The New York Review of Magazines » Spencer Bailey The New York Review of Magazines Mon, 28 Jun 2010 15:19:22 +0000 en hourly 1 5280 Wed, 12 May 2010 17:01:51 +0000 Spencer Bailey 5280]]> By Spencer Bailey

Circulation: 77,027
Date of Birth: 1993
Frequency: Monthly
Price: $4.99

The city of Denver brings to mind many things — the Rocky Mountains, John Elway, microbreweries — but journalism is not one of them. Sure, Beat Generation scribes like Kerouac, Cassady and Ginsberg spent some time in the Mile High City. Yes, there are mass-circulation local newspapers, like The Denver Post (which has won a few Pulitzers in its time) and the alt-weekly Westword. And there was, of course, The Rocky Mountain News — until it shuttered in 2009.

But let’s face it: Denver is not known for its reportorial chops.

5280 magazine, however, may be changing that. Like Colorado itself — which, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, has grown at the rapid rate of 16.8 percent annually since 2000 — Denver’s top-selling magazine, too, has seen increases over the last decade: A larger staff, a bigger budget, a greater circulation.

Launched in 1993 from editor and publisher Dan Brogan’s bedroom, with savings, loans and credit cards, 5280 — named for Denver’s mile-high elevation — started with a print run of 20,000 and a $250,000 budget. Today, the magazine has a downtown office, a circulation of more than 77,000 and, according to Folio, a budget of about $8 million.

Such growth has allowed the publication to enhance its editorial content. “We really focused on service journalism initially, and, over the years, we became more successful and were able to invest the profits in a new way,” says Brogan.

Those investments included hiring Maximillian Potter, a former staff writer at Premiere, Philadelphia and GQ, as executive editor in 2004. This coincided with 5280 publishing “Conduct Unbecoming,” a breakthrough feature story by Potter, which Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal had previously rejected. The piece, about an Air Force Academy cadet accused of rape, went on to become a National Magazine Award finalist and was the focus of a TV segment on ABC’s 20/20.

The magazine has experienced its share of troubles in recent years, too — mostly a result of the Great Recession. 5280’s advertising dollars have remained low throughout the downturn, Brogan says. And there have been cost-cutting measures, such as the laying off of two editorial employees in December 2008.

The good news: 5280 saw its number of paid subscribers grow by 10 percent in 2008. Then, last year, the City and Regional Magazine Association ranked it one of the top five city magazines in America, alongside AtlantaLos Angeles, Philadelphia and Texas Monthly.

Much of 5280’s success is attributable to its focus on in-depth feature stories. Consider “Rebound,” staff writer Robert Sanchez’s profile, in the March 2009 issue, of the famously cantankerous Denver Nuggets coach George Karl — “the guy who once booted a ball into the stands during a game; who angrily challenged a player to a game of Jeopardy! to prove who was smarter; who ripped a toupée off someone during an on-court fight.” Sanchez’s prose is clear, concise and candid, right up there with similar pieces published last year in big-name magazines (such as Mike Sager’s “Big Balls Pete Carroll” in Esquire or S. C. Gwynne’s “Mike Leach is Thinking…” in Texas Monthly).

Another factor in the magazine’s progress: slick design. 5280’s style mimics well-polished national glossies, while rivaling other top regional publications. It is colorful, full of illustrations and graphs and topnotch photography. And its primary font is eye-catching and easy to read. “People, despite all the technological changes, still like sitting down — with coffee, a drink, a beer — and a magazine with really good design,” says Brogan.

Then there are 5280’s service features to consider, such as “The Future of Denver,” in the December 2009 issue, by senior associate editor Patrick Doyle. The piece lays out a proposal for how to preserve the city’s “treasured lifestyle” over the next 25 years, during which 1.5 million people are expected to move to the Front Range. Some of the suggestions: Clean up the 16th Street Mall, add a downtown shuttle route, complete the city’s costly rail system, bolster education spending. Both practical and insightful, this kind of local journalism has kept 5280 in business for 17 years.

All of which helps explain why Brogan is confident the magazine will maintain its steady-growing status in the steady-growing city. “Whether it’s in a digital form or paper form,” he says, “people are still going to want what we do.”

