With newspapers cutting back, where will new reporting talent come from?
Since taking the helm of The New Yorker in 1998, David Remnick has returned the magazine to its profitable glory days. A graduate of Princeton University, he began his journalistic career as a night police reporter at the Washington Post in 1982, becoming the paper's Moscow correspondent in 1988. His coverage of the Soviet Union's collapse led to his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1993 book "Lenin's Tomb." His latest book "The Bridge," is a biography of President Barack Obama. He lives in New York with his wife, Esther Fein, and their three children.
Question: With newspapers cutting back, where will new reporting talent come from?
David Remnick: I think newspapers are going to be with us in one form or another. They may just be completely on a screen. And if they’re not, I’m conservative enough to think that’s a gigantic tragedy.
When I say newspapers, I mean in the broadest form possible. That if there are no longer going to be news gathering and news interpreting enterprises like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal – if we’re going to lose that, I think the world is going to be a lot poorer.
And all that said, I couldn’t care less if it’s no longer on paper. I have an atavistic affection for that; but even I, at 49, see this as semi-ludicrous. And when that big thing plunks on the stoop on Sunday morning it’s even more ludicrous.
The problem is how do you take the Internet version and model and make even remotely the same amount of profit so that you can then do the things that you need to do – establish bureaus, pay salaries, and have the scale of news gathering that you had before.
I don’t know the answer to that, neither does Arthur Salzberg, or a Don Graham or anybody else.
Where the talent will come from, I think there’s always going to be people that are hungry to do what I did, which is to go out into the world and find things out, and have some sense of adventure, fun, and idealism all tied up in that enterprise. And that it’s going to change in the coming years, that it’s already changing, terrific. Terrific.
Recorded on Jan 7, 2008
Even with newspapers taking a hit, Remnick believes there will always be curious, driven young journalists out there.
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