The lifespan of a media brand is an odd thing. Commanding attention and influencing the opinion of large audiences is hard work. Distribution of information has changed a lot in my lifetime which has shaken the business of media.
Some generational powers like Vogue have managed to hang on even as the internet democratized access to changing fashions. Newspapers, which have consolidated fiercely, are no longer local city standard bearers. The most financial success went in national directions like The New York Times.
Everything is fighting a losing war against the Internet. Weeklies that were concerned with recapping the goings on in the world have all but disappeared. The Economist almost made the transition to the the digital era but lost its way.
For me it was when John Micklethwait left The Economist for Bloomberg. I loved the publication as a teen & twenty something. I miss it still, but once its paywall was up and the editors I trusted were gone, it ceased to exist as an influence in my world. Influence can wane quickly. I read Bloomberg now.
Other media outlets have gone to battle in the Hobbesian war of all against all and seem to be competing with rage headlines and audience capture niches. These are the ones that concern me the most.
Wired Magazine was beloved by the first wave of Internet and technology enthusiasts. Its essays defined the era. Now it seems to have turned on the promise of technology entirely with panicked headlines about the dangers inherent in a new form of corporate structure.
For me, seeing Wired doing this sort of thing is akin to the moment in a zombie movie when a friend or family member is bitten. As they are reanimated from the dead, you are in grief and shock, but also must quickly accept your friend is gone and what is in its place is able to harm you.
For what it’s worth, I have been arguing for the innovative potential in decentralized autonomous organizations for years. I appreciate the spotlight being put on them. But I’m also sad to see a media brand lose trust. It’s not so easily regained.