Editor-in-Chief of the New Yorker: the electronic press won't replace the printed press

Rome – Abdul Rahman Bitar - The editor-in-chief of the prestigious American magazine, the New Yorker arrived to the Italian capital like a star of Hollywood. The invitation of the Italian magazine “Internazionale” to hear David Remnick speak said he would address the crowd in the largest art complex in Europe , the ‘Park of Music’ and talk about the role of the American press in the age of the internet. Here was Remnick, the New Yorker’s editor-in-chief inside the Park holding a press conference just prior to his lecture in one of the Park’s theatres which was completely full with an audience paying for their tickets as they would normally do for a concert

David Remnick
David Remnick
@Editor-in-Chief of the New YorkerTalked about his journalistic management style and the articles of Seymour Hersh regarding the Middle East
@I do not blindly follow the Internet ,and do not believe the printed press will be replaced by the electronic

. Remnick (49 years old) was careful in choosing his words as he answered the questions posed by journalists. He seemed sure of himself and proud of the success achieved by the magazine since he got at the helm of the publication 9 years ago after taking over from Tina Brown when the magazine faced financial problems it could not overcome with its beloved cartoons, and serious articles about literature, art, or politics and what goes on in New York every month. Remnick is a graduate of the renowned Princeton University, worked as the Moscow correspondent of the Washington Post and received the Pulitzer prize in 1994 before joining the New Yorker.

Remnick started by saying “ I feel I’m in a surrealistic scene because I usually sit on the other side and ask questions to those who won elections or were accused of committing crimes, but I will confess before you ask me, that I do not follow the internet too closely because it has a lot of dirty stuff but at the same time contains plenty of great things and useful information, so I would say it suffers from schizophrenia .” He added “ I do not believe the printed press will be replaced by the electronic press in the near future because it depends on income derived from publicity, which is not an easy question to resolve on the internet.. it is this revenue that permits us to send correspondents to Baghdad, Rome and elsewhere who write articles on the spot and not invent illusions and fairytales sitting in their offices at the publication’s headquarters.. I personally prefer to read the printed copy of the New Yorker because it is at the same time a serious and satirical magazine and you can slip it in your pocket, but the Sunday edition of the New York Times with several supplements and weekly magazine needs a porter to carry it.”

David Remnick answered a question asked about the articles of Seymour Hersh ( the writer in the magazine is famous for exposing the scandal of “Abu Ghreib”) by explaining that “ he is an exceptional writer that has reached the age of seventy five years but is physically quite fit. He was the first to disclose the shameful events of the Vietnam war in the sixties and what happened at the Abu Ghreib prison in Iraq. The current President Bush said in an interview with the journalist Bob Woodward that Hersh was “ a liar “ but I bet that his information was true especially because a special department of the magazine that verifies the sources of reporters confirmed that Hersh described the events honestly; therefore I put my money on him and I think I’ll win the wager .” He continued “the readers of Hersh are at the highest levels because he is an experienced professional journalist well versed in investigative journalism, and not of the type of so-called seasoned political analysts we see on television screens on Sunday programs who are a bunch of empty air.”

Remnick then explained how he manages the magazine and makes decisions. He has opted, based on his previous experience, for increasing the space devoted to articles and investigative reports on foreign affairs, and the readers responded favorably by increasing subscriptions and augmenting distribution figures. He stated further that “ the magazine is no longer confined to New York or the island of Manhattan but has evolved into a national highly diffused publication of international standard.” In his lecture Remnick indicated that he is interested in following the activities of one the most famous comedians in Italy, Beppe Grillo who “grills” without cease politicians in his country with his satire, as a result of which they finally banned him from appearing on Italian state TV and he had to resort to the internet to continue his campaigns on his site. Remnick added “ I thought I would not understand what he says since I do not know Italian then I discovered that his site works in several languages including English , and that is one of the good aspects of the internet.” When I asked Remnick: how the magazine has changed in the last few decades? He replied jokingly “ now our internet site is read by thousands, but in the remote past the writer Dorothy Parker used to say: I came to the magazine offices to write but I had to wait for so long because one guy was using the only pencil available!” When I inquired: if you had not become a journalist, what would you have wished to be? He told me with a flash “ I wanted to be a singer like Bob Dylan but it never happened.” What was really happening right then was that while David Remnick was giving his lecture at the Park of Music, at the same time singers were chanting in another theater next door the last opera of Richard Wagner “ Parsifal”.

The New Yorker was launched for the first time in 1925 and all copies were sold out when it published a famous article entitled “why adults go to night clubs ? ” Moreover, satirical caricatures have been a part and parcel of the magazine since its start. One of the funny ones depicts two waiters in a fancy restaurant in New York while one is telling the other: ‘if you see the client that wants to tell us something.. look the other way so he thinks we did not see him! ‘ The magazine was also known for its deep analytical articles about the lives of such celebrities as Ernest Hemingway and Marlon Brando. Tuman Capote was one of its distinguished writers who in 1965 published stories about multiple crimes in the state of Kansas . In 2001, the number of readers increased and passed the figure of one million for the printed copy, many of which were from California. Internet readers nowadays can watch the caricatures published every week that have been transformed into short cartoons.

Sunday, November 29th 2009
Abdul Rahman Bitar

1.Posted by Emily Gordon on 11/30/2009 6:34 PM
Thanks for this article! The '20s article you mentioned is actually called "Why We Go to Cabarets," and it's worth a read:


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