Friday, February 28, 2014

10 provocative magazine covers from 2012

The magazine industry may be struggling, but publishers are still turning out quality products with attention-grabbing covers.
There are a lot of magazine fans online who collect and post images of their favorite covers, including the website Coverjunkie and the Magazine Covers page on Pinterest. Some wait until the end of the year to post a collection of their favorites from the past 12 months.
Let’s look at 2012 magazines, for instance. (I’ll cover 2013 magazines in a separate post.)
It took the American Society of Magazine Editors until May 2013 to announce the winners of its annual contest for best magazine covers of 2012. (See article by the Huffington Post.)
Ad Age ran a retrospective called “2012 in 10 Great Magazine Covers, From New York to Interview Russia.”
Other websites were more specialized in their cover selections.
Business Insider ran a collection called “The 38 Best News And Politics Magazine Covers Of The Last Year.”
Time magazine chose the “Top Photographic Magazine Covers of 2012.”
And Creative Bloq featured its favorite artistic magazine covers of 2012.
Posted with this article are 10 magazine covers I found particularly provocative from 2012.

Sex sells

Sexy magazine covers are a staple of the industry.
ESPN magazine has its annual Body Issue, featuring athletes in their birthday suits. Tennis player Daniela Hantuchova (top) graced one of several covers for the 2012 issue. Mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey was on another.

The queen of all sexy magazine covers is the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The 2012 issue featured model Kate Upton on the cover for the first time, which generated some controversy, according to the Washington Post.

Maxim magazine is no stranger to sexy magazine covers.
In March 2013, Maxim readers chose the April 2012 issue featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt as its Sexiest Cover ever. The contest was to commemorate Maxim’s 16th anniversary.

Controversy sells

Controversial covers help drive newsstand sales of magazines as well.
Time magazine’s May 21, 2012, cover featuring a woman breast-feeding her 3-year-old son was one of the year’s most controversial. It was for a story about attachment parenting with the headline “Are You Mom Enough?” It also generated a lot of parody covers.

Newsweek’s Aug. 27, 2012, issue featured a take-down of President Barack Obama with the cover headline “Hit the Road, Barack. Why We Need a New President.” The attack story was criticized for its tone and accuracy. (It generated coverage by The Week, New York Magazine, Business Insider and Entertainment Weekly.)
The issue was a big hit with readers though, with newsstand sales double the magazine’s average, Ad Age reported.

Just a few months later, Newsweek published its last print issue. That Dec. 31, 2012, issue was praised for its understated cover.

Rival Time magazine was applauded for its May 7, 2012, cover and story titled “The Last Days of Osama bin Laden.”

New York Magazine used a dramatic photo of the partial blackout of Manhattan for its Nov. 12, 2012, issue titled “The City and the Storm.”

Bloomberg Businessweek tapped into the public’s fascination with zombie movies and TV shows for its cover story on Best Buy. The Oct. 22-28, 2012, issue referred to the consumer electronics retailer as a “Big Box Zombie” along with blue-shirted walking dead.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue pulls out all the stops to get attention

Three-and-a-half years ago, I wrote an essay about magazine covers as a dying art form in the digital media age.
The print magazine business continues to flounder amid declining readership and advertising sales. Magazines on tablets, smartphones and PCs don’t have the same cachet as the physical editions.
But some issues are still able to generate significant news media and public attention. Time’s Person of the Year is one and Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue is another. They’ve become annual events that are likely to generate coverage even if the publishers stop printing physical copies. Other magazines likely will not be as fortunate.
SI’s swimsuit issue has all the ingredients to be an enduring pop culture phenomenon. It’s got sex appeal. It’s got celebrity models. It’s got exotic locales for photo shoots. And it’s supported by a multimedia campaign to be envied.
Publisher Time Inc. backs the issue with a traditional media blitz (including the unveiling of the cover on national TV), its own television specials, website and social media.
Sports Illustrated featured three models on the cover of this year’s edition (Chrissy Teigen, Lily Aldridge and Nina Agdal). The women are topless, but photographed from behind. And speaking of behinds, their bikini bottoms covered very little of their butt cheeks. (See articles about the cover in Entertainment Weekly and the Huffington Post.)
The Onion parodied the cover with a cartoon depicting America’s supposed reaction to the skinny, scantily clad models. (See image below.) Butt, I mean but, a little controversy related to sex can help magazine newsstand sales.
Even toymaker Mattel helped publicize the 50th edition of the swimsuit issue by putting Barbie on the front of a “cover wrap” ad included with 1,000 issues in New York City. (See image below.) The Barbie cross-promotion was designed to promote last week’s annual Toy Fair convention, the Daily News reported.
But one cover wasn’t enough for Sports Illustrated this year. The issue also has a bonus flip-side cover featuring model Kate Upton, SI announced. (See image below.)
Too much of a good thing?

