But what is a magazine?
If you’re holding one, you can turn the page. But it’s very possible that you’re nowhere near a turnable page now. You’re reading on a computer or a hand-held device, even though this column was intended for a magazine — a Sunday newspaper supplement that started in 1896. Like hardcover books in Kindle editions and “Daily Show” clips on the Web, this column is produced in large part for a medium other than the one in which it is consumed.
That creates some dissonance. Magazine-making is a 20th-century commercial art, with time-honored conventions, protocols and economics. But the effort that goes into making a print magazine — lighting photo shoots, designing layouts, affixing page numbers — produces little value for those who find its elements deracinated on the Web. If you’re reading these words online, why should you know, or care, that they are meant to follow an illustrated cover, a table of contents and some feuilleton pieces? You don’t expect it to precede a “well” of reported stories. Nor do you anticipate a first-person essay or a crossword puzzle.
Full piece in the NYT Magazine