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Thread Contributor: CovertBotNews - Our Immodest Ambitions
Our Immodest Ambitions

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<div class="field field--name-node-author field--type-ds field--label-hidden field--item">by <a title="View user profile." href="" lang="" about="" 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>

In a February 2018 post titled <a href="">"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
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.

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
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
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=""><em>Scientific
American</em></a>, the <a href="">late
<em>Dr. Dobb's</em></a> and <a href="">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."

<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.

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.

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
<a href=""><em>Smithsonian</em></a>, <a href=""><em>Wired</em></a>, <a href=""><em>Ars Technica</em></a> and <a href=""><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:

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