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Thread Contributor: CovertBotNews - Our Immodest Ambitions
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Our Immodest Ambitions

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<div class="field field--name-field-node-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="https://www.linuxjournal.com/sites/default/files/nodeimage/story/2007_12_26_boise-ketchum_07.JPG_med.jpg" width="800" height="206" alt="""" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></div>

<div class="field field--name-node-author field--type-ds field--label-hidden field--item">by <a title="View user profile." href="https://www.linuxjournal.com/users/doc-searls" lang="" about="https://www.linuxjournal.com/users/doc-searls" typeof="schemaTongueerson" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang="">Doc Searls</a></div>

<div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>Some guidance along our road to greatness.</em></p>

<p>
In a February 2018 post titled <a href="https://www.linuxjournal.com/content/worth-saving">"Worth Saving"</a>,
I said I'd like <em>Linux Journal</em> to be
for technology what <em>The New Yorker</em> is for New York and <em>National
Geographic</em>
is for geography. In saying this, I meant it should be two things: 1) a magazine readers
value enough not to throw away and 2) about much more than what the name
says, while staying true to the name as well.
</p>

<p>
The only push-back I got was from a guy whose comment called both those
model pubs "fanatically progressive liberal whatever" and said he hoped
we're not "*planning* to emulate those tainted styles". I told him we
weren't.
And, in case that's not clear, I'm saying it here again. (For what it's
worth, I think <em>The New Yorker</em> has some of the best writing anywhere, and
I've hardly seen a <em>National Geographic</em> outside a doctor's office in
decades.)
</p>
<p>
Another commenter asked, "Is there another publication that you'd offer up
as an example to emulate?" I replied, "Three come quickly to mind:
<a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com"><em>Scientific
American</em></a>, the <a href="http://www.drdobbs.com/architecture-and-design/farewell-dr-dobbs/240169421">late
<em>Dr. Dobb's</em></a> and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byte_(magazine)">Byte</a>. Just think of all three
when they were at their best. I want <em>Linux Journal</em> to honor those and be
better as well."
</p>

<p>
<em>Scientific American</em> is the only one of those three that's still alive. Alas,
it's not what it once was: the most authoritative yet popular science
magazine in the world—or at least, that's how it looked when my parents gave
me a subscription when I was 12. Back then I wanted to read everything I
could about science—when I wasn't beeping code to other ham radio
operators from my bedroom or otherwise avoiding homework assignments.
</p>

<p>
Today, <em>Scientific American</em> is probably as close as it can get to that legacy
ideal while surviving in the mainstream of magazine publishing—meaning
it persists in print and digital form while also maintaining a constant
stream of topical stories on its website.
</p>

<p>
That last thing is the main work of most magazines these days—or so it
seems. As a result, there isn't much difference between <em>Scientific
American</em>,
<a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com"><em>Smithsonian</em></a>, <a href="https://www.wired.com"><em>Wired</em></a>, <a href="https://arstechnica.com"><em>Ars Technica</em></a> and <a href="https://www.inverse.com"><em>Inverse</em></a>. To demonstrate what I mean,
here are stories from those five publications' websites. See if you can
guess (without clicking on the links) where each one ran—and which one
is a fake headline:
</p></div>

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