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PODCAST: Newsweek leaves the newsstand and barley gets decoded

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December 31 will be the last paper issue of Newsweek magazine. Next year would have been Newsweek’s 80th anniversary — technically, it still will be, though by then it will be an online-only entity. At that point, its content will become even more closely entwined with the news and opinion web site The Daily Beast. Tina Brown merged the two in 2010, and became the top editor of both. This morning Brown indicated the end of the print edition at Newsweek will mean considerable job losses. Michael Isikoff, who reported for Newsweek from 1994 until 2010 and broke a number of the era’s biggest cover stories, shares his thoughts on the end of Newsweek in print and what the magazine meant to staffers and readers over the years.

Seasonally adjusted claims for unemployment insurance rose by 46,000 last week or about 13 percent. Is this a blip or the start of a new trend?

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says manufacturing in its mid-Atlantic region is enjoying a surge this month, though the expansion is still modest. So far this morning we’ve got downbeat earnings from Southwest Airlines, where expenses rose and growth slowed. Shares of Verizon are up more than three percent this morning. The carrier reported particularly strong profit margins for its bread-and-butter: wireless customers. Chipotle delivers a steaming hot earnings wrap-up after the bell today. Google and Microsoft announce their quarterly results this afternoon.

A report out this morning says college students are leaving school ever deeper in debt. Students graduated last year owing more than $26,000 on average — up five percent from the year before.

Third quarter GDP figures came out today in Beijing. They show China grew at its weakest pace in three and a half years, and it’s on track for its slowest annual growth since 1999.

Nissan is out with a first in the auto world. It’s equipping its luxury “Inifinti” line with something Nissan calls “steer-by-wire” technology. It could be pretty nifty, or kinda scary.

Spain was on the agenda for a European Summit today in Brussels. The country looks increasingly likely to request a bailout from its European neighbors. The question is: When?

A new study from an international consortium of scientists says they have decoded the surprisingly complex genome of barley. Among the payoffs: better disease resistance, higher yields and, they say, better beer. And there’s a lot of fizz but very little actual info about a plan by Coca-Cola for a line of “beauty drinks” in France. First of all: What the heck even is a beauty drink?  According to the Wall Street Journal, they will quote “help strengthen hair and nails, embellish skin, lose weight and improve vitality.” All of those things can be aided by the one existing beauty drink I can think of: water.

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