Frank Floor Talk: Three Magazines – Bloomberg BW, Wired, and HBR

December 20, 2022 8:00 AM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Buddy Frank, CDC Gaming Reports
December 20, 2022 8:00 AM
  • Buddy Frank, CDC Gaming Reports

I love books, both non-fiction and fiction. But I also grew up in the middle of the Golden Age of Magazines. Pundits claim that was from the 1930s to the 1990s. Like a few of you, I have warm and fond memories of those classic Norman Rockwell Christmas illustrations that were on the cover of the “Saturday Evening Post” around this time each year. You can still see these timeless classics today as they seem to be printed on the side of almost everything at Walmart during the holidays, from paper plates to popcorn bins.

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The photojournalism of “Life,” “Look,” and “National Geographic” first opened everyone’s eyes to the world beyond their city limits. My youth also had a healthy dose of Alfred E. Neuman (“Mad”), “Boys Life” and the forbidden photos from Hugh Hefner (“Playboy”). “National Enquirer” was the only legitimate source to learn who had really been abducted by aliens or which movie star was actually a werewolf. “TV Guide,” “Reader’s Digest, and “Rolling Stone” covered everything else anyone could possibly want to know.

Unfortunately, today’s magazine landscape is not as robust as it once was. “Newsweek” and “Time,” once the leaders of in-depth worldwide news reporting, are still around; but they are shells of their former selves.

“Mad” disappeared in 2018. “Playboy” still has a web presence, but the printed monthly with its foldouts ceased three years ago. “Boys Life” is now “Scout Life” as the Boy Scouts of America now welcome girls. C’est la vie.

While the general interest categories have declined, there are still excellent “niche” and specialty print publications covering everything from billiards and model-making to earth-moving and advanced weapons technology.

Gaming hasn’t fared as well. The peak for printed casino magazines was probably 2015. That year marked the death of Peter Mead and his magazine “Casino Enterprise Management.” Mead didn’t seem to restrict his editorial content to curry favor from advertisers as much as others, and therefore he gained considerable respect from his readers. Also around were “Global Gaming Business” (GGB), “Casino Player,” “Strictly Slots,” “Casino Journal,” and “Indian Gaming.” All, except “Casino Journal,” are still in print. Only “GGB” and “Indian Gaming” (in my subjective opinion) are still worth a read. All of these print publications have been hurt by the internet and the perception that their content is ‘old news’. Some of that comes from the magazines’ own timely websites or blog interviews. Also, non-print online newsletters like “CDC Gaming Reports” hastened the decline of printed gaming news.

But just like with books, one needs a broad range of inputs. In the financial segment, “Forbes,” “Fortune,” “Barron’s,” and “The Economist” are excellent. But not everyone is retired and has time to read all these. I strongly recommend that if you were to pick just one, it would be “Bloomberg Businessweek.”

They do a fine job covering all the breaking news, but their original reporting is exceptional. You’ll soon notice that major news outlets tend to follow their leads and quote their sources constantly. Magazine seller Barnes and Noble says, “Bloomberg Businessweek is a trusted source of essential, comprehensive insight that business leaders depend on to get ahead. Combining the innovation and scale of Bloomberg with the insight and depth of Businessweek, the new

‘Bloomberg Businessweek’ offers a global perspective to help senior executives profit from smarter, faster, and more informed decisions.”

Like the other two magazines I’m recommending, you can buy either the print or the digital versions of each. I don’t mind digital for shorter stories, but I prefer the print editions for “long reads,” of 10 minutes or more.

In the Tech category, my hands-down favorite is “Wired.” Not only do they also feature original reporting not seen elsewhere, their coverage of gaming (especially high-tech cheating) is outstanding. I was personally involved in the Russian RNG hack of older Aristocrat Mk V slot machines, and the only truly accurate public accounts of their misdeeds came from “Wired” reporter Brendan I. Koerner. A Reddit contributor recently wrote, “‘Wired’ has some really good investigative journalism that you won’t find online. They have great stories about the people behind the tech scene, like Kim Dotcom. They also do exposes on things like the NSA or Anonymous.”

While the “Harvard Business Review” (HBR) also dips into the financial segment like BBW, their main focus is leadership advice. One blogger on LinkedIn says, “The contributors of ‘HBR’ focus on writing content aimed at educating and informing their readers about leadership techniques, management abilities, and methods employed by successful industry professionals for running a company.” I also like that HBR does a lot of original research and timely polling for many of their pieces.

While emails, texts, Zoom calls and meetings are always vying for your limited time, a subscription to any one, or all, of these three magazines is a solid career investment (they’ll impress visitors when they see them on your desk). But, actually reading them is even better.