Although I try and try not to poke scorn at “soft” targets, sometimes items are so egregious that I need to point them out. BusinessWeek is a business magazine that I basically have to read in order to keep up on the business world in general (along with Forbes, Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, The Economist, etc…) because even if you don’t agree with what they are saying it is important to keep up in order to appear informed.
BusinessWeek, along with Fortune, are the two shoddiest written business magazines I regularly read, and I often have to berate myself for subscribing to them in the first place. This is in contrast to the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Forbes, which are generally well-written and on point, and the always informative Economist, which occasionally goes into loopy flights of fantasy (i.e. they recommended Kerry over Bush in the 2004 election).
There is a column called “Media Centric” by Jon Fine which focuses on “Media, Marketing and Advertising in the 21st Century.” There is a little picture of the reporter and you can tell he is trying to be hip from his 3 day growth of beard (a little Arafat if you ask me) and glasses, and askew head shot. In the March 27, 2006 issue his article is titled “Newspaper Guy Bets Big”.
In this article, he focuses on Gary Pruitt, the McClatchy Company chairman who just spent $4.5B on newspapers from Knight Ridder, Inc. The writer is attempting to show just how youthful and invigorating Pruitt is, with the following quote:
“Pruitt is 48 and looks younger, which makes him a teenager compared with typical newspaper bosses. He has the hair, looks, and unruffled demeanor of a class president, but his references to the Rolling Stones and Elvis Costello reveal a desire to score points with the cool kids.”
The Rolling Stones and Elvis Costello for the cool kids? What, the cool kids in the old folks home? The Rolling Stones may fill up stadiums but they haven’t been “cool” since, and I am stretching here, 1978 with “Some Girls” (and this is generous… being “cool” probably ended with Exile on Main Street in 1972). And for Elvis Costello, if he was ever “cool” (and I am being generous here, too) that would be around 1977. Every time I hear about Elvis Costello I think of David Lee Roth’s famous line:
“All rock critics like Elvis Costello because all rock critics look like Elvis Costello."
And on that note, I do sympathize, because the head shot of Jon Fine does look like a rock critic, after all.
But back to the point at hand… 1977 is almost THIRTY years ago. And this is what “cool” looks like to a newspaper executive, to the most hip and “with it” of that (lame) bunch.
Don’t count on the newspaper business to rise from the ashes anytime soon.