Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Kate and Gannett, a bizarre, tenuous connection

Posted on | November 27, 2006 | 4 Comments

Oooh, way too long a break from The Ghost. The previous post came the day I high-tailed it for Munich at the biennial electronica trade show for a week. Then it was Thanksgiving, and the idea of pondering media’s future gave way to sleep and brined turkey.
What struck me about Germany (and I’m a knucklehead for not snapping a shot of it) were various and many bookstores anywhere that were packed with print periodicals… just packed. All in German. These sights seem to be drying up in the U.S. Not sure why. The readers are still there for the most part, but a lot of publishers seem to be reading too many polls on how print readers are vanishing. I notice the really thick magazines in the states are the fashion books (of one type or another). These are ads stuffed in among “content” that’s supposed to be “editorial” in nature but is really an advertising extension (I’m sure they’re are a ton of them in Germany too). Kate Winslet, for instance, is on the cover of In Style magazine. The extremely lite interview is decorated with shots of the lovely Winslet modeling various clothes. Could you imagine Kofi Annan in the Economist with accompanying photography of the U.N. chief in a Burberry’s coat? I supposed it could happen. Maybe it has happened. Doesn’t make it right.
And yes, Kate Winslet and Kofi Annan is a weird combo. Sorry. And maybe comparing the Economist to In Style is a bit odd too. But dare to enter to the mind of a publisher. The publisher whose book is a bit thin stands in the bookstore and drools at books like In Style, not because of Kate Winslet, but because the volume of ad pages. “How can I translate that to my business?” he or she wonders. Pretty soon editorial has been softened up under a constant artillery barrage from the business side.
It can happen: Gannett literally changed the face of American newspapers for the most part for the worse. They focused grouped what a new newspaper in 1980s should look like, thought cannily about who the audience should be (travelling business types) and built a paper for that audience. Pretty soon every big town newspaper was designing it papers and cutting stories with Gannett in mind, not their audiences who aren’t generally businessmen and woman opening their hotel room door at 6 a.m. looking for a little update from home.
So you can argue that Gannett contributed to the dumbing-down of the American newspaper but you can’t accuse it of not tapping into an era’s Zeitgeist. It’s back at it again, early this month.

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4 Responses to “Kate and Gannett, a bizarre, tenuous connection”

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  3. Anonymous
    December 10th, 2006 @ 12:17 pm

    Hello. Prompt how to get acquainted with the girl it to me to like. But does not know about it
    I have read through one history
    Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are — to develop your own identity and voice.

    People of all ages are able to do this. Your own history is special because of your circumstances: your cultural, racial, religious or ethnic background. Your story is also part of human history, a part of the story of the dignity and worth of all human beings. By putting opinions and thoughts into words, you, too, can give voice to your inner self and strivings.

    A long entry by Anne Frank on April 5, 1944, written after more than a year and a half of hiding from the Nazis, describes the range of emotions 14-year-old Anne is experiencing:

    “. . . but the moment I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth, and I choked back my tears, since I didn’t want anyone next door to hear me . . .

    “And now it’s really over. I finally realized that I must do my school work to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want! I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but . . . it remains to be seen whether I really have talent . . .

    “When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.

    “I haven’t worked on Cady’s Life for ages. In my mind I’ve worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn’t seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it’ll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That’s a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, “At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can’t write about philosophy.’ So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It’ll all work out, because I’m determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

    For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank’s first stories and essays, including a version of Cady’s Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing

  4. Anonymous
    December 13th, 2006 @ 9:34 am

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