Essays

First-person reflections on life in the media business

Latest Essays

New Media, New Censorship Concerns New Media, New Censorship Concerns
This NYT reporter questions the future of freedom of the press on the Internet.
By Diana B. Henriques, December 17, 2008

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Bloggers, Writers, Web World Go Vertical
High-quality editorial talent will play a major role in keeping tomorrow's Web successes afloat.
By Tony Tjan, November 26, 2008
The Last Magazine?
The mag trade relies on 'an ancient and atrophied business model,' opines this industry expert, 'and we need a new model to breathe life into its ink-clogged corpuscles.'
By Bo Sacks, March 23, 2007
Either, Or? It's Neither
Why the split between "old" and "new" media doesn't make any sense
By Dorian Benkoil, February 2, 2007
How Magazines Can Survive
Industry wise man Bo Sacks proposes a new business model
By Bo Sacks, December 15, 2006
Under Siege: An Editor in Iraq
Driving the 'Highway of Death' and tracking nearby carnage were all in a day's work when the author served as The Washington Post's Baghdad bureau chief.
Excerpt: Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran, October 11, 2006
Holy War, Holy Terror: A Correspondent Inside Afghanistan
Reporting from war-torn Afghanistan for two decades, journalist Kathy Gannon describes hiding from Soviet helicopters, getting hate mail from readers accusing her of siding with terrorists and being the only Westerner permitted by the Taliban into Kabul.
Related: I is for Infidel excerpt
By Kathy Gannon, July 31, 2006
Bullshit Media Jobs
Stanley Bing, author of 100 Bullshit Jobs...And How to Get Them shares which media jobs were made for bullshit artists
Excerpt: 100 Bullshit Jobs...And How to Get Them
By Stanley Bing, June 12, 2006
The Skinny About Media Lingo
Unusual Origins of Media-Inspired Words
By Richard Weiner, May 15, 2006
Citizen Media Critic: Violet's 'Modern Family Living'
Finally, a magazine for families that look like yours
By Rachel Kramer Bussel, November 18, 2005
Feeling Bad for Judy: It's Possible
Jesse Kornbluth feels sorry for Judy Miller. But only a little.
By Jesse Kornbluth, November 2, 2005
All About Peeve
Christian Chensvold on the phrase that won't die
By Christian M. Chensvold, October 26, 2005
Unwitting Media Mega-Players and the Red State Consumers Who Support Them
Why media consumption in suburban Arkansas is increasingly more important than media consumption in the big city.
By Elizabeth Spiers, October 10, 2005
Tim Russert and the Dead Woman: Real Men Always Cry
Jesse Kornbluth on emotional media and "Meet the Press"
By Jesse Kornbluth, October 3, 2005
New Launch Review: Men's Vogue
The newest Condé Nast title gets it mostly right, awkward logo notwithstanding.
By Elizabeth Spiers, September 21, 2005
Citizen Media Critic: Guide-ing Light
The new TV Guide: lighter, fluffier, and infinitely less essential
By Joel Keller, September 12, 2005
Starbucks Media
The coffee company serves up a double shot of progressive messages
By Jesse Kornbluth, September 6, 2005
Life After Nielsen
Grab your soda and popcorn and turn on the TV! The hurricane starts in five minutes!
By Elizabeth Spiers, August 31, 2005
I'm OK!, You're OK!
Citizen Media Critic: Dana Vachon on why OK! magazine is the perfect American summer read
By Dana Vachon, August 22, 2005
How Not to Pitch
Three surefire dealbreakers
By Elizabeth Spiers, August 17, 2005
Neither His Nor Hers
Citizen Media Critic: Rachel Kramer Bussel on the latest offering in the "couples mag" genre
By Rachel Kramer Bussel, August 15, 2005
Citizen Media Critic: If You're Thinking of Starting a Women's Mag...
