Jim “Mr. Skin” McBride Welcomes His Class At The Columbia Journalism School
As many of your professors have undoubtedly told you, journalism is at a crossroads. With social media bringing news to your fingertips the moment it breaks, and the Internet shepherding as many hits to a high schooler’s blog as the New York Times, the cultural gatekeepers are falling, and only the quick-witted will survive.
You are here today because celebrity nudity journalism is your calling. You have picked a vital and rewarding career, but you have also picked a daunting one: as the great poet once said, “The times they are a changin’.” No longer is it enough to simply post a cropped DVD screengrab of Kate Winslet in Jude, Nicole Kidman in Billy Bathgate, or any other of those warhorses the public has seen a thousand times over. The celebrity nudity journalist of today must be a multimedia guru, as adept at discovering the latest emerging trends as he or she is at editing video playlists, compiling cheeky Top 10 lists, and writing saucy puns.
When I started MrSkin.com in 1999, this thing called “the Internet” was relatively new. Back then, we were the brash young upstarts of the industry, toiling away in the shadow of our much-revered forefather, Celebrity Skin Magazine. This venerable publication certainly set a high bar for us to strive toward, but we knew that the digital realm offered a whole new way of connecting with our market of insomniacs, virgins, ironists, and suicidal men.
Now, as I gaze out upon your young faces today, I reflect on what a difference 14 years can make. From Celebrity Movie Archive to Star Celebs to Nudography to countless forums, the online consumer now has more avenues than ever to access pictures of naked women, and we must ask ourselves what makes our video of Sarah Silverman’s shower scene from Take This Waltz any different from, say, DailyMotion’s. With so many venues offering similar services for free, what makes us worth our $20-monthly membership?
I believe the answer lies in our combination of new-media savvy and old-media journalistic rigor. To keep ahead of our competitors, the modern celebrity nudity journalist must tailor his or her coverage for all media platforms, and meet the demands of a 24/7 news cycle. That’s why we’ve embraced social media (including Facebook, Twitter, and our RSS feed) as a way to interact with audiences and monitor trends. With columns such as “TV Nudity Report” and “New and Nudeworthy on Netflix,” we bring insightful and hard-hitting analysis within minutes of a story breaking. With columns like “The Mr. Skin Interview,” our reporters bring thoughtful, magazine-length discussion that isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions.
While other forms of journalism have struggled to monetize their web presence, I’m thrilled to report that Mr. Skin has thrived. With our popular Skin Store, we generate a steady cashflow without compromising our standard of journalism, and with our thriving cam-girl service (offering such diverse options as Latina, BBW, Couple, and Asian rooms), we’ve reached out to a whole new audience of sad, desperate men. With our Mr. Skin affiliate program, our brand recognition is at an all-time high: you can hardly visit a pornographic website without seeing our smiling logo beneath a cartoon picture of Marge Simpson having sex with Peter Griffin.
But please remember: the amount of revenue you generate has nothing to do with the quality of your work. There’s nothing sadder than a once-proud news institution resorting to lowest-common-denominator tactics, and we must never forget that as celebrity nudity journalists, we exist to educate and enlighten, not just entertain. At Mr. Skin, we’ve tried to expose a new generation to the classics with our list of the 100 Hottest Nude Scenes of All Time. Our “This Day in Skinstory” column reminds readers of such important events as the birthday of Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith, the 66th anniversary of the bikini, and the original airdate of Full Body Massage.
I know this must all be very intimidating to you. Here you are, fresh out of undergrad, and your old-media professors are already telling you that the sky is falling. Well, it’s important to remember that there will always be a market for quality journalism, and there will always be people who want to see Jennifer Lawrence’s butt. Instead of panicking, embrace the uncertainty, and approach the future with the innovative spirit of Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Al Goldstein, and other titans. After all, journalism may be changing, but you’re the generation that gets to change it.
Now, did everyone come with their textbooks? Please open Mr. Skin’s Skintastic Video Guide to Chapter Eleven, “Polish Your Trophy to These Golden Globes Nominudes”…
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This is the first part of a book that I am writing for Thought Catalog. This is a fiction book about young people in New York City. A lot of it is not fiction, and not made up, because I am not sure if I am very good at making things up.
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