REMNICK’S CRYSTAL BALL: On Monday, David Remnick sat with Charlie Rose on CBS’ “This Morning” for an old-hat discussion: What will The New Yorker look like in the future?
Much like it looks now, Remnick told Rose. “I want it to be in many ways what it’s always been, which is about depth and beauty and spending a lot of time on particular stories,” Remnick said.
This story first appeared in the June 5, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The editor was booked late last week to discuss the state of print media and his magazine’s evolution, a spokeswoman for the network said. He was naturally bullish about its prospects, but the producers didn’t seem as sure, perhaps mindful of the recent decision by New Yorker parent Advance Publications to trim the frequency of several of its daily newspapers. They titled the segment ominously, “An Uncertain Future.”
Remnick insisted the only way the New Yorker is changing is the way it’s read.
“I think the publications on the Web, on digital platforms and in print that people really want are going to survive and thrive. The New Yorker is something people have proven over and over that they really want,” Remnick said.
In the future, it’ll just be available in more gadgets.
“Soon you’ll be able to read it entirely on your handheld. Is that the absolute best way to read it? For some people it may be,” he said. “I’ve seen people read a Dickens novel on their 3-inch handheld. God love ’em.”
Remnick was referring to the magazine’s upcoming smartphone app, which will be the first for a Condé Nast publication. It should be released in the fall, though an exact date has not been set, a magazine spokeswoman said.
New technologies — tablets, mobile devices and the Web — have created an opportunity, not a challenge, Remnick told Rose. The magazine has generated 50,000 new subscriptions just on tablets, including the iPad and the Kindle Fire, he said.
Less clear is how access to the magazine will change in the future. Print subscribers now have access to its archives and its tablet and digital editions. But Condé Nast is working to change the subscription model company-wide. What will that mean for The New Yorker? Will readers have to pay more for a subscription that bundles digital, print and mobile? Will the magazine’s archives, now included in a subscription, be separated?
Remnick was not asked specifics, but he reiterated a point he has made before: producing The New Yorker is costly, and reading that work will come with a hefty fee.
“You cannot get these stories for free,” he said. “I cannot give you everything on the Internet for free and make you think, ‘Well, The New Yorker is something that comes out of the faucet.’”