I’ve always loved the news business. When I was a kid, I would walk a mile to the deli in order to grab a copy of The New York Times, or sit in the library obsessing over old issues of The New Yorker or Spy. Later, when some of my favorite publications began to experiment with putting their journalism online, I was an early believer in the promise of the digital revolution to spread information and provocative ideas far and wide. And I’ve remained an optimist about the media’s future—even amidst the usual sky-is-falling proclamations, such as that nobody reads anymore or nobody will pay for journalism. I would politely disagree, and I’d like to think that my success belies the shortsightedness of media cynics.
Of course, nothing is ever static in this industry—nor should it be—and it’s important for journalists, like entrepreneurs, to recognize the pitfalls and emerging opportunities of the information economy. That’s why I joined Puck. In short, I believe that the old magazine model, having been disarticulated and stripped of context by social media, is in the process of being reconstituted in the form of new subscription businesses. Farsighted creators are bypassing tech platforms to own the relationship with their audiences. And consumers are looking for proximity to the inside conversation that they can’t get anywhere else.
About a decade ago, Matt Belloni hired me to write for The Hollywood Reporter. It was my second stint at THR—or, perhaps it was a third, but that’s a longer story—and yet it was a singular experience. Back then, Matt focused my attention on two directives: delivering exclusives, and showcasing, as he put it, the insider’s view of the entertainment business.