While little of the above may be surprising, CJR also talked about issues before words for them were widely available.

In 1971, CJR wrote of the promises of cable television: “One can bring to every home two-way, broad-band communications that can provide a whole galaxy of new services,” including “facsimile reproductions” of newspapers and magazines, and “access to information banks at libraries, medical centers, etc.” (Emphasis added.) Remember, this was before the Internet as it exists now was even a gleam in Al Gore’s eye. What we might call “content” today was still “information.”

Finally, a magazine review in the early sixties seems almost prescient: “It is a curious coincidence that two of the newer magazines of serious intent are both devoted to being mere filters of information, rather than originators of it,” the article said. It gave one possible reason: “That Atlas and Current are responses to the pressing need for collection and organization of information, which the individual reader can no longer do sufficiently for himself.” Can you say “Romenesko”? 

 

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Merrill Perlman managed copy desks across the newsroom at The New York Times, where she worked for 25 years.