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Link Roundup: “Death to the Virginia Quarterly Review”

PUBLISHED: March 22, 2009

1. Sony has one-upped Amazon by making half a million out-of-copyright books available for their Reader, in a partnership with Google. The internet giant has raised the hackles of authors in their quest to make all human knowledge searchable online, though the recently-applied $125M greenback poultice has quieted authors. Now that Google is encoding books in the EPUB format, it’s easy to make them accessible to e-book readers. Let’s see if Amazon follows suit; their business model would seem to make that unlikely. If you’re wondering about the merits of each device, see’s head-to-head comparison, or Wired’s.

2. Shorter Clay Shirky: “Trust me: media outlets should just close up shop and then magic fairies will report the news.” I’m partial to Adrian Monck’s response to Shirky.

Robert Irwin3. Artist Robert Irwin was named the 2009 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medalist in Architecture by the University of Virginia, of which VQR is a part. The prestigious award has been given out annually since 1966. Irwin was the subject of a long feature by Lawrence Weschler in our Spring 2008 issue.

4. Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan has tagged a National Magazine Awards story with “Death to the Virginia Quarterly Review.” We’ve decided to take it as a compliment.


Clay Shirky's picture
Clay Shirky · 11 years ago
Not only do I not believe in news fairies, I say so in that essay. I’m as sick of the “The Web will provide all, and quickly” argument as you are, and the ‘I don’t know’ part of that essay was me talking to the new media utopians. You assume that anyone who believes that the Web will wreck newspapers will also replace them, but I don’t fall in that camp. I just think a bad thing is going to happen to news, and it will take decades to dig ourselves out of that hole, so we better start experimenting now. As for Monck’s reply, other than him being upset, I can’t really see where he disagrees with the the prognosis of “Thinking the Unthinkable”. He thinks newspapers have been in decline since 1970, earlier than I’d put the date, and he thinks paywalls on financial news are special cases for different reasons than I think they are special cases, but, like me, he doesn’t think that decline is broadly reversible, nor that paywalls will work for every paper. If you like those conclusions in his word rather than mine, well, that’s one of the things the abundance of the Web is for, but I don’t exactly see a ray of sunshine for newspapers any more than in mine.

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