The editorial power grid is increasingly horizontal, not vertical—a result of both leaner budgets and a news cycle that rewards scoops and speed over institutional process. The days of high-powered editors and executive producers sequestering themselves behind closed doors are increasingly rare. Go to any newsroom and you’ll see row after row of bullpen desks and very few offices—or even, for that matter, doors. The landscape is decidedly more democratic, more rewarding of traffic spikes than reputations kept intact.
The age of top editors is decreasing—to gather facts and information in the 21st century is increasingly, and however questionably, a young person’s game (see: the departure of Graydon Carter). And younger men and women have decidedly different ideas not only about sexual harassment, but also as it concerns toppling kings—born, as they were, to a generation where institutional failure has been the norm. Here is the flip side of today’s cheaper, faster news media, bemoaned for its obsession with pageviews and social-media traction, its cursory fact-checking and thirst for the sensational: Viciousness also breeds iconoclasm.