“The Week” in review
Lately I’ve been reading a news magazine called The Week. In a recent national survey (PDF), The Week was the only magazine to rank in the Top Ten for being most credible, most objective, and most enjoyable. It’s one of the fastest-growing magazines, but with a circulation that’s only around 10% of Time magazine, you’ve likely still never heard of it. Here’s why I like it:
I don’t have time to read every blog I enjoy. So I use an RSS aggregator to bring all the headlines from my favorite blogs into one place where I can read the highlights and get an idea of what’s happening in the blogosphere. The Week is like an RSS aggregator for magazines and newspapers. This one magazine condenses all the best articles from various sources into one easy-to-digest magazine. Sure, it tells me about Britney Spears’ hairstyle and Don Imus’ career woes, but it also tells me about suicide bombers in Morocco, a kidnapping in Pakistan, and a mysterious cancer afflicting the Tazmanian Devil in Australia — the kinds of stories that fall through the cracks in the mainstream media obsessed with the celebrity of the week and kittens stuck in trees.
Even more importantly, I get perspectives from publications I wouldn’t otherwise read. I may not like the political leanings of National Review, for example, but when their perspective is included in a round-up of editorials on a particular topic, I get a broader view of that topic. And a feature called “How They See Us” lets me know what editorialists in other countries are saying about the United States.
One nice feature is “The World at a Glance,” which summarizes major events around the world, along with a map to help put a story into geographical context. The “Briefing” section gives me all the sides of a current issue, including perspectives from several sources — not just a condensed version of a single article. Sections called “The Main Stories and How They Were Covered” and “Best Columns” are valuable (and self-explanatory) features, as well.
There’s light-hearted content, too, including “Good Week For / Bad Week For.” Last week was a good week for manatees, who are no longer facing extinction, but a bad week for Australian rugby star David Kidwell, who tripped over his 2-year-old at a barbecue, injuring himself so badly that he can’t finish the season.
Movie and book reviews are done Zagat-survey-style, using quotes from various reviews to boil down to one rating. It’s like RottenTomatoes, but with a less confusing rating system.
Each 40-page issue is packed with information that gives a broad view of the world in the past 7 days, but none of it is very deep. If I want more information on a particular topic, I still need to look elsewhere. But at least now I know what’s happening in the world as covered by different outlets with different perspectives, including foreign points of view, without the mountain of magazines to wade through.
I’ve been reading The Week for a while, but I decided that now is a good time to mention it because they’re publishing one free issue this week, and it’s going to be on-line only, starting this Friday. Go to their website www.theweekmagazine.com and check it out.