Telegraph Blogs – Stephanie Gutmann – Is it over for the print media?

Institutions like General Motors may be tottering but so are institutions like the New York Times (which, as pundit Jonah Goldberg put it is “weeks from holding editorial board meetings in a refrigerator box”) and the Chicago Tribune which is probably going to file for bankruptcy protection. Even Global Warming has not cooperated to make life easier. This winter has been colder than usual and as I write this a major winter storm has settled over the region and is burying us in snow.

As a semi-retired journalist, and as one who now lives outside the city, in a bucolic village on the banks of the Hudson river, I feel a certain detachment and even a bit of schadenfreude hearing about lay-offs at glossies like New York magazine. New York journalists are not generally very likable people. In How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, about his misadventures at Vanity Fair, Toby Young wrote about his impressions upon entering editorial offices at VF for the first time:

“[T]he most striking thing …was how grave everyone was. As I walked down the main corridor I saw people on either side of me crouched over their computer screens as if they were devising the Marshal Plan. This atmosphere of studious intensity seemed completely at odds with the general tone of the magzazine. I wanted to grab them by the lapels and say “Lighten up, for Christ’s sake. It’s just an upscale supermarket tabloid.”

I might need to read that book.

And of course one of the biggest unacknowledged reasons for the problems in American journalism is precisely this insufferable pompousness. (It is also, I reckon, why many of you American DT blog readers are here and not at the blogs of the New York Times.)