15 years later…

15 years later…

: The 15th anniversary of Entertainment Weekly caught me quite by surprise. I wasn’t counting.

Rick Tetzeli, EW’s third editor, was nice enough to quote my editor’s note from the first issue and it got me to look back at the 10 promises I made to EW’s readers:

10. This is a national magazine. We cover what’s at your local ‘plex instead of what’s on Broadway because more than 200 million of you don’t live in New York (you lucky ducks).

9. We won’t have long, ponderous, pompous articles about show-biz–5,000-word stories about 50-minute albums … Short is fine.

8. The magazine is current…. Each issue will tell you what you need to know now.

7. Entertainment Weekly is selective. We don’t review and report on everything, on what’s notable… In fact, finding what’s notable is our most important job.

6. The magazine must be easy to use…. You also should be able to find out quickly and easily what our critics think, and that’s why they grade (from A+ to F) everything they review.

5. This magazine will be a voice for quality in a business that needs one.

4. Since we are boldly and loudly opinionated, we also must be open to the opinions of others…. In this magazine, everybody’s a critic.

3. Our critics enjoy the areas of entertainment they review. They are discriminating fans and members of the audience, just like you.

2. Guaranteed: The opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the writers and are free from influence by advertisers, corporations, public relations people, or stars.

1. Entertainment Weekly will be entertaining….

Sounds a little blogish, I think. Not a bad list, eh? You’ll have to tell me whether the magazine follows those rules.

Another time, I may start telling some of the stories of the magazine’s launch and my departure (I refused to sign the editor’s contract at Time Inc., with its shut-up clause, precisely because I believed it was important to maintain my right to tell those stories, good and bad).

This week, I simply want to congratulate editors Tetzeli and Jim Seymore before him and the staff of the magazine through the years. Good work. So the baby’s a teenager already. Damn.

  • http://www.masslive.com/weblogs/blogbeat/ Scott Brodeur

    Jeff, those 10 promises are downright bloggerish. Nice to see such a major publication valuing the audience right from the start. And nice to see someone in the business staying consistent to his core editorial values over the years. Cheers.

  • http://www.penguinsix.com Andrew Leyden

    I’ve never bought that magazine, but it is one of the first I grab in the doctor’s office or if it is on a pile of free magazines on the plane. It is a good list and I do think they keep up those standards.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    Subscriber here for at almost 8 of those 15 years. Congrats. However they broke the “Broadway” rule quite a few years ago.

  • http://www.rollingdoughnut.com/ Tony

    I’ve subscribed to EW for many years and have found most of the items on the list to be true today, except for #3. The music critics are fine, except for Country music. I’m relieved when the critics reviewing the latest country releases hold only a moderate disdain for the genre. It’s fine to believe that something within a genre isn’t good, but some appreciation for the finer points of that type of music is useful. You were right to include that in the list of promises. I only wish the current version of EW held to it.

  • http://flig.us Eric

    I’ve subscribed off and on for probably 11 or 12 years. I remember when you launched, Spy Magazine spent some space mocking EW, basically saying that you’d be competing with People, wouldn’t get any corporate support, and would sink pretty quickly.
    Which magazine is still publishing, again?
    (Though I loved Spy, and wish someone could figure out a way to do an on-line version.)

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Eric: Isn’t the online Spy Gawker?

  • http://www.tonypierce.com tony

    on an off subscriber since the beginning.
    back then: A
    now: C
    one thing that has remained consistant is all the little pictures. love those.

  • http://submandave.blogspot.com submandave

    I have never subscribed (don’t have enough magazine-reading-free-time to justify the cost), but it has always been the first magizine I look for whenever I go to the doctor of dentist. EW has always seemed to consciously try and avoid the pomposity that is often a feature of many entertainment critic publications (coff-New Yorker-coff). I think the “comversation” vice “lecture” feel to the articles is a definite advantage.

  • Keith

    I was a charter subscriber to EW and to this day still read it every week. It covers entertainment without being gossipy. (Celeb divorces are matter-of-factly reported as news, not breathlessly as what someone wore to the courthouse.)
    Now Jeff, if you could just create a cable news channel that covered the news as news instead of breathlessly reporting what Michael Jackson wore to the courthouse… :-)