"Hello there. This is Michael Freidson, deputy editor at Time Out New York. I'm writing with a few questions. Can you please take a moment to answer, for an urgent feature story?," began an email spammed to a group that Michael Friedson identified as "New York's top opinion-makers" on Tuesday. Judging from the questionnaire that follows, Time Out has decided to eliminate the use of troublesome freelancers by just having their sources write their articles.
"We're doing an issue devoted to critics and bloggers, and, since you're one of New York's top opinion-makers, we want to include your thoughts. Please answer the questions below and send back to me by Monday, November 26 (or even better, before you run off for the holiday). Your answers can be as long as you'd like, though a graph or two is fine. We're going to compile everyone's answers and present different takes in the magazine."
Sure! Let me just ... jot down my deep-thinky responses to eight questions ranging from "We're at this crossroads, where print and online content are intertwined, and no one's sure how it all falls out. In this environment, what is the essential question facing the future of criticism?" to "What basic pre-requisities should all critics have to meet? And how should a consumer deal with the different (undefined) standards for online critic-bloggers and print critics? How should they know who to trust?" (Shut up, college!) to "How does one make an impact online?" as I'm running to catch the Acela! No problem whatsoever.
"The above questions are very general. Surely, we missed something. Have anything to add? Please do." the email concludes. You know, there does seem to be something missing here.