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2006: Who knew only men could foretell the future?

It’s my job at Fishbowl to observe, comment on and critique the New York media world – if I’m to have any credibility at all in so doing, I have to be able to look at Mediabistro and its properties with the same eyes.

So I can’t let this go without comment: earlier this week, mothership (and my employer) Mediabistro published “2006: A Media New Year,” a list of media predictions for 2006 from eleven “critics, commentators, and industry reporters.” Here’s the thing: all of them were male.

Now, I have no doubt that the omission was unintentional – author David Hirschman is an absolute doll, and a friend – but that is still unacceptable, especially when there are so many intelligent, savvy, qualified and witty women who know the industry and have smart, informed opinions. It’s also an appalling message to send to the thousands of people who visit Mediabistro every day.

So on this, the last business day of 2005, I present th FishbowlNY round-up of some other expert prognosticators, with their thoughts on the coming year in this industry, by turns witty, intelligent, thoughtful, and insightful. Please note that this is NOT an exhaustive list; I only saw the article myself yesterday morning (my bad), and this is just who we were able to nab over 24 hours during a holiday week (one person even emailed from a boat in the Virgin Islands!). So stay tuned – I’ll be updating this post as stuff comes in.

And now, I give you “2006: The Year in Media Predictions” by a bevy of smart, expert industry observers and participants who also just happen to be female.

Lynn Harris, Salon/”Broadsheet” contributor; author of “Miss Media” and, for the record, not E. Lynn Harris:

  • CNN’s new format: “Anderson Cooper 24/7.”

  • The Times will break the following news, again: Reggaeton is hot, blogging is popular, the Eighties are back.
  • Also at the Times: the Styles section goes daily, replacing Science, Metro, and National.
  • Oxygen Media continues to fail to appear on anyone’s list of media
    predictions, or TiVo.

  • Going out on limb here: A.J. Jacobs tries something, writes book.
  • Mediabistro includes women in its 2007 list of prognosticators.

Myrna Blyth, NY Sun and NRO columnist, former editor of Ladies Home Journal, founding editor of More and author of “Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness – and Liberalism – to the Women of America“:

  • The internet will begin to take so much money out of print budgets that publishers will take a break from trashing each other and try to find new and ingenious ways to trash their web competitors. The MPA will commission a study to help.

  • The New York Times Book Review will check out their reviewers’ biases a bit more carefully but will continue to give conservative books crummy reviews.
  • Hillary Clinton will try to firm up her base support among women. Expect a Hillary and Chelsea mother’s day cover on some woman’s magazine in May.
  • Maureen Dowd will run a desperately seeking someone ad in the personal section of New York Magazine. Oh, sorry, she already did.

Wendy Shanker, author, “The Fat Girl’s Guide To Life” (which, btw, is “Vere Curve” in Italian and “D&#252nn Sein War Gestern!” in German)

  • Even more celebrity trash mags will come on the market, including massive flop Jessica Simpson Weekly, edited by the newly-free Janice Min.

  • Magazines will continue to post celeb photos asking, “Is she too thin?” next to “Butt Be-Gone in Six Days!”
  • “Lost” is actually autistic child’s inner world
  • TV ad industry sinks as digital video recording rules
  • Music industry sinks as downloading rules
  • Two of the “Desperate Housewives” will have to go to rehab for “exhaustion and dehydration” (put your money on Hatcher and Cross)
  • Maureen Dowd marries Kenny Chesney and/or Keith Urban
  • Americans continue to care more about celebrities than the state of the world
  • …and here’s one for the long-term: Oprah in 2008!

Rachel Pine, author, “Twins of Tribeca, and “Communications Director, Doubledown Media:

  • Journalists in all types of media will take what they learned from the coverage of the hurricanes and Plame and run with it. They have the power to wake people up and show them when their government is failing miserably, they possess the ability to move people in and out of office, and the responsibility to keep asking questions and not be satisfied with evasive or programmed answers. The fourth estate’s back, baby!

