Disproportionate High Value – Episode 2

After retiring, I stopped renewing subscriptions to 5-6 monthly business magazines, daily delivery of the WSJ, NYT and half a dozen trade publications. Electronic versions have not caught on with me, so call me a journalistic dinosaur.  I don’t care. I missed BusinessWeek and the WSJ Weekend Edition the most. Then a friend gave me a copy of THE WEEK Magazine. It grabbed me.  It seemed expensive ($74 for six months, $129 for a year), but I subscribed anyway. This weekly magazine is now on my very short list of things delivering massively more value than what they cost.  Let me explain.

First, the magazine is all about content – not advertising.  With revenue so dependent on subscribers, this publication really focuses on making things great for readers. The next peculiarity is not investing in reporters or original news gathering. They don’t spend a dime trying to be the first one to report anything. Instead, they deeply research what happens every week in the areas they cover, examine everything known about a topic and summarize the key points, giving full attribution to their sources. This has several benefits:

  • First, good writers and editors are paramount, and they have the very best. After twenty five years of having my articles published in a host of different magazines, I learned good editors were priceless.
  • Next, every article and topic covered is done with the fewest words possible. Again, it takes excellent editors to cut extraneous text. Since they reference sources for every article, if you want to go deeper, it’s easy to find the full story on which their summary is based.
  • They don’t tell you how to think and I love this. They report the facts of what happened.  As most stories generate opinions, they quote meaningful views from both sides.  My liberal-leaning friends have told me while they like The Week, they feel it leans a bit to the right. My conservative friends like it too, but say they detect a slight left-leaning view.  Threading the non-partisan needle is near impossible, but my sense is they get it right far more often than not.
  • Like Goldilocks, they’ve managed to find nearly the exact right number of pages to cover the week’s news. Not too many, not too few. Just the perfect number of topics and the mountain of information chiseled down to the elements for each. The magazine can easily be read, cover to cover, in one sitting.
  • And like Goldilocks with her perfect porridge, they include enough critical subjects to make me feel I’m (sort of) keeping up with the news. In just 40 pages, they cover the following: the week’s main stories, how they were covered, the controversy of the week (and who thought what about it), the USA at a glance, the world at a glance, people news, summary of the three best opinion columns in the US, three best from Europe and two international during the week and who agreed/disagreed and why. Then it’s on to the week’s best editorial cartoons, one page each on Technology, Health & Science, Arts & Music, best books, top film & home media, Food & Drink, Consumer section (best values), Real Estate (best properties on the market), Business Page, Personal Finance page, Best Business Columns and Obituaries, followed by the last word, a two-page summary on a topic the editors feel will appeal to readers. The subject areas never change and always stay in the same place. I love that.

If you’re interested, I found a page that shows all of their covers and appears to let you look inside any of them.

Lastly, I’ve heard you can try The Week Magazine for free, for six weeks, and cancel afterwards and not owe them anything.  I’ve no idea if that works or not, but if you want to try it for yourself, here is a link to their subscribe page.

P.S.  Maggie occasionally makes the recipe-of-the-week and we have always enjoyed them.

End

 

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3 Responses to Disproportionate High Value – Episode 2

  1. John says:

    I hadn’t been coming up with any items that I would classify as disproportionate high value but this article made me think of one – The Sun magazine out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina (thesunmagazine.org) which also has no advertisements. No one would accuse them of leaning right, however, it definitely has a very liberal viewpoint. It’s a monthly publication and I read it cover to cover every month.

    • Steve Larsen says:

      John,

      Thanks for the recommendation. I went to their website and signed up for the newsletter. They’ve got several of their articles from the current issue available to read, so I will go back and do that when I’m sitting down.

      Between you me and the wall, the Week veers a tad bit to the left, but I think that is mostly because so much news is skewered to the right. They tend to quote people who call “bullshit” on anyone not reporting the truth.

      Here’s one for you. I just subscribed to “Free Inquiry,” another no advertising magazine, rich in content. Thankfully it comes out once every two months (six times a year), and I have so much to read already, I appreciate them giving me plenty of time to get through an issue before another shows up. You can find more about it here: https://secularhumanism.org/ After just two issues, I’d recommend it. The URL name gives it away, doesn’t it?

      One of the magazines I no longer get is The New Yorker. I LOVED that magazine and still do. The problem was it came every single week. I just couldn’t keep up and felt guilty getting rid of magazines not read completely. The other reason I loved it was their writers are really the very best magazine article writers on the planet, ever. And always have been. To me, who wrote for popular motorcycle magazines, the New Yorker was like the big leagues, where “real writers” hung out.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Steve

      • Steve Larsen says:

        A quick note on The Sun:

        I went to the site and due to the Coronavirus, they’ve lifted their pay wall, and gave an opportunity to make a donation.

        So, after reading and finding a couple of their stories remarkably good, I sent them a donation. Nothing big, but a way to thank them for doing good work. My impression of them is still 80% based on your comments, but I suspect I will subscribe and eventually be able to intelligently comment them myself.

        All the best!

        Steve

        p.s. And Thanks again

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