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BoSacks Speaks Out: The Final Bell Rings for Weekly Reader

Last night I read about the demise of My Weekly Reader and it started me thinking. Have you ever seen an event fly by and deep within your heart know that it was a great and missed opportunity? The death of My Weekly Reader seems to me to be such a missed opportunity.

By Bob Sacks
Published: July 26, 2012

Last night I read about the demise of My Weekly Reader and it started me thinking. Have you ever seen an event fly by and deep within your heart know that it was a great and missed opportunity? The death of My Weekly Reader seems to me to be such a missed opportunity. Here was a great and potential cornerstone for sustaining the newspaper industry perhaps a decade longer, now murdered after 84 years of publishing to the youth of America. For three-quarters of a century the young of America were ever so gently brainwashed that interesting things could be learned by reading from a sheet of printed paper.

Perhaps this is just the ranting of a My Weekly Readerdinosaur. Perhaps the current version of the newspaper, which I don't think I have seen in 50 years, is indeed an old and useless antique. Perhaps it didn't hold the attention of the expected readers or wasn't created to do so. Perhaps there just wasn't an opportunity for legitimate profit. Of this I haven't a clue. But I do know that if the newspaper and paper industries wanted to spend a few dollars to prop up the biggest potential long term readership, this was an opportunity missed and now lost to the historic dung heap of shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Yes, I know everything we do is based on profit and the potential thereof. But something seems wrong here. This action cements for me the near death of the printed newspaper industry. If the school time is being replaced by every child huddling with the teacher and their iPads and reading the news, well I'm ok with that. That is the true future of the news and reading industry. But if they have replaced the My Weekly Reader session with more fake learning strictly for tests that don't really work, than I am appalled.

Yes, I guess this is just a rant for the preservation of a system that won't and can't actually be preserved to any great extent. But many a misplaced marketing budget could go much further and have better results by giving the kids an old style, hand held, non-breakable, reading think machine called My Weekly Reader.

As a man who lives in the future and only visits the present to give lectures and write rants about the publishing industry this seems a sad day for future of the printed news industry and the obvious loss of the next print reading generation.

 

Discussion

By Hugh Griffin on Jul 27, 2012

One of the saddest things I ever heard was a 90's NPR radio discussion about: how the Weekly Reader was planning to address Clinton's "I did not have sex...sex" when so many kids were asking about it. Enabling kids to read and enjoy reading remains "fundamental" to the quality of their lives. Like many, those texting/online are, at least, still reading...even if they're oblivious to the fact. Sad to see the WR fade away. One wonders if "content" was part of their undoing.

 

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