Advertisements and Audience

"The New Yorker will be a reflection in word and picture of metropolitan life. It will be human. Its general tenor will be one of gaiety wit, and satire, but it will be more than a jester. It will not be what is commonly called radical or highbrow. It will be what is commonly called sophisticated, in that it will assume a reasonable degree of enlightenment on the part of its readers...The New Yorker will be the magazine which is not edited for the old lady in Dubuque. It will not be concerned in what she is thinking about. This is not meant in disrespect, but The New Yorker is a magazine avowedly published for a metropolitan audience and thereby will escape an influence which hampers most national publications. It expects a considerable national circulation, but this will come form persons who have a metropolitan interest." This description from the prospectus Harold Ross sent out to potential subscribers and investors in 1924 came to define the form of his weekly local magazine. The New Yorker's writers, readers, and editors shared common cultural values, all holding metropolitan elite culture in high esteem. Advertisements made owning the culture and its accoutrements possible, giving the audience access to the expensive consumer goods and luxurious services that helped to identify them as members of the social elite.


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