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.
Yes, 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."
I WOULD NEVER WRITE THAT.
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.