On Monday afternoon, I ended a habit that began when I was in high school in the 1970s: I canceled my last subscription to a weekly news magazine.
I began as a Time Magazine subscriber back in the days of Watergate, when I was leaning toward a journalism career. At some point in the last 15 years or so, I went from getting both Time and Newsweek, to settling on Newsweek.
What finally made me cut the chord was word that Howard Fineman was gone. He follows the brilliant foreign affairs expert, Fareed Zakaria, fine, thoughtful writers like Jon Meacham, and Evan Thomas, and top-notch reporters like Michael Isikoff, in a mass-exodus from the magazine, recently sold by the Washington Post company.
But, frankly, my subscription has long outlived the usefulness of the magazine to me.
Fineman, who's heading to the Huffington Post, told Media Matters on Monday that he expects the print version of the magazine to survive "five years for now, at the outset."
While that could be an optimistic prediction, print publications are hanging on despite the writing on the wall. The big media companies aren't really refocusing on the future, but continue to keep the dinosaurs going.
Under the old model, newspapers handled the daily stuff, and the weeklies, like Time and Newsweek, sorted through the daily stuff to draw bigger conclusions. They noted the trends (sometimes accurately). They provided perspective.
In the 1980s and '90s, newspapers started doing more of that, especially as their usefulness as sources of breaking news dried up.
Of late, Newsweek seemed unclear about exactly what it was supposed to be. Isikoff broke news, but that hit the Internet and television long before the magazine showed up in my mailbox.
I continue to read Time Magazine's James Poniewozik, one of the smartest TV writers out there. But I read him on the Internet.
The fate of print publications was probably best exemplified by how my phone call to Newsweek was handled. I told the customer service person I wanted to cancel my subscription.
She never asked why.
There was no attempt to get me to change my mind with some special deal. She just told me when my subscription would end, and how much my refund would be.
Thanks, and goodbye -- and an era ends.
"Glee" returns in triumph: With all the hyped reports about guest stars released through the summer, it felt like "Glee" never went on hiatus. But it did, and the dry period ends tonight at 7 on Channel 6, when the faculty and students come back from summer vacation, and form new alliances -- and new enemies.
Britney Spears is on next week's show, and there's talk of a Gwyneth Paltrow visit.
In addition to "Glee" and other familiar shows, here are tonight's new network shows:
- "Raising Hope," 8 p.m., Channel 6.
- "Running Wilde," 8:30 p.m., Channel 6.
- "Detroit 1-8-7," 9 p.m., Channel 12.
You can find complete TV listings right here at OnMilwaukee.com.
On TV: New York Magazine is raising the possibility that Mindy Kaling may be leaving NBC's "The Office," along with the boss. She's one of the show's key writers, as well as playing Kelly Kapur.
- Showtime has ordered new seasons of "Weeds" and Laura Linney's "The Big C."
- ABC's new weight-loss program has picked up a new name. "Obese" will become known as "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition."
- Food Network has already ordered a second season of "Next Food Network" star winner Aarti Sequeira's "Aarti Party." Let's hope they get her to stop laughing for no good reason while she's cooking in season two.
That's one lucky Elmo: This clip of lovely Katy Perry visiting Elmo leads me to believe I should be DVRing "Sesame Street."
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.