Friday, January 1, 2010

Dead Tree Edition's Best of 2009

I've been in the magazine business long enough to know that I was supposed to publish this piece at least two weeks ago.

But I also remember when Time for Kids went to press in mid-December with a list of prominent people who died during 2006, missing out on the passing of Saddam Hussein, Gerald Ford, and the Hardest Working Man in Show Business.

"Look at this: They left out James Brown!" my little nephew huffed at me, as if I were responsible for the entire magazine industry.

So I decided to wait until 2009 was dead and gone (and quickly buried, unlike the Godfather of Soul) before providing a recap. Yeah, it was kind of a miserable year, but here at Dead Tree Edition it did have its moments:
  • Most Popular Article: The Unofficial Guide to Flats Sequencing, with 23,837 page views.
  • Best Headline: Boozing It Up on Black Liquor: One Company's High Is Another's Hangover, which describes how tax credits for a pulp byproduct enriched International Paper by a couple of billion dollars but helped drive Fraser Papers into bankruptcy protection. The tax credits also led to such headlines as Canadians Belly Up to the Black-Liquor Bar and International Paper Drowns Its Sorrows in Black Liquor
  • Best Joke: That last International Paper article included this quip:"The good news is that, at the next paper-industry convention, liquor will be half-priced because the bar is taking advantage of special government incentives. The bad news is that, to qualify for the program, bartenders will have to add a dash of diesel to the drinks." Some people preferred this non sequitur about President Obama from OMG! I Was Only Kidding, Not Psychic: Twitter as Person of the Year?: "The latest word . . .  is that after blowing up balloons for one of his daughter’s birthday parties, he’s being nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics."
  • Best Imaginary Headline: "Virgin Hot for Playboy" in Playboy and Virgin Fail to Hook Up, which lamented news that Richard Branson was not interested in buying Playboy Enterprises after all.
  • Best Imaginary Tweet: From Poe-Tweet for Twitter Quitters, about news that most people who join Twitter stop using it within a month. Limited to 140 characters, I ran out of letters at the end:
          Join Twitter, some urged.I pondered it.
          OMG, they pleaded,get w/it.
          But most tweeters, I read,abandon it,
          Finding most tweets 2b just pure s
  • Most Commented Upon Article: Flats Sequencing Hits Some Bumps, with 31 comments.
  • Top Keywords: Other than variants of "dead tree edition", the search term that brought the most people (248) to the site was "usps saturday delivery", which linked to How USPS Could Bypass Congress on Saturday Delivery.
  • Dead Tree Moment: I finally got something published in an actual ink-on-paper magazine -- the December 2009 issue of Publishing Executive. It's an abridged version of Green Publishing Quiz. PubExec also ran a nice interview of me in its dead-dinosaur (aka Web) edition.
  • Biggest Scoops: Unlike most bloggers, I try to do some original reporting rather than just commenting on already published news. Dead Tree Edition was the first to predict no postage rate increases in 2010 and to reveal that the Postal Service was planning a Summer Sale. We also broke the news that the black liquor credits were larger than predicted, that AbitibiBowater would not emerge quickly from bankruptcy protection, and that NewPage would shut no more paper machines. Keep those tips coming, folks.

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