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A familiar face is on this week’s illustrated cover: Dennis Rodman!
The basketball star, as you most likely know, recently went to North Korea, and infamously had lots of great things to say about the country and its leader, Kim Jung-un. For this week’s cover story, which is live in the App Store today, Buzz Bissinger takes a look at what kind of “ambassador” Dennis Rodman really is.
Have an iPad? Download this week’s Newsweek issue right here.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Even in the baddest bad-ass behavior of his basketball days, when his hair looked like flame and his enormous piercings seemed made from a chain-link fence and it was always hard to divide his reality from his calculated ridiculous, it was inconceivable that Dennis Rodman would one day change world diplomacy. Hip-checking the Utah Jazz’s John Stockton and pushing Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen into the stands when he played in the National Basketball Association? Yes. Head-butting an official? Yes. Kicking a cameraman in the groin? Yes. Wearing a bridal gown to promote his book, Bad as I Wanna Be, that sold a million copies? Yes. A sartorial style that was a mix of Liberace and Phyllis Diller and Dudley Do-Right? Yes. The undeniable kinkiness of sex with Madonna as well as the apocalyptic nightmare of it? Yes. Arguably the best rebounder in the National Basketball Association over the past 40 years with an uncanny gift and instinct for the game? Yes. Vulnerability behind the feathery boas and the Wizard of Odd costumes? Yes. Abandonment issues? Yes. A craving for attention? Yes. Wincing candor? Yes. Naiveté. Yes. Alcoholism? Yes. Complexity? Yes, yes, and yes. But creating the tempest that no athlete in modern times has created by yukking it up several weeks ago with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un despite a record on human rights that is likely the worst of any country in the world? No.”
This week’s animated Newsweek cover, as seen in the iPad app, features a morphing King Richard III—from legend…to reality!
The cover story, written by historian Simon Schama, looks back at the means Richard III used to create his rock-solid center of power and loyalty—that undid him in the end.
A king, one shoulder higher than the other (an armorer’s nightmare), the golden circlet of the crown upon his helmet, is fighting for his life and his throne. Seeing the odds of a victory, which should have been his for the taking, suddenly shorten when his vanguard flounders in marshy ground, he has made a gambler’s throw: a frontal charge at the enemy with a long column of his most loyal knights behind him, meant to smash its way to his rival and kill him. The wet ground has lost him his mount, but he is cutting his way through the bodies with a swinging battle ax. He makes for the standard bearer of the enemy, fells him. Surely, the Welshman, the Tudor who wants his crown, cannot be far behind. Another swing, another knight, much bigger than his own slight frame, goes crashing down in his clanking hardware. Now Richard is within feet of his quarry when it all goes wrong. A presumed ally, his troops held in reserve, perhaps sensing the shift in the day’s fortunes, has thrown in his lot with the enemy and is attacking his rear; his scarlet-coated men throwing themselves into the fray. Everyone, all those men groaning and stumbling and hacking in the soft ground, feels the beginning of the end. Ranks of them close in on the king from whose helm the crown has ominously fallen. Defying everything and everyone, the king swings and flails, is engulfed, and a halberd slices through his helmet and into his brain. He sinks and folds and it is over. It is always finished when the leader of an army loses his life, for these thousands of men, knights and hardened men at arms, archers and gunners (for there were both cannon and harquebuses on Bosworth Field) are not fighting for an idea or a country, but for the person of the king who, in some way they don’t ask themselves, is England.
The chronicles of the late 15th and early 16th centuries have told us this, but those histories were written either by, or to please, the victors. But now we have Richard III’s story as written on his bones: a forensic romance. Not just the deep cleft in his skull where the halberd penetrated the helmet, but the marks of the subsequent indignities and mutilations inflicted on his corpse. It was always known that the new king, Henry Tudor, made sure to expose Richard’s body for either two or three days (sources differ) in Greyfriars Abbey where it was deposited, and it may have been, as one of the histories describes, half-naked, its lower half covered merely by “a poor black cloth”—the ultimate humiliation for a king who had reveled in royal costume. The skeleton shows signs of lunging stab wounds through the right buttock, another targeted indignity and, more mysteriously, the body’s feet are missing. Most dramatically of all, the backbone is curved like the blade of a scythe: the sign of “idiopathic” scoliosis, a condition that would have come upon the prince, Richard, as a boy and which would have thrust one shoulder up high enough for critics during and after his life to jeer at the deformity. Thomas More, whose unfinished biography is the first thrilling work of historical narrative—more a novel than a true history—and Shakespeare, who drew on More, may have been unjust in making Richard a monster, and there is no sign of the withered arm at the center of one of More’s most dramatic and fanciful scenes. But the bones tell us they were right to picture Richard III as deformed, and entirely of their time to imagine what effect this might have on the self-consciousness of a noble steeped in the chivalric literature of manly perfection, and on those many who feared and hated him.
The Return of Ruthless Richard III, Newsweek
Magazine publishers are still getting their sea legs when it comes to tablet app design, even as the iPad approaches its two-year anniversary and the launching of its third hardware iteration. But a number of publishers (ed: Newsweek is one of them!) )have demonstrated prowess in content and design according to app watcher iMonitor from McPheters & Company. The service, which has cataloged and evaluated over 5,000 tablet apps from print publishers worldwide, issued its top-ranked magazine brands on the tablet platforms. McPheters evaluates app according to design, functionality and use of rich media.
Woo! You hear that?! We’ve “demonstrated prowess” with our iPad app. Aside from the very nice older woman who told us she liked our shoes on the subway this morning, this has to be the best compliment we’ve received all day! Check it out, iPad people.
January was a pretty good month.
