Category: "media"

It’s been hard not finding a newspaper outside the door every morning. Now I have to come in here, where I work, blog, waste time on Facebook, to read the paper before blogging, working, wasting time on Facebook. The front page appears on my screen, but I have to scroll down to see what’s at the bottom of it. Yes, I can reduce the size, so only the headlines are readable (headlines being the majority of what one reads in a newspaper), but as soon as I click to turn the page it reverts to its previous size. If I scroll down to read the bottom of a page, and then turn the page, instead of seeing the bottom of the next page, I see the top, making it necessary for me to scroll down again. (I thought perhaps I could do one page down, the next page up, etc., but that would be too logical.) I’m tempted to read only stories above the fold, but then I’d be tormented by the idea of missing something I shouldn’t. Reading online has further reinforced for me the beauty of paper. No wonder people addicted to screens aren’t getting their news from newspapers.

I’m off to Pennsylvania. Will be back here next Monday.  

By Thomas Swick • Category: media

There is no better illustration of the devolution of travel writing (periodicals division) than the 30th anniversary issue of Condé Nast Traveler, now on newsstands. The editor, in her letter to readers, tries to make a case for continuity, but she sabotages her argument by pasting above it a photo of the cover of the inaugural issue. You read the titles of the stories that ran in 1987, and the names of the people who wrote them – “Adrift up the Amazon,” Christopher Buckley, “A passion for Barcelona,” Robert Hughes – and then you turn the pages to find articles about luxury lodgings in Paris and Rome. The magazine’s original slogan still graces the cover: “Truth in Travel,” though it should now be changed to “Faith in Advertising.”

By Thomas Swick • Category: media

no thanks

03/24/17 08:53

I am usually so far behind in my New Yorkers that I'm delighted when a new issue arrives and I see an article I have absolutely no interest in reading - like Gary Shteyngart's essay on his new obsession with luxury watches. I wouldn't have read Nabokov on luxury watches.

By Thomas Swick • Category: media

In the August 6 issue, between an analysis of Brexit and a Matthew Parris column on the importance of the Bible, one finds this headline: "My wild success: Hedgehogs, and other joys of a carefully messy garden."

Oh, and there's also a Diary by Geoff Dyer. (I so want to add a 'y' to his surname.)

By Thomas Swick • Category: media

soggy guest

05/12/16 09:16

Last Wednesday I drove down to Miami for my appearance on Topical Currents. As usual, I arrived ridiculously early. (You never know what horrors await on I-95.) I grabbed an empanada at a cafe on Biscayne Boulevard and then, at about 20 minutes to 1, just as it started to drizzle, I arrived at the parking lot of WLRN.

"You can't park here," the guard told me. "You have to park in the lot across from the entrance."

"But I parked here two months ago when I came for an interview," I said.

He knew nothing about that; only that I was not allowed, now, in the lot that seemed to belong to the building. One that, I couldn't help but notice, had a number of empty spaces.

He opened the electronic gate at the other end of the lot and I took a left onto 15th Street. A sign in the lot he had directed me to read "Police Vehicles Only." I drove around the block and returned to the guardhouse.

"It says it's for police vehicles only," I told him. "Can't you just let me park here?" It was now starting to rain harder.

"That's only one section," he said. "You can park in the middle."

He opened the gate again and I hurried on through. Now it was getting ridiculously late. I pulled into the lot, which was quite large, and completely full. I returned to the guardhouse, and begged to be allowed into the lot just behind it. The rain was now falling in sheets. I was sent instead to a lot that sat next to the Arsht Center.

After finding a space, I reached in the back for my old umbrella, which Hania had tied using a thin thread. I couldn't see the thread, or which way the button needed to be pushed to open the umbrella. I tried breaking the clasp, without any success. Of course. It was now, incredibly, five to one. I imagined Joseph Cooper saying, in a few minutes, "Good afternoon. We're NOT here today with travel writer Thomas Swick."

I felt, to use the old cliche, like the star of my own nightmare. Finally, the cord loosened and I was able to open the umbrella. I ran toward the studio, splashing through puddles the size of lakes, only to discover that I was blocked by a fence. I retraced my watery steps, found the exit - did I need to pay? I had no time to look for a machine - and ran through rain that now resembled a monsoon.

Across the street, past the guardhouse, I had a split-second decision to make. Do I try the entrance by the lot I wanted to park in but wasn't allowed to, or the one by the lot I was told to park in but wasn't able to? I went for the former. My shoes, pants and shirt were now completely soaked. I dialed the number of the receptionist on the outside phone; nobody answered. Finally, the producer Richard Ives appeared - he had come down to look for me - and opened the door.

It wasn't until I entered the studio that Richard noticed how wet I was. Good thing this is radio, I said. Richard went and got a shirt - a handsome blue denim number with the station's letters on the pocket - for me to change into. When the show was over, and I offered to give it back, he told me I could keep it. I was the first guest, he said, who had ever required a wardrobe change.

By Thomas Swick • Category: media

who's to blame?

04/29/16 08:42

When the New York Times Book Review interviews authors, it sometimes asks them what book they would like to read that hasn’t been written. For me, it would be a book on the history of magazine advertising. I would like to know when it was that an advertiser first made an editorial demand and, of course, the name of that advertiser. So I could boycott them.

By Thomas Swick • Category: media