Nobody in Journalism Has a Career Plan Anymore

Well, that scary spell when hardly anyone in journalism was hiring anybody for anything sure seems to be over. Through


today comes the news that Tim O’Brien, the editor of the New York Times’ Sunday Business section, is leaving the paper to

work for The Huffington Post

. This follows yesterday’s news that David Shipley, the Times’ deputy editorial-page editor, will be leaving to edit a newly launched

commentary department for Bloomberg


Also Pulitzer-winning fashion writer Robin Givhan is

leaving the Washington Post

—the most perfectly congenial home for her Who Would Really Wear That? school of criticism—for Newsweek, which is to say, the print arm of Tina Brown’s Daily Beast. There she’ll be joining Howard Kurtz, who

left the Post

for the Daily Beast in October, before the website had even merged with Newsweek.

All of which is to say: huh? Old media are being raided by new media, but new media are copying old media, and Mark Zuckerberg is Time magazine’s

person of the year

, or should that be the other way around? Gawker would like to

look like a magazine site

. Huh?

The money is coming back, but the career currency has completely collapsed. The old certificates of status—a masthead spot at the Times!—are like Confederate banknotes or ownership shares in a tulip-growing syndicate. People say Bloomberg doesn’t even have cubicles. Is this what people want? Are people going to the Beastweek because it is the future, or because it is Newsweek, or because it is Vanity Fair in 1985? Are people going to the Huffington Post because—no, why is anyone going to the Huffington Post?