Leading article: Hard to digest

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The Independent Online

What could be fustier than the Reader's Digest, with its prize draws, free radio alarm clock offers, and its natural habitat of dentists' waiting rooms? And yet what could be more cutting-edge than a magazine which was the first content aggregator when it was founded back in 1922, or that helped to establish the link between smoking and lung cancer in the public mind in the 1950s?

So, for those who like a paradox, it was sad to see the UK publishing arm of Reader's Digest go into administration yesterday. It was sad too to see the US parent company file for bankruptcy protection last year.

Yet though the management of Reader's Digest might leave something to be desired, the magazine still has a global circulation of some 17 million, which makes it the best-selling monthly publication in the world. That's still an awful lot of folk who need their reads digested. Good editing, it seems, never loses its cutting edge.

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