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New Yorker Editor David Remnick Makes the Case for Magazines in a Facebook Era

Here's the first episode of our newest podcast, "Re/code Media with Peter Kafka."

Amelia Krales for Re/code

What’s the point of a magazine in 2016? It’s easier than ever to find good stuff you want to read online, so do we need magazine editors to bundle a bunch of that stuff together?

The New Yorker editor David Remnick’s answer, unsurprisingly, is yes. On the first episode of Peter Kafka’s new podcast "Re/code Media with Peter Kafka" (more on that in a minute), Remnick said his magazine delivers "real value" to readers on a regular schedule, and they have proven willing to pay for it, even as publisher Condé Nast raises the cover price.

"We are telling the reader, this is something of enormous value that we pour our hearts and souls into to make accurate and beautiful and deep, and we are paying our writers well," Remnick said.

Remnick acknowledged that in the 17 years that he has run The New Yorker, the business of making a magazine has become, for lack of a better word, more businesslike. Not only has The New Yorker expanded beyond print into media such as podcasting and a TV series that will run on Amazon, but it has increasingly focused on the bottom line. The New Yorker, Remnick said, is profitable.

And running a magazine like a real business has its upside, he added: It means he can keep running a magazine.

"I am blessed. The huge blessing is working at a place where writers can get on airplanes and write without interference," Remnick said. "The primary value is editorial freedom and the capacity to do something great. What more can I ask for?"

So, can a nearly century-old publication that still prides itself as a bundle of stuff chosen by other people stay relevant in the digital age? Listen and decide for yourself.

You can listen to or download the episode in the player above, but here’s the really important bit: "Re/code Media with Peter Kafka" is now its own podcast, independent of Kara Swisher’s show "Re/code Decode," and that means you should subscribe to make sure you don’t miss future episodes. Click here to subscribe to the new show right now on iTunes, and watch this space next week for more info about where else you can follow it.

Peter Kafka will be back next Thursday to talk to Adrian Wojnarowski, the star sports columnist who runs Yahoo’s new NBA blog The Vertical.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of other Re/code Radio podcasts you should check out. Until now, Peter’s interviews with the most interesting people in media have been found on Kara Swisher’s "Re/code Decode," which will feature an interview with California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday. You can also hear Kara this Friday on "Too Embarrassed to Ask," her podcast with Lauren Goode from The Verge. Click here to subscribe to "Re/code Decode" and here to subscribe to "Too Embarrassed to Ask" on iTunes.

If you’re reading this not long after we posted it, then the Code/Media conference is happening right now. You should check out our full coverage of the event here on And on "Re/code Replay," we’ll have audio from our amazing Code/Media speakers so you can revisit your favorite interviews later. To subscribe to that, click right here.

You can follow @Recode on Twitter for the latest on upcoming guests.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just strafe Peter on Twitter. You can also suggest guests for the show, and we’ll do our best to nab them for an interview.

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