  • Advertisers will once again realize the power of print — not necessarily huge, mainstream publications, but they will begin to understand, embrace and champion affinity publications as never before.
  • Snarkiness will be replaced by leurve and compassion.

More fabulous female media commentators after the jump…suffice it to say that it is NOT an exhaustive list.


Sarah Weinman, GalleyCat blogger (and Canadianista, bien sur), weighing in with some publishing speculation:

  • Riverhead will have the last laugh over Doubleday Broadway and show that they can do just fine without their former linchpins Cindy Spiegel and Julie Grau

  • Most of the Da Vinci Clones will tank bigtime at the box office, but the movie will still do awfully well
  • Urban fantasy (teen vamps, contemporary-edged worldbuilding) will spread like wildfire, at least for the first six months of 2006
  • JK Rowling will most certainly not finish Harry Potter VII by the end of the year
  • Thomas Harris will find another way to screw over Bantam Dell by being late with the manuscript so they have to push the date back on BEHIND THE MASK (aka Young Hannibal) yet again
  • There will be another “shocking” high profile defection from the publishing biz a la Larry Kirshbaum or Joni Evans

Jen Bluestein, former Communications Director for the Ferrer campaign:

  • Journalists will realize that pollsters can be as fallable as sources, and stop showcasing each new “public opinion poll” as if they were parading down a catwalk with that season’s fashions;

  • The Times–or some other first-rate newspaper–will realize that Barbara Ehrenreich ought to have her own column. Regularly. Forever.
  • There will be more women on the talk shows and as commentators–women chosen for what they’ve done, not any other criteria. (That one’s more of a hope that a prediction.)

Jamie Frevele, Fishtern and unabashed fan of David Gregory:

  • MSNBC, in an attempt to even out its number of “conservative” hosts with “liberals,” announces plans to produce a new late-night weekend show with a host plucked from either Air America guests or a blogger. It will last three weeks.

  • Anderson Cooper will be even more overexposed in 2006, inspiring a parody on Saturday Night Live. CNN prez Jon Klien will take that as a sign and will immediately scale him back, expanding “The Situation Room” to 8 hours, during which Wolf Blitzer will modulate his tone only rarely.
  • Bloggers will start publishing books. The “response genre” blows up; once a left-wing blogger writes a book, a right-wing blogger will write a book saying why it’s wrong without offering a convincing alternative. Even though this is generally how Democrats work in Congress, in the blogosphere, the lefties rule.

More to come – this list will be updated as responses come in – unable to currently get at a computer include Rebecca Traister, Jenn Pozner and Cindi Leive. Check back!

UPDATE: Here are some more prognostications from our fantabulous Prognosticatrices. They’re awesome enough to warrant a special new word.

Rachel Kramer Bussel, our own MB “Citizen Media Critic,” Village Voice sex columnist and &#252ber-frequent Gothamist interviewer:

  • After a year of polarizing sexual tomes like Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy, Pornified by Pamela Paul and Are Men Necessary? by Maureen Dowd, we will (hopefully) get some balanced viewpoints as publishers find ways to cover sex without sensationalizing it and use their “sex issues” not just to titillate, but to explore alternative viewpoints and intelligent analyses of modern sexual culture and mores.

  • Male bloggers will take a cue from the forthcoming books by Jen Lancaster (Bitter Is The New Black) and Stephanie Klein (Straight Up and Dirty) and give us some dishy, racy memoirs of their own.
  • Blogs by authors/subjects of media stories will continue the conversation long past publication date, as they did several times this year, with journalists and bloggers analyzing details and claims of both factual and personal natures. With respect to the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column, notable alternative perspectives included a scorned nanny’s rebuttal via her blog and a woman responding to her ex’s take on their relationship. These are just two of many examples, but the personal subject matter and the detailed responses may change the way these stories play out or even what winds up getting submitted. (Ed. So interesting – Rach wrote this up earlier this weekend, well before Kit Seelye‘s piece on the same subject in yesterday’s NYT)

