July 19, 2013 Last Updated 7:30 am

Condé Nast makes Vanity Fair available to iPhone users through app update; the media gangs up on Rolling Stone

Morning Brief:

VF-app-icon-smCondé Nast yesterday released an update for its Vanity Fair Newsstand app which bring the title to the iPhone. The digital edition now joins The New Yorker, Golf World and WWD as apps that are universal – meaning, for both the iPhone and iPad.

While the giant publisher was quick to bring its titles to Apple’s App Store, it tends to take its time when it comes to major updates. Quite a number of its iPhone apps have only recently added iPhone 5 support, for instance.

The publisher is also a little slow to update its app descriptions. The copy for the Vanity Fair app, for instance, still reads “Redesigned exclusively for iPad” – oops.

But the mobile versions of the previously tablet-only apps are quite attractive, and easy to read. They are in stark contrast with the iPhone versions of many other digital magazines which are replica editions, making them hard to read on a tablet, and just plain silly on an iPhone.


Rolling_stone_coverThe U.S. media loves to beat up on the U.S. media. Witness the “controversy” over this week’s cover of Rolling Stone. It’s a pretty fine cover, if you ask me (you didn’t, I know), but the media has tried to make a mountain out of a molehill.

The story RS published is called The Bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster – and for me the picture the magazine used is perfect. That, though, hasn’t stopped many media outlets from crying foul and forced the magazine to add a rather superfluous note to the beginning of the story online:

Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. –THE EDITORS

Lost in all this is are the actions of some retailers who have pulled the issue from their shelves. Why no discussion of this?

In the end, the cover is fine – and from a marketing stand point is doing what it’s supposed to do, draw attention to the title. That magazine buyers at certain newsstands won’t be able to judge for themselves only shows that newsstand owners in the print world can sometimes act as irresponsibly as newsstand owners in the digital world.

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