The only Green Issue that really tanked this year (even more than Fortune) came from The New York Times Magazine. It stepped it up a notch from last year’s issue, which consisted mainly of a cover story about why the U.S. should lead global sustainability efforts. This year, almost every page went to the environment, but other than a couple of decent front-of-the-book pieces (about incentives that would make Americans drive less, and why a universal charger for all our electronic gadgets is unfortunately unlikely), in the well the editors opted for poorly executed design over solid journalism. Instead of printing any long investigations or deeply reported narratives, they went with forty-two short, stand-alone paragraphs on all manner of things green. Admittedly, they are fairly interesting, and there are a few great tech items-like superconducting cable, permeable sidewalks in Chicago, Paul Crutzen’s risky plan to geoengineer the sky against global warming, and the pebble-bed design for nuclear reactors. It is overwhelmingly disappointing, however, that the Times could not muster the energy to include at least one hard-hitting feature. Also (and I rarely nitpick this stuff) the design of the shorts was terrible-a migraine-inducing font, sometimes in a garish red, with overblown graphics.
Hit or miss, though, it’s nice to see so many magazines making Green Issues a regular spring installment. Last year, when I wrote a similar roundup, a reader posted a comment online asking how these special editions perform on newsstands and in ad sales compared to other issues. It’s a very good question and at press time we were still trying to get those numbers, so stay tuned.