Why The New Yorker Won’t Exist in 2035

If the weekly magazine is still being published 25 years from now, Michael Wolff will owe David Remnick a dinner.
  • Transcript


Question: David Remnick told us he’s not worried about the future of the New Yorker. Should he be? 

Michael Wolff: He obviously should be worried. And he is worried, so he was just... I don't know, just exercising some particular sense of propriety in his discussion with you because he's worried and everybody's worried and more importantly his owners are worried. Print, as a model, is at a moment in time where virtually all assumptions about the business are changing. The assumptions about reader habits and reader behavior are changing. The assumptions about the nature of advertising, about who should be advertising, about the pricing of advertising is changing. 

So the idea that The New Yorker will be around in 25 years is rather preposterous and I'll certainly buy him dinner if it is. 

Question: Is Graydon Carter worried? 

Michael Wolff: As David exercises a certain propriety in talking about his magazine, I will probably do the same about mine. But I do think people at Vanity Fair are attentive to what's happening and the changes that are going on and trying to look for ways to stay on top of what's clearly a sense of changing expectations about magazines and about print. I mean, one of the things, and again this is the magazine I work for so I'm not objective here, but I think one of the things that Vanity Fair has succeeded in doing and it's a lesson for all magazines is to think of magazines as an object, which we curiously don't. We think of magazines as ideas and journalism and storytelling, instead of as a literal object that goes on your coffee table, which you're proud to have there. 

Recorded on May 19, 2010
Interviewed by Jessica Liebman