Maureen Miller, Fishtern and undercover Yalie sleuth:

  • Ana Marie Cox‘s “Dog Days” gets a hatchet job in the NYT Book Review by Jessica Cutler, aka the Washingtonienne

  • Lauren Weisberger goes brunette!
  • Jann Wenner‘s new reality TV excursion gets an unexpected boost when he casts Bonnie Fuller as his Apprentice-Carolyn-esque right hand
  • Talking Points Memo’s Joshua Micah Marshall comes in next holiday as the surprise replacement for that dude who looks like him in the Earth Wind and Fire Target Christmas commercials (Ed. Couldn’t find a link so hopefully you’ve seen it. In lieu thereof, please accept this audioclip from the song “Easy Lover.”)

Elizabeth Merrick, writer and counter of bylines over at Miss Grace’s Salon‘s Remedial Reading Series:

  • Now that their credit card debt won’t ever magically go away since the bankruptcy laws took effect in October 2005, and a big book advance isn’t going to be there to save them (because it’s going to pay for Hillary Duff‘s novel’s ad in the Times Book Review) MFA graduates will, when not rotating crops, start forming publishing collectives to get their books out into the world and the wheat will start separating from the chaff: who is in it for the writing, and who is in it because they want to buy a brownstone in Brooklyn and meet Liev Schreiber?

  • Oprah Winfrey will save literature and fend off the dark ages substantially by taking steps to start her own publishing house for launch in 2007. OPRAH DO YOU HEAR ME???
  • Serious literary writers will stop complaining that they have to market their own books and figure out how to use MySpace better. Unprestigious downmarket marketing tools will be the new Vice magazine/80s haircut/Lower East Side of the literary world. Relying on your big publisher’s advertising budget will be akin to going to a Jimmy Buffett concert or having a conversation on the subway about which one of the Sex and the City characters you most resemble.

Rebecca Traister, Salon mainstay (and clutch “Broadsheet” contributor):

  • There will be many more mainstream articles about stay-at-home
    motherhood, what women at elite colleges think about the world, economic and education advances by women, the possibility of a female
    presidential run, high rates of plastic surgery and what they say about body image. Meanwhile, magazines that have devoted themselves to these topics for years — like Ms. and Bust — will continue to flounder financially.

  • Hmmm, perhaps the Times is thinking of amping up its blog presence?
  • The Atlantic will publish between three to five pieces by Sandra Tsing Lo that will make me weep with laughter.
  • Jane Pratt strikes back!
  • Britney Spears and Kevin Federline will part, reunite, and mingle DNA several more times in the mystical netherworld of Celebrity Weekly Cover Land.
  • Many will predict the demise of the Vanity Fair Oscar party, and then run endless footage and photographs from it anyway.
  • Focus on why there is such a gendered byline discrepancy on op-ed
    columns, at glossy magazines, and on political and economic beats will
    only increase. Ratios of male to female bylines will not budge.

Bonnie Fuller, Editorial Director, Star Magazine and American Media:

  • Angelina Jolie‘s sonMaddox‘s trademark mullet will help land him a multimillion dollar endorsement deal with Supercuts

  • Michael’s restaurant opens up an outpost in Nolita so editors from The Village Voice, Paper and Nylon don’t feel pressure to travel above 14th St.
  • Radio shock jocks across the country will follow Howard Stern‘s lead and move in droves to satellite radio, leaving the FM band solely to Rush Limbaugh.
  • It becomes a federal offense for former Apprentice contestants to pen autobiographies.
  • Nicole Richie disappears for six months and re-emerges twice the size of Kirstie Alley — only to snag Alley’s Jenny Craig endorsement deal.
  • Celebrities who claim hospitalization due to “exhaustion” are forced to undergo polygraph tests before being admitted.
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