• October 21, 2016

    After Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos told a panel that he’s doesn’t think paywalls and subscriptions are the best way for publications to make a profit, the paper announced it will remove its paywall for Election Day. The paper will also be hosting an “invite-only, cocktail laden watch party” at their DC offices.

    BuzzFeed reports that political Facebook pages, both left- and right-wing, that publish the most inaccurate information received the most shares, likes, and comments on the social media site. “The best way to attract and grow an audience for political content on the world’s biggest social network,” BuzzFeed found, “is to eschew factual reporting and instead play to partisan biases using false or misleading information that simply tells people what they want to hear.”

    The Los Angeles Review of Books examines Trump: The Art of the Deal to try to figure out why the Republican candidate so often makes outlandish, false statements. Pointing to Trump’s friendship with Roy Cohn, a New York lawyer who, according to Jon Wiener, “was the personification of evil,” Wiener writes that Cohn “taught young Donald Trump two simple precepts: Always hit back. Never apologize.” It seems like Trump might be wavering on one of those precepts: New York Times editor Dean Baquet says the newspaper hasn’t heard anything more about the libel lawsuit threatened by the candidate’s lawyers since their retraction demand last week.

    Custom House, part of the William Morrow imprint, will be posthumously publishing a book by Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. No Room For Small Dreams will be available April of next year.

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s campaign for the British makeup brand Boots No7 launches today. The novelist told Vogue UK that she hopes the advertisements will change how the beauty industry communicates with women: “I think much of beauty advertising relies on a false premise—that women need to be treated in an infantile way, given a ‘fantasy’ to aspire to… Real women are already inspired by other real women, so perhaps beauty advertising needs to get on board.”

  • October 20, 2016

    Claudia Rankine

    Claudia Rankine

    At The Guardian, Claudia Rankine explains her plans for her MacArthur “Genius” grant money—she’s going to create a Racial Imaginary Institute. Part art space, part think tank, the Institute will study whiteness, because, Rankine says, “it’s never been the object of inquiry to understand its paranoia, its violence, its rage.” She was motivated when she was unable to find any “books that address the ways in which white contemporary artists deal with whiteness, interrogate it, analyze it.” Rankine went to multiple bookshops, but employees were unable to help, telling her, “I don’t know what you mean.”

    St. Martin’s Press is launching a new imprint focused on politics and current affairs. The currently untitled imprint will be headed by Adam Bellow, formerly of Broadside Books.

    Editorial staff at Jacobin have unanimously chosen to unionize with NewsGuild of New York. Associate editor Micah Uetrict said the decision came not out of dire working conditions, but out of the politics of the magazine: “The values we’re putting forward, that workers deserve a say in their working conditions and a formal structure to pursue such things, is of a piece with the larger politics of the magazine.”

    In light of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize win, Simon & Schuster is moving up the release date for their new book on Dylan’s songs. Lyrics, 1961-2012, will be available on November 1.

    Citing blurred lines between publication categories in the digital landscape, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced yesterday that both print and online magazines will be eligible for the 2017 journalism prizes.

    Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, son of New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., has been named deputy publisher of the publication. Sulzberger has held positions throughout the newsroom, including at the national and metro desks, and was a reporter at local newspapers throughout the US. According to the Times article reporting the hire, Sulzberger “was one of three candidates, all cousins.”

    The New York Times writes that Chris Wallace’s debate hosting gig could be “a welcome source of pride” for Fox News after “the most traumatic period in its two decade history.” But even though his performance is getting positive reviews, that pride may not last long: Gabriel Sherman will be partnering with Spotlight director Tom McCarthy and producer Jason Blum to create a TV mini-series about former Fox News president Roger Ailes. Ailes had most recently been assisting Donald Trump in his presidential campaign, but according to Sherman, the two have hit a rough patch: “Ailes learned that Trump couldn’t focus . . . and that advising him was a waste of time.”

