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Jan. 27, 2022, 11:54 a.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK:  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   January 27, 2022

New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix (Highbrow, Lowbrow, Despicable, Brilliant) has been the magazine’s key signature since 2004 — “the embodiment of the spirit of the entire magazine, to the point that our anniversary book in 2018 was titled Highbrow, Lowbrow, Brilliant, Despicable: Fifty Years of New York Magazine,” editor Carl Swanson told Town and Country in 2020.

“There have been attempts at Matrix television shows and putting the Matrix online. And we have a small Matrix Instagram account, but really what works best is the approval Matrix as a back page that people just keep coming back for. Which I think is such a wonderful thing in a time where print media is so precarious,” then-editor Madison Malone Kircher said in the same interview.

If it works so well, why not … rip it off completely? That appears to be what Prospect, the British weekly magazine, decided to do this month with the first-ever Prospect Grid.

The tweets are deeeelightful. It’s a real tiny gift to the U.S. from the U.K., a chance to focus on something other than that country’s richness in rapid tests.

“In the long history of journalism it’s difficult to think of a brilliant idea or format that hasn’t been imitated, adapted, borrowed or parodied,” Prospect editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger told me in an email. “Whenever it’s happened to me (quite a lot) I’ve been both irritated and flattered. Along with others on Twitter I’ve seen several attempts to emulate the Approval Matrix, but the original is still the best.”

This post was updated with a comment from Prospect editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger.

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