In Rare Instances “Old School” Still Works

Jason Kottke points to this article on New Yorker editor, David Remnick. It’s an interesting counterpoint to much of the discussion you will find here and on other media and marketing blogs, as Remnick is a traditional journalist with a conservative view of the business.

“I don’t lose sleep trying to figure what the reader wants. I don’t do surveys. I don’t check the mood of the consumers. I do what I want, what interests me and a small group of editors that influences the way of the magazine.
We are unique, and I know in my heart that we have a big and very serious market for what we are giving: Depth, humor, and if I may add, beauty. And I am referring mainly to literature and poetry. There are enough people that want this. In spite of everything we are being told about the death of reading, I am convinced that we are not at all close to exhausting this market.”
Remnick says that in the long run, The New Yorker will have to invest further in its Web site.
“There is already a migration from the world of cutting down trees and print journalism to electronic reading,” says Remnick. “But in the meantime, it seems obvious to me that this magazine, which I hold in my hand and leaf through, is still much more beautiful and desirable.”

One might think Remnick’s “screw what the customer wants” attitude, would be a major problem. It’s not. He has successfully revived the magazine after it fell on tough times in the 1990s under Tina Brown.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.