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October 22, 2006

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Magazine of the Future?

Atlantic contributor Marshall Poe asks MeFi, “If The Atlantic Monthly (or Harper’s, or The New Yorker) were founded today, would it be Metafilter?”

Posted October 22, 2006 at 10:12 | Comments (7) | Permasnark
File under: Books, Writing & Such, Briefly Noted


Yes! Emphatically, yes!

Every time a new magazine starts up -- SEED, Good, etc. -- I appreciate the effort but wonder: Come on, if you really wanted to be a big deal, wouldn't you be online?

Another blogforumwebthingy I like a lot (you all know this) is Worldchanging, and I love to imagine the prospect of WC growing, maturing, evolving & building a history the way all those classic magazines have.

Hey, Matt, why no link to the magazine question at AskMe? [Fixed -- sorry, Carl!]

Posted by: Carl Caputo on October 22, 2006 at 09:58 PM

Oof. I may have messed up that link, or your site may eat links, I dunno. The URL is though.

Posted by: Carl Caputo on October 22, 2006 at 09:59 PM

This might be the first time that I've ever disagreed with something Robin said!

Print Magazines will certainly be changing to deal with the new environment of media, but there's still a big difference in the aesthetics, tangibility, editorial style, and really readership of The Atlantic, Harper's, whatever, and web publications/sites.

Posted by: Taylor on October 23, 2006 at 07:09 AM

Let me clarify. Because I agree: Print magazines aren't going away. (Note 8020 Publishing for an example of how print meets the future.)

But thinking more broadly about the role of magazines like The Atlantic, etc., I see them as hubs & forums for groups of writers, thinkers & readers... and man o man, already sites like Worldchanging and 3quarksdaily are providing me with more food for thought -- and more of a sense of a community -- than the Atlantic ever did. And the Atlantic always did a good job!

(Note: Yes yes I know WC and 3qd get a lot of their juice by linking to old-school sources. But they get a lot by linking to odd blogs & websites, too, and I expect the relative weight will continue to shift in that direction. Don't discount the possibility of serious original content from these sources, either. Just because they don't have the money to pay writers now doesn't mean they never will.)

I don't mean to argue that 'web-magazines' are the future. But for all of its advantages -- its aesthetics and tangibility, as you points out -- print just cannot compete with the rollicking energy of a great website. That's what I think anyway.

Of course this all becomes moot when wifi-enabled e-paper comes along. For me, that particular product has become almost eschatological...

/read too many comments of the linked askmefi question/

as a former and purposely cancelled subscriber of the new yorker and harpers, i must say a few things.

metafilter will never replace harpers, new yorker etc, in terms of the quality in time and resources it can devote to stories. mefi can't send s.hersch out on assignment, and i doubt will be having a certain l. lapham going out to find links for the ever-so-thirsty-web 2.0 users.

fine print journalism will not be replaced by a link based site like metafilter until metafilter starts to produce its own content. (how such a thing might be possible i would be eager to discuss...)

it is convienient that my mefi browses don't pile up on my butcherblock like the new yorkers do. and it is sweet, as one mefite said in the post linked here, that 'metafilter is like harper's or the new yorker with fifty pages of editorial letters for each story'

it wasn't said exactly like that, but the idea that each idea is discussed for fifty pages is so cool to me. i still read, love, need articles from harper's, new yorker, etc. metafilter will not replace these articles, but it has generated in me a fresh need that i have not found satisfied elsewhere...

Thomas, re: producing original content: That's why I think 3quarksdaily is so interesting. It's a mix of links and original essay-lets. There are no Hershes in evidence yet... but surely that is just a matter of time?

Other examples abound, I'm sure. And Jay Rosen's sure looks interesting...

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