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