• November 3, 2017

    Local news sites DNAinfo and Gothamist were shut down yesterday by owner Joe Ricketts. The decision comes one week after the New York offices of the company voted to unionize, and will affect 115 employees. In a post on the website, Ricketts wrote that while he was proud of his reporters for covering “tens of thousands of stories that have informed, impacted and inspired millions of people . . . DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure.”

    Condé Nast is ending the print edition of Teen Vogue, and will be reducing the print frequency of several other magazines. At least eighty jobs will be cut as part of publisher-wide cost-cutting measures.

    Andrew Durbin. Photo: Tag Christoff

    Novelist Andrew Durbin has been hired as the senior editor for the Americas of Frieze magazine.

    Julianne Moore has signed on to play Gloria Steinem in the film adaptation of Steinem’s memoir, My Life on the Road.

    Flatiron has announced the title and publication date of former FBI director James Comey’s upcoming book. A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership will be released next May.

    Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo looks at the rift between the Wall Street Journal’s reporters and opinions writers. Although the paper’s news staff aren’t usually bothered by the editorial page’s more conservative views, Pompeo writes that the latest articles into the Trump campaign’s connection to Russia, particularly the Journal’s call for Robert Mueller to resign, has left some news writers frustrated. “We could disprove half the stuff [the opinion writers] are saying if they just read our own reporting,” said one anonymous reporter. “It’s like living in some alternate universe.”

  • November 2, 2017

    Michael Oreskes, head of news at NPR, has resigned after multiple women alleged that he sexually assaulted them when he served as the Washington bureau chief of the New York Times. More men have come forward with allegations of sexual assault against actor Kevin Spacey. Deadline speculates that the alleged incidents—which have already halted filming on the upcoming season of House of Cards—might affect Spacey’s biopic about Gore Vidal. Netflix has yet to comment on whether the streaming service will release Gore as scheduled in 2018.

    The Cut’s Anna Silman talks to Sarah Polley, whose miniseries adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace will premiere on Netflix this Friday. Polley first attempted to option the book twenty years ago, when she was 18, but Atwood wasn’t interested. “I started thinking about making it into a film when I was close to Grace’s age at the time of the murders, and now I’m almost the age Grace is at the end of the novel,” she said. “My understanding of why I was so drawn to it has changed over 20 years of psychoanalysis, which has involved talking about this book a lot.”

    Mohsin Hamid. Photo: Jillian Edelstein

    Mohsin Hamid explains why there is so much “pessimism and despair about the future.” Hamid says that social media encourages the natural human tendency to focus on negative information over positive. “Nobody’s going to say that today in Pakistan, 16 million mothers kissed their kids goodnight, 5 million musicians practiced their musical instruments, and 833,000 people fell in love for the first time,” he notes. “They’re going to say that today in Pakistan somebody killed five other people with a bomb. Now, that is true, but it is a fundamental omission of so much information.”

    Fox News staffers criticized their network’s coverage of Robert Mueller’s indictments this week. The anonymous employees told CNN that they were embarrassed by the coverage, and that the network “feels like an extension of the Trump White House.” “I’m watching now and screaming,” one Fox News personality said in a text message. “I want to quit.”

    A cache of Facebook posts and ads from Russian-controlled accounts were released by lawmakers yesterday. Ads were targeted at social media users across the political spectrum, with group topics ranging from “Defend the 2nd,” a page for gun owners, to “Don’t Shoot,” a page for citizens against police brutality. One free page, “Army of Jesus,” spread an image of “Clinton dressed as Satan, with red horns and boxing gloves, appearing to punch Jesus, who also was wearing boxing gloves, as well as a determined glare as heavenly light appeared above him.”

    Tonight at NYU, Arlie Russell Hochschild talks about her latest book, Strangers in Their Own Land.

  • November 1, 2017

    Solmaz Sharif. Photo: Arash Saedinia

    Agatha French reports on the PEN Center USA Literary Awards, held last week in Los Angeles. Winners included Solmaz Sharif’s Look for poetry, Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air for creative nonfiction, and Martin Pousson’s Black Sheep Boy for fiction. Presenter Nick Offerman noted that if anyone wanted to call the president “an incompetent, degenerate boob,” or “a cartoon slug made of Cheeto dust,” that PEN “will fight for your ability to do so.”