    At the Hollywood Reporter, Michael Wolff calls out the media for tolerating and profiting from the Republican candidate’s predatory behavior for so long: “Thirty years of enabling him and encouraging him. And through more than 18 months of campaigning for president, it really seemed like he was going to get away with being who he was.”

    Tonight at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, Jonathan Safran Foer and Rabih Alameddine talk about their new books, Here I Am and The Angel of History.

  • October 19, 2016

    The New York Daily News has named Arthur Browne as editor in chief. Browne formerly served as the editorial page editor, leading his team to a Pulitzer in 2007. Jim Rich, the previous EIC, had been in the position for just over a year, and the paper has yet to explain the masthead shuffle to employees. According to a source at Politico, “People very close to [Rich] at the paper are shocked by the news this morning.”

    After both Donald and Melania Trump denied any involvement with Natasha Stoynoff, the People reporter who wrote about being sexually assaulted by Trump while on the job in 2005, the magazine has published the accounts of six friends and colleagues corroborating her story. Five Apprentice employees told the Daily Beast that Gary Busey assaulted a crew member while he was on the show in 2011. Donald Trump reportedly “knew about the incident, laughed it off, and kept Busey on his TV series.”

    For the debate tonight, Fox News’s Chris Wallace won’t be following in Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz’s footsteps—he plans to intervene as little as possible. “Basically you’re there as a timekeeper, but you’re not a participant,” Wallace said. “You’re there just to make sure that they engage in the most interesting and fairest way possible.”

    Channel 4 News and Al-Jazeera are facing criticism after live streaming an Iraqi military operation on Facebook. The video showed Iraqi and Kurdish troops as they began an attack on Mosul, an ISIS-controlled city. “Watched more than 500,000 times by lunchtime on Tuesday, the Channel 4 News feed prompted a mixed response with several users questioning the appropriateness of ‘liking’ and pasting emojis on scenes of potential devastation.”

    Emily Witt

    Emily Witt

    At the LA Review of Books, Emily Witt talks about her new book, Future Sex. Witt addresses her sometimes detached tone in her essays, how she took inspiration from Gay Talese, and why she had to leave New York to write. In San Francisco, Witt says, the “culture of openness to self-inquiry” was more pervasive: “I felt like I was meeting somebody on every street corner who was telling me about their lifestyle experiments, whereas in New York people were kind of resting in their cynicism.”

    Tonight in New York, Albert Mobilio’s Double Take reading series continues at Apexart, featuring Sunil Yapa and Tiphanie Yanique talking about orphans, Christopher Stackhouse and Rebecca Wolff discussing porn, and Robert Polito and Deborah Landau meditating on Los Angeles. At the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, Thomas Beard talks to Charles Musser about his new book, Politicking and Emergent Media: US Presidential Elections of the 1890s.


  • October 18, 2016

    A North Dakota judge has thrown out the riot charges against Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman. The decision, Goodman said, “is a complete vindication of my right as a journalist to cover the attack on the protesters, and of the public’s right to know what is happening with the Dakota Access pipeline.”

    The first of two defamation trials against Rolling Stone for their 2014 article about rape at the University of Virginia began yesterday. In a ruling last week, a judge decided that both the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s report on the story’s mistakes and an interview with Nicole Eramo, the campus administrator who dismissed the rape claims detailed in the article, will be admissible as evidence in the trial. Editor Jann Wenner says that the retracted article and the subsequent lawsuits haven’t damaged the company, financially or otherwise: “Our journalistic reputation is shining.” The magazine seems to be staying away from any possibly litigious articles at the moment: Beejoli Shah’s “Why Derrick Rose’s Rape Trial May Wreck NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s Legacy” was removed from the website on Friday, two days after it was posted, after adding two corrections at the behest of an NBA representative. Meanwhile, an upcoming article by Shah about the NBA has been killed.

