Saturday, 26 April 2014

Ladies Home Journal Ended

After 131 years of print....the Ladies Home Journal is no more.  This week, they noted that circulation is not enough to carry the cost of print.  Ended.

It's an odd way to go.  At the peak in the mid-1960s....they had roughly six and a half million in subscriptions.  It was the general magazine that most women in their thirties and forties read.  Women came to church and quoted articles.  Neighbors met over coffee and chatted over the latest issue.  Some women would cut out various pieces and tape them to the refrigerator as reminders of life or health issues.

What happened here?  They shrink in subscriptions.....to roughly three million a month.  Naturally, you'd look at this and think.....that's still a fair amount of readers and ought to be enough to run most magazines.

I'm guessing along the way.....they had various people brought into the magazine operation over the past two decades, and their salary with compensation factors (401k, health costs, and vacation time)....to being a major factor.   No one talks over salary structure, but I'll bet that most of the writers and editors were pulling in more than $85,000 a year, and with benefit packages figured up....it probably averaged $130,000 easily.

I sat and looked up the editor/journalist base for the Journal....it's New York.  You can figure at least forty percent of their overhead....related to New York City costs....which is sad in some ways.  Had they been in Dayton, Ohio, or Prescott, AZ.....you could have cut salary by a drastic level.  But four-star editors and journalists just don't desire to leave the big city life of New York.

What happens to the staff?  I'm guessing they will float resumes out and hit on every single friend they have....hoping to find the same pay scale.....same work.....same location.  Maybe a couple will luck out.  But I'm going to take a guess on this....half will be forced to accept a twenty percent pay-cut or be forced into leaving New York.

So, for a bunch of women....kind of a sad day.  But economically.....the magazine could not survive under the current operation.

That American Nutcase

Back about two weeks ago....at the North Korea/South Korea border, there is a tourist control entry point.  Yeah, I know....it's odd that tourists actually want to come and enter North Korea, but it does happen.  There's only a couple of standard tours and you need to get things worked out weeks ahead of time with visa paperwork and hotel reservations.

Well....at the checkpoint, there's this American guy.....Miller Matthew Todd.  Little is known about Mister Todd, his hometown, his occupation, or his medications.  He's apparently around twenty-five years old and decided that North Korea would be a fine place to vacation.

For some reason, just as he was entering North Korea (across that red line stuff).....he tore up his tourist visa and announced he was there seeking asylum.  Generally, there just aren't many folks who seek to live in North Korea so they assumed some worst case scenario.  The cops seized Mister Todd, tossing him into some criminal facility and charging him with 'gross violation of North Korea order' (a pretty good generic phase for doing stupid crap).

Little is said over his condition or his state of mind.  The US doesn't have any ambassador office in North Korea.....so they tend to use the Swedish ambassador who is there, and he's not having much luck in seeing Mister Todd.

My general guess here is that Mister Todd is a guy on various medications....not exactly stable.....and had a fair amount of money to make this type of reserved vacation.  I doubt if anyone could go to South Korea (flight included), and do this North Korea hotel tour deal....for less than $5,000.  His relatives are probably a bit upset and wondering what the heck he was thinking.  And I'm guessing that after two weeks in a North Korean jail.....maybe he's come to some new mental situation.....realizing that this was all a big screw-up.

What will happen?  I'd generally bet on some authority in North Korea coming out by late June and suggest that Mister Todd is in a healthy state of mind now, and generally cooperating.  It'll take two months for North Korea to feel sure that he's just a nut and they really don't have much to fear.  Then the problem is....who will give permission for him to return to South Korea?  Only the head guy.....I fear.  This will mean a bunch of folks talking about the problem, and finally one guy asking if it's ok to let the American nut go home.

The future problem I see....is that North Korea will probably want to have some doctor's note attached to each tourist visa.....saying the guy or gal isn't on medication.  Just another painful thorn in simplified travel plans.