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A Passion for Poetry Thu, 13 May 2010 04:01:20 +0000 Spencer Bailey By Spencer Bailey

Vijay Seshadri, a poet and professor at Sarah Lawrence College, met a physical therapist at a party several years ago. She asked him the standard get-to-know-you questions. What’s your name? What do you do? He told her his name is Vijay and he writes poetry.

“Oh,” she said. “You’re Vijay Seshadri.”

Seshadri had published a poem called “Aphasia,” about a language disorder, in the April 12, 2004, issue of The New Yorker — at the time, his tenth to appear in the magazine. By coincidence, the physical therapist worked daily with stroke-ridden patients, many of whom had suffered from aphasia, and was a New Yorker subscriber. The poem had hit home.

As Seshadri tells it: “Here was someone who had never read poetry, but she subscribed to The New Yorker, and she saw this poem, and it was about her job. She cut it out and taped it onto her refrigerator.”

In the small world of poetry, this is a familiar narrative. Says Alice Quinn, executive director of the Poetry Society of America and The New Yorker’s poetry editor from 1987 to 2007: “There’s a long lineage of poems attached to the icebox with a magnet. I’ve gone into countless homes and seen New Yorker poems on iceboxes.”

What underlies Seshadri’s account is the fact that The New Yorker and several other widely read magazines — The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New Republic, The Nation and The New York Review of Books continue to publish poetry, as do a slew of smaller literary publications, such as Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review and Boston Review. What’s more, they all plan to keep on doing so, despite dwindling advertising revenues and reduced editorial space across the board.

“I’m all gratitude that any sort of mainstream institution is keeping an investment in poetry,” says Dan Chiasson, poetry co-editor of The Paris Review. “What would happen if The New Yorker canceled publishing poetry? Probably not much, actually, but there’s a commitment.”

In this year’s March 15th issue of The New Yorker, an Edward Koren cartoon shows a scruffy, bearded poet sitting with his laptop, coffee cup in hand. A group of seven suited executives are standing in front of him. The tagline: “We’d like to take a majority position in your poetry.”

Koren’s cartoon is intended to be satire, of course. But if those were executives from Condé Nast, say, which owns The New Yorker, it wouldn’t be far-fetched; the magazine published 116 poems in 2009. At about four poems a page, that makes 29 pages, which means, with a circulation of roughly a million, The New Yorker prints approximately 29 million pages of poetry annually. That constitutes a considerable corporate commitment to verse. The same holds true, on a smaller scale, for other national magazines: The New Republic, which published 48 poems last year; The Nation, which published 29 (along with 45 more by the magazine’s “Deadline Poet,” Calvin Trillin); The Atlantic, which published 21; and Harper’s, which published nine (or 11, if you count two versified letters to the editor).

Printing poems, no doubt, comes at a large cost. But the cheapest aspect is paying the writers for their work. “$100, $200, $300 tops,” says Grace Schulman, a professor at Baruch College who was poetry editor of The Nation for over 30 years. “The money you get from a poem is really an honorarium.”

Why do these magazines continue to publish poems? Because it’s a die-hard tradition, say eight current and former poetry editors. “If they give it up, then the heart and soul of The Atlantic or The New Yorker will just be transferred into a different dimension,” says Don Share, senior editor of Poetry Magazine. “Sort of like a migration of the soul. The soul will still be there, but maybe the body will look a little different. People probably wouldn’t want their money back if poetry disappeared from their pages,” he adds, “but I think they’d miss it.”

The tradition of poetry in national American magazines is long and illustrious. The Atlantic, for example, has published Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman and Robert Frost, who, in 1915, had three famous poems — “Birches,” “The Road Not Taken” and “The Sound of Trees” — appear in the magazine and, during the next half-century, 28 more. Today, The Atlantic’s current poetry editor, David Barber, is keeping the tradition going. Last year, he published poems by the former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins — popularity-wise, perhaps a modern-day counterpart to Frost — Maxine Kumin and Mary Jo Salter, as well as a number of lesser-known poets. The magazine’s rich poetic legacy is important to Barber, but even more so, he says, is its widespread readership. “The existence, or persistence, of poems in what we might call general interest magazines — and the prominence of certain literary magazines — suggests that there is a niche for poetry, and that poems can still appeal to that semi-mythical beast the common reader.”