    The Swedish Academy has yet to make contact with Bob Dylan after awarding him the 2016 Nobel prize in literature, leading some to wonder: Will he attend the ceremonies? Permanent secretary Sara Danius told The Guardian that she has contacted the musician’s “closest collaborator,” and that she’s not concerned: “I think he will show up. . . . It will be a big party in any case and the honour belongs to him.”

    Aisha K. Finch

    Aisha K. Finch

    The New York Public Library announced the finalists for the first Harriet Tubman Prize. Given jointly by the Lapidus and Schomburg Centers, the prize recognizes nonfiction books investigating slavery and will be awarded in December. Finalists include Patrick Rael’s Eighty-Eight Years: The Long Death of Slavery in the United States, 1777-1875, Aisha K. Finch’s Rethinking Slave Rebellion in Cuba: La Escalera and the Insurgencies of 1841-1844, and Calvin Schermerhorn’s The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860.

    Disney’s chief executive Bob Iger has signed on to write a book with Random House. The untitled work will focus on leadership and the “strategies he has developed in his eleven years as CEO of Disney, the world’s largest media company.”

    Tablet asks, “What will become of Jared Kushner” after his father-in-law’s presidential campaign is over? The answer might have something to do with the rumored Trump television network, which Kushner recently discussed with the head of a media-focused investment bank.

    Even with Peter Thiel’s donation of $1.25 million, Trump can’t match the nearly $8 million donated by tech leaders to Clinton’s campaign. Journalists are also donating more to Clinton than to Trump. Even though many media companies bar journalists from donating to political  campaigns, during the 2016 campaign they’ve donated nearly $400,000 to Clinton, and around $14,000 to Trump.

    Tonight at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, Angela Flournoy talks to Brit Bennett about her new book, The Mothers.

  • October 17, 2016

    Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman will be returning to North Dakota, this time to turn herself in after a warrant was issued for her arrest. Goodman was one of the few reporters in the country to cover the Standing Rock protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline, where she found instances of construction workers and security guards assaulting protesters with pepper spray, dogs, and their own hands. Prosecutor Ladd Erickson charged her with a riot misdemeanor, saying that Goodman was there as an activist and not a journalist. At The Nation, Lizzy Ratner writes that this is unprecedented and dangerous for working journalists: “By the same distorted logic, every muckraking news gatherer from Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair on through I.F. Stone, and, yes, today’s Matt Taibbi . . .  was not a journalist but an activist flirting with arrest.”

    Mi-Ai Parrish, president of the Arizona Republic, responded to the death threats received by the paper after its historic endorsement of Hillary Clinton. The paper has been inundated with calls and letters, some referring to reporter Don Bolles, who was killed by a car bomb decades earlier—even their door-to-door subscription sales people have been harassed. “We made our choice soberly. We knew it would be unpopular with many people,” writes Parrish. “We knew that, although we had clearly stated our objections to Trump, it would be a big deal for a conservative editorial board in a conservative state to break ranks from the party.”

    Margaret Atwood. Photo: George Whiteside

    Margaret Atwood. Photo: George Whiteside

    Margaret Atwood talks to The Guardian about one of the possible reasons Trump appeals to so many people:  “He brings out the temper-tantrum-throwing wilful brat in all of us. ‘Why can’t I do what I want? Why can’t I have what I want? Those other people are stopping me. Those other people have a bigger lollipop that I do, I’m going to take their lollipop away from them.’ But on the other hand, he couples that with the most amazing whining.”

    The New York Times take a look at Andrew Kaczynski’s recent transition from BuzzFeed to CNN, which was precipitated by a Google chat last summer with Tim Miller, the former communications director for Jeb Bush’s campaign. “Mr. Miller said CNN could use someone like Mr. Kaczynski, especially given how difficult it was to fact-check the loose-lipped Republican nominee. ‘LOL,’ Mr. Kaczynski replied.”

    Univision chairman Haim Saban talks to Bloomberg about the Clintons, Power Rangers, and his company’s acquisition of Gawker Media. Saban thinks that despite the rocky start, the purchase was a wise choice based on their target audiences: “Hipsters and Hispanics, two of the fastest-growing demographics in the U.S.”

