May 19, 2009

Dan Baum

If you haven’t read Dan Baum’s (no relation) Twitter tale about working for and getting fired by The New Yorker, it is good reading. $90,000 a year for 30,000 words? Incredible. I should be a millionaire for the number of words I write a year – albeit nothing 1% as good or as necessary as The New Yorker (web content). But seems an absurd figure for the # of staff writers they have. A window into writing on that level:

New Yorker stories are so easy to read. Of course, the magazine does run everything through the deflavorizer, following

Samuel Johnson’s immortal advice: “Read what you have written, and when you come across a passage you think

Is particularly fine, strike it out.”


Remnick called to say he wouldn’t renew my contract come September. He said he didn’t like my work. There were those five long stories that were killed.

That’s a lot in three years, he said.

I argued that in all five cases, the quality of the work wasn’t the problem

Writers have problems at the top and the bottom.


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