Poetry has the ability to resonate with readers in a way that a 4,000-word feature simply cannot. “It’s a nice counterweight to the long essay,” says Peter Gizzi, the current poetry editor of The Nation, “because it’s a demonstration of another engagement with language.” Like most poets and editors, Gizzi says he’s pleased to see poetry on the pages of these publications. But he believes that not enough space is devoted to the form and that there should be more than two or three poems per issue. “The weight of the poem can hold its own,” he says.

The growing number of creative writing and M.F.A. programs at colleges and universities — an academic phenomenon that began in the 1940s — also helps explain the long-standing appearance of poetry in print. The number of such programs grew to 52 by 1975 and, over the next decade, to 150. By 2004, there were more than 350 programs across the country. “We live in a time when there are more writers than ever,” says Gizzi.

Other poets and editors argue that more magazines — like Esquire, say, or Vanity Fair — should publish poems. (Esquire used to print verse, in the mid-20th century, when James Dickey and John Hollander served as poetry editors there, but eventually stopped. “I am trying to get Esquire to open up its pages and give more space and more authority to the poetry that we print,” Dickey wrote in a letter in 1971.) The problem, they say, is not that the six major magazines with verse need to publish more, but rather, there aren’t enough publications that do. “I think Vanity Fair should publish poetry,” says Seshadri. “It’d be great, and I don’t see why they don’t, because certainly poets don’t cost very much. I think Esquire could do that, too: Say we are representatives of a literary civilization and a literary sensibility.”

For Gizzi, the reason poetry is not included in certain general interest magazines is simple. “Poetry is not celebrity culture,” he says. “As John Ashbery once said: ‘To be a famous poet is to not be famous.’”

Even within publications that do print poems, the space allotted to them is limited. Nowadays, it’s rare for a poem to occupy more than a quarter — or, at most, half — of a page. Still, there are exceptions. The New Yorker, for example, published a four-page commemorative spread of 10 poems by John Updike in its March 16, 2009, issue. The magazine also annually publishes “Greetings, Friends!,” a page-long, light-verse Christmas poem by editor Roger Angell, who wrote it for about 20 years, took a decade off, and then started it up again two years ago. Before that, Frank Sullivan wrote it from 1932 until 1974.

Other magazines sometimes make extra room, too. Though The New Republic is known for squeezing its poems into the smallest of spaces — “the thinnest gutter,” jokes Seshadri — the magazine gave two-thirds of a page to Michael Dickman’s “Shaving Your Father’s Face” in its Nov. 4, 2009, issue. And Harper’s, in April 2009, gave three pages to “The Cloud Corporation,” a 35-stanza poem by Timothy Donnelly, the poetry editor of Boston Review and a professor at Columbia University.

Donnelly admits that he never expected to see “The Cloud Corporation” published in a magazine like Harper’s, but after an editor at the magazine asked to see some of his work, Donnelly sent it over anyway — along with about 20 other poems. “I thought that maybe it would help give a sense of the spirit of the other poems I had sent,” he says. Within a week, the Harper’s editors told Donnelly they had chosen the long one. He was thrilled.

No matter how rare publishing such an epic piece may be, doing so serves a valid purpose — for editors and for poets: The work is more likely to get noticed. Consider Donnelly’s 192-line poem “Globus Hystericus,” which appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of The Paris Review. After its publication, Donnelly says, he received dozens of e-mails and handwritten notes, most of them flattering. But not all of the responses were positive — proof that not only do people read and care about poetry; they also often react to it emotionally. One anonymous e-mail Donnelly received had the header: “Globus Hystericus; Fecus Maximus.” “In other words,” says Donnelly, “shit.”

In the e-mail’s opening sentence, the sender wrote: “Never before have I read a poem that so incensed and riled me that I felt compelled to write to the author of such driveling trash.”

“I knew I should just dismiss it,” Donnelly says of the e-mail, “but it did sour me a little bit. I was cut deep down. It took me about a week to completely flush that from my system.”

For Donnelly, publishing “Globus Hystericus” was a lesson in both the power of appearing prominently in a magazine and the importance of distributing poetry to a large population. As he puts it: “Having your work read by a great number of people increases the chances of you seeing what a poem will do, of someone finding your work, seeking out the opportunity to let you know it sucks.”

