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The Periodical Table

A weekly look at the magazines laying around Beachwood HQ.

Mystery Bombing
"Sometime after midnight on September 6, 2007, at least four low-flying Israeli Air Force fighters crossed into Syrian airspace and carried out a secret bombing mission on the banks of the Euphrates River, about ninety miles north of the Iraq border," Seymour Hersh reports in The New Yorker.

"The seemingly unprovoked bombing, which came after months of heightened tension between Israel and Syria over military exercises and troop buildups by both sides along the Golan Heights, was, by almost any definition, an act of war.

"But in the immediate aftermath, nothing was heard from the government of Israel."

Nor - oddly - very much from Syria.

"Within hours of the attack, Syria denounced Israel for invading its airspace, but its public statements were incomplete and contradictory."

Hersh traces speculation that Israel bombed a nuclear facility built with the help of North Korea, but his reporting takes him - and us - in circles.

Something big happened, but nobody is talking.

Winner Takes All
"Who knew that in America today more people make their living by shuffling and dealing cards in casinos than by operating lathes?" Caroline Herzenberg of Chicago writes to The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

"We need to address the real needs of people working in today's economy, but we should also be thinking about what kind of an economy would be more appropriate to our ideals and real needs as Americans."

The View From London
"Mr. Obama's supporters want a president who can inspire Americans to be their better selves," the Economist notes. "Mrs. Clinton's supporters want a leader who can negotiate health-care reforms and mortgage bailouts."

Your Media
"In mid-2006, Michael Vivio, a veteran newspaper advertising executive, had been publisher of the Waco Tribune-Herald for almost a year, and he was perplexed. His Texas newspaper, like most dailies, had been hemorrhaging circulation steadily for years," industry analyst John Morton writes in American Journalism Review.

"Later, while walking in another city, he glanced at a set of news racks, and found himself asking, 'If you had to live or die by what was sold from this news rack, what kind of paper would you make?'

"That's when it hit him: The front page should be dominated by an attractive display of the most compelling story of the day, no matter where that story took place."

Oh my Lord!

The word "duh" doesn't even begin to get us there.

And guess what? Not only did that work, but the newspaper started a glossy magazine called Dwelling, started a weekly Spanish-language paper, and upgraded the paper stock of its monthly Waco Today magazine from its crappy newsprint.

Multiple revenue streams of increased quality! Who knew?!

(To give credit where it's due locally, Tribune was a pioneer in niche publications in the newspaper industry.)

"Perhaps the most concentrated effort was upgrading the newspaper's web presence," Morton continues. "Since the paper enhanced its web offerings, page views have more than doubled."

And that concludes our lesson for today.


Posted on February 13, 2008

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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