NYTimes.com Gets a Redesign, NYMag.com Scratches Its Head?

New York, Neewwww Yoooorrrkk!

Did you catch the New York Times Web site redesign that launched this morning? Only thing is, doesn’t it kinda look suspiciously similar to the New York magazine site redesign which happened earlier this year? Hmmm…

Well in the New York Times‘ defense, redesigns take a very long time (According to Leonard Apcar, Editor of NYTimes.com, they started working on it a year ago.), so maybe (hopefully) this particular design was already in the works before NYMag.com launched. Perhaps all great New York-centric minds (or art departments) think alike? Or maybe some consulting firm just did a two-for-one market research deal.

ny times redesign

vs

new york magazine redesign

Or how about when you drill down…

ny times redesign

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new york magazine redesign

Hmmm… 

Oh, on a side note an article on Sondre Lerche (pictured above) written by my friend Sara is in the latest issue of New York magazine.

The Strokes Are the 23rd Most Loathsome New Yorkers

Well at least according to the NY Press

The Strokes

Rock Band

The music industry likes to blame massive file-sharing for their miserable status, but what they forget is that this era produced bands like The Strokes and touted them as the saviors of rock ‘n’ roll. Relying on the crude, formulaic approach jumpstarted decades ago by the likes of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, The Strokes are far from saviors of the ailing music industry.

Instead, they have swayed rock from being dangerous, thrilling—hell, even enjoyable—to stale, monotonous and wearisome. After straddling the indie/mainstream fence with their first release, we should have recognized they are no more “saviors” than the Rolling Stones, for whom they opened on tour. We can only pray for something as miraculous as the Apocalypse if they are able to sustain their careers to the age of those British geezers.

There is a place for simple, catchy rock; but for minimalist rock movements to succeed, substance must triumph over style, pretension sacrificed to essence. With the über-pompous Strokes, it’s difficult even to tolerate their crudeness from a jukebox muffled with the converse of bar patrons. Are they the saviors of rock ‘n’ roll? Maybe in the sense that their presence could result in the utter destruction of an archaic, out-of-touch music industry.

Nick Sylvester Suspended and Fired for Fabricated Story in the Village Voice

Woah. I know this has been written up everywhere, but I just found out about the Nick Sylvester scandal. In case you have been as in the dark as I have been, the story is that Village Voice senior associate editor (btw- who made that job title up?) Nick Sylvester’s cover story, “Do You Want to Kiss Me?”, contained fabricated stories and misrepresentations. The Voice has “suspended” Sylvester and further investigation into the validity of the story will occur…and based on the comments by acting Editor-in-Chief Doug Simmons to Gawker, a stern talking to about the “boundaries of journalism.”

Sylvester, who also wrote for Pitchfork resigned this Thursday from his associate edtior position at the Web site after being asked to quit. Because lord knows Pitchfork can’t afford to have its good reputation as a beacon of truth tarnished. And since Pitchfork updates so frequently, they’ve already taken the liberty of deleting his name from the masthead. (Compare with the cached version.)

Anyone else feeling that this title and headline of a story Nick wrote last month is…well…now filled with irony?:

E-thics
Morals get fuzzy as biz tries to embrace the blog world

Sigh.

Trend of the Week: Musicans Hating People on the Internet…and Each Other

Just when you thought Nick Zinner was the only guitarist that was going to stick it to his critics this week, the king of hating journos and the ‘Net has returned to upstage him. Yes, that’s right, it’s the incorrigible Jack White! Check out the hate spew posted on the WS site yesterday:

What a funny album, coming from divided critics to supposed disappointing sales, to going platinum in several countries, to making most critics top ten lists, to winning a Grammy. That’s funny, right? When that happens pitchfork has to call spin to confer on whether to ignore or make fun of it. They lose perspective, the sewer worker below their lower east side Manhattan hipster bar out smarts them every time. They all play a cowards game. The faceless opinion of print and the internet. What is it teaching all of us?

Back when there was a time when we had great writers, and respected journalists who had earned their position as tastemakers, and won peoples respect with their knowlege and insight, it was much easier to understand a written opinion because at least you knew where it was coming from.

Now those printied opinions are probably coming from the person sitting next to you on his laptop at the mall. Why should you care about their opinion? Why shouldn’t you? Who are all those people on vh1 trashing everyone? Why does a failed stand up comedian have the final word on the rubik’s cube? They are currently digging trenches for the bar to be lowered down into.

…Don’t let them bring you down, don’t let them make you consume. Remember the person’s opinion you are reading probably knows less about the topic you are interested in than you do.

Yessss!

If you read the whole entry, you’ll see Jack go off on Billy Childish. Why? Turns out B.C. (who has toured with the WS) had this to say about the Stripes in the most recent issue of GQ:

“I can’t listen to that stuff. They don’t have a good sound…Jack’s half into the sound and music, but then he wants to be a pop star as well, so you’ve got a big problem. You can’t pull it both ways. Someone compared us to the White Stripes and I said, ‘They’re heading to the stadium with all their might.’ We’ll play the stadium if we have to. They want the fifteen yards between them and the audience, and the big PA. It’s a different animal.”

