This reminds me why I stopped doing pieces debunking pseudo-science in that the journalism exposes aren’t going to change anybody’s mind. The believers take such comfort and identity from their convictions that they are immune to persuasion. But I do think a vehement “What the fuck color is your car?!?” is a good tactic to shake up the faithful.
I know as a fairly successful Music Editor that 99.5% of people cannot describe music in print for beans. I know that enough people to populate even this current expanded world of publicists can clearly describe the wheres and whats of a release. One big problem now is that the latter are expected to do the former — I’m supposed to tell from a description (usually quite low quality with a lotta “sounds like” comparisons which are worthless) whether I want to hear a record or not. A wild guess at best.
In the Golden Lost Era I was sent a lot of what came out with the wheres and what information, I listened to it until I made up my mind about it and maybe reviewed it, put it into the subjects for further listening pile or chucked it. If I wanted to do something with the release I would (OF COURSE) contact the publicist.
Now I get literally hundreds of emails with this racket of: “here’s this release” (we’ll leave out the noise of things I never review under any circumstances); “doya want it?”; “didja get it?”; “doya like it?”; “gonna review it?”. Sometimes capped by this sullen silence if I don’t like the music.
What in the fuck was the matter with Send It To Me/I’ll Listen To It/If I Wanna Write About It I’ll Get Back To You/Otherwise End of Story?
It was simpler, clearer and a helluva lot less distracting.
Excellent essay on the unavoidable eclipse of “free” journalism. I’ve known this was coming since Amazon devoured Rock.com by starting to sell recordings. I would only add one of the sorriest culture currents I know: deep down, too many people think writing, even journalism, is not real work. As McArdle notes, they have no idea.
Linda Greenhouse is always fascinating, and this is a particularly apt and knotty subject: how and where judges gain external information in deciding cases. I’ve cited my way-up then way-down experience with William O. Douglas. The general takeaway is never forget how much legal decisions ae affected by overflowing ego and personal prejudices.
This is the piece that put a huge crack in the foundation of my reverence for Malcolm Gladwell (yes, it’s about school shootings). I’m not sure Winkler’s recommendations at the end of the piece add up to much, either, but there’s no question she’s right about the flaws in comparing school shootings to riots. Since reading this, I’ve noticed Gladwell often has the fatal structure of superficially compelling argument based on a messed-up premise. Of course, the New Yorker goes ahead and reprints his essay about school shootings as though nobody had said nothing.
Good to recall a time when print was the powerhouse it has never been since. I was young and foolish, being shaped into a professional, so I went along with the upbeat mood: print was invincible! tech could makes pages more gorgeous than ever before! ultimately, big follies like: we don’t need no steenking subscriptions, ad revenue will never go down! online publications and social media are mere fads!
I resemble the remark that Vanity Fair was improperly revived. however — they hired me as a freelancer to do short reviews that paid the most serious scratch I had received until then. I managed a couple and a kill fee for a third when the shakeup came and the new brass shoved us out the windows. I never accepted Tina Brown’s “famous for being famous is as good as famous for accomplishments,” but I will admit that a lot of those first features in the Vanity Fair before her were a boring mess.
This morning I think, “Hell’s smells, the last print issue of the Village Voice will hit town today, so why don’t I cruise over to Harvard Square — and specifically Out of Town News — where I grabbed acres of publications when I first moved here — and pick up a copy if any are left.”
So I get there and look around and no nuthin’ nowhere. Adding to my flightless and clueless condition I ask: “Has the Village Voice sold out already?” Manager looks at me like I’m wearing paisley shorts with hair down to my butt and says “We haven’t got the Voice for four or five years!” “Well, the last print edition was yesterday.” “Ended for us a long time ago.”
So I go to the still-prime Newbury Comics and buy a couple CDs.
I attend an excellent free class on digital marketing of your brand. I am informed that Twitter analytics exists, which is serious news to me. Now I can see what’s going on over there a lot more. Might help me ask question to improve blog traffic,even.