Michael Wolff: at the intersection of old and new media

Wednesday 28 April 2010, 18:00

Matthew Wells Matthew Wells contributes to a range of British media outlets from his home in New York.

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He's got an influential column in a glossy magazine, but he's also behind a cutting-edge online news aggregator. Michael Wolff admits to biting the hand that feeds him. 

He's not the most popular media commentator in New York City, but he's been one of the most prescient since the dawn of the internet age. 

He condensed his vainglorious early dotcom experiences into the bestseller Burn Rate and, although his flagship writing gig these days is a column in Vanity Fair, he is also the founder of the aggregation site Newser, where he bangs out a spiky 500-word column each day that's a kind of literary morning workout on any topic that grabs him. 

Some call aggregation an essentially parasitic form of journalism, but Wolff tells me that's how the news business has always worked. 

He's convinced that the old paid-for paper or magazine is dead, because readers have simply moved on. This puts him at loggerheads with the man who was the subject of his most recent book, The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch.

Watch our conversation for a damning verdict on the News International mogul's recent attempt to scare newspaper publishers into line behind his paywall strategy. Wolff is convinced, after more than 50 hours of conversation with Murdoch for the book, that he simply doesn't get the internet and the profound way it has changed the whole culture of news.

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