Friday, August 16th, 2013

Six Lesser-Known "Golden Ages" of Media, 1991 – 2005

Do you hate it when your friends, co-workers and office enemies become successful? Then be careful where you work. What outfits like PostBourgie have done—it is now too late to stop the Grape Drink Mafia!—is gather together a super-smart (or sometimes just super-aggressive) group of people that will go on to success and perhaps even dominance in media. (You could say something similar about n+1, but they're all basically unemployed novelists, and there weren't that many of them anyway. What about The New Inquiry? Well, only time will tell. Check back in later 2013.)

Over the last twenty years, a handful of scenes emerged that seem to have fed people into dominant roles in journalism. (That most of these scenes were all or nearly all white explains quite a bit about some things too.) But it's true: you can't just play "where are they now" with any old masthead and get satisfaction; many mastheads are full of folks that have moved on to other fields or are otherwise unfindable.

Cases could be made for lots of recent eras at other publications. (The Advocate, circa… 2000? The New Republic in 2007? Was there a golden age of Details???) But here's six examples of moments that might not have seemed magical at the time but certainly look it in retrospect. Bonus: none of them are Spy.

As with any list, omissions, unpleasant memories and time compression are purely the fault of the passage of time. Suck it up.

Lingua Franca, 1990 – 2001

Where are they now?

• A.O. Scott, New York Times film critic
• Hillary Frey, editorial director of NBC News Digital
• Daniel Zalewski, New Yorker
• Warren St. John, formerly New York Times
• Emily Eakin, New York Review of Books, New York Times
• Judith Shulevitz, The New Republic
• Margaret Talbot, New Yorker
• Larissa McFarquhar, New Yorker
• Emily Nussbaum, New Yorker
• Alex Star, FSG
• Lev Grossman, novelist, Time book critic
• Laura Secor, New Yorker
Masha Gessen

Vibe, mid-90s

Where are they now?

• Danyel Smith, two-time Vibe editor and editor of Billboard
• Joe Angio, editor of Time Out, documentary filmmaker
• Carter Harris, writer, "Friday Night Lights"
• Kathy Dobie, contributor to Harper's, GQ
Sacha Jenkins
Greg Tate
• Dave Bry
• Minya Oh, Hot 97
• Mimi Valdés, editor of Vibe, Latina, then head of
• Josh Tyrangiel, editor of Bloomberg Businessweek

Spin circa 2003-2005

Where are they now?

• Sia Michel, editor, Arts & Leisure, New York Times
• Will Hermes, Rolling Stone and NPR
• Dave Itzkoff, New York Times
• Alex Pappademas, Grantland
• Chuck Klosterman, Grantland
Thomas Beller
• Marc Spitz, Vanity Fair
• Melissa Maerz, TV critic, Entertainment Weekly
• Zev Borow
• Mark Schone has since won Emmy, duPont, Peabody, and Murrow awards


Where are they now?

Heather Havrilesky
• Ana Marie Cox, Wonkette, now The Guardian
• Owen Thomas, editor, ReadWriteWeb
• Nick Gillespie, Reason
• Chris Lehmann, The Baffler and BookForum
• Josh Ozersky, Time
• Jake Tapper, ABC
• Greg Knauss
• Mark Dery
• Tim Cavanaugh, Reason
• Elaine Blair, NY Review of Books
Feed Contributing Editors list: Keith Gessen, Sam Lipsyte, Clay Shirky

Inside Dot Com

Where are they now?

• David Carr, New York Times
• PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit
• Erik Wemple, Washington Post
• Simon Dumenco, Ad Age
• Michael Cieply, New York Times
• Seth Mnookin, MIT
• Greg Lindsay, in some airport somewhere
• Lorne Manly, New York Times
• Craig Marks, editor of Blender, Billboard
• Sara Nelson, editorial director,

Weird Philadelphia Scene, circa 2003-2005

While there were a few publications attached to this group, including Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia magazine, this strange scene spanned publications and later assaulted New York City somewhat simultaneously (and not subtly). This is the most confounding of all these scenes; by around 2007, they had all depart d Philadelphia.

Where are they now?

• Doree Shafrir, executive editor, BuzzFeed
• Jessica Pressler, New York
• AJ Daulerio, editorial director, Spin and Vibe
• Moe Tkacik
• Stephen Rodrick, New York Times Magazine
• Gabe Boylan,
• Sasha Issenberg
• Bethlehem Shoals, The Classical
• Christine Smallwood, New Yorker and Harper's contributor
• Mattathias Schwartz, New Yorker and Harper's contributor
• Dan P. Lee, New York
• Mark Lotto, GQ
• Benjamin Wallace, New York
• Michael Schaffer, editorial director of The New Republic, former Washington City Paper editor

18 Comments / Post A Comment

brent_cox (#40)

New York Press, 96-99.

@brent_cox I would strongly agree actually. (JUST the Amy Sohn/Jonathan Ames thing alone!)

brent_cox (#40)

@Choire Sicha@facebook Please don't tell Russ Smith.

@brent_cox Christopher Caldwell, Daniel Radosh, William Monahan, Sam Sifton …

fek (#93)

"Greg Lindsay, in some airport somewhere." You forgot "Jeopardy champ"! Also, Bry works at 'Plex.

libmas (#231)! I was so thrilled when Simon Dumenco answered an email I sent him about captioning the Heather Graham Talk cover by using quotes from the interview inside!

30540196@twitter (#247,052)

WHAT ABOUT GIZMODO CIRCA 2008, CHOIRE???? don't make me list all the CHAMPS that came outta there

Drawn7979 (#242,134)


aw i guess i was writing for the city paper by the time 2003 rolled around u_u

Logan5 (#233,031)

I'd love to see this same idea done with less-golden ages of journalism. "Right-wing blogs of the 00's… where are they now?"

Maybe I should have been paying more attention. I guess I missed the Golden Age. I mean, honestly, in the 1990's I wasn't reading Spin or Vibe, and the other outlets you mention don't ring a very loud bell either. As for where they all are now, I ask myself, would I really want a job at The New York Times in this day and age? No, I don't. I don't want to be Frank Bruni and have to link my column to Facebook to get anybody to read it. And look at poor Doree. Executive Editor at Buzzfeed. Is that even a real job? I didn't realize Buzzfeed had an editor. I thought it was more like a clipping service. Anyway. I'd much rather edit or write for something like The Awl. Because, I don't know, I'm just picky I guess. I don't need the whole world to read what I write, but I'd like the people who do read it to appreciate the effort and try to get something out of it.

camelface (#4,600)

@Gary Michael Porter cool it seems like you really "get" it.

JW Mason (#10,308)

What, no love for the Baffler?

alorsenfants (#139)

Dear Choire –

Just wanted to say that I saw some excerpts from your book last night and think all will be interesting going forward! Congratulations! And that New Yorker piece is going to help a lot –

Best from VA (think you blocked me on Twitter – but still very best),

Drew Hart

JW Mason (#10,308)

Also, for Lingua Franca, weird you leave out Rick Perlstein, arguably their highest profile alum. And Adam Shatz, who's now books editor at The Nation.

joeclark (#651)

After you fix your copy errors, you can delete the now-commonplace spam comments.

Freddie DeBoer (#4,188)

Most interesting question, to me, is to what degree individuals maintained the social, aesthetic, and philosophical commitments from the old publications in their later work. If they largely have, this kind of exercise is interesting. If they largely haven't, it's pulling out the old high school yearbook.

Freddie DeBoer (#4,188)

@Freddie DeBoer The latter of which, I hasten to add, can be fun.

Post a Comment