The resounding belief among editors and poets is that as long as there are magazines, poetry will be found on their pages. If poetry doesn’t continue to appear in print, though, they say that it will simply transfer over to the web. Slate, for example, which began publishing poetry in July 1996 — and shortly thereafter, audio podcasts of poems — has remained devoted to the art form since its inception. It’s an editorial formula, according to many editors, that has found much success. As Robert Pinsky, Slate’s poetry editor and a former U.S. Poet Laureate, quipped via e-mail: “Apparently, the magazine business is in trouble: Maybe if Time or Newsweek published a classic poem every week — something by Robert Herrick or Anne Bradstreet or John Keats — they would seem less outmoded?”

For poets, moving to the web is a small change and one that does not present a big challenge to previous publishing models. Pinsky points out that he and his assistant still read stacks of submissions and choose only a select few to publish. “Just like print,” he writes, adding that the only difference with the web is “its vocality, its immediate reader-response cycle, its instant and wide distribution, and its long availability.”

It can be argued that poetry is more vital today than ever before, because people are faced with the media’s never-ending news cycle. “The publication of poetry is essential in our time,” says Schulman. “Particularly in our time with electronics, with the news reaching us so fast, and changing like a kaleidoscope every day. It gives us lasting values and imprints on our consciousness truths that simply do not appear in the day-by-day rush of events.”

As Quinn puts it: “Poetry invites a slowing down and turning inward.”

With more writers and readers — and, well, more poetry — than ever, the culture of verse in American magazines remains viable. While poetry readers will continue to be a small but distinct demographic — a demographic that posts its favorite poems on refrigerators; a demographic that occasionally writes hate mail in response to poems; and a demographic that labors over lines and stanzas for the possibility of a $100 paycheck — this verse-happy bunch is here to stay, and because of them, so is the publication of poetry in print magazines. At least for now.

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032c: A Strong Defense for Print Wed, 12 May 2010 03:17:34 +0000 Spencer Bailey 032c provides a blueprint for a new creative aesthetic.]]> By Spencer Bailey

Cathy Horyn, writing in The New York Times this past Sunday, looks at the twice-a-year, Berlin-based culture and fashion magazine 032c, now on its 19th issue. “Many of us are feeling a little discouraged by the bombardment of stuff on the Web that doesn’t inform or surprise,” she writes, “and 032c is an antidote for that.”

Horyn may be right. In fact, there seems to be a need for — not to mention a top-end market for — a high-quality, aesthetically beautiful magazine like 032c. It is an idea that’s not all that different from what BlackBook founder Evanly Schindler had when, in Oct. 2008, he launched the biannual New York-based publication tar mag, which folded last fall, after only two issues (where, it should be noted, I was an editorial intern).

Let’s hope, though, with editor Joerg Koch’s strong convictions, 032c will continue on and not have the same fate as tar mag. In 032c’s most recent issue, Koch makes a case for why such a publication should exist — a promising sign, no doubt, for the future. He writes: “In a time such as ours, when all forms of cultural expression seem to occur simultaneously — as if ‘contemporary’ were essentially just a byline for the past, present and future combined — stories like these become rough blueprints for the new creative aesthetic proposed within the pages of 032c.”

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My Ladies’ Home Journal Heritage Wed, 12 May 2010 04:01:41 +0000 Spencer Bailey By Spencer Bailey

A series of illustrated Ladies’ Home Journal magazine covers from the 1890s and early 1900s used to hang in frames on the walls of my grandparents’ house. I remember a few of them: a white, spotted dog on a green background; nine yellow chicks splayed on a black page; a woman wading in water wearing a swimming cap. There was also an original painting — featuring a tan bunny rabbit with beady black eyes on a navy blue background — which became one of the Journal’s most famous images. Published on the cover of the April 1903 issue, it was a defining part of the early 20th-century American ethos. So much so, in fact, that it was featured in fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and art director George Lois’ 2007 book Iconic America: A Roller-Coaster Ride Through the Eye-Popping Panorama of American Pop Culture.

All of these covers were illustrated by Frank S. Guild, my great-great-grandfather and namesake, born in 1856, who was, I recently found out, the Journal’s art editor. His middle name was Spencer.

