Category Beyond the career stuff

The Guardian’s editor gives the definitive speech on online newspapers

The Guardian‘s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger gave a speech that covers everything you need to know. Did you know that the Guardian is the second-most read English-language newspaper online? I didn’t. If The New York Times moves to a pay wall model in 2011 as planned, the Guardian will be heir to the top spot. No […]

R.I.P. Nancy Lee Head, my favorite activist

Two days after I received a card from her in response to mine, Nancy Lee Head passed away at her home in Arlington, Va. It was startling to find out the news. She had been doing fine! Nancy Lee was the most inspirational activist I’ve ever met. I find myself wanting to paraphrase some words […]

Do journalists need to become entrepreneurs?

I’m especially fascinated by essayist and venture capitalist Paul Graham’s model for a good journalism start-up: Pair up a writer/reporter with a supersmart programmer and a graphic designer. Other combinations are possible, of course, such as having a videographer on the team. Or, as Charles Pelton has proposed in a different context, putting an events/marketing/conference-organizing/listings-service […]

How much is New York Times content worth?

The Times is my favorite publication, and I pay about $14 a month for its content via my Kindle. So that’s what I think it it’s worth. But not everyone else agrees. UPDATE May 2010: The New York Times Sunday magazine published a great survey of this question since I’ve published this blog post. If […]

Is advertising information you don’t need?

The optimists say that the economics of publishing content online won’t always be bad. There won’t always be an oversupply of skilled content producers and a corresponding lack of enough online advertising income to support their work. We’re told that display advertising will become more interactive, and thus will attract more users, and that this […]

Why “content” is an ugly but necessary word

I dislike the word content as much as anyone. So does Paul Graham, as he explains in his essay Post-Medium Publishing: “The word suggests an undifferentiated slurry. But economically that’s how both publishers and audiences treat it. Content is information you don’t need.” Compare and contrast: Being in the magazine business is being in the […]

The stars don’t twinkle at the calmest place on Earth

An icy plateau in Antarctica called Ridge A is the calmest place on Earth. There’s almost no wind or weather there at all. The atmosphere is so still that stars do not twinkle. Stars appear at Ridge A with about the same clarity as observed by the Hubble telescope in outer space. Another reason Ridge […]

How to recognize a winning Web content model

Like many reporters, I’ve read dozens—no, make that hundreds—of articles and reports on the (doomed) fate of newspapers and magazines in the digital era. But by far the simplest and clearest essay I’ve read is Post-Medium Publishing by Paul Graham (shown left). My favorite part of Graham’s essay is his test for recognizing what new […]

Something about Robert De Niro

In the mid-1970s, Robert De Niro was in danger of getting typecast as a street tough, due to his performances in Mean Streets and Taxi Driver. So he leapt at a chance to play an elegant white-collar guy in The Last Tycoon. De Niro was coached by director Elia Kazan in how to appear intellectual. […]


David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, once told an interviewer that his favorite place in the city was Film Forum on West Houston in the Village: I have only one ambition: that one day I will be buried there. Up close. Near the screen. I know it’s lame because it’s a copycat thing, but […]