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Posts Tagged ‘James Fallows’

James Fallows on the Gawkerization of The Atlantic

As a journalist who has done a Q & A or two in his career, this Fishie hates to say it, but we’re pretty sure the traditional journalistic Q & A is nearing its demise. Because Reddit’s Ask Me Anything question sessions tend to be so much better these days. Yes, that goes for the Woody Harrelson debacle too, which made for great theater.

The Atlantic‘s James Fallows did a great AMA today where he answered questions on everything from home brews to China to the Gawkerization of his magazine. His answer to the latter we found particularly interesting.

Obviously this is a question we take very seriously here, and think about every day.

I have worked for the Atlantic longer, probably, than most people asking questions here have been alive. I started when I left the Carter Administration (when I was in my 20s) in 1979. What I’ve learned over that time is the balance between, on the one hand, the way the magazine HAS to keep changing, continually — and on the other, the crucial importance of its standards, intelligence, judgment, and so on. If you look back through our bound volumes, you see how dramatically the magazine has changed, and how often, through its existence. While still having some sensibility that makes us think: here is an Atlantic treatment, and not one from (name your other mag).

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The Atlantic Debates Old, New Media

In the latest issue of The Atlantic, James Fallows puts together an impressive piece on old media vs. new media. He speaks to a wide range of people – Jay Rosen, Jeff Jarvis, Eric Schmidt – to give the article an all encompassing feel, but the meat of the piece is centered around Nick Denton and Gawker, who represent new media.

Fallows basically makes the case that Denton and Gawker are the future of media, and that though their way might seem shocking now, it’s important to realize the benefits of a rapidly changing media landscape.

The problem people have with embracing Gawker is that it doesn’t neccesarily provide real news, but that’s something that even Denton admits:

In my first ‘interview’ with him for this story, conducted over the course of nearly an hour through an instant-message exchange, he said that a market-minded approach like his would solve the business problem of journalism—but only for ‘a certain kind of journalism.’ It worked perfectly, he said, for topics like those his sites covered: gossip, technology, sex talk, and so on. And then, as an aside: ‘But not the worthy topics. Nobody wants to eat the boring vegetables. Nor does anyone want to pay [via advertising] to encourage people to eat their vegetables.’

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Jeff Bercovici: Retire ‘Pajama Jokes’

41DLDBOGgPL._AA280_.jpgJeff Bercovici columnist at Daily Finance lays out a case for nixing the pajama dig:

Jokes about bloggers in pajamas were already a cliche by 2005, when a group of blogs banded together to form Pajamas Media. They were even more hackneyed by 2008, when Sarah Palin swatted at “some blogger probably sittin’ there in their parents’ basement in their pajamas.” Now it’s 2010. Paul Krugman blogs. So does Hendrik Hertzberg. So does James Fallows. So does…well, everyone.

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The Atlantic Redesign Featuring…Bloggers!

new atlantic cover.jpgWe mentioned last week that our favorite online magazine, the 150 year-old Atlantic, had re-branded and re-designed itself. At the launch party the other night at the Exit art gallery on the west side of Manhattan (which included an art installation of “provocative” questions like: Why do presidents lie?) we managed to get our hands on the new print issue. And it looks good, though the new cover does overwhelm a bit with information.

What was equally interesting to note was the lineup of writers they had chosen to feature in their newly designed issue. Not surprisingly the first name that caught our eye was Andrew Sullivan who writes a feature piece titled “Why I Blog” (more on that later), but along with Sullivan we noted James Fallows and Jeffrey Goldberg both of whom are part of The Atlantic‘s stellar lineup of bloggers. Does this signify some sort of sea change to come? As in, perhaps we’ve reaching some tipping point where in order for a print magazine to be relevant it has to plumb the big names of the online world. We will see. In the meantime, after the jump, why Andrew Sullivan blogs…the print version.

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The Atlantic: July/August Issue


The Atlantic crosses the Pacific, for a China-themed issue.

National correspondent James Fallows, who moved to Shanghai in 2006, has a cover story on China’s riseas a manufacturing is good. Fallows writes:

Here is an uncomfortable truth I’m waiting for some Chinese official to point out: The woman from the hinterland working in Shenzhen is arguably better off economically than an American in Chicago living on minimum wage. She can save most of what she makes and feel she is on the way up; the American can’t and doesn’t.

How Fallows knows what a minimum-wage earning woman in Chicago feels isn’t stated–maybe she’s a PA for Oprah, living at home, and she’s thrilled.

The magazine must have gone to press before the food additives scandal surfaced.

Also in this issue:

Caitlin Flanagan on on-line predators,while confessing to a little weird stalking thing of her own.

Virginia Postrel on Hollywood’s master glamour photographer, George Hurrell.

Corby Kummer on fresh sardines, now available up and down the California coast.

April Atlantic Preview


Caitlin Flanagan reviews College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kitten and Co-eds by Lynn Peril Norton in the April Atlantic. Flanagan, whom we quite like, makes the dubious case that leaving home is harder on girls than on boys. Flanagan needs to wait til her kids grow up before she decides this stuff, as her own experience isn’t universal.

James Fallows weighs in on a reality show in China, Ying Zai Zhongguo, or Win in China, which is not unlike The Apprentice. He learned of the series “from a Chinese-American friend, Baifang Schell, who was involved in the production.” Schell’s married to Orville Schell, the dean of the J-School at UCBerkley. Oddly, FBLA can’t think of many American reality shows with that kind of imprinteur. Fallows went to China for the final episode, which he found fascinating, but it’s unlikely he’s watched very many other reality shows. There’s a video segment with business types praising the show against a music track so soul-stirringly uplifting and gloppily romantic that it could be an promo for a very special Oprah segment.

Andrew Sullivan’s daily blog is also on the site, and today, he’s after Dinesh D’Souza.