A sign of the times: everyone wants to see what's on your smartphone
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Like I Said About the New Republic…

In an opinion piece published by the Washington Post last evening, New Republic owner Chris Hughes confirms what I asserted two days ago: The publication seeks to remain relevant, which won’t happen staying the current course, and that massive staff and contributor resignations are not a clash of journalistic values. My followup published yesterday, explains how I came to see the wisdom behind the magazine’s move to become a “vertically integrated digital media company”, as stated by CEO Guy Vidra.

You could sum up my original post in sentence: “Hughes and Vidra seek profitability and visibility for the New Republic“. The magazine’s owner confirms in the Post opinion: “I didn’t buy the New Republic to be the conservator of a small print magazine whose long-term influence and survival were at risk. I came to protect the future of the New Republic by creating a sustainable business so that our journalism, values and voice—the things that make us singular—could survive”. [Read more]

Stormtroopers
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News Gatherers, Follow the Reporting!

When starting to write last night’s commentary on the upheaval at the New Republic, I sided firmly with the resigning staff. After all, they apparently stand firm for journalistic integrity and preserving an institution that reached a century’s publication in September. But the more I researched, the more obvious the wisdom changing the magazine’s editorial distribution approach and relocating to New York. I followed the reporting rather than personal preconceptions, or biases.

I started with headline: “Say Goodbye to the Old Republic”, choosing the above photo of stormtroopers snapped during Comic-Con 2014. I assumed that anyone who ever watched Star Wars—and who hasn’t—would get the hed and art combo. But midway through writing and research, which I often do simultaneously in one draft, the story shifted somewhere else. When finished writing, I changed headline to “Say Hello to the New Republic” and photo to Manhattan’s Soho district. After some deliberation about burying the lede, I tacked on an addition to the first paragraph: “which, by the way, is totally sensible”, referring to the “magazine’s massive makeover”. The top half remains as written, which I hope doesn’t confuse the reader or misshape the storytelling. [Read more]

Manhattan
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Say Hello to the New Republic

The New Republic boggles the mind for what its changes represent: Large number of staff resignations as the publication relocates and transforms into something else. I can’t but think the defections make way for a new blood transfusion and clear out editorial cholesterol that could slow down the transition from the old New Republic to the new New Republic. How ironic that by quitting, the exiting editors enable the iconic magazine’s massive makeover, which, by the way, is totally sensible.

The story goes like this: Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, whose social media magic ignited Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign, purchased the New Republic in March 2012. Following foreshadowings, on Dec. 4, 2014, recently appointed CEO Guy Vidra announced the departures of editor-in-chief Frank Foer and long-time literary editor Leon Wieseltier. (Three decades!) Gabriel Snyder takes over the top editorial spot. [Read more]

Joe's Desk
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I Started Tech Reporting 20 Years Ago

Sometimes I joke about working my way down from editor to reporter. In autumn 1993, I was employed by a now defunct general interest magazine, commissioning, editing, and processing stories—the whole gamut right through design and pagination. For five years a note hung over the light switch to my workspace: “What’s the point?” It’s the question I asked when reading every story, many of them from academics who never seemed capable of making a point or just getting to one.

My career path changed after reading “The Future is Now” by Kate McKenna in what was then called Washington Journalism Review. The lede cajoled: “The last time newspapers were this interested in new technology, they were looking for ways to keep the ink from rubbing off on their readers’ hands. Now they’re exploring how a newspaper can survive, even thrive, without ink—and maybe without paper”. She convinced me the Internet would irrevocably change publishing. [Read more]

Black-Friday
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Black Friday’s Best Deal is Original Content

Matt Burns’ “The Black Friday Survival Guide” is original content as it should be: Clever, funny, provocative, and unique. This piece of craftsmanship, posted yesterday to TechCrunch, stands apart from the dribble that all looks alike, because it is—lazy aggregators copying news someone else reports, or too often similarly regurgitates. Puke is gross. Let’s not remake and rebake as dinner.

His piece of brilliance evokes the classic survival guide recast to the urban landscape, where dangerous predators roam shopping malls huntings deals and around whom anyone with even 10 meters distance risks being collateral damage. The safest place to be on Black Friday is somewhere else. But if you must go out, Matt has your back. [Read more]