After assessing his 36 year tenure more generously than I would, Fox concludes:
Why do I go on and on about this [Peretz’s writing stylistically and substantively]? Not to defend Marty Peretz, but to observe that institutions have been getting short shrift lately, especially in the world of journalism. And for sure, a lot of existing journalistic institutions are deserving of no shrift at all. But the idea of journalistic organizations in which people specialize, in which editors keep writers from making fools of themselves, in which cranks have a place as long as they’re good at, isn’t entirely archaic. We’re not all cut out to be freestanding journalistic brands. [Link in original.]
I agree with Fox’s last sentence, but I think he’d be dead right if he’d written, ‘Almost no one is cut out to be a freestanding journalistic brand.’ Most of us need judicious pre-publication reviews.
I had the great good fortune to learn as a 1L that legal writing – indeed, all professional writing – was collaborative. I got the lesson from my father who pointed out that ‘It’s the firm’s name that goes first, above my signature. So, it’s the firm’s document, not mine.’
In the 39 years since, the only documents, posts, emails, etc. I’ve regretted sending were ones I alone saw. But bloggers usually don’t have handy colleagues.
As proprietor of www.TheBell.us, I find myself exercising a level of self-censorship I’ve never had to observe. I’m not certain that has benefitted me or my readers as much as it has stifled us. But, I think the discipline necessary, at least until I again have colleagues.
At the same time, I trust you will remind me when I should have had someone read a post in advance….
Justin Fox is a fine writer, blogger and author. The Myth of the Rational Market (2009) is well worth reading, especially after reading Peter L. Bernstein’s classic, Capital Ideas (1992). You will get no surer guides through the intellectual morass that led to the current debacle. Be prepared for very different perspectives.
Fox is now managing editor of the Harvard Business Review and the HBS Press. He occasionally graces the HBR blog. That alone makes a subscription (free) worthwhile.
Fox is pinch hitting for Felix Solomon on his Reuters blog while Salmon spends two weeks in South Africa. Salmon is one of my daily ‘must reads’. If Fox wrote every day, he would be, too. Getting him every day for two weeks promises to be a treat.