HuffPress

I commend to you Eric Alterman’s New Yorker piece on the state of newspapers. It’s a very good casting of the state of newspapers as a business, a technology, and a player in society. It’s also the beginning of a discussion about the resurrected debate between Walter Lippman and John Dewey almost a century ago over the proper role of the press, objectivity, viewpoint, and discussion in a democracy. The piece doesn’t advance that discussion greatly but I wouldn’t expect it to, given the venue. What it does, instead, is advance The New Yorker’s view of media and the world well past that presented there by Nick Lemann (here was my response to Lemann at the time). Alterman’s is, I believe, a superior piece of magazine scholarship and I hope and presume it’s the start of a new book — with an extended conversation about the role of conversation first.

In the piece, Alterman also reports that the Huffington Post sees itself as the new newspaper. I wonder why that would be their ambition. I don’t mean that as a crack about newspapers or an obit. Instead, I think we need to redefine the players in the press sphere and their roles based on new realities. (I’m working on a post about that; have to make some drawings to illustrate it first.)

Related: See David Carr’s funeral dirge for newspapers from yesterday’s Times.

(Disclosure: Alterman — with whom I’ve had my share of blog sparring — is a CUNY colleague.)

  • Daniel

    There is a lot of hype and BS being thrown around about the Huffington Post. I’ve heard that the investors in the site actually NOT happy about its performance and returns. Also, Arianna has only a tiny amount of equity in the site.

    PS The design is terrible! That is not a great model for the future of news LOL.