Why I Have No Time for Time

19 Sep ’06

I don’t think I’ve picked up a Time magazine in ten years – except, perhaps, in waiting rooms. And there’s a simple reason: many years ago Time decided to write for the lowest common denominator – essentially to write short pieces about current world events in plain language for everyman. It decided to commoditize itself. The only value it added to the events it described was the advantage it had over the newspapers to more reflection and writing time [Ed: hence the name?].

Now the world cares less about that extra time – the news cycle has shortened even more and everyone wants everything now! now! now! – news has been commoditized by the internet, the world is at our doorstep, opinion and essay are everywhere and fewer and fewer of us, it seems, have time for Time.

As usual, Jeff Jarvis is on the case, preaching the wisdom of being the core of a community of interest. Smart stuff, and I would quote him, but this is a family blog and he uses bad words. In short, take one Time Magazine, add several pounds of the Huffington Post, a few gallons of community and drop the gates.

I wonder: what is the difference between a magazine and a newspaper when both are online? Surely, what seems obvious in print is less so online? The Time Magazines of the world will report news and The New York Times of the world will write long essays explaining it. This will be a very crowded space. Surely Time needs to get on with the job of deciding where in that space it belongs.

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