    Bloomberg looks at Facebook’s inability to control the spread of fake news on its social media site. Although the company has implemented a fact checking program and started marking news deemed to be from untrustworthy sources, progress has been slow. Aaron Sharockman, executive director of PolitiFact, one of the organizations partnering with Facebook to provide fact checking, said that marking each article as “disputed” takes too long to have an impact. “By the time we’ve done that process it’s probably living in 20 other places in some way, shape or form,” he said. The New York Times reports that Facebook’s fake news problem is global. From Myanmar, where photoshopped images have helped spread anti-Rohingya messages, to India, where hoaxes and fake news are shared on Facebook-owned WhatsApp, “people are dying, and communities are tearing themselves apart with the tools Facebook has built.”

    Fitzcarraldo Editions has acquired the rights to Patrick Langley’s next novel, Arkady.

    Simon & Schuster has published Bob Dylan’s Nobel lecture, available in a mass-market hardcover for $16.99 or as a limited-edition signed copy for $2,500.

    Warner Bros has announced a release date for Crazy Rich Asians, an adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s novel. The movie, starring Constance Wu, will be released next August.

    Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales explains his new project, Wikitribune. Wales writes that the site is not yet a news service. Instead, “this is the launch of a project to build a news service. An entirely new kind of news service in which the trusted users of the site – the community – is treated as completely equal to the staff of the site – also the community.”

    The Daily Beast talks to Katia Kelly, Matt Termine, and Julian Russo, Brooklyn-based bloggers whose investigations into the owner of a derelict building in Carroll Gardens contributed to Paul Manafort’s indictment. After Kelly wrote a post on her blog, Pardon Me for Asking, wondering about the brownstone, Matt Termine and Julian Russo looked through public records in their freetime and “uncovered a series of unusual loans” that led to Manafort, the building’s owner. “I think it’s very exciting if not too surprising,” Russo said about the charges filed earlier this week. “This feels today like sort of a climactic culmination of all this time we spent along with other people we connected with through our website.”

  • October 31, 2017

    Jacqueline Woodson. Photo: Marty Umans

    Jacqueline Woodson talks to Entertainment Weekly about her new two-book deal with Riverhead. Woodson’s last book, Another Brooklyn, was her first work of adult fiction in twenty years. “I think it’s much harder to write for young people than it is to write for adults,” she said. “You have to go back to that place of being a young person yourself and so many adults have either deliberately forgotten that place (probably because it was too painful a time to hold onto) or they just can’t access it.”

    The Guardian speculates on who might be in the running for the next editor of Vanity Fair. Two months after Graydon Carter resigned, the magazine has yet to announce his replacement.

    Little, Brown editor Tracy Behar is starting her own imprint with the publisher. Behar’s still-unnamed imprint will launch next year and focus on health, psychology, and science.

    Kristopher Jansma looks at Clarice Lispector’s final novel, A Breath of Life, which was published after her death and assembled by the late author’s friend and assistant, Olga Borelli. Hired by Lispector after a fire destroyed all of the author’s unfinished work, Borelli “dedicated her life to the remainder of Lispector’s,” Jansma writes. “She cared for her, talked with her, comforted her, and played a singular hand in the construction of her late works, editing and arranging them from disparate fragments.”

    Hamilton Fish, publisher of the New Republic, is taking a leave of absence after a number of female employees reported that Fish “created an uncomfortable environment for them,” according to a letter from owner Win McCormack.

    Nick Denton reflects on the impact of Gawker’s early reporting on rumors and gossip about sexual harassment in the media and entertainment industries—including on Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, among others—and how those posts paved the way for outlets like the New York Times and the New Yorker. “Those first accounts of sexual harassment — even if anonymous or thinly sourced — give confidence to victims that they are not alone,” he writes. “Gossip, though it draws those motivated by envy and resentment, is also a tool of the powerless.”

  • October 30, 2017

    Philip Roth

    Philip Roth

    Why the French love Philip Roth.

