New York Review of Magazines Celebrates Its Spring Issue

Thursday evening, we stopped by B. Smith’s in Midtown for the party celebrating the Spring 2009 issue of the New York Review of Magazines, which is produced by students at the Columbia School of Journalism.

In his speech during the festivities, NYRM‘s advisor Victor Navasky, publisher emeritus of The Nation and director of Columbia J-School’s Center for Magazine Journalism, joked about how this was the rare magazine event where no one was worried about losing their job. After he gave his toast, Navasky spoke with us about why he doesn’t think print magazines will disappear and why he didn’t agree with New York magazine’s take on the purported “existential crisis” at the Columbia School of Journalism.

(photo by Mirjam Donath)

This reporter will be attending Columbia J-School next year, so we were especially eager to get Navasky’s take on the New York mag story that made waves back in March by alleging that there’s a schism between digital media evangelists and print loyalists at the school. The article infamously quoted J-School professor Ari Goldman as having told his students: “F**k new media.”

We asked Navasky if he saw a divide between old and new media at Columbia.

“Not in the way New York magazine presented it at all,” he said. “I think Ari Goldman was quoted out of context, and I think the school is making a creative and determined effort to have a dialectical relationship between old media and digital media.”

Navasky identified the work NYRM contributors do managing the publication’s Web site and promoting their digital content as an example of how even traditional programs at Columbia build new media skills.

Navasky may be ready to embrace the Web, but he doesn’t think print magazines will be going away. “I’m a believer in print magazines and I think they’ll never disappear, but having a Web site in tandem is ideal,” he said.

Speaking of which, the current issue of the New York Review of Magazines is scheduled to be posted to their
Web page on Monday. Unsurprisingly, the central theme of the issue is the conflict between traditional and digital media.