What happens inside the pages of an IKEA catalog when no one’s looking? Don’t be silly. A catalog is just photographs, not a real-time portal into a secret world where real people are always standing very, very still to create a fa√ßade of domestic perfection on a budget. Or that’s what they want you to think.
Fortune magazine commissioned artist Chris Ware to design a cover for their 2010 Fortune 500 issue, so he did. Unfortunately, what he delivered was a detailed, funny, and biting commentary on the current state of our economy–with banker types dancing on the top of mega-buildings that spell out “500,” a factory in Mexico churning out big box merchandise, and a “401k cemetary.” Fortune rejected it, but hasn’t provided any comment on why. Well, okay, it’s probably self-evident why they killed it, but it’s still funny.
For the definitive dramatic take on why and how the newspaper industry has fallen so hard, watch season five of HBO’s The Wire, much of which is set inside the beleaguered Baltimore Sun newsroom. The show has it all: The ever-present desperation and dread. The hushed, huddled stand-up meetings in which colleagues whisper about who they think the next round of layoffs will hit. The strain of fewer people, many with less experience and training than they need, trying to handle more responsibilities for diminishing pay and benefits.