For starters, we launched a shiny new iPad app just two mere weeks ago and by all available indications things are going really, really well on that front. And then! 11.8 million monthly uniques at the Beast! Here’s the breakdown.
Newsweek’s app, officially still an infant in its second week of life, is among the top free and top grossing iPad apps in Newsstand, a result of the mere fact the app is free but the subscription, naturally, is not. If you’ve tried it out (and really, you should, here’s a demo), let us know what you think of it with either a message, reblog, or—ideally because these things matter for future app downloaders—a review in the App Store (plus the more stars you give us the more luck you’ll have in 2012—it’s science).
For the website, January brought thedailybeast.com (where we hang our hat too at thedailybeast.com/newsweek) our biggest traffic month in the history of all time forever—a whopping 11.8 million unique visitors stopped by for our mix of 2012 campaign coverage, entertainment scoops, and insatiable obsession with one Blue Ivy Carter. Andrew Sullivan’s monster story on Barry O’s successes didn’t hurt. 10.7 MU’s was our previous high water mark, which came in November of last year.
Here’s Omniture—which if you’re not a media writer nor Internet person let us explain it’s the robots we use to keep us informed how many non-robots are visiting the site.
And last but certainly not least, there’s you guys. Tumblr! Thanks for all the reblogs, likes, and—when we’re doling out faux-advice—messages. It makes us truly happy and we love it. If you’ve ever got any ideas for features or series or random posts you’d like to see on the nwk tumblr, shoot us a note. We love mail. And we love the stuff you keep stickin’ on our dashboards. Stay creative.
Today we’re launching our Election 2012 coverage on Pulse, which will be your hub for campaign news leading up to November 15th. We have over 25 partners delivering world-class breaking political news, straight to your mobile device. As we wait on the results of the Florida Primary today, you can follow your candidate of choice on Pulse and explore the opinion pieces from your favorite political commentators. Explore all that Pulse has to offer to keep you informed this election season:
Brand New Content
Pulse now has the content you’ve been asking for from several brand new partners, launching today for the first time. Breaking political coverage from Fox News, The New Republic, Los Angeles Times, Talking Points Memo, Daily Kos and Reason Magazine is now yours to discover. Many of our existing partners are now launching political coverage for Pulse including The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, The Atlantic Wire, Slate, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.
Big news in the iWorld! Pulse has launched its Election 2012 coverage—and we’re happy to be a part of the scrum. Find our political writers day-in, day-out in The Daily Beast politics feed.
We sat down with Melissa Lafsky Wall, Newsweek’s fantastic new(ish) iPad editor now that her awesome app is out of the nursery, to ask her what, exactly, an “ipad editor” does! Also: How did you wind up here, Melissa? And what’s your favorite part of this week’s iPad issue? Do tell the nwk tumblr of your mysterious ways.
nwk tumblr: So what, exactly, is an “iPad editor”?
melissa lafsky wall: [Laughs] It’s a totally new frontier in that you need to have at least a base of familiarity of all the crazy tech terms. I don’t pretend to have any kind of tech expertise when it comes to coding or the logistics of creating the app, but I have to know what is required in order to code — how many hours will it take to produce such and such and what actually needs to be done. There’s also a level of educating people on the edit side, showing them what can be done on an iPad, and demonstrating how it’s a brave new world where there are wonderful enhanced things they can do for a story that give a story deeper context and a whole new layer of meaning. Once you show people that in practice they get really excited about it.
nwk: What advice would you give to someone looking to get into your particular tech-heavy corner of the journalism industry?
mlw: Be in the right place at the right time. Don’t be too tied to any one set of skills. I’ve had no formal training in how to be an iPad editor but it’s really just an amalgam of skills learned as a website editor, as a writer, as a blogger, and as a person working in modern editorial — and tech. I had to update my vocabulary very quickly in order to be taken seriously by the tech side. I didn’t want to look like a total tech moron.
nwk: How’d you do that?
mlw: It helps that my husband is a computer scientist! I just ask him.
nwk: What was your role in the app’s development?
mlw: Well, my role has been everything from editorial overseer to task-master…I was brought in to do everything from make sure the production team has what they need to product the app every week to talking with David Frum about audio extras for his stories.
nwk: Now that it’s actually in the store, what are you most excited about?
mlw: I’m most happy that everyone now gets this amazing new digitally enhanced way to read Newsweek. It’s always been about showcasing the content. Without great content there would be no great app. And honestly this is a biased opinion but magazines are simply more fun and more beautiful to read on an ipad than they are in print.
nwk: What does our editor think of Newsweek on the iPad?
mlw: Tina’s been a huge supporter of the app! She’s had great ideas from the start, and she loves how the Oscars feature turned out. She’s had great comments throughout the whole process.
nwk: What’s your favorite part of this week’s edition?
mlw: The Oscar roundtable, hands down!
mlw: It’s the perfect example of how an iPad can be used to enhance the reading experience and overall enjoyment of a great piece of writing. We have video extras, we have interactive video with the stars, we’ve got George Clooney playing the ukulele in your iPad, and we have this great piece of writing that tells such a great story. When they all come together, it’s really an incredible experience.
[Get the app.]
Meet the Brothers Mueller—design geniuses Kirk and Nate who helped us build our shiny new iPad app—as they take us on a tour of all its bells and whistles. Another video at the link.
[Get the app.]
Our all-new, 100% refreshed iPad app is live in the App Store. These screenshots will give you a taste. Click here to go check it out! We’re all pretty psyched over here. Between this and the last edition, it’s like night and day. Trust us.
From The Atlantic: “An aid worker using an iPad photographs the rotting carcass of a cow in Wajir, near the Kenya-Somalia border, on July 23, 2011.”
[via The Dish]