Who, why, when, how, where, what, what the…

10 September 2009

screen-bill.mao-newsweek newsweek copertina newsweek

The new, redesigned Newsweek has had plenty of what can only be mildly termed “negative fan following”.

The designer Juan Antonio Giner wrote recently that it was time to “forget Newsweek“.

“It’s irrelevant. Awful design. Cheap opinions. No reporting. No news. No quality. No necessary content. And… a newsroom of hundreds. For what? Fat newsroom for a dying magazine.”

Vir Sanghvi, the former editor of the now-defunct Sunday, Bombay and Imprint magazines, called it “uninfluential, unreadable and unprofitable“:

“The desire to emulate The Economist has made the new Newsweek less dependent on correspondents and more focused on columnists. That may not be a bad idea in itself but the problem is that the columns are dull and are so poorly laid out that you never want to read them. My guess is that either Newsweek will rethink this format or it will finally close down.”

The Economist bug is reflected in the desire to explain everything that happens in the world.

Who, why, what, where, when, which, how, what next, what the….. may be the fundamentals of journalism, but when done week after boring week from the ramparts of the desktop, it can get very predictable, resulting in an “analysis paralysis”.

Below are 45 headlines, straplines and introductions from just the last eight issues of the international edition of Newsweek (dated July 13 to September 14) edited by the Indian-born policy wonk Fareed Zakaria, and they present to the reader the scary spectacle of a bunch of smug know-it-alls, who have cracked every problem on earth.

Every problem except how to make their own magazine*.

1) How Russian and US interests align

2) What we don’t know can hurt us

3) How China’s consumer society is built by the state

4) Helping Africa save itself

5) Why ‘steady’ lost

6) How Obama looked at the Kremlin

7) Why the economic crisis is hitting the rich hardest

8) Why the crisis is good for some powers that be

9) How the crisis only makes Washington stronger

10) How the mighty have fallen

11) Why the GOP is falling out of love with gun-toting, churchgoing, working-class whites

12) Why France needs Turkey in the EU

13) How India will define its grand strategy

14) Why Japan isn’t rising

15) What lurks beneath

16) Why polaroid is the new black

17) Why the US will emerge from the crisis on top

18) How Tony Blair came to be Europe’s choice

19) Why good web sites shouldn’t be free

20) Why it’s even worse than we feared

21) Why fears of a Muslim takeover are all wrong

22) Why the United States will come out of the crisis on top

23) How crisis will kill off the empire

24) Why space junk is a nuclear threat

25) How do we move forward, not back?

26) How come Goldman is making billions and I’m still broke?

27) How crisis will make the EU stronger

28) How we filled the skies with junk

29) Why bad times could make America’s top schools even stronger

30) How to solve the education crisis—and why more money alone isn’t the answer

31) How Koizumi killed Japan’s ruling party

32) Why IBM is profiting despite the crisis

33) Why goofy glasses are in your future

34) What’s good for IBM is as good as it gets for America

35) Why Japan’s new rulers will only solidify into the second rank

36) What you need to know: alient exist, settlements aren’t the problem, elections aren’t the answer, and more

37) How Ted confounded the Kennedy myth

38) How Russia sees the world

39) How football went East

40) What Teddy can’t teach us

41) Why, years after the Cold War, the Kremlin’s still obsessed with getting respect

42) How nuclear weapons may make the world a safer place

43) How do you break the internet?

44) Why Japan’s new leaders aren’t so scary

45) What to do if jobs don’t come back

* Disclosures apply

Also read: Fareed Zakaria: Will this man be the next US Secretary of State?

Tina Brown: Magazines, like mushrooms, should grow in the dark

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