Deborah Solomon
Cary Tennis
Best Covers Critiqued
What Are They Reading?


Charting the Masthead
And the Award Goes to...
88 Magazine Uses
The Year In Magazines
NYRM X-word Answers

Short Takes Goes Glossy
New Moon’s Girl Editors
Name That Partisan Rag
Highs of the Lows, ’05-’06
Overheard in the Industry


Gay Talese’s Basement
Radical Art Mag vs. the IRS
Why Magazines Won’t Die
Radar’s Neverending Story
Davidson on His Photos
The ASME Curse
Wartime in the Glossies
An Ex-Con’s Legal Mag
Essence: Behind the Music
(Un)covering Athletes
My Beef with Bridal Mags
E&P Goes to War
The Price of Truth


Hispanic Magazine
Los Angeles Magazine
Men’s Vogue
National Geographic
The Walrus
Women’s Health


About NYRM


Mitchell started presenting alternative viewpoints to Editor & Publisher’s readers, who are the reporters, editors and publishers behind America’s daily headlines, stories and editorials. He did it at a time when he was also trying to revive and reshape the magazine, and he was feeling comfortable and apprehensive at the same time about the changes. The monthly schedule meant lower overhead costs, the logic went, and the website offered a new avenue for delivering content and attracting readers.
Nevertheless, he and his E&P colleagues viewed the future with some trepidation. There was real fear that readership would plummet because they were going to ask subscribers to pay the same rate for a monthly as they had paid for a weekly. Even though Mitchell’s politicized mission did not necessarily mesh with the more conventional outlook of the magazine’s corporate owner, VNU—an international market-research and business-publications company—he was given editorial freedom.

In addition to covering practical aspects of the press in wartime, such as reporters going through training for working in chemically contaminated areas and the practice of embedding reporters with military units, the magazine put a spotlight on those newspapers and writers—often in the country’s smaller markets—who Mitchell believed were producing good journalism in their coverage of the war and its policymakers. In an April 2004 article headlined “Tommy, We Can Hear You (Fine),” E&P’s Barbara Bedway praised Tommy Tomlinson of The Charlotte Observer for his coverage of what she called “President Bush’s truth deficit on Iraq.” More recently, in November 2005, she wrote about Tom Lasseter, a correspondent for the Knight Ridder chain, who pioneered the practice of embedding with Iraqi military units that were independent from U.S. military control, and, Bedway wrote, predicted the outbreak of bloody civil strife between Sunnis and Shiites.

The website supplements these stories with extra features, such as Mitchell’s often biting opinion columns. On the third anniversary of the war, he wrote: “Reviving a Vietnam-era phrase, it is the nation’s editorial voice that is the ‘pitiful, helpless giant,’ even as the American and Iraqi public, alike, call for the start of a withdrawal.” The website also allows Mitchell to provide links to stories on the Internet that he thinks deserve wider readership.

The website’s ability to critique the daily newspapers’ coverage almost instantaneously, and also to link to other stories about the war and the media, have made it a valued resource for foreign journalists. But the key question is: Has E&P’s hectoring had any significant effect on American newspapers?
Certainly some of his readers in the newspaper industry are not convinced that they need to be subjected to lectures from Mitchell. David Lauter, deputy foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, reads the magazine every month for its industry news but shrugs off accusations that newspapers like his have been soft on the war. Michael Ottey, assistant world editor of The Miami Herald, defends the balance in the foreign news stories produced by his Knight Ridder colleagues. And Jay Bookman, deputy editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is proud of the fact that his paper’s editorials spoke out against the war from the beginning. He scratches his head when he reads Mitchell’s critiques. “I find it odd that a trade magazine would take such a political position,” he said.

Roger Aronoff, however, is not surprised. He is an analyst for Accuracy in Media, a right-wing watchdog of the press based in Washington, D.C. He thinks that a lot of this is just Mitchell’s old-left side talking. The left and the mainstream media are “soul mates,” he said. And some research studies have supported this assertion, such as one in 2005 led by a UCLA political scientist, Tim Groseclose, which concluded that American media have a liberal bias. Leftists, Aronoff believes, want to discredit Bush’s presidency by accusing him of lying. He said that Editor & Publisher’s media critiques are “consistent with their view that somehow we were lied to or misled into this war.”

Mitchell points to American Business Media’s bestowal of three Neal Award nominations as testimony to the magazine’s integrity as well as quality. ABM “is a very conservative business-media organization,” he said. ABM’s director of communications, Steve Ennen, said that Editor & Publisher “has stood out from all the other entries.”

On the question of whether his magazine’s criticisms have changed anything, Mitchell isn’t making any expansive claims. Three years after the start of the war, he thinks that American newspapers have improved only slightly. In his Web columns this March, he lamented that only a handful of small newspapers ran editorials proposing a troop pullout and that some opinion journalists, such as Richard Cohen, who are now criticizing the war were rallying for it back in 2003.

“I know our stuff is read and followed a great deal,” said Mitchell. “I can’t say we’ve had a big effect on the editors.”

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