The New Yorker’s vast tome on the inner workings of the website TMZ is worth reading, if only for its portrait of a celebrity-gossip rag as a last bastion of old-school investigative reporting: Nicholas Schmidle writes that founder Harvey Levin “has trained many employees in the art of court reporting. Ben Presnell, who worked at ‘Celebrity Justice’ and, later, at TMZ, told me he spent most of his days at the Los Angeles County Municipal Courthouse, searching for new filings and trying to charm clerks into giving him information. Currently, TMZ has three reporters stationed full-time at the courthouse; the Los Angeles Times has one court reporter.” (Less salubrious methods, of course, are also documented in the piece.)
Right-wing media can only get livelier now that novelist and former UK Conservative MP Louise Mensch, a Twitter stalwart, is launching a new website, Heat Street, for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Understand, it will not be for the faint of heart: A spokesperson is quoted as promising “a spirit of free speech and no ‘safe spaces.’”
Much to the chagrin of the British press, Daniel Craig, who has already expressed a certain weariness about the idea of continuing to play James Bond, is now set to star in a TV adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s Purity.
And John Micklethwait, former editor of The Economist and now editor in chief of Bloomberg, confides in the New York Times about the delicate complexities his job has involved in recent weeks, as Michael Bloomberg has flirted with a presidential run: It seems Micklethwait has been made to feel like “a character in a Graham Greene novel.”
The Guardian has an obituary of Michael Sheringham, the great scholar of French literature who died earlier this year.