The Outline, a new website from The Verge founder Joshua Topolsky, launched yesterday. The site aims to be “a next-generation version of The New Yorker,” with cultural criticism and longform reporting optimized for mobile reading. The Wall Street Journal explains that the site is more focused on revolutionizing web advertising than web content. Amanda Hale, the site’s chief revenue officer, told the paper, “There is this huge unexplored space between the banner and thousand word pieces produced by the Times T Studio. . . . We want all of our ads to look art directed.” NiemanLab notes that the site’s swipe-driven, Snapchat-imitating color scheme “burns the eyes.”
Although Bob Dylan won’t be attending his Nobel Prize ceremony, he will offer a speech to be read on his behalf. Patti Smith will make an appearance to perform a version of Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall.”
Jailed Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji’s attempt to appeal his two-year prison sentence has been delayed. Naji was imprisoned in 2014 after a reader complained that an excerpt of Naji’s book had caused “heart palpitations and an extreme feeling of sickness.” This is Naji’s third attempt to appeal his sentence. At the New York Review of Books, Zadie Smith reviews Naji’s book, Using Life. Smith writes that even though organizations like PEN America are supporting the author, due to scenes of sex and drug use, others don’t consider the novel to be worth fighting for. “Using Life is certainly comic, sexual, wild—the work of an outrageous young man,” Smith writes. “We should defend his freedom to be so.”
As Turkey’s crackdown on intellectuals and journalists since a failed coup last summer continues, the New York Times wonders why more authors and novelists haven’t been jailed. Although many books have been pulled from shelves in bookstores and university libraries, the paper notes that only three authors have been imprisoned so far. “Compared with people in other intellectual fields, writers have gotten off easy.”
In an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, New York Times public editor Liz Spayd said that “there ought to be some kind of consequence” for political tweets posted by Times staffers during the presidential campaign. After reading a selection of tweets, Carlson said that the posts suggest that the writers “don’t understand the mission of a newspaper, which is to bring you the news, not to affect the outcome of a political race.” Later, Spayd walked back her comments, saying that she “should have held back more . . . but I stand by my view that journalists should be careful, sometimes more careful than they are, with what they say on social media.”
Politico explores the unprecedented surge in subscribers at the New York Times. In the weeks since the election, the paper has seen ten thousand new subscribers on several days.
BuzzFeed has created a timeline explaining how an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about an underground child sex abuse ring connected to the Democratic Party spread through fake news and eventually drove a man to bring a gun to a DC pizza restaurant. “Thanks to just a few tweets, a couple of message board posts, and the help of some pro-Trump sites eager for traffic, this conspiracy theory generated hundreds of thousands of engagements on Facebook, reaching potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of people,” Craig Silverman writes.