Monday Links: The Busted Decade, Hearst’s Skiff, Apple’s Tablet

The Washington Post puts the economic disaster that was the 2000’s into proper context with a story and some good graphics:

There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.

Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009.

— Photos of Hearst’s e-reader are out, and it sure is purty. It’s called the Skiff and will be unveiled at CES tomorrow. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet. The Times reports that the black-and-white machine will have a color model in a year or so.

— Meanwhile, in tablet land, Apple’s long-rumored computer will be unveiled January 27, the Journal says, and released in March. David Carr of the Times is all about the iSlate or whatever it’s going to be called.

The tablet represents an opportunity to renew the romance between printed material and consumer. Think of sitting in your living room, in your bed or on a plane with a publication you really adore nestled into your lap. Since print was first conceived, people have had an intimate relationship with the text, touching, flipping and paging back and forth.

The tablet, properly executed, will be an iPhone on steroids, and anybody who has spent any time with that device knows that much of its magic lies in replicating that intimate offline navigation. It is a very human, almost innate, urge — readers want to touch what they are seeking to learn

Agreed. But a thousand bucks? If that’s so, it’s not going to be any kind of platform the media can use to step up from its current prostration.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

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.