Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Another New York Times writer jumps ship

Nellie Bowles left the New York Times and joined Bari Weiss’ Common Sense Substack. Legacy media is no longer slowly dying. It has jumped off a cliff and is half-way down to the rocks below. Bowles’ first post on Common Sense is a news roundup that she plans on doing weekly. It’s a good read and she seems energized to report actual news.

During my four years at the Times, I wrote a lot about people and Silicon Valley culture; I won an award for a series on child predators using video games to reach children; and I covered the impact of last summer’s protests on small businesses. You can read those stories herehere and here

I started at the Times as a very happy, lauded bulldog liberal of a writer (readers may remember and hate my 2018 profile of a well-known professor, the last point of contention in my marriage). In the years since, my curiosity started getting me in trouble with my coworkers. As America’s power center shifted leftward, as the country was being reshaped by a charismatic new ideology, I was supposed to cheer it on or otherwise carefully ignore it. 

When I didn’t, I became suspect. My colleagues started leaking stories to other publications to embarrass me. I would get a call from a magazine reporter: “Your colleagues are mad you went to CHAZ. Any comment?” Efforts by well-meaning bosses to intervene only made it more frenzied. At first it was crazy-making, like a breakup or a betrayal, a feeling so many in my position have written about beautifully already in this newsletter. 

So I quit. Quietly. Unlike some people around here.

A Very Exciting Introduction – by Nellie Bowles – Common Sense with Bari Weiss (

What I can’t figure out is why go to Substack? Nothing against Substack but it seems to me that writers with recognizable names and that already have a following can easily put up their own site these days. It’s not even that difficult to put it behind a paywall. Going to Substack is better than staying with legacy media in any case.