‘The Last Magazine’ a corporate drama about journalism

9/10

Danger looming, the momentum building up, an epic fall approaches. The knives are unsheathed, incisors sharpened, and enemies and targets of his scorn in the past are making phone calls, remarks on television, coming out of the media landscape, electronic specters with Rolodexes and grudges and access to editors, nudging the story along.

“The Last Magazine” has certainly made me reexamine my role in journalism. As a growing journalist and writer, the novel has been a bit of a wakeup call. I love the pressure of the newsroom, but this book has made me wonder: is it worth it?

Michael Hasting’s novel, which he claims is pure fiction, is a corporate drama about the death of conventional journalism and the rise of the Internet, as seen through a young intern’s eyes (plus a lot of sex and a lot of substance abuse). In the story we read about two journalists: veteran foreign correspondent and addict A.E. Peoria and the intern, Hasting’s himself, as they build their careers at a publication simply dubbed The Magazine.

The novel contrasts the life of Peoria with the elitist society of big league editors and publishers at The Magazine. As The Magazine’s editors scramble for top positions and salaries they leave Peoria to fend for himself. His only rock is his career, and it’s slipping.  Meanwhile the new journalism – the “now journalism” – erupts in the blogosphere. The very foundation of journalism – paper – begins to shift to the digitized world.

Ten years after Hasting’s story finishes I find myself in a time where web content and “now” media are the dominant media. For me, journalism is one way to pursue a career as a writer. Though the job market may be bleak, “The Last Magazine” is a reminder that the opportunities go beyond The Magazine. Not to mention the story is raunchy, smutty, cynical, humorous and very well written.

If you’re pursuing a career as a writer I would highly recommend giving it a read.

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