Growing up, all I knew about Frank was that he once lived in New Hampshire and that his father’s name, too, was Spencer. My knowledge about the man who helped illustrate the Journal — America’s most advertisement-filled magazine in 1900 and the first in the nation to reach one million subscribers — was limited. I decided to do some research.

A Google search of “Frank Guild” brought up surprising results. A Wikipedia page — just a stub, but a start — that labels him as an American-born painter. An eBay listing for the Journal’s April 1904 issue, the one with the chicks, for $25. (I went ahead and bought it.) A Google Books page, featuring a scanned copy of the 1898 book Model Houses for Little Money, to which Frank contributed two chapters (“Remodeling the Front Door” and “What a Window Will Do For a Home”). And a website for Antiques Emporium, a shop in Raleigh, N.C., selling an 1884 painting by Frank in a gold frame (a “lovely rendering of a young lady in a garden wood”) for $1,250.

Digging around online databases and books, I found more. Harvard Libraries had a scanned copy of the “What Some Folks Write About” section in the Journal’s August 1904 issue. It describes Frank as “the Journal’s own art manager, who designed the famous ‘Bunnie’ on the Easter Journal of 1903, and also the popular cover of yellow ‘chicks’ on the last Easter issue.” And in Bowdoin professor Jennifer Scanlon’s book Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies’ Home Journal, Gender, and the Promises of Consumer Culture, I learned that the Journal’s art department was “considered the best in the nation by the early 1900s.”

When the April 1904 issue I ordered on eBay arrived in the mail, I flipped through all 74 of its 12-by-16-inch pages, reveling in the illustrations and advertisements (for things like corn syrup, carriages and corsets). The issue’s snappy stories and top-notch writing, too, demonstrate why the Journal had cultural cachet. Consider “Monarch, The Grizzly,” a feature about hunting grizzlies in the Sierra Mountains, written and illustrated by Ernest Thompson Seton, a founder of the Boy Scouts of America. Seton’s prose is clear and cool-headed (“Just as fads will for a time sway human life, so crazes may run through all animals of a given kind”), and his pencil drawings, one featuring a grizzly bear amid the sprawling California landscape, help illuminate the text.

Then there’s the issue’s invitingly simple yet stylish cover, which, in the lower right-hand corner, features its artist’s yellow-painted initials: F.G. They’re the initials of an artist whose contributions to the magazine were wide-ranging. And consistent. An artist who illustrated stories about homes and gardens, and backyards and birdhouses. An artist who drew front doors and flower pots and chairs. An artist who also wrote sidebars and articles, including “Easily-Made Dressing-Tables For Girls” (Dec. 1897) and “The Washstand as a Thing of Beauty” (April 1898). An artist who helped usher in a century of iconic American covers, illustrations and images. An artist who, it appears, played a big role in shaping the Journal’s early identity. An artist named Frank.

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The 48 Hour Magazine. Literally. Sat, 08 May 2010 15:41:37 +0000 Spencer Bailey By Spencer Bailey

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that a group of magazine writers, editors, and art designers are putting together a magazine — the writing, the art, the production, the printing, plus a website — in a mere 48 hours this weekend. Yes, as in two days. The magazine’s apt title: 48 Hour Magazine. (Note: The title is not to be confused with the 1982 movie of the same name, starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte.) The group includes Sarah Rich, who was an editor at Dwell Magazine; Derek Powazek, the editor of Fray; Heather Champ, the former community director at Flickr; Dylan Fareed, a software designer; and Alexis Madrigal, a staff writer at And they’re taking submissions, too, so the issue could include you. (Submissions close at 4 p.m. Pacific time today.)

In an age in which print is continually competing with the ceaseless, up-to-the-minute content on the web, this will be an interesting project to watch. Will 48 Hour Magazine prove that print — all at once visceral, colorful, and glossy — can compete with the ever-so-timely nature of the web? That, no doubt, remains to be seen. But what it will do, I think, is show how the production of a magazine doesn’t need a month or even a week to be put together. All that’s necessary is an able staff, a bunch of contributors, and a couple of days.

Update: Read The San Francisco Chronicle’s Culture Blog for a full, in-depth story of how the magazine turned out. The Wall Street Journal’s technology and news blog, Digits, has an article about it, too.

