As you all know, we’re high on air travel around here and 2010 was a huge year for airline news. These past 12 months saw many a mid-air scandal, myriad mega-mergers and a deluge of tweeting. And with the holiday season in full gear, airport security remains a “touchy” subject.

Content is at the core of what we do at Sparksheet so we always keep a close eye on how it’s being created, shared and monetized. Brands, now involved in a group embrace with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, have put a whole new spin on storytelling, creating transmedia campaigns and series that bridge the gap between advertising and entertainment.

Of course, the world of media and magazines continues to be transformed by the digital age. Aiding its metamorphosis in 2010 was the introduction of the iPad which, along with Amazon’s Kindle, spurred on the meteoric rise of the eBook. While this year saw more proclamations about the death of the print newspaper, huge news stories like the WikiLeaks cables injected new life into purportedly dying beasts.

Airlines + Travel Marketing

Confounding airlines and the tongues of news reporters alike, the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull filled the air with ash for seven long and flightless days. The TSA’s patdowns and backscatter x-ray technology threatened to prolong the American Thanksgiving rush, but what came out of it in the end were some rather “junky” YouTube videos.

Twitter-savvy director Kevin Smith ruffled the feathers of Southwest Airlines with statements like “You [messed] with the wrong sedentary processed-foods eater!” after he was booted out of his single seat for purportedly being “too fat to fly.” On the other side of the curtain, disgruntled JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater caused an incident memorable enough to warrant an eight-part Wikipedia entry.

We also saw some major mergers this year, with United and Continental becoming United Airlines and LAN and TAM poised to join forces in Latin America. Meanwhile, outer space acquired its first commercial caller, as Virgin Galactic’s V.S.S. Enterprise made its inaugural trip in October from a runway in New Mexico.

Branded Content + Entertainment

Old Spice, Nike and other brands proved that advertising can be as entertaining as unbranded content.

QR codes brought “traditional” media into the digital fold, with everyone from grocery stores to Dom Perignon crafting up clever 2D messages.

It’s that time of year when top 10 lists warrant their own top 10 lists: Time Magazine offers its top picks for entertainment, while Mashable serves up Twitter’s top trends.

Media + Magazines

The newspaper got its own doomsday clock this year but that hasn’t stopped muckrakers and newsgatherers; the recent WikiLeaks fiasco has brought issues such as transparency, freedom of the press and journalistic ethics back into the limelight.

The iPad launched in spring of 2010 to mixed reviews, selling over a million units within the first month.

Who said magazines can’t still turn heads? We leave you with the best magazine covers of 2010.

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