• October 7, 2015

    Joshua Cohen

    Joshua Cohen

    If the premise of Stephen King’s Misery always struck you as an appealing one, now—or next week—is your moment. Starting Monday, the publishers of the newborn Useless Press (which aims to make “internet things” more interesting than the usual) will be metaphorically chaining the novelist Joshua Cohen to his desk, where he’ll spend his afternoons writing a novel live online for a week, subjected to feedback from readers every morning as the text emerges. If Charles Dickens had had an anxiety dream while writing the Pickwick Papers, it might have looked something like this: For five hours every day, you can watch, and comment. Mark your calendars (October 12) and bookmark pckwck.com.

    At this point, you may not have room in your life for one more Franzen piece, but just in case: Here’s the journalist Barrett Brown on reading Purity in federal prison.

    Yet more digital media workers are organizing: Al Jazeera America staff just voted to unionize, Arianna Huffington recently said she wouldn’t oppose plans to do so at the Huffington Post, and there’s a conference this weekend (starting tomorrow) in Kentucky to discuss a nationwide coalition. 

    All of which is somewhat cheering as we head into “media layoff season.” The Awl has gathered data on recent and rumored-to-be-upcoming job cuts, listed by publication and illustrated with a mildly disturbing meat-slicing stock photo (and they welcome further updates from anyone in the know).

    And as if journalists hadn’t been through enough lately, it’s going to be that much harder to find scoops via Twitter and Reddit, now that both are planning to keep those stories for themselves: Twitter staffers will be curating tweets into little narratives, and Reddit’s launching Upvoted, its very own news site (which, in a decidedly un-Reddit-like move, will not allow comments).  

    The poet James Fenton has chosen imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi to share the PEN Pinter prize with him.