Bloomberg is dedicating an entire issue of its Businessweek magazine to a 38,000-word essay on computer coding.
The double issue has 112 pages and will run on newsstands for two weeks from Friday.
The cover features an excerpt of coding language Python with the title: “If You Can’t Read This, You’d Better Read This – Code: An Essay.”
Online, it will feature interactive elements such as a “screamer” which tracks words per minute and warns when it is being read too fast, as well as tools for explaining aspects of coding.
Bloomberg Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel said the issue was trying to address widespread ignorance about code at a time when software plays an increasingly central role in people’s lives.
“It’s no longer acceptable to be ignorant about the ways it works,” he said. “If everybody brought the same ignorance about software to medicine, it would be insane, we would be mocked.”
“Software is a completely different discipline and we wanted to help to demystify it for the world that doesn’t think that way. What if you explain code in the same way you explain the arts? Why is someone attracted to Java vs C++? In the same way someone might be attracted to writing rock songs vs R&B.”
Bloomberg Businessweek has a global circulation of almost 1m. Bloomberg bought the title in 2009 from McGraw Hill and added its own name to the masthead. Bloomberg has been trying to find a larger audience for its media arm, which is far less profitable than the information services it provides to the finance sector.
However, Tyrangiel said he did not expect the issue to significantly boost sales.
“This isn’t one of those situations where we are going to say ‘let’s triple the print order,’” he said “If you put Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett on the cover, everybody knows there are certain things that work on a newsstand, certain things that aren’t.
“If it brings greater interest to the magazine, terrific. If people say ‘Oh God those people are crazy’ it’s less terrific, but I can live with that.”