Writers And Editors Battle It Out Online

- - Magazines

Did you know that writer Dan Baum once turned down $90,000 to write a 30,000 word story for Rolling Stone to instead take a contract with The New Yorker where he wrote 30,000 words a year for that same $90,000. The contract was up each year and after 3 short years Editor David Remnick called to say it would not be renewed. Dan thinks this has less to do with his skills as a writer and more to do with good old fashioned office politics. Dan didn’t work in the New Yorker office, where he discovered they whisper all the time in his several times a year office visits from his home in Boulder, CO, but he failed to integrate himself into the culture that is the New Yorker and blames his demise on that sad reality of magazine life.

You can read the fascinating “inside baseball” account of writing for the New Yorker (here). It was first published as a series of tweets over a week ago and seems to break some kind of code of silence that surrounds the publication. They don’t publish a masthead after all.

Even more interesting and certainly educational for photographers will be his list of successful story pitches (here). Photographers have great stories all the time but I’ve rarely seen a passable pitch from one, so most of the time if I really wanted to get something made I would write the pitch myself. As a side note it’s even worse when photographers take their excellent ideas and give it to a writer who’s not qualified to write for the publication.

Wired, another Condé magazine was written up Sunday in the NYTimes (here), because they have the dubious of being both award winning and advertising losing. I was pointed to this discussion over on Boing Boing Gadgets (here) by Scott Bauer where a former wired.com editor uses that story to take a few digs at the print magazine and then a whole bunch of writers chime in on the comments. EIC Chris Anderson even drops a couple comments one in particular where he attributes the problems between online and print at wired to Condé HQ decisions. More “inside baseball” but interesting nonetheless.

There Are 5 Comments On This Article.

  1. Read the “Jake Leg” blues medical mystery proposal. It’s a masterpiece. Also saw that most of the reporting work was completed already. This looks like a proposal to get paid to write the story in the publication’s style.

    They are so much more than “Hey I think I have a good idea. Why don’t you pay me to see if there is something there.”

  2. With all due respect:

    I normally enjoy your posts, but given that your subject is about writing, as well as the fastidiously grammatical New Yorker, I wish that you had proofread your text before posting. Some of it is quite badly written:

    “Dan didn’t work in the New Yorker office, where he discovered they whisper all the time in his several times a year office visits from his home in Boulder, CO, but he failed to integrate himself into the culture that is the New Yorker and blames his demise on that sad reality of magazine life.”

    “Wired, another Condé magazine was written up Sunday in the NYTimes (here), because they have the dubious of being both award winning and advertising losing.”

    Sincerely,

    Andy