Five months ago today Stuart Elliott retired as New York Times advertising columnist after 23 years at the paper. So, how is it going?
“What’s surprised me about life after the Times is that, indeed, there’s life after the Times!” he tells Romenesko readers. “I’ve started some freelance writing, first off with a weekly column for Media Village, a new venture by Jack Myers of MyersBizNet. I am also moderating panels and speaking to ad agencies and college classes.
“I didn’t expect to retire completely when I took the Times buyout in December, but I didn’t plan for another career per se; my post-Times life is sort of a work in progress that I’m making up as I go along and I wouldn’t be surprised if five months from now it looks different from today.”
What’s your typical day like?
There’s really no ‘typical’ day now, which is a big, nice change from my days at the Times. The biggest change is that I’m finally able to meet folks for lunches; when I worked at the Times I would eat lunch at my desk almost every day because of my deadlines. … I’m certainly nowhere near as busy as I was at the Times, where I was cranking out the weekday ad column for print, writing the weekly email newsletter for nytimes.com, reporting online articles for the website and so forth. That was a lot of work!
Have source relationships changed because you’re no longer with the newspaper?
I’ve been removed from a lot of mailing lists, email lists and such, which I expected when I left the Times since I was giving up the full-time duties of the ad column, newsletter, etc. I don’t believe I have been getting the brush from folks I email or call because I’m no longer at the Times. …Because of my writing, panelizing, speaking, etc., I feel I still ought to keep up with the ad world” and stay in touch with old sources.
Your review of the “Mad Men” finale?
The more I think about the ending for the final episode of “Mad Men,” the more I like it. It’s far less ambiguous than the final seconds of “The Sopranos” but left enough room for debate (did Don return to McCann-Erickson the following year to create the Coke “Hilltop” commercial? did Peggy write it? did they collaborate on it? Or did Don stay in California and start a chain of Esalen-style retreats? Or return to New York eventually and join Joan at Holloway Harris?)