The future is digital! Print will never die! Media barons proved again this week that mixing a cocktail of print and digital, old and new, hot and cool media makes a tepid and kinda gross drink. Kinda like a Chocolate martini! It was a short but complicated week, chock full of conflicting messages about atoms and bytes. Let's recap!
Let's start with that rascal king of the New Yorker David Remnick, who seems to know a thing or two about media empires. He has a certain industry reputation to uphold, so it's no surprise to see him assuaging the fears of the children at Princeton: magazines are doing just fine! Totally fine! Seriously! Too bad the kids were too busy looking for ways to sell their voting rights on eBay to believe this bullshit.
Meanwhile, Newser daddy Michael Wolff phoned in his Vanity Fair column this month, hoping that someone would blurb it with trite usage of the word "eviscerating." Like this: Michael Wolff's eviscerating critique of cable companies, record labels, and your mama is enough to leave you with a cold sweaty feeling of media desperation. You're welcome, Michael, consider this an early Festivus present!
Breaking: Tom Brokaw has another book to promote. It's called Boom! Voices of the Sixties. Everyone hold your breath and hope he says something profound by mixing equal bits of nostalgia and futurism. Done: "Ten years from now, will [the Washington Post] be here?' I don't know. Probably ... if you would do a hardcore analysis - probably not. It'll be probably digital 10 years from now." He probably meant it too, probably.
Meanwhile, someone over on 41st Street seemed to cut a virtual ribbon and declare that the new Times building is officially open for business. In an also-totally-not-made-up company video called "The Integrated Newsroom," Digital Editor Jim Roberts exclaims, "Here we have web producers sitting right next [not really my emphasis] to the print news desk." Quickly thereafter, Deputy Editor Jon Landman extols the virtues of shared cubicles: "When something pops into your head, you can very easily assemble the people to do it. When you were five blocks apart, you couldn't do that." Someone needs to show NYT editors this amazing new technology called IM.
And finally, Amazon announced Kindle, its digital portable media reader this week. While Jeff Bezos would tell Charlie Rose that the book reader's name was a reference to igniting the imagination, one couldn't help suspect he was actually invoking the visions of fascism found in Fahrenheit 451. We didn't start the fire. It's been burning since the world's been turning...CUT!