Monday, December 14, 2009

Media Roundup: Spencer Pratt, James Warren, Realms of Fantasy, Tiger Woods & More

The latest dispatches from the fun, weird world of media:

  • My problem with Men's Health magazine has always been that I'd be reading some item in it that says "People worry that XYZ causes ABC, but new research proves there's no correlation, so eat (or do) more XYZ." And if you're reading fast and lazy like most readers do (myself usually included), you might think XYZ is something you should start doing, and thank you very much Men's Health for the tip. But far too many times I'd be reading the item and I'd stop and think, "Who the heck has ever said XYZ causes ABC? They usually say it causes DEF [for lack of easily available letters]." So I don't read Men's Health. It's a magazine for lazy readers put together by lazy editors. Now, we have proof of it -- and proof that the editors are rather contemptuous of their lazy readers, too: the much-ballyhooed news that Men's Health had repeated -- word for freaking word -- almost every cover blurb on the current issue from previous issues. As Jeff Bercovici reports: "A source who used to work at Men's Health recalls sitting with [Editor in Chief David] Zinczenko and his top editors in cover meetings. 'They had a file of used cover lines and would just pick them somewhat randomly, with no regard for what was in the issue,' says the source. 'Occasionally they'd have to call some poor editor and ask something like, "Hey, is there anything in the issue that involves 792 sexy women confessing what turns them on?"'"
  • It may have been a bad month for magazine launches in November, but there's at least one new one in December: Publication. Yes, that's the publication's name. Publication. This magazine, focused on street photography, includes a set of prints with the first issue.
  • On second thought, maybe it's not so noble: Playgirl magazine, which is relaunching its print edition this month featuring those infamous Levi Johnston nude photos, has refused to run alleged nude pix of shamed golfer Tiger Woods. Was it an attack of ethics? No. The magazine's rep reportedly said they couldn't be 100-percent certain the photos were of Woods, so they passed them up. Which means, I guess, that they would have published them if they knew they depicted Mr. Woods. Well, you picks your battles.
  • Is Huffington Post's James Warren no longer writing a magazine column on that site? I've read Warren's magazine columns for years, long before I ever even moved to Chicago, where he worked for the dailies. (No, loyal readers -- er, reader -- this is not the same James Warren of Warren Publications fame.) I always found his columns readable, intelligent, humorous, and interesting. Here's to hoping he's just on a long vacation.
  • This week's sign of the apocalypse: Reality TV thing Spencer Pratt is, according to OK! Magazine, buying a record label.
  • The new era of internet communications and British colonization of American newsstands has not been nice to most American science fiction and fantasy magazine publishers. But Realms of Fantasy is doing what it can to adapt. It's just launched a new web site and, perhaps most prominently, it features a promotion that lets you download a PDF of the current issue of the magazine.
  • Only because Time magazine called it the Decade from Hell: Blogger Chris Roush shares the info that someone at Adweek's promoting Wired as the Magazine of the Decade.
My previous media roundup.
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