Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Perils of Travel Magazine Journalism...

You've got to feel for editors of those slick monthly travel magazines, commissioning all those twee, relentlessly positive stories on places all over the world -- and then having local conditions abruptly go to hell in one, while the magazine is already at the printer's or merrily on its way to subscribers' mailboxes and newsstands.

Consider Conde Nast Traveler, which had a rah-rah story in its February issue, "Egypt: Secret Pleasures of the Nile." Alas, notes editor-in-chief Klara Glowczewska in her "Editor's Letter" at the front of the April issue, the February issue was arriving on the newsstands "right around January 25" -- just as revolution was breaking out on the streets of Cairo.

But you also gotta hand it to travel magazine editors for looking on the bright side of life, as is their wont. The Egypt story "all seemed like spectacularly bad timing," Glowczeweska writes in the April issue, as "elements of the old regime were ready to sacrifice Egypt's vital tourism industry to stay in power, allowing the Internet to show mobs (government-sponsored thugs, we now know) attacking foreigners and riding horses and camels through Tahrir [Square] ..."

But yet, look on the bright side! The editor's note quotes the author of the earlier Egypt story, now brightly suggesting that, post-revolt, Egypt offers "an opportunity to witness history being made..."

To which the editor exults: "Indeed. Good morning Cairo!"

As I said, this all is contained in the April issue of Conde Nast Traveler -- the one with a story titled "The 15 Best Places to See Right Now."

And place No. 10 on that list is (wait for it) ... Libya.


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