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Tina Reinvents the Web

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One author is about to file a piece on the Tribune Co.'s cost-cutting boss, Sam Zell. "I hope he excoriates him," Brown says.

She constantly tosses out potential ideas, such as starting a feature on "newly relevant books. Because people keep saying, 'God, you should read X.' " Seconds later, Brown asks what "hot movies" are coming out. They run through which celebrities they want to pursue. "We can get Dustin Hoffman for a Buzz Board. I can ask him," she says.

After the meeting, Brown describes part of her mission as helping authors reach a broader audience. As the host of a short-lived talk show on CNBC, she finds television rather shallow.

"They can't get on unless they're telegenic. The chances of engaging in a serious discussion are slim; it'll likely be a quick shouting match. The public intellectual has been so outlawed for some time, and the Web has really brought it back to life."

In joining the online crowd, Brown may be trying to embrace the inevitable. With such publications as U.S. News and the Christian Science Monitor essentially becoming Web sites, the journalistic migration is toward a medium that favors quick hits over long narratives. The most celebrated magazine editor of her era believes that print has had its heyday.

Brown was encouraged when she ran a piece by a former Ronald Reagan speechwriter -- "Obama Is the New Reagan" -- that generated substantial traffic. "It made me feel the world of ideas is sexy on the Web," she says.

Jumping the Gun

The Washington Times scored a front-page scoop Friday about the Vatican condemning cloning and stem-cell research -- by breaking an embargo on a document given to 10 newspapers in advance.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says she is "appalled" by what she called "a violation of journalistic ethics." She says she told the Times and other papers that the 6 a.m. embargo -- set by the Vatican -- meant no print publication Friday because newspaper trucks roll earlier than that.

Times Editor in Chief John Solomon says the violation was inadvertent and "we weren't trying to sneak one past the church. If I had known all the facts, I would've had editors call the church . . . as opposed to divining what the church meant."

Across the media landscape: The only thing anyone's going to remember from Bush's trip to Iraq is that a nutty "reporter" threw a pair of shoes at him:

"Iraqi journalists identified him as Muntather Zaidi, a correspondent for Baghdadiya, a satellite TV channel that broadcasts from Cairo."

I like the New York Post lead: "President Bush yesterday was the sole survivor of two shoes hurled at him by an angry Iraqi journalist in Baghdad."


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