• September 19, 2016

    Wired examines The Bestseller Code, a book written by English Ph.D Jodie Archer and Stanford Literary Lab co-founder Matthew L. Jockers, based on their computer algorithm that can predict whether or not a book will be a bestseller with 80 percent accuracy. Key features of bestsellers, according to the program, include “young, strong heroines who are also misfits. … No sex, just ‘human closeness.’ Frequent use of the verb ‘need.’ Lots of contractions. Not a lot of exclamation marks. Dogs, yes; cats, meh.”

    The 2016 Online Journalism Awards were announced this weekend at the Online News Association Conference. Honorees include Quartz, AJ+, and the New York Times for “general excellence”; The Intercept for “The Drone Papers”; and New York Magazine for their feature “Cosby: The Women.”

    Joseph Kahn

    Joseph Kahn

    The New York Times is resurrecting the managing editor role and has appointed international assistant editor Joseph Kahn to the position. Executive editor Dean Baquet, who cut the job in 2014, said that without a managing editor, enacting changes in the newsroom was too difficult: “I thought that I really needed a partner in it, if we were really going to pull it off.” The paper also announced that Susan Chira, currently a deputy executive editor, will now be reporting on gender issues for the Times.

    The Gray Lady is also adopting a more aggressive stance towards Republican candidate Donald Trump’s false statements to the press, a move that Kahn supports. Reflecting on a recent headline—”Unwinding a Lie: Donald Trump and ‘Birtherism’”—Kahn said that the usual headline that would “let the reader decide for himself or herself … didn’t feel quite right.”

    Alex Thompson, a Vice News reporter, was arrested in Houston when he attempted to access a Trump event as a member of the press. Thompson has since been released.

    Vice, Gannett Media, and the Associated Press have filed a lawsuit seeking access to FBI documents pertaining to the agency’s access of the San Bernardino attacker’s phone. The news organizations had previously requested information on how the phone was accessed and how much the process cost through the Freedom of Information Act, but were denied. “FBI Director James Comey intimated in April that the price had been more than $1 million. He later said the security exploit was ‘well worth’ the high price.”

    The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald calls out the Washington Post for their demand that Edward Snowden, coverage of whom won the paper a Pulitzer, “accept a measure of criminal responsibility for his excesses.” The Post’s editorial board argued this weekend that the exposure of the NSA’s metadata collection was justified, but revealing the “clearly legal” PRISM program’s inner workings was not. Greenwald writes, “What did the Post editors forget to mention? That the newspaper which (simultaneous with The Guardian) made the choice to expose the PRISM program by spreading its operational details and top secret manual all over its front page is called . . . . The Washington Post.”

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