An open letter to would-be women's mag editors
By Elizabeth Spiers, August 8, 2005
Acapulco Gold
Travel writing and easy living south of the border
By Nick Gallo, August 3, 2005
A Tale of Two Murders
How the Internet gets media coverage for a convicted killer
By Jesse Kornbluth, August 1, 2005
Working 9 to 5: When the Desk Job Sounds Appealing
A former freelancer on making the transition from freelance to staff
By Kristine Hansen, July 27, 2005
Citizen Media Critic: Chicken Soup for the Soul Magazine
The best-selling book series begets a magazine—and never-before-seen Elvis photos
By Elizabeth Spiers, July 25, 2005
Down and Out in China
Luxury and Desperation in the Fastest Growing Economy on Earth
By Richard Baimbridge, July 20, 2005
Citizen Media Critic: Justice Magazine
The co-founders of Blottered.com take on a magazine about celebrity justice
By Chris Gage and Andrew Krucoff, July 18, 2005
Do Not Try This At Home: One Man's Harrowing (And Slightly Ironic) Attempt to Get a Media Gig
New Gridskipper editor Chris Mohney on how he landed his job at Gawker Media
By Chris Mohney, July 11, 2005
Anonymous Reviewing: A Review
A novelist and short-story writer (who shall not remain anonymous) on the dangers of unbylined reviews
By Quinn Dalton, June 29, 2005
What Would Kinsley Do?
Michael Kinsley, mischief and experiments in news-making
By Elizabeth Spiers, June 22, 2005
Adventures in Journalism: The Last Days of Party Reporting
A writer says goodbye to the party circuit
By Elizabeth Spiers, June 8, 2005
The Writing on the Wall: When Reality Isn't Enough
Jesse Kornbluth on why fiction is sometimes more comfortable than reality
By Jesse Kornbluth, June 6, 2005
Notes from the Underground: Riposte
A local news writer on why big city journalism isn't always the best kind
By Cari Gervin, May 25, 2005
Dilemmas in Media Reporting: Is Navel Gazing Good for You?
The surreality of media-on-media coverage—and why we need it
By Elizabeth Spiers, May 23, 2005
A Day in the Life
Adventures in magazine ad sales
By Billy Lohman, May 18, 2005
If Your Journalism School Says It Knows What's Best For You, Check It Out
An open letter to the class of 2005
By Greg Lindsay, May 11, 2005
We Don't Need No Regulation
Why bloggers don't need standards: They already have them.
By Elizabeth Spiers, May 9, 2005
The Internet Tail Will Come to Wag the Magazine Dog
Jesse Kornbluth on the dwindling life expectancy of print-only media
By Jesse Kornbluth, May 4, 2005
Wired, MAKE, and MacGyver
The evolution of the geek mag
By Elizabeth Spiers, April 25, 2005
Notes from the Underground (Newspaper)
An ex-Queens newspaperman on the allure of a media job in the big city
By Paul Menchaca, April 20, 2005
Ever Green
A freelance novice gets a cold look at the trials and tribulations that surround that first, lucky clip
By Scott Warren, April 13, 2005
Extremely Similar and Incredibly Suspicious
Jonathan Safran Foer's new book reads a lot like his wife Nicole Krauss's new book. How much literary collaboration is too much?
By Emma Garman, March 23, 2005
Hopefully (Not)
Ten usage and grammar errors that could (or should) cripple a career
By Jesse Kornbluth, March 21, 2005
Adventures in Journalism: Clueless is the new black?
A day in the life of a Daily fashion reporter
By Faran Alexis Krentcil, March 16, 2005
Adventures in Opinion Writing: No Easy Answers
Why are there fewer female opinion writers? Another possible factor.
By Elizabeth Spiers, March 14, 2005
Why I Steal
Jesse Kornbluth's first column on books that will make you a better writer
By Jesse Kornbluth, March 7, 2005
Citizen Media Critic: Lucky magazine
Writer Rachel Kramer Bussel discusses her conflicted relationship with the infamous women's shopping mag
By Rachel Kramer Bussel, February 9, 2005
Adventures in Journalism: Death Be Not Proud. Or Tactful.