Related stories:

What will happen to cover girls when magazines go digital? (Feb. 13, 2010)

Magazine covers: A dying art form (July 14, 2010)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

2014 Winter Olympics recreated in Legos

With the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, coming to an end Sunday, my kids and I decided to make a few depictions of the games using Lego bricks and minifigures.
Here are the fruits of our labor. Pictured here are dioramas showing pairs figure skating, slalom skiing and luge. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Who is the hot actress in Sean Paul’s ‘She Doesn’t Mind’ music video?

I’ve got a suggestion for the editors of the website Who Is That Hot Ad Girl? You guys need to branch out and do a new website called Who Is That Hot Music Video Girl?
On Tuesday I wrote about how their Tumblr blog, Who Is That Hot Ad Girl?, is my new favorite high-concept website. It provides models and actresses with the exposure they deserve. Unlike TV shows and movies, television commercials don’t usually have credits, so it’s great that a website tracks down who some of these talented women are.
Music videos could use the same type of sleuthing.
Sometimes the women in music videos grab the public’s attention and merit mainstream press coverage. That was the case with Emily Ratajkowski, who starred in the video for Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines.” (See People magazine article.)
Or how about actress Alexandra Daddario in the 2012 music video for “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons?
Or going way way back, consider Tawny Kitaen in the 1987 music video for Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again.”
Now, back to the headline of this article.
A year or so ago, I first watched the terrific music video for Sean Paul’s “She Doesn’t Mind” (2011) and was captivated by the woman who played the airport smuggler. I tried my best to find out who she was, but to no avail.
The airport security officer who feels up all the lady passengers was played by Lisa Jackson, who is best known for appearing on “America’s Next Top Model.” Jackson got some exposure in the media from her participation. But nothing for the other actress/model.
The video was directed by Evan Winter and produced by Nestor N. Rodriguez.
If anyone knows who the mystery woman is, please let me know. Thanks.

Update: Kranthi Chintu from India says in the comments below that the actress might be Brazilian fashion model Karmen Nardin. Check out my follow-up post here and let me know if you think this is correct.

Photos: Screenshots of the beautiful mystery woman from the 2011 music video for Sean Paul’s “She Doesn’t Mind” as well as a making-of video

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Who Is That Hot Ad Girl?: My new favorite niche website

My favorite high-concept website of the moment is Who Is That Hot Ad Girl?
It’s a Tumblr blog “dedicated to finding out who hot unknown actresses or models are in various television commercials.”
The website even takes user requests to determine who unknown advertising actresses are.
Some actors and actresses can really make an impact in a 30- or 60-second ad spot. I’m often curious to find out more about them, especially if they look familiar.
For me, that was the case with the actress in the catsuit in a recent Nationwide Insurance commercial. I found out it was Jana Kramer by searching online. And this was before I learned about WITHAG.
The website is sexist, of course, because it focuses only on attractive women. But that’s its specialty and it helps drive Web traffic. Plus, its title and content are search engine optimized.
Who Is That Hot Ad Girl? is a great idea for a niche website. In 2011, Tech-media-tainment got a lot of traffic for an article in which I identified the woman in the “De Blob 2” commercial as L.A.-based dancer Natasha Hugger.
WITHAG was started in February 2011, so it’s been around for three years.
“We started on Super Bowl Sunday in 2011 thinking a Tumblr about hot ad girls in commercials might be what the Internet deserves, and what it needs right now,” the unnamed founders said in a blog post.
So true.

Photo: Actress and country music singer Jana Kramer, who starred in a recent Nationwide Insurance commercial. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Favorite websites in review, part 8

These websites have been featured on Tech-media-tainment and bear the TMT stamp of approval.
This is the eighth set of 25 favorite websites.

