I’ve never met MediaPost’s Larry Dobrow, but I have linked to him often here on the rexblog. I usually link to his weekly magazine reviews on my link blog, deli.cio.us/rexblog, as well.
Today, I received his review of Popular Science via e-mail and could barely believe what I was reading. First, here’s what I wrote about the magazine about year ago, so obviously I am a fan and biased. However, shortly after I wrote that review, the magazine received the 2004 National Magazine Award for General Excellence, which is the closest thing the consumer magazine industry has to the Oscar for the Best Movie of the Year.
Okay, so here is what Larry has to say about the current recipient of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence:
“Since the onset of the Internet era, however, the mag has felt somewhat dated and, at times, irrelevant. It’s not that Popular Science has dumbed itself down or appreciably changed its focus, just that it pales in comparison to shiny technology tracts like Wired. A telescope isn’t the glam accessory it once was, you know.”
Larry then goes on-and-on with a curious type of positive nod to the editorial, “…the publication’s writing and reporting remains as crisp as ever, with a tone that hits the sweet spot between abstruse and shallow” and a slam to the magazine’s design: “Put simply, the design is an affront to the words it houses.” Larry then gives the current winner of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence this bottom line:
All things considered, Popular Science is in better shape than other titles that are supposedly in flux: it has a distinctive voice and mission, as well as a vast reservoir of credibility upon which to draw. But until the mag brings its design into the 2000s – hell, into the 1990s – it risks diluting the impact of its expertise. It’s a problem to be addressed sooner rather than later.
As I read, I kept expecting Larry to bring up why he thought the judges of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence were dumb-asses. But no where in the review can I find him mentioning that the magazine has a reputation for anything other than being old and dated and out-of-touch with what’s happening in all those “shiny” magazines like Wired.
Sorry, Larry. Popular Science is firmly in 2004. However, it may be time for you to get drug foward a bit.