Personal brands are a reaction to institutional failures

Journalism Twitter fights do little for the reputation of the profession. Gawking at them would lead any sensible person who doesn’t spend much of their day in the Twitter fighting pits to conclude that this is a woefully insular industry of toxically grump people who have a dark view of humanity. For that reason, I try to avoid these periodic flare-ups since they tend to be much ado about pretty much nothing important.

Last weekend’s eruption about the role of “personal brands” in journalism is an exception. It was sparked by some great reporting inside The New York Times by Steven Perlberg at Insider. Steven detailed how the Times, inarguably the most powerful news brand in English, is struggling with how to balance that institutional strength with the current trend of “personal brands.” Steven quoted departing Times reporter Taylor Lorenz as warning the Times is at risk of falling behind, well, the times. Here’s what she told Steven:

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