176. GeoGuessr (
177. HuffPo Spoilers (
178. Amnesty International – Trial by Timeline
179. Dear Photograph (
180. Souvenirs (
181. Kill Comic Sans (
182. Oyster Photo Fakeouts (
183. Park Slope Family Circus
184. CDZA (
185. Mental Floss (
186. Incredible Things (
187. This Was First
188. (
189. Local People With Their Arms Crossed (
190. What Netflix Does
191. Urban Dictionary (
192. (
193. Hot Olympic Girls
194. Sochi On Tinder (
195. Sports Illustrated Swim Daily (
196. (
197. The Media Is Dying (
198. Stuff Journalists Like (
199. Overheard in the Newsroom (
200. Newswordy (

Photo: Slovenian skier Tina Maze, who won the gold medal in downhill skiing at the 2014 Winter Olympics. (Photo from Hot Olympic Girls.) 

Update (Feb. 28, 2015): Hot Olympic Girls is no longer online. There is however a similarly themed Facebook page called Hot Olympic Girls.

Stuff Journalists Like and other fun journalism websites

As a journalist, I like to read websites that cover my profession. That includes both serious news sites and humorous ones.
I’ve previously written about Reflections of a Newsosaur, NewspaperAlum, Unnecessary Journalism Phrases and the defunct AngryJournalist.
I’m a big fan of Jim Romenesko and follow his extensive coverage of the news media on his Twitter feed and website. I also enjoy the newsy Twitter feed for The Media Is Dying by Paul Armstrong.
But I also like the lighter side of journalism. What follows are a few such websites I get a chuckle from.

Stuff Journalists Like

Stuff Journalists Like is a website, Twitter feed and Facebook page that likely only journalists would find funny. It’s the work of creator-editor Christopher Ortiz and editor-senior contributor David Young.
A few things that journalists like, according to a list on the website: free food, inverted pyramids, reporter’s notebooks, nut grafs, inches, complaining, sarcasm, being font snobs, the good old days, and leaving journalism.

Overheard in the Newsroom 

Overheard in the Newsroom posts humorous comments and conversations overheard in any newsroom.


Newswordy spotlights buzzwords and phrases that are more commonly used by the news media than regular folks. The website is curated by Josh Smith.
Recent words include ruminations, plaudits, intractable and galling.

Fake AP Stylebook

Fake AP Stylebook is a Twitter feed that parodies the AP Stylebook, which is the manual that most journalists rely on for proper spelling, terminology and other information.

Poynter’s Regret the Error

Regret the Error is a column on the Poynter Institute’s website. It “tracks accuracy, errors & the craft of verification.” That includes running embarrassing corrections that appeared in major publications.
Romenesko posts funny news bloopers on his Pinterest page.

Photo: Funny graphic from Stuff Journalists Like.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hot Olympic Girls and other cool websites

Got the winter blues? If you’re a straight guy or lesbian, here are some websites that will get your blood pumping.

Hot Olympic Girls

Hot Olympic Girls is a website devoted to the gorgeous women competing in the Olympic games. It includes lots of photos and background information on the female athletes.

Sochi On Tinder 

Sochi On Tinder is a blog devoted to the dating profiles of athletes competing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Tinder, a smartphone app for men and women to hook up, has received a lot of press lately.

Sports Illustrated Swim Daily 

Sports Illustrated is covering the Olympic games in Sochi, but it also just released its annual swimsuit issue. Swim Daily is SI’s year-round website devoted to hot ladies in swimsuits.

Photos: Russian biathlon athlete Xenia Daskalova (from Hot Olympic Girls); and the Tinder profile of Spanish free skier Katia Griffiths (from Sochi On Tinder). 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Detroit: Hollywood’s go-to location for bleak futures

“RoboCop,” a movie about a cyborg police officer trying to clean up the crime-ridden streets of a dystopian Detroit, opened this weekend. Ironically the movie was filmed mostly in Toronto and nearby cities in Canada, with reportedly only some exterior shots in the Motor City.
But never fear, the rundown city of Detroit gets more than enough work from movies that want to depict a post-apocalyptic world or city in ruins.
The Michigan and Detroit film offices list at least three low-budget zombie apocalypse movies using Detroit locales in as many years, including “Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption” (2011), which is set “in a world where zombies outnumber humans 10,000 to one.”
Detroit also was the shooting location for “Vanishing on 7th Street” (2010), where the population of the city disappears under mysterious circumstances, leaving just a handful of survivors.
“12 Monkeys,” a TV pilot based on the Bruce Willis time-travel movie set in a post-apocalyptic future, is scheduled to film in Detroit in early 2014. The SyFy network might make a TV series based on response to the pilot.
Actor David Arquette has filmed a post-apocalyptic movie in Detroit called “Orion,” according to MLive and ScreenCrush. He plays a hunter fighting his way through a futuristic wasteland in search of his brother. No release date has been set.
The dilapidated city is on display in movies that take place in the present day as well, including “Assault on Precinct 13” (2005) and “Gran Torino” (2008).
Detroit will be trashed in the upcoming action movies “Need for Speed,” “Transformers 4” and “Batman vs. Superman.”
Those movies are fiction but the real Detroit looks like equal parts war zone and wasteland in many places, based on several photo essays, including these from Fast Company and Business Insider. (Here’s another photo essay on abandoned homes in Detroit and an article about depressing Detroit statistics.)

