"SPONSORED: The Taliban Is A Vibrant And Thriving Political Movement"

The Onion:

KABUL—2012 proved to be just another in a succession of landmark years for the Taliban, as the influential Islamic fundamentalist organization continued its awe-inspiring push toward unprecedented expansion.
Even following a decade marked with some difficulties, the devoted members of the Afghani cultural and political movement have proven consistently successful in their trailblazing efforts to continue the Taliban’s constant recruiting of talented and diverse young insurgents and building its thriving base of support from politicians and citizens alike to over 30 times that of a decade ago.

Following The Atlantic's extraordinarily embarrassing Scientology advertorial moment yesterday (cached), the Internet has been rife with posts skewering the magazine's tone deaf behavior.

Emerging from the pack with an utterly flawless parody of the original post is, of course, The Onion.

You can always count on The Onion to do what's right.

(BoingBoing had a great one, too.)

'The Atlantic' Set to Experiment With Pay Models in 2013

Jeff Bercovici, Forbes:

The Atlantic is two things every legacy publishing company would like to be: profitable and more reliant on digital advertising revenues than on print. But while that may have been good enough in 2012, for 2013 the magazine has a new goal: to get more readers paying, in some form, for digital-only access to its journalism.

Coinciding with the highly-publicized news of Andrew Sullivan's exodus from The Daily BeastThe Atlantic has vaguely shared its intentions to dabble with a variety of digital publishing models in the coming year.

The Atlantic has undergone somewhat of a renaissance in recent years, the shift fueled by the increasing acceptability of long-form, intelligent commentary online. Having only left a paywall model two years ago, The Atlantic is evidently hoping to capitalize upon a mobile-driven landscape, whilst also gleaning higher revenue from its larger audience.

The move, more than anything else, demonstrates a newfound sense of optimism for the sustainability of digital publishing. Unlike several years ago, publishers are no longer blindly grappling for some semblance of profitability from an anarchic environment of freely accessible content. Instead, coaxed by the perceived success of The New York Times in the space, publishers both old and new are emerging with forward-thinking, novel, and sometimes endearing methods for financial sustainability and long-term success.

The writing has been on the wall for a long time, and it appears that 2013 is going to be characterized largely by a widespread shift in digital publishing. Readers worldwide have expressed their discontent with the bloated and outmoded methods employed by Condé Nast, instead praising publications such as The Atlantic and, to a far lesser extent, the minimalism of The Magazine.

The latter half of 2012 saw a rapid uptick in the attention paid toward publishing and I suspect it's now time for the publishers to begin showing their hands for the coming year. Although the specifics of The Atlantic's intended experiments are unclear, I cannot help but feel optimistic for the shifting state of the industry.

As a writer, we're on the precipice of a belated and well-needed disruption of publishing. As a businessperson, we're on the cusp of an overdue improvement in the economics of writing.

In both lights, it's an exciting time for the industry and I look forward expectantly for some altogether new and different methods toward success.

Haiti: Two Years Later

The Atlantic's phenomenal InFocus series looks at Haiti, two years after its catastrophic earthquake:

Two years ago tomorrow, January 12, a catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti, leveling thousands of structures and killing hundreds of thousands of people. Haiti, already an impoverished nation, appears in many ways to have barely started recovery 24 months later, despite more than $2 billion in foreign aid. So many homes were destroyed that temporary tent cities hastily set up throughout Port-au-Prince have begun to appear permanent -- more than 550,000 people still live in the dirty and dangerous encampments throughout the Haitian capital. Schools are being rebuilt, and some residents are now beginning to move out of the encampments, rediscovering a sense of community. But jobs and a sense of security remain elusive.

Eye-opening to say the least.