Friday, February 20, 2015

The printed word just got better...ever so slightly

I have received an advance copy of the New York Times Magazine, due to premiere this Sunday. For all the consternation I felt about giving up an old friend, the new magazine seems to pick up right where the old one left off and continues a tradition of great journalism and wonderful design.

See our fears were needless.  True there will be features and articles I will miss, but overall I give the energetic, young staff of the Magazine an “A” for great effort. To be sure, I am no media expert, although I play one on TV along with Brian Williams (sorry) but I can tell you critics and readers alike should enjoy the new format and the new content. I am still not sure about the typeface, but I am very conventional when it comes to type. Okay, you can just go to Helvetica for all I am concerned.

I applaud the NYT for this change. Anytime a publication takes on a metamorphosis of this magnitude there will always be naysayers and poo-pooers.  Many will turn their noses up at first, but given time, the NYT Magazine will win them back. I am sure of it.

I look forward to this Sunday, with a roaring fire in the fireplace and the dogs lounging beside me, we will be spread out on the divan with the best journalism possible surrounding us and exploring the world. The New York Times on a Sunday is a treat. It is like a taste of Champaign after a race. A taste of caviar before a fine dinner. A swill of single malt scotch…well, you get the idea. It is a treat.

So, treat yourself this Sunday to the new and improved addition to the New York Times Magazine. I don’t think you will be disappointed.  I wasn’t.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The changing landscape (oh when will it end?)

There is change in the air.  And change on the printed page.

The one constant about life is change. That is what my father used to tell me.  And I still find it hard to accept at times.

Take today for example.  I open the New York Times and made my way through the main news, travel and sports, then arts and business — all very comfortable and familiar to me.  Then I opened the Sunday magazine and low and behold the editor has a column about a total makeover of the magazine coming next week.

New York Times readers around the globe are trembling with fear and anticipation. It is like a combination of both Christmas and a trip to the Principal’s office.

President (then candidate) Obama made us sit up and acknowledge change in his first campaign for the White House.  He was going to change the dialog in Washington. Not sure he did it, but the editor of the New York Times Magazine seems set on changing my Sunday reading habit with as much force as a march on Washington.

Columns I have grown accustomed to will be axed.  Crossword puzzles I struggled through will disappear. Will stories be shorter or longer? Will the art still be world-class and avant-garde? “Who Made This”, one of the features I have grown to love — it is history. It is like Playboy taking away the bunnies.

Change is inevitable. But I don’t have to like it.  I can fear it.

And I already fear next week’s edition of the magazine. Oh I hope I am pleasantly surprised.  I hope it is better than my imagination fears it will be. I so looked forward to spending my Sunday mornings with CBS and with the New York Times magazine.  Curled up on the floor in front of a roaring fire (in Texas that is about three weeks, the rest of the time we lounge in front of the AC vents…) with the magazine and the rest of the Times spread out before me. What will happen next week?

Change is going to come.  Governments will change. Baptist will probably start sprinkling instead of full emersion and may even start liking Methodist.  Change in schools’ curriculum are a given — and change in laws will happen — but the New York Times Magazine?  I don’t know.  They even promise a new typeface for God’s sake.

Is nothing sacred?