pretty excited about it.

More details over on the Press Gazette and on The Media Blog.

Normal service will now be resumed.

Not All Social Media Is Digital

Late last night a hand-delivered letter dropped through my door. It began:

Dear colleague,

You should have received a ballot paper to vote for a new editor of the Journalist – the NUJ’s magazine.

I live in Honor Oak, SE23, and have dropped this through your door to ask you to vote for me, Richard Simcox.

nuj-the-journalistI was impressed, not necessarily by the Simcox manifesto, but by the campaigning. Honor Oak is not a million miles away but nor is it a stroll around the corner.

During a postal strike, the message needs to get out and this would-be editor was willing to put in the hours.

There are eight candidates  hoping to run the National Union of Journalist’s house magazine. It’s a high-profile role and the first time in 21 years that the position has been vacant.

It’s also a key point in the evolution of the print publication. Its production cycle has been cut from 12 to six issues a year as more and more NUJ news and information goes online.

One of the dilemmas the new editor will have to wrestle with is how to balance a web presence with a print presence. Sound familiar?

And that’s another reason why the hand-delivered letter was interesting. It brought home the potency of ‘push’ communication, when done right. 

Simcox, like his fellow candidates, has ticked all the digital boxes: website, Twitter, Facebook etc. The NUJ, too, will explore ways to use social media to make the most of its ready-made community with its shared interests.

This all matters but so too does the ‘physical contact’ that the print magazine dropping on the doormat every other month provides.

Any future editor who thinks that the only social media is digital would be very wide of the mark.

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How The Atlantic Is Rethinking Magazine Publishing

the-atlantic-1857If newspapers are struggling to redefine their role in the face of a 24/7 assault from the internet, what of the weekly and monthly magazine?

Many of those that publish every seven days were once thought of as weekly newspapers, now surely an oxymoron.

But others, who have always used their pages to offer the long view, are carving out bits of the internet they can call their own.

Among the most thoughtful, both in its writing and its approach to the web, is The Atlantic, a US periodical launched in the 1857 in part dedicated to the abolition of slavery.

The modern-day Atlantic has been quick to see opportunities in new media,  turning star columnists and contributors into must-read bloggers. The likes of Andrew Sullivan and James Fellows, a rare pre-war critic of our recent adventure in Iraq, instinctively understand the form. Sullivan especially.

He posts early and often, occasionally launching into an essay but usually hoovering up interesting thoughts and ideas from around the blogosphere and adding a line or two of insight. Blogger as magpie, just as it should be.

The Atlantic is also perfectly positioned to lead what digital media specialist Lloyd Shepherd has referred to in the past as the slow news movement –  an effort to throw some light on the affairs of the moment, when all we have is the heat of rolling, non-stop news.

Now, the magazine is trialling something that may turn out to be a serious source of revenue to the magazine market. (Or merely a worthwhile experiment.)

It has taken Hewlett-Packard’s custom-publishing product MagCloud, targeted at the local newsletter brigade more than the professional publisher, and is using it to sell a specially produced retrospective.

Brave Thinkers identifies 27 men and women who “who commit acts of moral and intellectual bravery by espousing unpopular or controversial positions”. These are essays drawn from the archive, repackaged in a 60-page special and available to buy in print format, via the website, for $6.

As Catharine P. Taylor notes over at the BNET Media Blog:

What a wonderful way to resurface — and make money off of — great content that’s been sitting in a vault somewhere!

Other magazines, either side of the Atlantic (Ocean), would do worse than follow suit.

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iPhone Apps Emerge As Possible Paid Solution

apple-iphone-appThe Spectator and the Guardian have seen the future of charging online – and it’s the Apple iPhone.

According to reports this week both are planning iPhone apps which will make their content available to mobile users on a pay-as-you go basis.

The Spectator will be the first out the traps with a “miniaturised, page-turning, iPhone version of the real thing“. It will cost 59 pence on an issue-by-issue basis, or £2.39 a month., meanwhile, reports that the company that owns it, Guardian News & Media, has a content app of its own “in the pipeline“.

The details are sketchy but the Guardian’s digital director Emily Bell was quoted saying:

It’s still in development, but we are working on an app which I can’t give you too much more detail on at the moment, although we are likely to charge.

Micro and one-off payments have always been more likely to succeed on mobile phones where you’re just a click away from adding a few pence to your operator bill.

That ease of use doesn’t guarantee success, of course, and doesn’t get us much closer to a paid solution for the much far, non-mobile web.

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