Give the People What They Want

Marisa Bowe and Ken Kurson

Give the People What They Want

Marisa Bowe and Ken Kurson

Give the People What They Want
An email conversation about the news of the day.
June 28 2000 12:11 PM

Marisa Bowe and Ken Kurson

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Marisa, I'm totally cognizant of Green's traffic--which stories are popular and which are not. I'd like to think that I use that data strictly as a force for good--say, changing the positioning of low-traffic stories to get them the traffic they "deserve." But I admit that I've made decisions (never personnel decisions) based on popularity. We scaled back one of my favorite Green features, "Corporate X-Ray," from weekly to every other week because we could seldom get anyone to read it.

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I'm torn. As a capitalist and a devoted fan of pop art, I firmly believe that one's duty is to, as Ray Davies put it, give the people what they want. And of course I wish people wanted to hear about vegetarianism and scooters all day. But they don't, so I don't.

Even Slate, our host, is not immune to this sort of calculus. On the first day of our chat, an acquaintance at a business mag e-mailed me: "If you somehow happen to mention abortion or homosexuality in your exchanges this week, the Slate reader forum will go batshit." I can't deny that his advice has been on my mind since. I, of course, am already bus-station gay, Freddie Mercury gay, so I figured that'd naturally work its way into the conversation, but I've resisted the impulse so far.

Until now.

Ken Kurson

Marisa Bowe is the editor-in-chief ofWord, the executive producer of Sissyfight.com, and a co-editor of Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs at the Turn of the Millennium (click here to buy it). Ken Kurson is the editor ofGreenMagazine.com, writes the "Green" column each month in Esquire, and is the author of The Green Magazine Guide to Personal Finance (click here to buy it).