    The Sh*tty Men in Media list began as a private, anonymously crowdsourced document meant to warn women about men who had been accused of sexual harassment. It was, writes Madison Malone Kircher at New York magazine, meant “more as a shield than a weapon.” But that didn’t last long. Though the list has been taken down from Reddit, screenshots are circulating online. “It’s now being leaked and distributed not to protect women from predators but to publicly attack the men on it,” Kircher writes. One person who has sought to “weaponize” the list is ultra-right-wing blogger Mike Cernovich, who offered $10,000 for a copy of the list.

    The Center Will Not Hold, Griffin Dunne’s documentary about Joan Didion, his aunt, is now streaming on Netflix.

    Colin Kaepernick, the ex-quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who spearheaded the NFL protests during the National Anthem, has signed a $1 million book deal with Random House imprint One World.

    The Wall Street Journal editorial board has accused Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party of colluding with the Russians.

    Ron Chernow—the Pulitzer-winning author of Alexander Hamilton, the biography on which the blockbuster Broadway musical is based—talks about his new book about the life and times of the US general and president (and drunkard) Ulysses S. Grant.

  • October 27, 2017

    The Environmental Protection Agency has accused the New York Times of writing “elitist clickbait trying to attack qualified professionals committed to serving their country.” The comment was in response to Eric Lipton’s story, “Why Has the E.P.A. Shifted on Toxic Chemicals? An Industry Insider Helps Call the Shots.” The spokesperson who sent the message, Liz Bowman, had previously been employed at the American Chemistry Council, a trade association for chemical companies. She told Erik Wemple that she is happy to cooperate with reporters, but feels that Lipton is biased: “There are a lot of reporters at the New York Times that we are happy to work with. In this particular case, it was clear that Lipton was acting on behalf of other officials with an ax to grind. It was clear he was not going to change his mind and certainly would not produce a balanced story.” The Times is giving readers a chance to decide for themselves, if they’re willing to wade through a lot of paperwork: the publication posted 374 pages of annotated reporting notes for the story, including answers from Bowman to reporters’ detailed questions.  

    HBO and Penguin Press are both cancelling projects with Mark Halperin in the wake of sexual harassment allegations by five women. Halperin is also resigning from his job as a political analyst for MSNBC.

    Jennifer Egan

    Jennifer Eagan, whose new book, Manhattan Beach, takes place in the years before and during World War II, tells the Dallas News about one advantage to writing historical fiction: “I think part of what appealed to me about writing about the ’30s and ’40s was the idea of just eliminating technology in the form that I’m often obsessed. It was wonderful to just get rid of it.”

     

    As part of New York magazine’s fiftieth-anniversary issue, Christian Lorentzen writes about New York literary parties and shares what he’s learned over the years: “Never go to a networking event. Poetry readings are either the best or the worst things. You can skip any book party because they only happen once, they end too soon, and there’s no narrative to them, especially if you’re not there. . . . The best way to befriend famous people is to have no idea who they are.”

    More than 6,000 letters written by Marcel Proust will be posted online next year.

    Tonight at Book Culture in Manhattan, Brit Bennett reads from his debut novel, The Mothers

  • October 26, 2017

    Margaret Atwood. Photo: George Whiteside

    Margaret Atwood’s book Alias Grace will be a Netflix miniseries written and produced by Sarah Polley. The show will premiere on November 3rd and follows the successful adaptation of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which won an Emmy for best drama this year. Atwood told the New York Times, “No one else would’ve asked me to do this but Sarah Polley. . . . Both Sarah and I are interested in what is true and what is not true. I think she liked that a lot of my films have characters crossed with madness. And she knew I wouldn’t try to make ‘Downton Abbey.’” Atwood also hinted that at least two more adaptations of her books may be on the way, but wouldn’t give any further details, saying, “We will not talk about them until they’re real.”

    Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s book Conscience of a Conservative has gotten a big sales bump after his speech on Tuesday in which he strongly criticized the president and said he wouldn’t run for reelection.

    Elizabeth Bruenig is joining the Washington Post Opinions section as a staff writer and editor.

    Longreads has an excerpt of Richard Lloyd Parry’s harrowing new book, Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone, which details the 2011 emergency and its aftermath: “I met a priest in northern Japan who exorcised the spirits of people who had drowned in the tsunami. The ghosts did not appear in large numbers until autumn of that year, but Reverend Kaneta’s first case of possession came to him after less than a fortnight.”

    Tonight at the Center for Fiction, Barbara Browning will read from her recent book, The Gift, present video art related to her fiction, and meet with audience members.

