“When Jesus Rode a Gay Dinosaur That Had Breast Cancer…”

… to See a Historically Famous American President.” David Carr’s (slightly?) exaggerated stab at a typical newsweekly “single topic” cover story (the “usual newsweekly newsstand bait”) in a New York Times column of suggestions for how Newsweek might change course/survive.

More tough love from Carr:

To stick out, Newsweek needs less top-spin on current events and far more curve balls with fewer steps back and more looks forward. Easy to say and tough to do, but the Voice of God the magazine relies on has to be augmented with Vox Populi, a generation of writers and thinkers who aren’t on the Rolodex of every cable news producer in town.

Speaking of which, Newsweek editors and writers are on television more than some people who actually work on TV. It isn’t helping the magazine. If chattering cable television appearances drove magazine sales, Newsweek would be ubiquitous…

…Alter, Clift, Fineman, Meacham, Zakaria… that is a lot of chatterers…

It may be good for the writers’ brands, but it’s not good for readers. This week, Fareed Zakaria, in an otherwise considered essay on the costs of a foreign policy based on belligerence, opened the piece by saying, “They say a picture is worth a thousand words.”

I think “they” also say that if you want people to read what you write, you should summon a compelling opening. If the editors and writers are not giving the magazine their fullest attention, why should the reader?

Carr also solicits silver bullets input from readers on “what editorial approach might assure Newsweek’s future.” Simon Dumenco of Advertising Age: “[T]he way to save Newsweek is to convince Barry Diller to buy it… for Tina Brown.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.