Audit Notes: Bennett on Health Care, Fortune, WaPo Digital, Facebook

Bloomberg editor Amanda Bennett has a remarkable story today recounting her husband’s battle with cancer, how much it cost to extend his life, and what it means for the health-care system:

Terence and I didn’t have to think about money, allocation of medical resources, the struggles of more than 46 million uninsured Americans, or the impact on corporate bottom lines. Backed by medical insurance provided by my employers, we were able to fight his cancer with a series of expensive last chances like the one I asked for that night…

The documents revealed an economic system in which the sellers don’t set and the buyers don’t know the prices.

This had to be a tough story to take on so soon after a spouse’s death. And it asks tough questions for which there seem to be no good answers.

— Marion Maneker of The Big Money looks at Fortune’s upcoming redesign and isn’t optimistic.

The big new columnist is CNBC’s Becky Quick. In his essay on the redesign, Serwer touts her access. But haven’t we seen this already with Maria Bartiromo?

Yes we have.

But the larger point is this:

In print, we seem to be getting a blandification of Fortune, not a sharpening of it.

Yes, and Fortune more often than not hasn’t been an essential read during the crisis and recession.

— Laura McGann of Nieman Journalism Lab looks at the Washington Post’s digital strategy. It’s not exactly confidence-inspiring from the quotes we get from the Post head of said strategy. Here on the WaPo charging for an iPhone app:

Why $1.99? The Post considered it a price iPhone users are accustomed to paying, so they’d start there. I asked Sheikholeslami if, beyond the annual subscription fee, there might be other premium content available for in-app purchase. Sports Illustrated’s free swimsuit app has generated a lot of $1.99 purchases inside the app for more bikinis. And Rodale has had success selling additional content within its workout apps; one in three users buys additional content within an app.

“That model does sound like a sound one,” Sheikholeslami said. “Offering a product for free and then a premium product inside of it might be something we’d consider. We might want to test around and see if that model works.”

Yeah, you might.

This isn’t any better on paid content on the Web:

Right now we don’t have any sort of immediate plans [to charge for web content], but we’re definitely thinking about what new products we can create, including on the web,” Sheikholeslami told me. “If it makes sense to charge for it, we would.”

Good to know!

— This anecdote from the Wall Street Journal leder this morning on Facebook staying private (even if its users’ information isn’t) is amusing:

By early 2009, he had changed his own boyish look. Mr. Zuckerberg, who once sported sandals to major meetings, traded his daily uniform of a T-shirt and jeans for a button-down shirt and tie. “This is a serious year,” he told employees, explaining how similar attire somehow gave prep-school students more gravitas.

Ahh, the Boy King. Indeed:

His mother called him “Princely,” say people familiar with his upbringing.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.