How do you contribute?

David Patrick Columbia is the founder and editor of New York Social Diary, a website that chronicles the lives of the Big Apple’s elite. Since graduating from Colby College in 1962, Columbia has led numerous lives: he's been a stockbroker, an owner of a head shop in upstate New York, a sportswear designer, a freelancer (he wrote a firsthand account of one of Truman Capote's "lost weekends"), and a scriptwriter for a courtroom television show. In 1988, Columbia finally found his calling when he collaborated with Debbie Reynolds on her autobiography. In 1994, Columbia began writing the New York Social Diary for Quest Magazine (a condensed version of the website is still printed in Quest every month). The New York Social Diary website was launched in September, 2000. Columbia has since become something of social fixture himself: he's been the subject of articles and blog posts in New York Magazine, Gawker, and the New York Observer.
  • Transcript


Question: How do you contribute?


David Patrick Columbia: The impact my work has in the world? Golly, I don’t know what impact what I have. In my writing and my reporting, I try to put a positive point of view on what I write. Because I also can be regarded as what you might say very, very, pessimistic because of human behavior. So I think that the only impact that I’m aware of is that people think I’m very nice. And when I say “impact” – I don’t think I’m very nice incidentally – but when I say “impact”, I think it’s not a bad idea for people to see that you can assert yourself in the world, and at the same time be not unkind.

I’m very wary of the word “proud” I have to tell you. It makes me little nuts because people say they’re proud of this and they’re proud of that. I just think that what we do is just part of our own natural evolution. I have to say that sometimes at the end of the day when my New York Social Diary is on the Internet and I look at it, I am delighted by it. And so I guess you could say I’m proud of it.

There will always be some kind of social journalism because people are interested in other people. And also the nature of social journalism is very much related to the nature of aspiration and inspiration. And all of us at one time or another – and maybe all the time – need all the nurturing we can get so that we are aspiring and inspiring. That’s how we get to produce a lot of the things we produce.


Conducted on: October 29, 2007