After long drawn out, semi-shadowy negotiations, the New York Times will today begin a partnership with Facebook to publish stories directly into its news feed. NBC News and others apparently plan to follow suit. “How does the Times protect the independence of its journalism,” asks Gabriel Sherman, “say, if the paper runs a hard-hitting investigation on Facebook?” As the late David Carr wrote last year when the social network was holding talks with publishers about how best to work together, “Facebook is a bit like that big dog galloping toward you in the park. More often than not, it’s hard to tell whether he wants to play with you or eat you.”
In case you thought things couldn’t get worse for Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Rolling Stone over the discredited story “A Rape on Campus”, they (and parent company Wenner Media) are now facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit from Nicole Eramo, an associate dean of students at UVA, which objects to their use of her as the article’s “chief villain”, disclaims the statements they attributed to her in it, and calls them “a wanton journalist” and “a malicious publisher” whose main concern was not the facts but the need “to boost the economic bottom line for its faltering magazine.” It’s not yet entirely clear what Eramo would need to prove (negligence or active malice) to prevail in the case.
Peter Gay, the historian and biographer of Sigmund Freud, has died.
The New Yorker is celebrating its “Innovators issue” with a series of essays about life-changing innovations. Nicholson Baker’s “Suction” is an affecting evocation of “the sudden thrilling thump of fabric and the whine of the motor… the melon-sized orb of condensed house dust that grew in the machine’s interior—warm and squeezable.” He was so enamored of the “Panasonic three-wheeled bagless vacuum cleaner” that it made it into his first novel. “You could walk it by the hose like a puppy,” he writes.
At lunchtime today, as part of the New York Public Library’s Books at Noon program, renowned photographer Sally Mann will discuss her new and often startling memoir Hold Still.