Sunday, April 17, 2011

Newsweek's Revival, and a Mind-Boggling Fact

For no apparent reason, several months ago we started receiving Newsweek magazine. It seemed pathetically thin of substance, and I was under the impression that it was on its last legs.

Then I heard that erstwhile New Yorker editor Tina Brown had taken over and had been charged with bringing the magazine back to life.

Now I'm wondering if part of her strategy is to try to hook as many New Yorker subscribers as she can.

Newsweek's cover story this week is by Peter J. Boyer, a great journalist who's long been associated with the New Yorker. And the magazine features illustrations of some of its contributors by Grafilu, who also did the distinctive portraits of last summer's 20 Under 40 fiction writers in the New Yorker.

It's not a bad strategy, if indeed it is Brown's strategy: start by throwing free magazines at New Yorker subscribers; then improve the magazine's content and make it more New Yorker-ish, in appearance, contributors, and article topics.

Case in point: an interesting article about Henry Louis Gates (himself a sometime New Yorker contributor), who's got a new PBS special airing soon called Black in Latin America.

I found this little tidbit blogworthy:

Black in Latin America was inspired by one mind-boggling fact. Of the 11 million Africans who survived the middle passage between 1502 and 1866, only 450,000 arrived in North America. The rest landed south of the border in places like Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, and Brazil, which have their own, largely unexplored histories and legacies of race and racism.

Startling, isn't it?

Anyway, now that Corresponding Fractions has taken notice of Newsweek's revival and added to the buzz, I believe Tina Brown's marketing strategy is complete!

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