  • October 25, 2017

    Mother Jones’s Andy Kroll looks into the history of Sinclair Broadcasting, which will be in 72 percent of American households after it buys Tribune Media’s television stations. The company has close ties to the Trump administration and requires their stations to run segments by former Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn. According Kroll, the network’s conservative viewpoints have become more prominent as the company has expanded. Currently, “stations are required to air terrorism alerts daily,” and “responded to criticism of its must-run Boris Epshteyn segments by tripling the number of times stations are mandated to air them each week.”

    James Frey

    Filmmakers Aaron and Sam Taylor-Johnson are working on a film adaptation of A Million Little Pieces, James Frey’s controversial memoir.

    Jezebel is hiring former Vogue.com executive editor Koa Beck to replace editor-in-chief Emma Carmichael, who announced her departure from the site last summer.

    BuzzFeed News has sent a memo to employees outlining the company’s plans to deal with workplace sexual harassment after numerous staff members were said to be found on the “Shitty Media Men” Google spreadsheet. “We know that we thrive individually and collectively when everyone at BuzzFeed feels safe and respected,” Chief People Officer Lenke Taylor wrote in the letter. “We do not tolerate harassment of any kind.”

    Idea, the soon-to-publish magazine headed by former New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier, has been closed after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him.

    Tonight at Albertine in Manhattan, Christophe Boltanski will discuss his debut novel, Safe House, with A.M. Homes.  

  • October 24, 2017

    The bankruptcy of the Alaska News Dispatch should serve as “a cautionary tale that shows the limits of what a wealthy owner is willing, or able, to do for a struggling newspaper in the digital era,” writes William D. Cohan. Owner Alice Rogoff, wife of Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, bought the newspaper in 2014, but filed for bankruptcy earlier this year after being unable to keep up with the paper’s mounting debts. “Creating indispensable journalism—whether at the local or national level—is not without cost,” Cohan concludes. “If people aren’t willing to pay for it, like they pay for the Internet or cell-phone service, then it will surely disappear, sometimes right before your eyes.”

    Joseph O’Neill

    Fourth Estate is publishing a story collection by Joseph O’Neill. Good Trouble will include O’Neill’s work from the New Yorker, Harper’s magazine, and elsewhere.

    At the Paris Review, Paul Youngquist reviews Blade Runner 2049, based on the work of Philip K. Dick, calling it “an allegory of contemporary race relations.” “The Blade Runner movies rehabilitate the replicant, turning it into an image of life subordinated, denied its sacredness. Replicant lives matter,” he writes. “Convincing humans to accept it, however, will take some doing.”

    After BuzzFeed news exposed Milo Yiannopoulos’s ties to white nationalist groups, Steve Bannon has said that he will no longer work with him.

    Actress Anna Faris talks to the New York Times about her new memoir, Unqualified.

    Gizmodo has confirmed that Twitter user Reinhold Niebuhr is former FBI Director James Comey.

    Marie Claire talks to Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story. The magazine writes that the journalists’ biggest motivation to break the story were their own daughters. “I’d sit with my baby girl before work every morning and say, ‘Mom is going to the office to do something really important,’” Twohey said. “It will hopefully make the world a safer place for girls like you.”

  • October 23, 2017

    PW recently asked women who work in book publishing if they’ve experienced sexual harassment, assault, or predatory behavior in the workplace. “We found that in spite of publishing’s high percentage of female workers (it’s estimated at roughly 80%), the industry still has a sexual harassment problem.”

    Simon and Schuster has announced that it will publish John McCain’s new memoir, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations, in April.

    Madonna's book "Sex"

    Madonna’s book “Sex”

    BuzzFeed looks back at Madonna’s book Sex, the bestselling, fifty-dollar coffee-table book was published twenty-five years ago.

    On the occasion of the publication of Jo Baker’s Longburn, a new novel about Samuel Beckett, Tim Parks makes this request: “Leave novelists out of fiction.” You’re better off going directly to the source. After quoting Beckett’s novel Watt, Parks notes: “Extraordinary how Beckett, taking an axe to the relation between words and things, conveys and entertains so much more than the novelist who confidently puts words to his inner thoughts.”

     

    Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad has won the 2017 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Fiction Award.

     

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