Should the New Yorker change?
For the first time in its history, the editors at The New Yorker know which articles are being read. And they know who's reading them.
They know if the cartoons are the only thing people are reading, or if the fiction really is a backwater. They know when people abandon articles, and they know that the last 3,000 words of a feature on the origin of sand is being widely ignored.
They also know, or should know, whether people are looking at the ads, and what the correlation is between ad lookers and article readers. The iPad app can keep track of all of this, of course.
The question then: should they change? Should the behavior of readers dictate what they publish?
Of course, this choice extends to what you publish as well, doesn't it?
[updated: I fear many people missed my points here. A. this isn't a post about the New Yorker. and B. I'm not sure it should change. Perhaps it's the stuff we don't read that makes the rest of it worth reading. Racing to keep up with your readers and to pander to them might not be the best way to do work that matters. Sorry if I was insufficiently direct in my original notion. And yes, I'm aware of the irony of this update.]