    Peter Thiel will be donating $1.25 million to Donald Trump’s campaign. Although Thiel had spoken in favor of the candidate at the Republican National Convention, his silence after the Access Hollywood tape was released had caused speculation as to whether he was still supporting the candidate.

  • October 14, 2016

    The Internet is still reeling from Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize win yesterday. At The Telegraph, Tim Stanley says that “a culture that gives Bob Dylan a literature prize is a culture that nominates Donald Trump for president.” Luc Sante writes that this kind of outrage is nothing new when it comes to the Nobel Prize. At the New Republic, Alex Shepard admits that Dylan, whom he said could never win, is “a worthy Nobel Laureate.” Jodi Picoult wondered whether Dylan’s win made her eligible for a Grammy, while Salman Rushdie called the songwriter a “great choice.” Prolific tweeter Joyce Carol Oates called Dylan’s prize well-deserved: “Many of us are (almost literally!) haunted by Dylan music of the 1960s.” New York Times pop-music critic Jon Pareles asks, “What took them so long?” and literary critic Dwight Garner writes that Dylan’s Nobel “acknowledges what we’ve long sensed to be true: that Mr. Dylan is among the most authentic voices America has produced, a maker of images as audacious and resonant as anything in Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson.” At the New Yorker, writers weigh in on their favorite Dylan lyrics, and David Remnick calls for everyone to stop bickering: “Let’s not torture ourselves with any gyrations about genre and the holy notion of literature.”

    Within the Wikileaks trove of leaked Hillary Clinton emails, Quartz has tracked down the library books that Clinton requested while secretary of state—a list including Who Stole the American Dream? And The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service—while Gizmodo found an ongoing battle over email subject lines.

    Albert Samaha

    Albert Samaha

    PublicAffairs has bought the rights to BuzzFeed reporter Albert Samaha’s book. Never Ran, Never Will follows a youth football team in Brownsville, Brooklyn and examines the issues of gentrification in urban America.

    Actress Reese Witherspoon will write her first book, “inspired by the cultures of the American South.” The untitled project will be released by Touchstone in 2018.

    After Donald Trump threatened to sue the Times for libel over their most recent article alleging that the candidate has sexually assaulted women, the paper’s legal team has responded with a resounding no: “Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.” Poynter explains further why a Trump would never win a libel suit against the Times. The Columbia Journalism Review talks to The Guardian’s Lucia Graves, one of the first to report on Trump’s sexual misconduct, about why these stories are just now getting significant attention: “Because a man said it. Because Trump came out in leaked video and said, in so many words, that sexual assault is something that he does regularly.”

  • October 13, 2016

    Bob Dylan. Photo: Jean-Luc Ourlin

    Bob Dylan. Photo: Jean-Luc Ourlin

    This morning, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Dylan—who was such a longshot that a New Republic article on the prize’s betting odds was titled “Who Will Win the 2016 Nobel Prize In Literature? Not Bob Dylan, that’s for sure”—became the first American to receive the award since Toni Morrison, who won in 1993.

    Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has won the monthly Sidney Award for his reporting on Donald Trump’s missteps. He has been awarded “$500, a bottle of union-made wine, and a certificate.”

    The founding of Logic, a new magazine about technology and culture, was announced yesterday. Creators Jim Fingal, Christa Hartsock, Ben Tarnoff, and Moira Weigel write that they’re trying to fill a void in contemporary coverage of technology, publishing writing that doesn’t view tech as either “brilliant or banal, heroic or heinous.” The first print issue arrives in 2017.

