Back door

swishBack door: The online basketball subscription news site,, is announcing a vaporzine, a print magazine it plans to launch next month called Swish (hey, they named it, not me). The press release isn’t exactly clear about the frequency of the magazine other than to say that the first issue will be mailed next month.

So, what makes this news unique? Other magazines have been launched by online properities (as noted by my colleague Jackie Ross), but this is the first time I’ve seen an online brand extend its brand to print specifically to serve as a free premium to encourage subscriptions to the online product. (It’s not, however, the first time I’ve seen subscriptions to existing magazines used as premiums.)

Here’s the offer:

All you have to do to get a FREE subscription to SWISH! Magazine is subscribe to NEWS @ at the special annual rate of only $20 for a year’s subscription. That’s a whole year of NEWS @, the only media outlet covering the NBA year-round (including the draft, summer league play, and training camp), and a free subscription to SWISH! Magazine – all for $20. It’s Christmas in June!

Perhaps my friend, Rafat Ali at PaidContent.Org can sort this out. A new trend? Give away the print, charge for the web? Or can this be consider a custom(er) magazine?

Magazine cover art galleries

Magazine cover art galleries: MagazineArt.Org is a great database of magazine cover art from the 19th and early 20th centuries. I’ve added it to the magazine resources blogroll on the left, where you can also find some other great cover art archives like those maintained by CondeNast and Time (which sets the standard for a cover art archive). My favorite online archive of magazine covers was assembled by the Smithsonian to accompany its 1992 exhibit called July 1942: United We Stand. (via BoingBoing)

Rest in peace

homeRest in peace: I mentioned my father earlier this week. He and Ronald Reagan were approximately the same age and like Reagan, Alzheimer’s disease accompanied my father’s final years. The disease is a long, sad goodbye.

As hard as it is for those who know me to believe, I never voted for Ronald Reagan. In fact, for three years while he was in office (1982-84), I worked as a press secretary and speechwriter for a (D) U.S. congressman. As one of the “blue dog” Democrats, the southern moderates who served as swing votes during Reagan’s two terms as President, the congressman I worked for was constantly being lobbied by the White House. For that reason, I got to know a few folks who worked for Reagan and on a couple of occasions even attended some functions at which the President spoke.

I think there’s something about working in Washington (at least back then) that helps one get past political disagreements when it comes to personal relationships. During the time I was in Washington, I went from being convinced that Reagan was the anti-Christ to appreciating his stalwart stand for those things in which he believed. The more I witnessed up close the finger-in-the-air approach to policy that most politicians practice, the more I came to appreciate that Reagan actually had some beliefs about which he would not compromise. I also came to appreciate his ability to know when there was no more negotiating room and the exact time to compromise, and then, with artful savvy, declare victory.

I became a fan.

One last thing. Ronald Reagan would have likely been a blogger if he’d been born 50 years later. He, like Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt, actually wrote for a living during parts of his life. His acting career waning and his political career not yet begun, Reagan cranked out reams of essays and columns during the 1960s in part, to pay the bills and put food on the table. If you go back and read those columns, you will begin to hear their distant echo reverberating still today through thousands of blogs.