People who work in traditional media and entertainment ought either to
concentrate on the antiquarian quality of their work, cultivating the exclusive
audience of TV viewers or magazine readers that might pay for craftsmanship. Or
they should imagine that they are 19 again: spending a day on Twitter or
following a recipe from a Mark Bittman video played on a refrigerator that
automatically senses what ingredients are missing and texts an order to the
grocery store (it will soon exist!). Then they should think about what content
suits these new modes of distribution and could evolve in tandem with them. For
old-media types, mental flexibility could be the No. 1 happiness secret we have
MG: Do you see that role changing, now or in the future, particularly given the proliferation of opinion writing on the Web?
GC: The column as we do it now is something that will probably die off with my generation. Currently, the critical thing you have to have to do a column—besides the general reporting and writing—is the ability to be able to deliver exactly 800 words twice a week, on deadline. On the Web, though, there’s no reason for that. The constraints don’t exist. So the next generation of columnists will be a totally different breed than we are. I don’t know exactly what they’ll look like—I mean, you can see hints now of what it will be—but they’re going to be a totally different thing.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
This column, technically appearing in tomorrow's NY Times magazine, says so much of what we have been discussing lately and would seem to say a lot specifically about the dilemma facing the Atlantic: