Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lay off, haters

As a
Time Out New York freelancer and subscriber, I am incredibly annoyed by the recent Gawker coverage on TONY's alleged imminent demise. I have always found Gawker to be too mean-spirited and catty for my taste; I envision their writers to be the kind of vapid, elitist, pat-themselves-on-the-back-for-being-so-clever folks that I did my best to avoid in college. Also, the "audition to comment" requirement on the blog is baffling. Really, Gawker? You need to give me the stamp of snark approval before I can respond to your posts? The whole thing just kind of pisses me off.

Gawker compares TONY to New York Magazine and comes to the conclusion that TONY is content-poor (
"New York magazine could be considered a higher-end competitor, but its content is a million times better"). Well, maybe that's because the two magazines actually serve two very different functions and shouldn't be compared. TONY is and always has been primarily about their listings. And yes, the free event listings on sites like Yelp and Citysearch have decreased readership somewhat, but most publications are in a similar boat.

I'm biased -- I interned at Time Out and loved working there. They gave me the opportunity to write and not just fetch coffee and run errands. And I still write for them on occasion. Gawker is right about the freelancer problem -- it does take too long to get paid and the pay isn't great. But a byline in Time Out is valuable, which is why I keep writing for them. If you need a steady paycheck, don't be a freelancer. Duh.

New York Magazine has never been my cup of tea. Maybe it's because I don't care that much about the Best Doctors in Manhattan (because I can't afford them), the activities of NYC socialites or how much the highest paid call girl makes.

I would describe New York Mag as an interesting hybrid of classist and trashy. For interesting articles on politics and culture, I read the New Yorker. For event information, I read Time Out.

I briefly wrote for
New York Mag's website, contributing mini-restaurant reviews. It should have been a dream job but I quit after a few months because my editor was a complete harpy. She was a writing-by-the-numbers editor-- all my reviews had to follow a rigid formula (1st sentence must be about the decor, 2nd sentence must be about the clientele) or else they were unacceptable. No creativity, no finesse allowed. And she would alter my work and post it on the site with my name on it without running the changes by me. There are things on that website that I would take my name off of if I could. For instance, this sentence was added to one of my reviews: "You can expect high-quality meat and sauces that don't overpower the meat."


That crazy editor did eventually leave -- to work for, as she wrote me in an e-mail, "an upstart literary zine." I assume she meant "start-up" but I never inquired further.

I would like to see Time Out chill out a little with their editorial and layout changes of late (bring back Around Town! Fire Julia Allison!) but overall, I think it's a good magazine and a valuable resource for NYC tourists and lifers alike.

So, haters? Lay off.


Jonathan Lehman said...

"high-quality meat and sauces that don't overpower the meat" MY FAVORITE SENTENCE EVER!!!! YAY!!!

cody said...

Hi Katie-
let me first say, thanks! I have been an avid reader of TONY for years and years, I pick it over NY mag any day. It saddens me to hear anyone bash my weekly event finding friend! I just finished reading your article in this week's tony " "The Salon Spy" and an idea came to mind. I work for a company called We are an online marketplace for salons and spas in NYC. Our major success has been in getting our salons and spas to offer deep discounts off their services which New Yorkers can then book appointments for online. What differentiates us from the street deals you write about, is that we are offering these deals at NICE salons; mark garrison, Rita Hazan, Stuart Hirsch etc... Making the impossibility of getting a quality haircut or color on a budget possible! After reading your article about the dissapointment of street deals, I thought it might be interesting to do a follow-up article about We are a solace for people who enjoy beauty treatments, but cant afford to pay hundreds of dollars for good service, just the kind of thing I look for in TONY. Please let me know if you think this could be something of interest.

cody schreger