A newspaper reporter quits the darkest beat.
By Geraldine Hayward, January 19, 2005
Adventures in Journalism: The Princess Diaries
One of the perks of being a beauty editor: extra presents at Christmas. Lots of extra presents at Christmas.
By Mary Lisa Gavenas, December 29, 2004
Adventures in Journalism: Scary Little Man
In this week's episode of Adventures in Journalism, William Georgiades gets fact-checked—by Dave Eggers.
By William Georgiades, December 2, 2004
Paid Content: Not for Nothing
One writer explains why she's willing to write for free.
By Deirdre Day-MacLeod, December 2, 2004
Doing It For Money
This week mediabistro takes a look at the economics of producing content.
By Elizabeth Spiers, November 30, 2004
Paid to Write
One Woman's Unbelievable Story
By Elizabeth Spiers, November 30, 2004
Mr. Klein and the New New Media
New Media vs Traditional Media: It's hard to tell the difference anymore.
By Elizabeth Spiers, November 23, 2004
Adventures in Journalism: Petty Games
After an inexplicable rejection, William Georgiades wages war on the New York Press—from the offices of Esquire magazine.
By William Georgiades, November 17, 2004
Anger Management for Journalists
In defense of being pissed off.
By Elizabeth Spiers, November 16, 2004
Starstruck
A celebrity tabloid leads one writer to a Fuller, yet emptier, life.
By Dana Vachon, November 15, 2004
I'm Not Feeling Like Myself Today
A professional ghostwriter describes the strange experience of inhabiting someone else's life.
By Deirdre Day-MacLeod, November 12, 2004
Adventures in Journalism: World Traveler
William Georgiades chronicles the birth and painful demise of an ill-fated travel writing piece.
By William Georgiades, November 10, 2004
Just Add Celebrities!
Freelancer Kevin Baker discloses his secret weapon for pitching editors.
By Kevin Baker, November 3, 2004
Ex Post Facto
From spinning the debates to Rathergate, fact checking is finally getting its due. But one research editor wonders if our fixation on facts will ever get us anything besides bragging rights.
By Lionel Beehner, October 20, 2004
Local Points
An editor at a regional mag explains how to pitch your local magazines—and why you should, even if the pay is low.
By Jen A. Miller, October 13, 2004
Confessions of a Bicoastal Writer
New York City may be the publishing capital of the world, but a Seattle-based freelancer proves it's possible to make it in the big city from 3,000 miles away.
By Sarah Jio, October 6, 2004
Scooped!
You've got a great idea and an editor's interest, but the story gets trashed when a similar piece runs in another publication. What's a freelancer to do? A newbie writer offers her step-by-step guide on how to avoid—and survive—being scooped.
By Allison Devers, September 29, 2004
Internal Bleed
Our outgoing editorial intern wonders if he'll ever get a real job.
By Greg Bloom, September 8, 2004
Byline Envy
A plucky freelance writer learns how to surmount rather than succumb to the second sin.
By Nancy Davidson, September 1, 2004
English, Languishing
One writer wonders why no one seems to care about grammar and diction anymore.
By Bruce Apar, August 11, 2004
Hide and Seek
How to search for a new job without the old one catching on.
By Corey Pein, August 4, 2004
Hack vs. Flack
PR guru Richard Laermer knows why writers sometimes can't stand publicists—and what PR people should do to avoid that.
By Richard Laermer, July 14, 2004
Battling Dr. Phil
A reporter set out to write a fair, honest book on the phenomenon that is Dr. Phil. But how was she to react when the TV shrink's people decided she was just out for dirt?
By Sophia Dembling, July 7, 2004
The Neverending Story
The writing process is never done, as a financier-turned-freelancer has come to realize.
By E. Jeanne Harnois, June 30, 2004
Blogging Fads
Are blogs the great new way to get news, or just the best new way to spread buzz?
By Lionel Beehner, June 16, 2004
Coming Out
A secretly straight author takes a deep breath and exits the closet.