    Wired talks to President Obama, who guest edited their November issue, about the myths and realities of artificial intelligence. “In science fiction, what you hear about is generalized AI,” Obama explained. “Computers start getting smarter than we are and eventually conclude that we’re not all that useful, and then either they’re drugging us to keep us fat and happy or we’re in the Matrix. My impression, based on talking to my top science advisers, is that we’re still a reasonably long way away from that.” MIT Professor Joi Ito also weighs in: “This may upset some of my students at MIT, but one of my concerns is that it’s been a predominately male gang of kids, mostly white, who are building the core computer science around AI, and they’re more comfortable talking to computers than to human beings. A lot of them feel that if they could just make that science-fiction, generalized AI, we wouldn’t have to worry about all the messy stuff like politics and society.”

    Storytelling group The Moth has announced plans for a second collection. All These Wonders arrives next March and will include stories by Louis C. K. and Tig Notaro, among others.

    At The Stranger, long-time editor and columnist Dan Savage rails against the banality of anniversary issues in the paper’s twenty-fifth anniversary issue. “I don’t think readers care what was in the paper 10 years ago or 20 years ago,” Savage writes. “We’re lucky if readers care what’s in the paper this week.”

    Tonight at McNally Jackson in New York, Emily Witt talks to Christian Lorentzen about her new book, Future Sex.

  • October 12, 2016

    Esquire is hosting a Spy magazine online pop-up for the rest of the election season. Cofounder Kurt Andersen explained that the decision to revive the political satire magazine—whose heyday was the late ’80s and early ’90s—was based on the loss of hosts like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and the closure of Gawker, at such an important time in the election cycle. “As Trump became the Republicans’ presumptive nominee, lots more people, pretty much every day, said to me, ‘SPY really needs to be rebooted.’”

    Two of Bernie Sanders’s senior campaign advisers are set to publish a book detailing the campaign’s organizing tactics. Becky Bond and Zack Exley’s Rules for Revolutionaries hits shelves November 18.

    Liz Heron, former executive editor of the Huffington Post, resigned yesterday. Heron was part of an interim committee created to find a replacement for Arianna Huffington, who left the website last summer. The committee has not yet announced a replacement for Huffington.

    A source for People magazine claims that NBC News originally planned to edit Billy Bush out of the Trump tape before they were scooped by the Washington Post, a claim that NBC News vehemently denies: “There absolutely was never a consideration by NBC News to edit the tape.”

    The hunt is on to find more footage of Trump behaving badly, this time from his eleven years as the host of The Apprentice. Former Democratic Senate aide Aaron Holman has created a GoFundMe to raise money for the purchase of tapes of the show’s outtakes. Producer Mark Burnett is shielding himself from requests for footage by citing “contractual and legal requirements.” Even without hard evidence, former contestants and employees spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about Trump’s sexist comments and racist behavior.

    Vox Media launched Meridian yesterday, a travel site that is fully funded by Chase Sapphire Reserve. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Branded content now accounts for two-thirds of Vox’s revenue and that part of the business continues to grow.”

    Viet Thanh Nguyen. Photo by BeBe Jacobs

    Viet Thanh Nguyen. Photo by BeBe Jacobs

    Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer was awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction. The nonfiction prize was awarded to Susan Southard’s Nagasaki.

    Artist Marina Abramovic—whose memoir Walk Through Walls comes out later this month—tells the New York Times that she isn’t as serious as everyone thinks: “Most people who are familiar with my performance work expect me to have the same severity that my long durational performances require and are surprised to discover my sense of humor when they meet me.” The last book to make her laugh? Slavoj Zizek’s Zizek’s Jokes.

  • October 11, 2016

    Nepszabadsag, Hungary’s largest daily newspaper, was shut down last weekend in a move that its employees called a “coup.” In a statement on the paper’s website, parent company Mediaworks called the closure a business decision, but journalists say the shutdown is reprisal for publishing articles critical of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government. “Mediaworks argues that the paper has been making losses since 2007, so why did they invest in it in 2014?” deputy editor-in-chief Marton Gergely told EU Observer. “They couldn’t silence us, so they closed us down.”

