Daily Beast Redux

About six weeks ago I visited the Daily Beast. (See “Reading the Beast”). I promised to return because the first pass brought problems loading and opening the pages. So here’s the update. The site’s still in beta, and the mast still looks like the Philadelphia Daily News, but the pages don’t take as long to load.

I note with pleasure that Tina Brown agrees with me on the state of newspapers. “Kill the Media Zombies” urges that companies axe the managers (“zombies”) and leave the people who produce the content to do their work. She includes book publishing, TV, magazines in her mandate – and then extends the argument to the financial and auto industries. She calls Sam Zell “ignorant, marauding.” Go ahead, Tina!

I note that her blog is among the “Beast Originals,” which I either missed or which didn’t exist when I first looked at the site. And it is an eclectic assortment: a great story about the new movie “Cadillac Records,” in which Beyonce, James Wright, and Mos Def get full credit for bringing the blues legends alive; “I Saved Claus von Bulow,” a peculiar claim by von Bulow’s mistress that she gave Alan Dershowitz the evidence on which he won acquittal for ol’ Claus; and another oddity – “What Condi Served Hillary for Dinner,” (it was mushroom soup, sea bass, and wild rice), but the more important information remains hidden – that is what they talked about.

The “cheat sheet” summaries of news from various sources would be helpful if I hadn’t already read several of the stories elsewhere – the Illinois governor, the auto bailout, Jay Leno’s leap to prime time. A few of the cheat stories shouldn’t be there. Does anyone really care that Joe the Plumber dissed John McCain but still likes Sarah Palin? Worse, why is it news that the “American Idol” folks encouraged the poor deranged woman who committed suicide in front of Paula Abdul’s house?

Of great value on the cheat, though, is a story from the Guardian that Gabriel Garcia Marquez is writing a new novel, which will motivate me to read his last one. And even more valuable, a first-person account from the Congo by a Washington Post, which I will follow on the Post site now that I know it’s there.

The Beast has one major flaw. It pads rather thin content by duplicating its stuff under various headings. So the stories about the Illinois governor, Jay Leno, and Condi/Hillary appear on the Home Page, and on Blogs and Stories, and on Cheat Sheet, etc. etc. The Buzz Board, however, does contain different and featur-y sort of content. Blake Mycoskie (who donates a pair of shoes to a poor child for every pair purchased) writes today about the appeal of big red zinfandel wines I agree they beat pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, but why is his entry labeled “politics”?

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