Cranky question of the week: Where have all the writers’ bios gone in magazines? Am I the only person who ever reads (read) those? Anytime a writer refers to him- or herself in the first person, I like a little introduction, please. But lately, that’s nearly impossible to find.
This has been happening for awhile and The New York Times Sunday magazine is the latest culprit. Before the magazine’s recent redesign, each writer’s bio was included at the bottom of the first column–where one could find it quickly and easily if one were curious. Now, there are a few bios in the front of the book, near the table of contents. So if the writer you’re interested in learning more about happens to be there, you can flip around and look for him or her. But chances are, you won’t find what you want.
Is this a generational thing? Am I supposed to just Google these people? Or is it about writers being a dime a dozen in the world of user-generated content and web 2.0?
I worked on a project a few months ago, reviewing and tagging a major content site after a redesign and reorganization. In the process, many long articles were shortened considerably, which was a good thing; they were much too long for the online reader/scanner. Most bylines were stripped, too. In many cases, this didn’t matter; a how-to or a bulleted list of tips doesn’t exactly cry out for a how-do-you-do from the writer. But a personal essay? A statement of opinion? A persuasive argument? I need to know who you are!
Do you ever read bios in newspapers, magazines, or online? Or wish you could?