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Weekly Lunches: Meeting David Remnick for two seconds at The New Yorker

Updated: Aug 3, 2019

By: Elie Levine, intern at Architectural Record

Last week, on Wednesday, July 10, we visited Condé Nast to attend a lunch at The New Yorker with two of the magazine’s legendary longtime editors, Dorothy Wickenden, who has been the executive editor for The New Yorker since 1996, and David Rohde, executive editor of The New Yorker website. Excitement was palpable as we entered the elevator and rode up to the 23rd floor. Julia Rothchild, an assistant editor, greeted us outside the imposing glass doors of the New Yorker office.

Almost immediately upon meeting her, many of us were shocked to recognize the magazine’s own editor in chief, David Remnick, who asked us what had brought us to the office. Starstruck and weak in the knees, we wandered into the office’s halls, walking under the burnt-orange New Yorker letters in the front hallway — which would provide a prime photo op later in our visit. We walked by editors’ cubicles, through the cartoon section and past a wallpapered entirely with old New Yorker covers. Finally, in a large conference room framed by a stunning view of New York City’s seaport, we sat down with Wickenden and Rohde.

What followed was a two-hour conversation that spanned topics such as the switch from print to digital, covering politics in a post-Trump America and the strong points and drawbacks of The New Yorker’s specific style.

What I found most surprising about this visit — and what differentiated it from the other incredible lunches we’ve had in this program — was the amount of time the editors chose to spend with us, lowly interns taking baby steps into a rapidly changing industry. They wanted to hear our perspectives on everything from journalism in a volatile political climate to our perceptions of their work. We name-dropped New Yorker legends whose writing we were familiar with and jotted down the many others Wickenden and Rohde mentioned

We listened closely as Rohde described how the magazine helped hone individual writers’ talents, but looked to social media for further insight on adapting to the digital age. He wanted to hear from us — digital natives — about our perceptions of Internet content and our ability to discern fact from fiction on social media platforms. Misinformation, Rohde discussed, seemed to be more of an issue with older Americans who were struggling to adapt to the Internet’s widespread reach.

We also discussed the turning point Trump’s election to the presidency represented. Rural America turned out in droves and many millennials did not vote, something the media didn’t foresee and ultimately led them to predict the outcome of the election incorrectly. Interns shared their perspectives on why and how liberal media could have been so intensely blindsided.

The conversation was illuminating and challenging, and we left the magazine’s offices with much to think and write about.

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