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Newsweek’s Editor Visits The Daily Show Thu, 06 May 2010 14:25:00 +0000 Spencer Bailey By Spencer Bailey

“I do not believe Newsweek is the only catcher in the rye between democracy and ignorance, but I think we’re one of them, and I don’t think there are that many on the edge of that cliff,” said John Meacham, Newsweek’s editor in chief, on The Daily Show last night.

Originally scheduled to talk about his upcoming PBS show, Need To Know — which premiers tomorrow, May 7 — Meacham instead focused his discussion around Newsweek, his flailing magazine that the Washington Post Company announced yesterday it was looking to sell.

At one point during the show — and, indeed, a poignant point — John Stewart asked Meacham: “Who is making money in the magazine business who does what you do? Who is a successful model?”

Meacham’s reply: “The Economist.” (For more, see the video clip below.)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Jon Meacham Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Ed.: Be sure to check out Sruthi Gottipati’s story about The Economist in this year’s edition of The New York Review of Magazines (which comes out next Thursday, May 13) to find out more about what, in fact, makes Meacham’s reply so telling.

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mono.kultur Magazine Stinks — in a Good Way Thu, 29 Apr 2010 02:09:47 +0000 Spencer Bailey mono.kultur, focuses its most recent issue on a single sense: smell.]]> By Spencer Bailey

A German magazine, mono.kultur, focuses its most recent issue on a single (and, I might add, non-visual) sense: smell. As and Refinery29 report, the magazine will contain only smells — and no words or pictures. Could that ever happen online? Not likely. Will this sort of aromatherapy help sell issues? I think so.

In fact, with smells — and not just with visuals, images, and things like that — print may still have a chance, at least for now, of survival. “With a special technique called microencapsulation,” notes the magazine’s website, “the scents are literally printed into the magazine — you rub the paper to release them.” Genius!

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Rolling Stone to Put Entire Archive Online Fri, 16 Apr 2010 19:01:42 +0000 Spencer Bailey By Spencer Bailey

Rolling Stone announced today that it will be putting its entire archive online — but, unfortunately (or not), at a price. Steven Schwartz, Wenner Media’s chief digital officer, is heading up the project, which he described to The Associated Press as “the collected history of everyone who’s grown up over the past 40 years.”

“This is not, let’s rush to the Web because print isn’t strong,” Schwartz told the AP. “This is our brand’s ability to tap into a new medium.”

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Paper Magazine’s Powerful, Snob-Free Editor Thu, 08 Apr 2010 16:15:57 +0000 Spencer Bailey The New York Times has a funny, in-depth profile about the co-editor of Paper Magazine, Kim Hastreiter.]]> By Spencer Bailey

Yesterday, The New York Times profiled the bespectacled Kim Hastreiter, the co-editor of Paper Magazine (where, for a brief three-week period in December 2008, I worked as an online editorial intern). I never met Hastreiter, but I can attest to the fact that she has a powerful, snob-free presence within the magazine’s office — and within the downtown New York City social scene, too.

My favorite part about the story: That the middle-aged Hastreiter is not only hip, but that she, ironically, needs a hip replacement. As the Times writer Guy Trebay puts it: “The coolest person in New York may well be a large 58-year-old woman who wears cherry-colored glasses and a linen smock, and is planning a hip replacement. That is hip, as in orthopedics, not as in ‘tragically.’”

For more on Hastreiter, check out Dana Goodyear’s New Yorker profile of her from September 24, 2007, as well as an online audio podcast.

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Magazines Brace For Their Big (iPad) Break Fri, 02 Apr 2010 19:52:22 +0000 Spencer Bailey By Spencer Bailey

WYNC published a story worth reading yesterday about how magazines are bracing for the upcoming release of Apple’s iPad this weekend. While many are preparing digital content for the launch, WYNC reports, few know what, if any, impact the new e-reader device will actually have.

“The questions remain,” writes Lisa Chow, “Who will buy the iPad, how many people will buy it, and what will they buy it for?”

As for the general public, some naysayers think little of the tablet. Others, meanwhile, are predicting a backlash. On’s technology blog, Juli Weiner considers a couple of the early arguments for not — yes, not — buying one of these large-screened, slick-looking devices.

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