Kantor's greatest strength is her ability to take what the Times, in the past, might have once brushed off as petty pop culture and turn it into something worth talking about. Critical thinking about pop culture is a fairly recent concept, and Kantor has helped legitimize it by putting it in the Times. She, through the Times, has an opportunity to set an agenda that is recognizable to the biggest consumers of mass culture. If newspapers want to remain relevant, they're going to have to continue to attract those same consumers. If you're a journalist who doesn't think that's where the future of this industry is going, you're in the wrong business. . . .
The Web is where the next generation of writers is coming from -- the workers have developed the means of production -- and that's precisely the reason the Times so desperately needs people like Kantor. For all his faults, Raines recognized that. If a few catty and chatty Times staffers continue to do whatever they can to discredit the very people who can save them, well, as that famous grunge story might say, they'll become a bunch of lamestain cob nobblers.
(My previous Kantor praise.)