Wednesday, April 7, 2004

A truly unique cover story: "There's little chance of the postman delivering the June copy of Reason magazine to the wrong address. The home of each of the 40,000 subscribers to the Libertarian publication will be circled in red on the cover, which will show an aerial photo of a subscriber's neighborhood.

"By marrying satellite aerial photography with the sophisticated technology of a donated Xeikon digital printing press, Cal Poly graphic communication students are creating 40,000 individualized covers for the upcoming edition of the monthly print magazine of 'free minds and free markets,' which started in 1968.

"The unusual covers go with a lead story by Declan McCullagh on privacy issues and the positive power of databases, which can be used to give consumers more options and greater convenience. The customized magazines—which only cost a few more cents per copy to produce than their regular issues—are a dramatic way to prove a point: The age of customized information is on the doorstep.

"'This is where print media are going,' said Harvey Levenson, head of the Cal Poly graphic communication department. 'Some day your newspaper may be personalized for the individual reader. It provides people with the opportunity to get the information they are particularly interested in.'"

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