More and more, I’m noticing that the online version of something steals the thunder of the hardcopy version. Or even worse, online content manages to give the story away in the headline, making it completely unnecessary to read it. Herewith, some particularly egregious examples.
As I have previously admitted, I subscribe to a healthy number of magazines. Much like I enjoy my Saturday newspaper in physical form (and anyone who says the online version is perfectly fine is not a true Saturday newspaper aficionado in my opinion), I like my magazines to have three dimensions. That’s because this allows me to read them outside and reread them as much as I want without gobbling up scarce cottage internet resources.
These days, in addition to issues in the mailbox, having a subscription grants unrestricted access to the online content. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Except when there is. Take, for example, Vanity Fair. I like the Vanity Fair website because it publishes lots of stuff that never appears in the magazine, such as essential celebrity gossip (are Meghan and Harry really on the road to Splitsville?), essential photos of celebrity fashion (Margot Robbie in life-size Barbie fashion!), and essential news about Trump scandals (is that a real photo of boxes of classified documents in a Mar-a-Lago bathroom and do all Mar-a-Lago bathrooms have crystal chandeliers?). It also provides links to articles from their extensive archives, a rabbit hole that has sucked up many hours I’ll never get back. All of this to say I visit the vanityfair.com website more frequently than reasonable humans would deem advisable.
Recently, vanityfair.com enticed me with an irresistible story. Seriously, how could anyone not click on “The War of the Rosé: Inside Brad and Angelina’s $164 Million Wine War,” especially since, on a recent trip to France, I sampled more than my fair share of Brad’s excellent Miraval wine. Anyhow, if I had stopped to think about it, I would have clued in that any article this long was destined for the hard copy magazine. But I didn’t. I read the whole thing with glee and devoured the accompanying photos (private planes! French villas! bodyguards!).
Then last week, my July/August issue of VF arrived. Right there on the front cover it said, “Inside Brad and Angelina’s $164 Million Wine War.” Now, I do not have a problem with magazines cross-publishing on their websites. What I do have a problem with is said story showing up online before the physical issue has landed in my lap. At least The New Yorker has the decency to tell me when the online crossword will also be in a particular magazine, although they lose points for the cartoons that bombard my Facebook feed, which spoils everything because everyone knows the first thing you do when a new New Yorker shows up is read all the cartoons first.
If there weren’t already many reasons to tread carefully when consuming content online, here’s yet another one. And if there weren’t already many reasons for me to be cranky, here’s yet another one. Just sayin’.