Bill Keller’s war against the internet is over so the outgoing executive editor of The New York Times is picking a new target: books, specifically the reporters who take leave to write them.
In his latest column for The New York Times Magazine, Keller writes about Brian Stelter‘s new book and how he is sick and tired of his reporters penning tomes.
Writing a book is a difficult process – proven by the Keller’s two failed experiences – and he tells his reporters stroies of the “agony” they can expect.
But still, “off they go to write books” about a wide range of topics (all of which are linked in the piece online).
Keller also has another issue with his writers taking time for books: It takes away from the manpower of the Times.
Books mean writers who are absent or distracted from daily journalism, writers who have to be replaced when they leave their reporting beats and landed somewhere when they return. There is the tricky relationship between what they unearth for their books and what goes into the paper.
And that’s not a bad point. But why, oh why, is this in the Magazine? How is Keller’s trouble keeping his staff relevant to the greater population? As Emily Witt at the Observer notes, the column “reads more like a staff memo.” It’s a ridiculous thing to write about (in addition to being quite dumb in that a column like this might potentially piss off his talent).
So maybe the better question is not what Keller feels about books but why he has a column at the magazine in the first place?
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