Geez. I think everyone is cranky this week.

(Source)

SPIN Set for New Blood?

According to WWD, San Francisco-based publisher Tom Hartle may not have sealed the deal with purchasing SPIN quite yet, but that hasn’t stopped him from quietly offering jobs to fill up his magazine.

Word is that Hartle is looking to tap former Blender editor in chief Andy Pemberton for the top position at the mag and former Blender and SPIN publisher Malcolm Campbell to head up the biz.

No word on what would become of current EIC Sia Michel or pub Jacob Hill if the rumors turn out to be true.

More info on Hartle and the state of SPIN right here.

Two Out of Three Ain’t Good?

Ouch! I was just reading an interview with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs from The Guardian, and the writer Lynsey Hansley contextualized the YYY’s place in modern rock by commenting on two of my other favorite American rock bands:

In the three years since Fever to Tell‘s release, their New York counterparts the Strokes have released two underwhelming albums, while the White Stripes, the band whom the Yeah Yeah Yeahs supported at their first-ever gig in 2001, have become one of the world’s biggest rock bands. While staying true to their cool, uncompromising attitude, YYYs’ Show Your Bones easily outscores the Strokes’ efforts in its combination of artistic ambition and poppy accessibility.

I didn’t realize this was a contest. Thoughts?

Celebrity Spin

Check out the Village Voice cover story about “celebrity djs” written by Ms. Tricia Romano. She explores the world of rock star picking up extra cash, keeping themselves occupied from hookers and blow, and much more. My favorite thing about this article is that it concentrates on whether or not some of these rockers are “djs” as opposed to figuring out if some of these musicians are “celebrities.”

village voice celebrity spin

Actually, speaking of DJs, check out this video of DFA-family member The Juan Maclean doing a live DJ set last week in Seattle:

WATCH: The Juan Maclean performing in Seattle

Welcome to Our World, Welcome to Our World of Blogs

Ohmigod! I just found out about this cool new thing. It’s called “blogging.” It’s like the hottest thing ever. I just read about it on this thing called the “internet“!

All kidding aside, I just saw this right now. New York magazine’s newest issue takes on “The Blog Establishment.” It’s a lengthy article by Clive Thompson about the “glass ceiling” of blogging, the elitism, the successes, and the frustrations. Thompson touchs on sites like Jossip, Gawker Media, Boing-Boing, etc.

The story discusses the idea that it is the first-adapters who get the lion’s share of linkage and spread it around to their friends, making it hard for up-starts to get comperable traffic. Here’s a sample:

The power law is dominant because of a quirk of human behavior: When we are asked to decide among a dizzying array of options, we do not act like dispassionate decision-makers, weighing each option on its own merits. Movie producers pick stars who have already been employed by other producers. Investors give money to entrepreneurs who are already loaded with cash. Popularity breeds popularity.

First-movers get a crucial leg up in this kind of power-law system. This is certainly true of the blogosphere. If you look at the list of the most-linked-to blogs on the top 100 as ranked by Technorati—a company that scans the blogosphere every day—many of those at the top were first-movers, the pioneers in their fields.

In scientific terms, this pattern is called “homeostasis”—the tendency of networked systems to become self-reinforcing. “It’s the same thing you see in economies—the rich-get-richer problem,” Shirky notes.

Thompson’s article also takes on a slightly jaundiced slant on Gawker Media in general. Basically calling grand puba Nick Denton a liar for saying that there’s no money to be made in blogging and instructing all his bloggers to decline interviews  (but seemed to have find no fault in them being photographed–see below) for this piece. With that in mind, can we really believe the shpeal Denton gave about blog writers like Jessica Coen only getting paid around 30k a year?

However, Thompson did get a chance to get some words from former Gawker editor Elizabeth Spiers (who just so happens to be starting her own blogging empire) who gives this brutaly honest quote about her former site of work: “You’d have be a total f-ckup to ruin that site right now. It’s got so many links, you’re just going to have a positive growth rate.”

If you still haven’t gotten a hold of the nearest sharp object to jab your eyes out (Uncle Grambo, I’m talking to you), you would have gotten far enough to see Pink Is the new Blog is mentioned in the same breath as Ultragrrrl and Thighs Wide Shut.

You will also make it to read about how the little independents don’t have much of a chance against the big organized (and monied) productions like Weblogs Inc and Gawker Media.

They also list the Top 50 blogs, do some “Meet the Bloggers” bit, and a broad timeline of “blogging.”

God I hate the words “blog” and “blogger.”

Anyone think the photographer’s instruction was: “Chin up, kids!” ?

ny magazine bloggers

ny magazine bloggers

Thoughts on the whole blogging as “rich getting richer” angle? How about the Nick Denton supressing information? Let ’em rip.

Best Headline Ever

The cover of the March 2006 issue of Teen Vogue (MY FAVORITE MAGAZINE) has the BEST headline: “Copycat Friends: Is someone stealing your style?” This is the best attempt I’ve seen of adding sophistication to a 1st-Grade school yard conflict. “I’m telling! Stacey’s copying my outfits again! She’s not playing nice!” Teen Vogue, can you get any more brilliant?