What Became Of San Diego's Newspaper

The dystopian author Mike Davis once wrote that San Diego—the city where I live, 100 condo-packed miles south of Los Angeles—is "arguably the nation's capital of white collar crime." In fact, Davis devoted a book to the claim, Under the Perfect Sun, whose thesis underscores the old adage that "San Diego is a sunny place where lots of shady people go." Davis describes a history of graft and deception in which the city's business monopolists mingled with landowners and indentured politicians to create a Petri dish for "dynamic, even visionary, self-interest." Though such revelations have been reported on for decades, this view of the city's seedy past is a narrative [...]


A Brief History Of The New Republic's Various Stances On War

Since its founding, The New Republic has been issuing opinions about when and where the United States should go to war. What follows is a survey of some of the positions taken by the magazine's editors and columnists on a number of military interventions, stretching from World War I through this week's Leon Wieseltier piece on Syria. (Note: This history is admittedly incomplete, with gaps where archives weren't available online.)

WORLD WAR I Herbert Croly and Walter Lippmann, founding editors, initially maintained an isolationist stance. But things got a bit wobbly after the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania, which occurred six months after the publication of the magazine’s [...]


The Last Female Staff Reporter Quits the 'New York Observer'

As of five weeks ago, there were two women staff reporters at the New York Observer. Three weeks ago, one of those women quit; today, Irina Aleksander, the last woman staff reporter, has given notice. (We hear she'll be writing regularly for Times Styles—Alexandra Jacobs, a long-time Observer editor, decamped for Times Styles two months ago.) According to the paper's newly updated masthead, the paper now has nine staff writers, all of them men. (Of its non-staff "contributing writers" list of 13, two are women.) This all comes not long after the last woman editor—excluding the managing editor—quit. In the last month, one man was hired at [...]


"It's Not About Scale": Defending the iPad's Magazine Sales Numbers

As things are currently set up, people with iPads who want to buy a magazine on their shiny device have to go searching for it. There's no magazine rack, or what have you. Still, I'm not sure you can put that sunny a face on the figures for sales of magazines on the iPad, as reported by Ad Age. Wired at least started extremely strong, at 100,000. Now they do about 30,000 an issue. Still pretty good! People is doing 10,000 an issue (and that includes free digital issues to print subscribers). Vanity Fair does about 9000 an issue. Other magazines are doing even fewer sales; many are [...]


Goodbye, Anecdotes! The Age Of Big Data Demands Real Criticism

If you think of all the information encoded in the universe from your genome to the furthest star, from the information that's already there, codified or un-codified, to the information pregnant in every interaction, "big" has become the measure of data. And our capacity to produce and collect Big Data in the digital age is very big indeed. Every day, we produce 2.5 exabytes of information, the analysis of which will, supposedly, make us healthier, wiser, and above all, wealthier—although it's all a bit fuzzy as to what, exactly, we're supposed to do with 2.5 exabytes of data—or how we're supposed to do whatever it is that we're supposed to [...]


Deborah Solomon Will Condense No More

Sad news for those who rush to the New York Times Magazine every Sunday just so they can hate-read Deborah Solomon's annoying Q&A's: She won't be doing it anymore. Relatedly, I guess, I did enjoy this quote from the current edition of "Questions For," from filmmaker Eugene Jarecki: "We’ve reached the point of such hysteria and the stupidification of the American discourse that to simply approach a subject in a measured fashion is to totally jam the circuits that currently exist for that kind of communication."


Newspaper Encouraged To Run Racy Photos

"Opportunity knocked, and Capri Anderson was quick to answer. Within hours of being outed as the mystery woman hiding naked in Charlie Sheen's ravaged Plaza Hotel suite, Anderson, a 22-year-old hard-core porn star moved quickly to make sure the spotlight was firmly on her…. Photos featuring the porn star, who has also used the names Christina Walsh and Alexis Capri, in various states of undress were quickly posted to her website, and the media was openly encouraged to feature them as much as possible,"


Maureen Dowd, Cub Reporter

It’s easy to look at our media industrial complex and forget that its members were once young and hungry, that they had to hustle, grease sources and report stories within an inch of life. One can imagine these scrappers delirious just to see a byline buried on B4 or, God forbid, a sidebar. They sammy glicked their way through the newsroom. No one exited the womb a star.

Even so, these people seem to exist only in the ever-present. We see Juan Williams as Hannity’s graying foil—who sold out for the change in Roger Ailes' pocket—but not the guy who, in 1987, churned out a gorgeous profile of a [...]


On Being Laid Off from Harper's

"Life at a publication such as Harper’s is far from easy. The pay is bad, chances for advancement are almost nonexistent (during my tenure at the magazine, only two people on the editorial staff received a promotion due to merit rather than attrition; I was one them), and with each day, the sense that the magazine and the nation’s readers hold less and less in common only seems to increase." —Theodore Ross on having just been laid off from Harper's after six years.


How To Read Headlines

Remember Beattie's Law: "If there’s a question mark in the headline the answer is either (tabloid) 'no' or (broadsheet) 'who cares?'"