Something is amiss at 4 Times Square.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I was really seeing a pattern. But now, a few issues into it, I’m pretty confident that I am. Quietly, without fanfare, the editors of The New Yorker have been making over the magazine — and the results are impressive. Issue by issue, we’re seeing an injection of articles of substance and consequence, written with real style.
There’s been marquee expense-account reportage, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the glory days of Sy Hersh (“Buried Secrets,” by Patrick Radden Keefe). There are gut-punch stories written in aggressive New Journalism-style prose (“The Return,” by David Finkel). Even the general-interest stories are more meaty and meaningful, while still being eminently readable (“Cape Fear,” by Alec Wilkinson).
As these pieces swagger through the magazine, they are pushing aside the tweedy pop-psych puffery, the vapid shopping excursions, the cocktail-party gossip, and the hipster handwringing that have been hanging out in the halls for far, far too long.
It looks like editor David Remnick has decided to make a bid for the kind of readers who have been increasingly turning to places like Byliner, the Atavist, and Kindle Singles for their fix of quality long-form journalism — no doubt many of whom used to pay The New Yorker for that sort of thing too. The decision seems to be that The New Yorker doesn’t want to fall between the cracks anymore trying to be a quasi-literary, quasi-society, quasi-general reader magazine. It’s trading in the Varvatos for some Belstaff and wants to hang out with Esquire and Rolling Stone and Harper’s as a magazine of real consequence again.
The message is pretty clear — we think journals can still do journalism.
Pay attention to what they’re doing up in 4 Times Square. It’s pretty exciting.
Categorised as: Life the Universe and Everything