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Posts Tagged ‘John MacArthur’

Harper’s Publisher Doesn’t Mind ‘Weblogs,’ Still Hates Internet

John MacArthur, Harper’s publisher, still doesn’t consider Internet-based writing worthwhile. MacArthur is well known for his “all or nothing” (and it’s mostly nothing) approach to the web — the magazine has only been online since 2004, and it has always been locked behind a rigid paywall.

MacArthur told The New York Times that with more companies launching paywalls and some even debuting print products, he feels his view of the Internet has been validated.

In case you forgot what that view was, it’s that writers whose work lives online are shit.

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Harper’s Publisher Battles Own Staff

Take one magazine publisher who hates the Internet, add some staffers who have unionized because of the owner’s shady moves, and what do you get? Nothing good.

Gabriel Sherman at The Daily Intel reports that there is plenty of chaos at Harper’s Magazine, where John MacArthur, owner/publisher of the title, and staffers are tangled in a dispute that will only get worse. Apparently staffers at the magazine decided to unionize in response to several moves MacArthur has made – including firing Roger Hodge, the mag’s former Editor-in-Chief who sought to protect staff from cuts, and MacArthur putting his own name above senior editors on the masthead. When MacArthur found out about the union, he wasn’t very pleased, and now the staff is even more worried:

The Harper’s union has been locked in a bitter contract dispute with MacArthur since July. And now he’s trying to lay off Harper’s’ literary editor, Ben Metcalf, who’s worked at the magazine since the mid-nineties and who played a key role in the union drive — a move the union says is pure retaliation.

Oh and yes, there’s that whole hating the Internet thing. MacArthur flat out refuses to believe that their rival, The Atlantic, finally posted a profit only because it concentrated on boosting its web presence.

But MacArthur should keep doing what he’s doing, we’re sure fighting against staff and declaring the Internet worthless is a great model for success.

UPDATE:

Kathy Park Price, VP of Public Relations for Harper’s, just emailed us to say that there were some inaccuracies in Sherman’s report. You can decide who to believe. Price says, “The union was certified to represent Harper’s in late October.  Also, Harper’s agreed to meet with the union immediately, and has since waited for the union to schedule a meeting to begin negotiations.  The negotiations began one week ago, on January 7.  Rick [MacArthur] never contested the staff’s right to unionize.  He contested the inclusion of certain senior editors in the unit as being part of management.”

Harper’s Magazine Publisher Not Impressed with The Internet

“I never found e-mail exciting.”

So begins John MacArthur, Publisher of Harper’s Magazine, in his anti-Internet writing rant. It’s logical to wonder who told MacArthur that email is supposed to be fun in the first place, but the fact that he hates it is quickly lost in a sea of reasons why the Internet is the scourge of the writing world.

The 942 word column doesn’t shed any new light onto the extremely-dated opinion that the Internet is terrible, but might be the first by such a prominent literary figure to compare blogs to a sex act (which sadly, he doesn’t define).

As someone who has a vested interest in seeing the printed word succeed, the long-winded rant is expected from MacArthur, and by the end of the column we just felt kind of bad for him. Fighting against Internet-based writing is like trying to convince the Rolling Stones that making more albums only lessens their appeal – it’s pointless because that battle was lost many years ago.