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What’s happened to the Week in Review?

When I was young, I used to be able to make up for a week’s newspaper avoidance by reading the NY Times Week in Review on Sunday. There I would find, well, the week in review.

Now what’s in it?

Page 1:

Two thirds of the page are devoted to an article on statistics vs. intuition in baseball. The other article is an interesting one on our worries about distributing better weapons to the Iraqis.

Page 2:

Occupying the the top third is a piece on the Pat Robertson embarrassment, presented comic-strip style. The middle is an article with accompanying infographic that tries to make clear how much data is going over the wires. About 7 column inches are devoted to virginity, keying off the movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin. There are also three editorial cartoons.

Page 3:

Two thirds of the page are spent on Timothy Treadwell, subject of the just-released Herzog movie, Grizzly Man, who was eaten by bears in 2003.

There’s also a selection of answers to moral and normative questions, centering women-men relations, on Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s web site.

Page 4:

The major article is on the safety of lighter cars. Interesting, but not exactly news. But that’s ok, because page 4 is the “Ideas & Trends” page, as opposed to pages 1-3 which are the “Infographics & Movie Plugs” pages.

There’s also an article on the political leanings of law professors at the top law schools. Answer: They’re Democrats.

Page 5:

The page contains a single article. It’s on Sudoku, a sort of numeric crossword. The article is by Puzzles Editor Will Shortz who has been publishing books of Sudokus. At least the author blurb at the bottom notes the conflict of interest.

That’s it for The Week in Review. The rest consists of editorials, letters and op-eds.

Read it end to end and you won’t know what went on this week. You will, however, be better prepared to watch baseball and go to the movies. [Tags: ]

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4 Responses to “What’s happened to the Week in Review?”

  1. Pick up a copy of “The Week” magazine[1] sometime. It’s the quickest and best way I’ve found to stay up to date on what’s happening in the world.



  2. Now I want to go read the article about baseball — but you’re right, that’s a poor excuse for The Paper Of Record’s “Week in Review.”

  3. The answer is simple: Newspapers – the quintessential artefact of the Gutenberg era – are obsolescent. They cannot provide the news, since by the time they arrive at the customer’s doorstep, or in the paperbox, the news has already become “the olds.” In the obsolescent phase, they no longer have the influence they once did, no longer structure society nor shape the social/cultural agenda.

    As their cycle has lengthened to many times that of the velocity of the real news, they take on the characteristics of magazines of yesteryear. But there will be a new position for them: once they have been obsolesced for sufficient time, they will be retrieved, likely in the form of a daily contextualization of the accelerated world.

    In the meantime, the rest of us will enjoy our conversations that inform us about the news from a wide variety of sources, from amongst millions of correspondents that are pervasively proximate to one another.

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