Media Oxpecker: You Won’t Believe What These People Said About Snark, Viral Content, and Going Bi-Weekly

Media news you may have missed this week while you were busy making waves.

  • David Carr reported earlier this week that New York Magazine will reduce its frequency from weekly to bi-weekly:

    Will the world, or even just that of New York publishing, tip over because there are 13 fewer issues? No, but something palpable and intrinsically thrilling will be lost with the change in rhythm to a magazine that has been hitting the streets on a weekly basis for more than four decades.

    Modern Luxury’s Jon Steinberg says the change could be a good thing, noting that while he was at the magazine, some of the best ideas originated during the off weeks that followed a double-issue: “For those who are already writing off the new, biweekly NYMag as an empire in decline, I’d encourage you to think about the creative and journalistic potential that comes from having some time to pause, regroup, plan, think, go for a midweek stroll.”

  • Facebook confirmed what every social media editor has suspected for awhile: Less and less people are seeing your posts in their news feeds. But fear not! Facebook has come up with a solution — open your wallet and buy ads in order to “maximize delivery of your message in news feed.”

  • Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon asks who should be making the decision on whether to publish public records such as 911 recordings, news media or governments?

  • “Writing for social media is an actual skill that people can learn,” says Ezra Klein about the ability to create viral content. “For a time, there was a high-minded line that unlike search engines, social media couldn’t be gamed, as real people had to really want to share the content. Well, it turns out real people are more likely to share some content than others, and you can learn how to reliably provide them with that content. It’s not mechanical, but it is reproducible.”

  • Not all viral content is empty clickbait, says Ann Friedman, who shares tips on creating “shareable stuff readers love” without lowering your editorial standards.

  • Dan Kennedy asks whether community news sites are the new alt-weeklies: “Not as opinionated, not as profane, not nearly as far to the left, but nevertheless representing a type of journalism that is engaged with the community in a way that few daily newspapers are.”

  • And finally, a (long) defense of that essential alt-weekly trait — snark — from Tom Scocca, an alum of both Baltimore City Paper and Washington City Paper:

    Snark is often conflated with cynicism, which is a troublesome misreading. Snark may speak in cynical terms about a cynical world, but it is not cynicism itself. It is a theory of cynicism. The practice of cynicism is smarm … Smarm aspires to smother opposition or criticism, to cover everything over with an artificial, oily gloss … Like every other mode, snark can sometimes be done badly or to bad purposes. Smarm, on the other hand, is never a force for good. A civilization that speaks in smarm is a civilization that has lost its ability to talk about purposes at all. It is a civilization that says “Don’t Be Evil,” rather than making sure it does not do evil.

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