Writing By Numbers

Do we want journalists to be rated like sitcoms?

If there's such a thing as being fired vicariously, it happened to me last Wednesday. My former employer, the online magazine Salon www.salon.com) facing a severe revenue shortfall, axed 13 staff positions, including the media columnist--the job I held before coming to TIME last year. That a handful of writers were fired (EXTRA! SUN RISES IN EAST!) probably doesn't concern you much. But why they were fired should.

Or should I say, why they were canceled. As both Salon brass and writers agreed, the decision was a matter of "page views," the number of viewings of each article,...

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