Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 68 - Winning Really? - Loser

In college I began to read the news magazine Newsweek. They had offered me a discount as a college student to subscribe for $10 a year.  I realize I'm dating myself here, but it was a good deal. I first started reading the magazine to keep up with the Gulf War.  It was the first war of my lifetime and as much as I learned being glued to CNN twenty-four hour coverage, I knew I couldn't find out about the human interest side of the war via the television.

Over the years, Newsweek has done that for me, filled in the gaps.  I've been through two design changes.  The first one was hard because the font type was too small to see with my aging eyes.  I was asked to be on the reader council and was asked to participate in surveys regarding the layout and content of the magazine.  I tried to ask myself if I was feeling uncomfortable because it was change or if I really didn't like the new designs.  The former became the truth. As with other aspects of life, I began to like the new changes and adopt them as my own.  With the exception of the smaller font size.  Luckily for me, they listened to my concerns and the font changed back to the original size and style.

I worried that Newsweek would not survive my lifetime but was pleasantly surprised when it was bought for $1 and Tina Brown became the new editor.  Under her leadership, she has changed the design once again and made the font size smaller.  She wrote in her first Editor's article to the readers about leaving the magazine news industry to join the internet news website called The Daily Beast because she felt people would ultimately get their news from the web.  Through time, she learned that the public actually needs both types of news.  The news magazines fill in the gaps that the short sentences they get from the RSS feeds.  She has returned to help do this.

This week was my third issue under her leadership and I was reading the article about Charlie Sheen and his "winning!" campaign.  I had to put down the magazine and walk away as what I saw was a change that I can't believe.  On page 43 the editors approved the use of the word "Fucking" and it wasn't even to report what someone else said as a cuss word.  I can try to be hip but this just turns my stomach.  The right thing to do for me was to voice my disapproval so I sent an e-mail to the editor of Newsweek as follows:

Dear Editors,
I have been a loyal reader since college almost thirty years now.  I am deeply disappointed that an editor would approve a story (on page 43) that used the word "Fucking" to go to print when it wasn't even used reporting a cuss word but as a verb describing the actual physical sexual act.  I can't seriously read Newsweek as the "news" magazine I have admired for years.  This is a new low for me.  Why don't you just change the name of the magazine to "Fncking News?" if you're going to keep reporting with this kind language, it doesn't fncking matter anyway. [I've substituted an upside down u so as not to offend anyone.]

BJ Winchester

Really?  Even the programmers of WATSON rewrote the programming to filter out words when he responded with an answer "What is @#$%?" The right thing to do for me is to to examine my uneasiness and see if I adopt the changes as I have done before.  Or maybe the right thing for me to do is to see how I feel with a little more Time.

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