Reason Magazine’s Nick Gillespie Tells IVN: “The Gatekeepers Are Gone”

Reason Magazine is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. The first issue of this well-known libertarian monthly publication was printed in 1968. It was the brainchild of a 20-year-old Boston University Student named Lanny Friedlander.

As you may guess, the young man was a fan of Ayn Rand and objectivism. It was his way of commenting on things from a non-conventional left/right perspective.

I sat down with Nick Gillespie, Editor-At-Large for Reason Magazine, to talk about how the audience and the journalism industry has changed since its founding.

Gillespie says that, especially since the 1990s, the theme of decentralization has encompassed how we choose to live our lives, spend our money, and consume information – including journalism – and it’s thanks to technology.

He says that essentially “the gatekeepers are gone.”

But what does that mean? Well, technology has not only flattened communication and thereby the media’s various modes of output, but the consumer’s power of comparing and contrasting information for free has changed the industry.

Complementing these shifts is our consumption across the board — how we shop, eat, smoke, interact, choose our leaders – we are plagued with the wonderful first world problem of having OPTIONS in the actions we take.

This decentralization is what Gillespie says Reason and its readers thrive on because the gates to our choices have crumbled.

But where do we go from here? After surviving 50 years in the fickle and tumultuous media landscape, Reason is headed toward more of the same – talking about ‘free minds and free markets.’ As for style Gillespie points out that long-form is set to hit consumers by storm if it already hasn’t.

Hot-takes, click-bait, snippets and short news stories are slowly being overtaken by content curated by the view themselves. In broadcast, we see this in the proliferation of long podcasts, Netflix series, even Reason’s most read articles are now the longer, more in-depth ones.

“The rebirth of the in-depth, long-form conversation or disquisition or investigation of something is fascinating to me. I think people underestimate it. It’s easy to say ‘well nobody has the attention span, nobody has time anymore’. People are actually finding a lot of time to go deep on subjects that they really care about.”