    The Columbia Journalism Review looks at the “unusually aggressive approach” of Sunday night’s debate moderators, Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz. David Uberti writes that the misinformation of the Trump campaign has changed the job of the moderator from that of director and timekeeper to interrogator and translator: “Confusion—purposeful or not—has been a strategic pillar of the Trump campaign like no other candidate before him. That puts greater onus on moderators, the public’s representatives on stage, to coax meaning out of the reality television star’s scattershot words.”

    At the New York Times, public editor Liz Spayd talks to political editor Carolyn Ryan about the paper’s decision to not censor the transcript of the Donald Trump tape in print or online. The Washington Post talks to possibly the only woman to be excited about Trump’s language: Regena Thomashauer, the author of Pussy: A Reclamation, which is now a bestseller. Thomashauer is not pleased with how the word was used, but says she hopes that “p—y will rise and push back.”

    The National Book Foundation announced yesterday that former Nightly Show star Larry Wilmore will host the upcoming National Book Awards next month.

    Brit Bennett

    Brit Bennett

    The Times talks to Brit Bennett, whose debut novel The Mothers earned her a spot on the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” list. Bennett notes that writing about the black community is “absolutely its own form of advocacy,” but also feels conflicted about her subject matter. “There’s this sense of guilt that my writing career is going well because black people are being killed,” she told the Times. “I’ve reached a point where I don’t know if I have anything new to say. It’s the same narrative over and over.”

    Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 co-author Jeffrey Kluger is writing a book on the first manned moon flight. Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon will be published next May by Henry Holt.

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie opened up to Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant about her long silence on Beyonce’s 2012 song “****Flawless,” which sampled audio from the author’s TED Talk, “We Should All Be Feminists.” Ngozi Adichie quashed the rumor that Beyonce hadn’t asked for permission to use the excerpt, and said she harbors no ill will toward the singer. “I think she’s lovely and I am convinced that she has nothing but the best intentions,” Adichie told the paper.

    Tonight at the New York Public Library, publisher Dan Simon hosts a panel discussion with the Boston Review’s Matt Lord, Guernica’s Katherine Rowland, and n+1’s Dayna Tortorici on politically-oriented writing and the connection between journalism and social action.

  • October 10, 2016

    Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Arash Sadeghi

    Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Arash Sadeghi

    Iranian writer Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee is being summoned to serve six years in jail for writing a story about stoning. Her unpublished work was found in a 2014 search of her home, which she shared with her husband, Arash Sadeghi, a student activist who is currently serving a nineteen-year jail term. Amnesty International’s Philip Luther told The Guardian that Ebrahimi Iraee “is effectively being punished for using her imagination.”

    The Washington Post details what happened after journalist David Fahrenthold got a call from a source pointing him to the Trump tape. Fahrenthold managed to authenticate the footage in just five hours: He was tipped off at 11am on Friday and the story was published on the Post‘s website by 4 that afternoon. NBC News was scooped despite having had a four-day head start, as the network was waiting for lawyers’ approval before publishing a story about the tape.  

    David Hajdu, an author and The Nation’s music editor, has signed with Norton to write a novel. The Song Was He: The Story of an Unsung Star will be published in 2019.

    Russell Brand will be writing “a guide to addiction,” to be published by Bluebird in the UK and Henry Holt in the US. The currently untitled book hits shelves late next year, and will compile the lessons Brand has learned during his struggles with a variety of vices.

    In celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Fox News network, 21st Century Fox’s tribute video neglected to mention Roger Ailes, the man who made the channel what it is today. In the video, the Murdoch family talks about the history of the network, referring to hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, along with many other executives. As Erik Wemple points out, “they all took orders from a guy named Ailes.”

    Charles Harder, the lawyer who represented Hulk Hogan in his suit against Gawker Media, has continued to threaten Gizmodo Media and their parent company Univision with legal action. The letters, which are being published for the first time, were sent in late August after Univision bought several Gawker Media sites. The requests range from demanding the removal of two-year-old articles based on publically available documents to threatening “to sue Univision for ‘negligent hiring practices’ for its continued employment of [executive editor John] Cook.”