Monday, 4 April 2011

High fashion, high stakes

Today, I turn my blogging attention to the world of fashion. Surprised? I don’t see why, those who know me well also know that I can admire a crop-top or a crocheted stitch as much as the next man.

Anyway, I will defend myself no more, the big news is that Times fashion editor Lisa Armstrong and her deputy Luke Leitch have jumped ship to the Telegraph who are cock-a-hoop at their coup. However, there is more to this than meets the eye. Apparently, this is no mere case of the Telegraph dangling much gold in front of The Times’ star pair.

According to rumour (Roy Greenslade’s blog to be exact) both Armstrong and Leitch have become increasingly disenchanted with The Times’ paywall which has seen their readership drop and have resorted to “tweeting like crazy” to maintain their links with readers. Greenslade, in fact, describes them as “paywall refugees”.

This has happened before. When the New York Times erected a paywall around its OpEd pages many years ago the columnists rebelled. Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks and Thomas Friedman etal threw their toys out of the pram and demanded the return of their readership.

Why? Because those journalists working at the pinnacle of their profession are not mere writers anymore, they are ‘brands’ for whom the weekly column is a loss-leader to get their message to the wider world in the hope that we all then go and buy their books. Think I’m kidding? Try searching any of the names listed above on the Amazon US website and see how many books they’ve each written. Brooks, for example, is currently #2 on the New York Times Non-fiction Bestsellers List.

Can we expect to see a similar rebellion over here? I’ve got news for you, we already are! Armstrong is a contributing editor to Vogue and has written multiple books, both fiction and non-fiction, all with a fashion twist.

An anonymous life behind the Times paywall is no good to her!


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