By Allison Burnett, June 9, 2004
Sales Pitch
One writer discovers that sales training can help in her freelance career.
By Nancy Davidson, June 2, 2004
The Ballad of a Rookie Pitcher
One of our favorite writers strikes out with his first real magazine pitches. But he'll be up again.
By Chris Gage, May 19, 2004
I Want Some More
Everyone thinks they deserve a raise, but very few actually do. How to figure out if you're one of them, and how best to ask for it.
By Susan A. Patton, May 12, 2004
Elegy for a Temp Job
AOL CityGuides finally decided to make its editors employees rather than contractors. Which sucks for New York's cadre of scribbling freelancers.
By Adam Bonislawski, May 5, 2004
Living with The Fear
A freelance correspondent in Baghdad wonders if it's time to get out.
By Christina Asquith, April 28, 2004
Where Does It Hurt?
Journalists' jobs often demand that we witness tremendous violence and horrible death. We're trained to turn off our emotions when we take in these things, but can we avoid being affected?
By Caitlin Kelly, April 21, 2004
Falling Star
On top of all her other sins, Bonnie Fuller has attempted to class up Star magazine—which, says a longtime fan, is ruining it.
By Katie Haegele, April 14, 2004
Bitchbox Revisited
Two years ago, a young Hearst editorial assistant sent mb's "Bitchbox" an anonymous rant about her job—which, after a Hearst investigation, she didn't keep for much longer. Now she's unmasking herself and explaining why she did it.
By Jill Sieracki, April 7, 2004
Trading Places
Moving from one career path into a glam media one instead doesn't mean starting over again—if you do it right.
By Susan A. Patton, March 31, 2004
FishbowlNY Guide to Pretending Like You've Never Heard of the Blogs That Keep Mentioning You
March 28, 2004
What I Learned in JOURN 371
As a University of Maryland classmate of Jayson Blair's, I wrote the first piece ever done about him. But I never published it.
By Marisa Torrieri, March 24, 2004
Recruiters, Reconsidered
Even in an age of online job boards, one industry vet explains why a recruiter can still be a big help.
By Arnold M. Huberman, March 17, 2004
Recruiter, Schmecruiter
A publishing- and media-world human resources vet explains why recruiters just don't make sense anymore.
By Susan A. Patton, March 10, 2004
Oh, Canada
An erstwhile New York writer now living in Toronto gives a her neighbors to the south a look at Canada's hot new magazines.
By Sarah Lazarovic, March 3, 2004
Making Book
The best way to get published is to find an agent. So how do you get an agent?
By Elise Proulx, February 25, 2004
Lies, Damned Lies, and Google
It's all the rage for writers to prove their points by citing Google. One problem: The stats are meaningless.
By Lionel Beehner, February 18, 2004
Writer, Edit Thyself
How can a writer and editor edit her own writing? A book editor and freelance writer gives tips on how she does it.
By Jen Weiss, February 11, 2004
Sued by Lingua Franca
A defendant wonders, when a magazine goes bankrupt, can it take down its freelance contributors with it?
By Gavin McNett, February 4, 2004
The Truth About Recruiters
A leading publishing-biz talent recruiter gives the lowdown on what folks in her business can and can't do for you.
By Susan Gordon, January 28, 2004
Didja Hear?
Why we like to break bad news.
By Richard Laermer, January 21, 2004
Meet the Presses
For the first time, a production editor visits his printing plant.
By Norman Jeffries, January 14, 2004
I Was a Grade-School Glass
A writer reflects on the meteoric rise and terrible fall of his journalism career.
By John Barry, January 7, 2004
State of the 'Bistro Message
As the year ends, Laurel Touby reflects on the little website that could—and all the great new things on tap for 2004.
By Laurel Touby, December 31, 2003
Letters to the Editor
mb readers believe there really is a Santa Claus—and that media should be deregulated.
December 24, 2003
Bikerlady, Empress
When a PR gal became a motorcycle writer, little did she know she'd end up building herself a brand.
