Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Old Folks Story

There's an interesting story out of Japan this week....over old folks.

For a number of years...the Japanese have been extremely proud of the number of folks listed over the age of 100. They have proclaimed Japan and it's lifestyle as being one of the reasons for so many folks being that old. Well...they've been stumbling around over the past month...and it's gotten to a pretty amusing story.

They went looking for some gal who was listed as Tokyo's oldest lady...only to find that no one in her family knows where she is or if she's actually living.

They went to her daughter (79 years old)...who thought Mom was over with her younger brother...who she hadn't heard from either in several years. The address given? It turned out to be a open lot...nothing there. No one knows anything about the brother or this 100 year old gal.

So the search went on for another person....the oldest guy in Tokyo....who would be 111 years old. The only thing...is that when they finally arrived at the house...they found that he'd been dead for 30-odd years and his relatives had never reported the death....instead, they kept collecting his pension check for him. The body was still in his bedroom....a mummy by this point.

So the authorities are now starting to look around and wonder about their enormous reputation. How many of these 100-year old folks are actually alive? No one is sure now.

Newsweek, The Saga Continues

Newsweek is in the process of being sold today....for one dollar.

There are 325 employees left with Newsweek....and this deal is supposed to guarantee them some chance of staying on for the time being. Last year, they lost $30 million. They had a business model to basically become this essay magazine....writing puffy stuff that pleased mostly Democrats. About three years ago....they were starting this trend to lose subscriptions and survive mostly with a very tight group of readers. It failed.

Recovery? Well...it's a desperate situation with the employees left. The new guy will throw some money into debt and try to rebuild. I'm guessing they have to show marginal profit within two years or face dumping the magazine entirely.

My advice? I'd suggest to to carve out some pretty neutral and factual articles (not essays). Get some interviews with plain Americans. Disengage from the political scene and start looking at the American lifestyle. Tell us about why pension funds are failing and why some states survive with no income tax. Get back to some simple reporting.