8 May 2021(2 Comments)

‘The impressive thing is the range of conversations he maintains, the catbird-seat view of a diverse and sometimes precipitously-changing small industry with outsize cultural impact. People do just like to talk to him, plainly enough, but I think he enjoys the wide respect and gets to pull so much story together, working alone, in large part because he’s built the thing out in a manifestly serious way. Not just being a swell fellow that’s earned all that trust. Anyway, for my part, this is what I’d love to hear him have occasion to talk about — building that up (and where he thinks he might go with it, insofar as the question applies).’

That’s from my note to Simon Owens suggesting that he invite David Harper, the guy who runs online comics journal SKTCHD and hosts linked weekly podcast Off Panel, to be a guest on his (previously mentioned) podcast The Business of Content.

Well, connection was made, and I indeed got to hear them have that chat. This was a couple of weeks ago, in fact; I’ve just been too busy to get in a post about it here.

There’s a degree of purely private satisfaction for me in listening to them talk, naturally. But it’s good to have a glimpse of Harper’s project through Owens’ viewfinder. Harper is maybe a little unusual as subject for Owens’ journalism — certainly not among the bigger media-pond fish he tackles, anyway. The total media marketplace in our digital age, though, obviously includes an awful lot of strictly organically-conceived and -grown, personality-driven ‘niche’ work that may well only ever amount to modest businesses. Harper’s is what I’d call a sweet example (as also in many respects is Owens’, for that matter). I know I’m far from alone in finding this layer of market ecosystem fascinating matter.

2 thoughts on “8 may 21: Simon Owens interviews David Harper”

  1. He made interesting remarks on improving the using experience for folks by eliminating trolls through having folks pay for content through Patreon. David French & Jonah Goldberg have gone behind a similar paywall to have folks subscribe. It also allows longer form journalism from David French on more specific topics that a niche audience cares about & will pay for. I’ve appreciated French’s thoughtful response to Evangelical sexual harassment & violation of minors as well as his thoughtful discussion of conspiracy theories among Evangelicals.

  2. Laura, I’m delighted that you took the time to check this out.

    All kinds of relevance in what’s going on with The Dispatch, yes! I’ve noted one angle in a new post here. Much more could be said.

    I owe you an email.

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