[SUNDAY FEATURE] The not-so-glossy future of magazines

Magazines still line classic newsstands like this one in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass. But the publishing industry has faded. /Credit M. Scott Brauer for The New York Times

By Sydney Ember and Michael M. Grynbaum | The New York Times

One evening in mid-September, a gaggle of writers and bon vivant editors gathered by the outdoor fireplace and ivy-covered trellis of a West Village tavern. Steak was served, and the toasts lasted late into the night, the revelry trickling out to the nearby sidewalk.

It could have been a scene from the Jazz Age heyday of the Manhattan magazine set — or even the 1990s, when glossy monthlies still soaked up millions of dollars in advertising revenue, and editors in chauffeured town cars told the nation what to wear, what to watch and who to read.

This night, however, had an elegiac tinge. The staff of Vanity Fair was saluting the magazine’s longtime editor, Graydon Carter, who had announced that he was departing after a 25-year run. In the back garden of Mr. Carter’s restaurant, the Waverly Inn, star writers like James Wolcott and Marie Brenner spoke of their gratitude and grief.

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