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Is the Future of Newspapers Glossy?

new_york_times_style.pngMeet Andrew Essex, during the nineties he was a hot, young, journalist thing with an impressive career trajectory until he ditched it all for a lucrative job in advertising. Is his path the way of newspapers in general? It certainly looks that way judging by all the newspaper glossies set to hit newsstands this fall. (The Observer calls them “very pretty publications…with heavy paper stock, big perfectly bound spines, and shiny pictures of spinnakers and gourmet chocolate.”)

Behold: The Wall Street Journal is launching WSJ; WaPo is delving into the fashion market with FW; the Los Angeles Times is reintroducing its magazine, and then there’s Manhattan. Why is an industry that is plummeting towards its doom focusing on the luxury market? According to Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio, the publisher of WSJ, “Our economy has grown so much through the luxury space that it just makes sense that there is more of a highlight on that sector in [publishing] as well.” And what price all this gloss? There is some concern that the line between advertising and editorial is being crossed, that the editor has merely become a well-connected affable businessman, and luxury advertisers will begin to dictate content. Not true! says Asmodeo-Giglio. However, as Andrew Essex points out, “The editor’s role…is to keep a book alive…It is not to massage semicolons. Now some people at ASME or Mr. Ross or Mr. Shawn may vomit at that statement, but it’s better than not having any book at all.”

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