By Sasha Mullins, December 3, 2003
I Was Stalked on Amazon.com
A screenwriter-turned-first novelist let his good customer feedback go to his head. So there was only one option when someone started campaigning against his book on the site: Fight back.
By Allison Burnett, November 19, 2003
Nice Work, or Is It?
One travel writer was feeling burnt out—until Crazy Horse reminded her why she loves her job.
By Melissa Marshall, November 12, 2003
Reflecting Glass
A former New Republic fact checker remembers the wake of Stephen Glass.
By Benjamin Soskis, October 31, 2003
Writing vs. Writing
How life in a newsroom can hurt—and maybe help—your fiction-writing career.
By Dann Halem, October 22, 2003
Secrets of the Slush
A book editor's advice for keeping yourself out of the slush pile.
By Jen Weiss, October 15, 2003
I Am Not a Groupie
There's a big distinction between music journalists and groupies. Isn't there?
By Simona Rabinovich, October 8, 2003
Colonist
For this aspiring novelist, a stay at an artists' colony is like a trip to the Riviera.
By Allison Amend, October 1, 2003
Not in the Bathroom
One editor explains how aspiring authors can make the most of writers' conferences by knowing when to talk to editors and agents—and when not to.
By Jen Weiss, September 24, 2003
Faking It
An erstwhile sex columnist says it's time for Sex and the City to go.
By Angelina Sciolla, September 17, 2003
Sexy, or Sexual Harassment?
Is there such a thing as sexual harassment when your job is reviewing vibrators?
By Stephanie Pekarsky, September 10, 2003
I, Quarksmith
Sure, give the creative geniuses their due. But don't forget the production people—the humble tradesmen who execute those bold designs.
By Chris Gage, September 3, 2003
He Needs a Drink
One writer searches for a bar of his own.
By John Barry, August 20, 2003
Jealous Hippos
In the insular world of emerging fiction writers, the Times Book Review carries cooties.
By Allison Amend, August 13, 2003
The Perils of Overqualification
In a bad job market, what's a work-seeking media pro to do when employers are scared off by his experience?
By Scott Lajoie, July 23, 2003
This Is Not a Drill
As his startup trims staff, one would-be editor learns to be ready for anything.
By Chris Gage, July 16, 2003
Gay for Play?
Was last week a great one for U.S. gays? Or was it great for the media to say it was a great week for gays?
By Richard Laermer, July 2, 2003
United Nations
One writer notes a lazy headline trend that's shockingly popular—nationwide.
By Lionel Beehner, June 18, 2003
My Diversity Story
In a mostly white trade-pub newsroom, one editor learned the value of affirmative-action programs—and the danger of too much racial cautiousness.
By Charles Paikert, June 4, 2003
Selling Furniture, Tchotchkes—and Your Soul
A freelancer was just biding time in retail. Until she got sucked in—and spat out.
By Sarah Cavill, May 28, 2003
Off Pitch
At a women writer's conference, one freelancer tries to land an agent.
By Angelina Sciolla, May 14, 2003
When Nerds Go Bad
The geeks shall inherit the earth, they say. But what happens when the smart kids turn into bullies, too?
By Katie Haegele, April 30, 2003
Notes on Not Writing
Or: How Lizzie Skurnick Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Procrastination
By Lizzie Skurnick, April 16, 2003
Ask mb
In our new advice column, Celeste Mitchell gives the lowdown on press credentials.
By Celeste Mitchell, April 11, 2003
Crime or Coincidence?
What's a writer to do when her ideas show up in the magazine she pitched them to—under someone else's byline?
By Nina Willdorf, April 2, 2003
Why We Write in Starbucks
Only $4 for what's left of bohemia—and the grande latte is free.
By Lizzie Skurnick, March 19, 2003
The Positively True Adventures of a Literary Crash-Test Dummy
When a nascent men's mag needed a gonzo hotdog vendor, Jon Hart was their man.
March 5, 2003
We Got A Facelift, Baby!
Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be rolling out our redesign, folks, and we really hope you like it. Click here to comment.
February 9, 2003