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Magazine Critic Reflects on an Ending Era

With Peter Carlson's retirement, reading <em>New Witch</em> is sadly now your job.
With Peter Carlson's retirement, reading New Witch is sadly now your job.

For anyone who didn't want to browse through the pages of Black Belt, New Witch, Modern Drunkard, Smithsonian or Cat Fancy themselves, there's been 12 years of the Magazine Reader column in the Washington Post. The writer was Peter Carlson, who retired this week.

Over the years, Carlson has seen trends ranging from imitators of Maxim to celebrities who want their own title.

In an age when the Internet is whittling away the market for print, Carlson sees a cultural place for magazines willing to invest in writing. "As newspapers get smaller and more Web-oriented, they're getting rid of . . . long, narrative tales," Carlson says. "Magazines are basically going to be the only medium that does that anymore, in prose. The ones that do that, God bless them that they're keeping that up."

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