Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dept. of Diminished Self-Awareness

Andrew Sullivan:
The NYT has National Review's traffic at 788,000 unique visitors and The Weekly Standard's at 490,000 last month. What struck me, unless the numbers are off (and in web traffic, it's sometimes murky), is that by the standards of some blogs now, those don't seem like big numbers. I bet Malkin or Reynolds are in the same ball-park, if not more successful. . . .
It may be that the blogosphere will kill off opinion journalism as we have known it. . . . Or maybe the print magazines will hang on as appendages to the online debate, as a way of milking those email addresses for money and offering a luxury product that will still be worth it. But I suspect that model works better for a monthly magazine like the Atlantic, which is more than opinion journalism, than a bi-weekly like NR, let alone a weekly like TWS. Their days may be numbered.
Whose days are numbered? Sullivan went from the New Republic, to blogging, to The Washington Times, to Time, to the Atlantic Monthly. He's like a journneyman utility infielder hovering in the vicinity of the Mendoza Line, and he's always been more about opinion than news. When has he ever done reporting?

Print journalism in general is a declining industry, but political opinion has never been a for-profit enterprise and as much as I enjoy the Atlantic, it's been a long time since they've published anything as important as Barbara Dafoe Whitehead's "Dan Quayle Was Right."

There is no business basis for Sullivan to presume that the Atlantic is a better bet than either National Review or The Weekly Standard or The Nation or any other magazine. All of these magazines (like every other journalistic enterprise) will continue expanding their online footprint, but the prestige and permancy of print continues to offer value.

However, speaking of excellent print journalism, let me remind you that now would be a great time to buy a subscription to The American Spectator. And with the holidays approaching, don't forget to buy a gift subscription for someone you love!

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