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bifcake's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 27 2005 - 2:27am
Re: Objective reviews


We are what we are, AlexO, but you would like us to be something else. Unless I am replaced, you can't divorce Stereophile from my own wishes and policies, so I don't see what the point is in continuing this discussion.

I _will_ address your last point, however: you write "You just want to provide suggestions for us to audition. Alas, that's not what readers of reviewing magazines want." I have a problem with this blanket statement. It may well be true for you but I doubt that it is a _universal_ desire.

I used to have this argument with J. Gordon Holt when I took over as editor nearly 20 years ago and started Stereophile down the path to what it is today. Gordon very much agreed with you, that Stereophile should hand down absolute judgments, and was disturbed by what I intended to do. Yet both the magazines I have edited where I have applied this concept (first Hi-Fi News, then Stereophile), that the magazine's reviewers be the first among equals, that the magazine offer (informed) opinions for its readers to use to make up their own minds, have been successful.

By contrast, the magazines that have addressed your expressed need have _not_ been successful, and where they survive at all have much smaller circulations and much less influence.

So who is right? I admit the evidence is circumstantial, and there are many other factors involved. However, while you are 100% correct regarding your own needs, as Stereophile's editor I have to address what I perceive to be the center of gravity of _all_ our readers' needs. So far that center of gravity appears to coincide with my own ideas about what a magazine should be. When that no longer applies, then it will be time for me to retire.

But until then, I shall continue to publish a magazine that I personally would want to read. I regret that it doesn't approach closely enough to meet your needs, but there it is. I am what I am; we are what we are.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Hi John,

You are indeed who you are and you do what you do. All I can do is provide feedback with regard to my own wishes and so I have. I may not be the voice of the majority of the Stereophile readership, but mine may be the voice of a substantial minority. My views and wishes have been made known. Armed with that information, you are free to do what you wish.

I thank you for your indulgence.

All the best,



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