George Packer, columnist for Mother Jones and a staff writer for The New Yorker since 2003, takes a careening look at media’s hyper pace in the New Yorker this week.
He begins with the return of The Baffler, the left-wing business and culture magazine, that rose from the print grave recently and printed again with its long articles and thoughtful essays.
But Packer wrestles with services like Twitter. He noted New York Times’ David Carr on Why Twitter Will Endure. “Twitter is crack for media addicts,” he wrote. “It scares me, not because I’m morally superior to it, but because I don’t think I could handle it. I’m afraid I’d end up letting my son go hungry.”
By the end of the piece, he wonders if his sources in Washington will stop taking him seriously if they knew he wasn’t as connected as many other journalists. He hides the fact that he doesn’t own a BlackBerry.
So I can hardly escape the demands of the throbbing networked intelligence, the nonstop nagging of the wired collective voice. Lately, I’ve begun to think—with real trepidation—that I’ll have to get a BlackBerry. I’m well aware that this is a perverse way to act like a political journalist and cover Washington. It’s like doing war reporting without a flak jacket or satellite phone. It’s a temporary and probably untenable compromise between the world of the work and the desire to protect my consciousness from it. Sooner or later, something will have to give. If it looks like I’m drowning, give a shout.
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