Target market

The New Yorker's mistake
On the lecture circuit I once met a man who was one of the hierarchs in the advertising division of the New Yorker. I was primed to learn more about the magazine’s editors and writers, who are heroes and heroines to me, but he told me he did not know any of them. The magazine did all it could, as a matter of policy, to separate the advertising personnel from the editorial staff.

Not many years before, the magazine had devoted most of its pages to a long excerpt from James Baldwin’s wrenching account of racial strife in the America, The Fire Next Time. It appeared, many readers noted, among advertisements for luxury items whose location in American life was far from Baldwin’s subject. Would those ads have been juxtaposed with such a contradicting counterpart had advertising and editorial people coordinated?

 

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