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Am I a journalistic polar bear?


Published April 8, 2008 at 6:26 a.m.

Just read this interesting — or frightening? boring? dated? pretentious? — story from the New York Observer. The writer suggests that long-form, and specifically magazine, journalism isn't as highly regarded or lucrative as it used to be. Also, she claims there is still a vast divide between web and print journalists, and that while twentysomething journalists are finding new opportunities in the blogosphere, they're finding it increasingly tough to break into print magazines.

Fittingly, an indignant blogger from In These Times asks the Observer reporter to "quit your nostalgic blabbering."

I read this stuff with great interest for several reasons: 1) I'm a fully employed — a.k.a. dumbly lucky — twentysomething print journalist who, until last month, was a blog virgin; 2) I am currently gobbling up — at the suggestion of one of my editors, who lent me his dog-eared copy — an anthology of works from the "New Journalism" movement of the 1960s and 70s (which, of course, is the "old" form of journalism the Observer story so wistfully recalls; 3) I had about a half-hour on my hands to wait for edits on my feature story for this week's paper (and website).

And just for good measure, here's one final meta-journalistic irony: I found the (web version of the) Observer's 'What's happening to print media?' story through FAIR, a progressive online journalism aggregator site that linked me to the In These Times blog about the original story.

Oh, and I'm writing this post — without printing it out — on a new blog that is connected to a newspaper that prides itself on its award-winning long-form feature writing. A newspaper whose bloggers are also leaders in the Vermont blogosphere. A paper, for that matter, that is not just a paper anymore, but rather something sexier, albeit harder to define.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this could all be summarized in a Yogi Berra-ism. Yet, print-addled romantic that I am, I refuse to find one on wikipedia.