February 9, 2017

Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim has won the 2017 PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award, the first lyricist to win the prize in its history. Meryl Streep will present the West Side Story composer with his award in April.

Wall Street Journal editor in chief Gerry Baker will hold a newsroom-wide meeting, which will most likely be focused on the paper’s coverage of the Trump administration and its policies. Politico notes that “Baker has been hesitant to allow Journal reporters to characterize Trump’s false assertions as lies and has suggested that media ‘elites’ are out to get Trump.” In addition to budget cuts and staff departures, the hesitancy to cover the new administration accurately and critically has led to tension in the office: One editor told Politico that Baker “doesn’t have the support of [the] newsroom. I’ve never worked at a place where the editor in chief didn’t have that.”

Citing the Daily Mail’s “reputation for poor fact checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication,”  editors at Wikipedia have voted to remove the paper from its list of “reliable sources.” Articles from Russia Today and Fox News are still acceptable.

BuzzFeed talks to the team behind Merriam-Webster’s newly-political Twitter account, which has become a social media sensation after it began tweeting definitions of words and concepts that the current administration doesn’t quite seem to understand. “Anyone who spends their life sifting through how language is used also has to sift through history, and how words have been used at various points to harm, erase, or exclude,” said Kory Stamper, an associate editor at the dictionary. “Our job is to tease language out from spin, politicking, rhetoric, and apologetics, and tell the truth about what a word means.”

At LitHub, Emily Temple writes that we should not send books to the White House in protest, as the “Bury the White House in Books” event plans to do. Instead of wasting novels on a president who sees no value in literature, “why not send a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale—or some other timely book—to a relative who voted for Trump, with a long, heartfelt note inside as to why you think they might enjoy reading it?” Temple writes. “They are much more likely to take you up on it than anyone in the administration.”