Photos: Movie posters from “RoboCop” (2014) and “Vanishing on 7th Street” (2010). 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lego diorama of the Weather Channel’s ‘Prospectors’

Inspired by “The Lego Movie,” my kids and I did another Lego diorama of a reality TV show. This time, the subject was the Weather Channel’s “Prospectors.”
Shown here are rockhounds Amanda Adkins and husband Travis Anderson as they mine a rich pocket of aquamarine crystals on Mount Antero in Colorado.
“Prospectors” recently concluded its second season on the Weather Channel.

Photos: Lego Prospectors diorama; the real Amanda Adkins and Travis Anderson at their dig site (Weather Channel photo); and the lovely Ms. Adkins (her Facebook fan page).

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Facebook experience cheapened by trashy ads

Facebook turned 10 this week and founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg celebrated the milestone with an online note.
What struck me most about his note wasn’t what he said, but all the tacky ads that accompanied it.
You’d think a mature Web property like Facebook would have top-name advertisers like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, General Motors, Procter & Gamble and AT&T.
Instead, as the screenshot above shows, it got mostly trashy ads for online dating, a muscle-building product, a gimmicky video about learning French and an “adults only” video game.
Two of the six advertisers I’d classify as mainstream – Intuit’s TurboTax and Kaiser Permanente. But the rest are low-level ads trying to attract clicks with sexy pictures.
I’ve noticed the same issue with Yahoo ads, so Facebook isn’t alone here. I’m just surprised that at this stage of development well-known, high-traffic websites like Facebook aren’t getting the major advertisers you see on broadcast television, in magazines and elsewhere.

More mystery-sourced photos 

On a side note, those Facebook ads included more mystery-sourced photos, as I discussed recently.
The top ad for “Easy Dating on Facebook” by Cupid features a blonde woman with ginormous breasts. A reverse image search on the Google leads to a golfing photo that’s been sort of a minor Internet meme.
Unfortunately I can’t determine who the woman is or when and where the photo was taken.

The ad for titled “WOW! – Travolta BUFF!” is pure fiction.
The ad says, “John Travolta Buffs Up For Hit Flick – Learn His Secret, Click Here!” The image is Photoshop trickery. It’s John Travolta’s head on the massive body of bodybuilder Jay Cutler. The Cutler photo was taken in February 2007 by Flickr user robbden.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sexy Snow White cosplay photos

Artists aren’t the only ones who like to sex up Snow White.
Snow White is a popular character for sexy Halloween costumes and cosplay (costume play) outfits.
What follows are some examples of sexy Snow White costumes I’ve seen online.
Leading off this article is a model wearing a Snow White outfit by Leg Avenue. It’s available on and other e-commerce sites.
Here’s a Storybook Snow White princess costume, available online from Forplay.

Below is a Deluxe Amour Snow White costume, available from various dealers on eBay.

Even celebrities like to dress up as naughty Snow White. Below is burlesque dancer, model and actress Dita Von Teese.

I like this interpretation of the character in “A Tale of Snow White” by German photographer Geraldine Lamanna. (See her work on DeviantArt and Gestiefeltekatze.) Pictured in the violet corset is model Concetta Mazza.

Snow White is also popular with fetish models and photographers.
Below is a photo of model Masuimi Max as Snow White.

And here’s a cheeky shot of Shalom Harlow as the fairytale princess. It’s from photographer Francois Nars’s photo book “X-Ray” (1999), according to Vogue.

Model and cosplay fan Jennifer Kairis takes on Snow White as well.

Here’s a tasty depiction of Snow White by photographer Ksenia Sazanovich.

Or check out this even fruitier pic by photographer Louis Panos.

And finally here’s a cosplay model as Snow White from the Cosplay Blog on Tumblr.