The NBA season has ended, and the playoffs have begun
, causing a figurative ton
of internet ink
to be spilled on predictions and power rankings
. But one word in particular seems to keep popping up in articles to describe white players like Steve Novak, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee, Andrew Bogut, and Josh McRoberts: "Dorky." And the writers that use it are inevitably white. Triangle Offense
's Khalid Saalam (previously
) thinks they should probably cut that out.
Polyhedra and the Media
- On the new polyhedra of Schein and Gayed, and mathematical journalism.
2013 had a lot of great longform writing. Longreads
lead the way with their best of
Lots of sites provided year end lists: The American Prospect
, The Atlantic
, Business Week Buzz
, The Daily Beast
, Dazed Digital
, Esquire UK
, Impose Magazine
, i09, Lifehacker
, Mother Jones
, National Geographic
, National Journal
, The New Yorker
, On Earth
, The Electric Typewriter
, The Verge
, The Voice Media Group
, and The Washington Post. [more inside]
Claire Messud: “A woman’s rant” [National Post]
"Over the last week, discussion surrounding Claire Messud’s new novel, The Woman Upstairs, has shifted from the book to an interview
its author recently gave to Publishers Weekly, in which Messud took issue with the following question: “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.” [more inside]
Stop Using Small Font Sizes
"I'm calling you out. All of you. The hackers, the designers, the code monkeys, the word-smiths, the editors, the CSS gurus, and everyone else who works on content management systems and style sheets for news sites. Stop using small font sizes." [more inside]
Conceived as sort of a companion to Longreads, Longform, Pocket, Byliner, etc., Nieman Storyboard's Why's This So Good?
series looks at why
some great long-form journalism and narrative nonfiction pieces are so great. There are over 60 installments of writers talking shop about writing. [more inside]
The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named the 2012 winners of their science journalism award
. The winning text, radio and TV segments -- which cover subjects ranging from bat ecology to nuclear power post-Fukushima -- are all free access. [more inside]
But I couldn't do it. I spent three months and I just couldn't do it. And the reason was because I kept on meeting people who worked in the credit industry and they were really boring. I couldn't make them light up the page. And, as I said in The Psychopath Test, if you want to get away with wielding true malevolent power, be boring. Journalists hate writing about boring people, because we want to look good, you know? A Chat With Writer Jon Ronson [more inside]
In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell
” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America
" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via
The Hemingway Papers:
The legendary writer’s reporting from the Toronto Star archives, featuring historical annotations by William McGeary, a former editor who researched Hemingway’s columns extensively for the newspaper, along with new insight and analysis from the Star’s team of Hemingway experts.
, the Madison (WI) Police Department hired their first civilian Public Information Officer: former reporter Joel DeSpain. Over the last five years, Mr. DeSpain has reportedly combined "humor, a flair for the dramatic and sense of the absurd
", and turned the mundane Madison Police Blotter
into an "art form and a thing of joy." So Why Has Madison Wisconsin Has Become the Weird News Capitol of the Midwest
? Meet the United States’ most whimsical police reporter. (Last one's a gawker link. If you dislike their site / interface, have no fear: all reports in that article (plus four extras) can be found after the jump.) [more inside]
Janet Flanner began her career at The New Yorker composing evocative and cogent dispatches from Europe, writing nearly seven hundred Letters from Paris under the nom de plume Genêt, from 1925 to 1975. In between these, she contributed Profiles, Reporter at Large dispatches, and other Letters from around the globe. In a Postscript published after she died, in 1978, editor-in-chief William Shawn wrote of his prolific correspondent: "Her eye never became jaded, her ardor for what was new and alive never diminished, and her language remained restless. She was a stylist who devoted her style, bedazzling and heady in itself, to the subtle task of conveying the spirit of a subtle people." [more inside]
"To really love Joan Didion—to have been blown over by things like the smell of jasmine and the packing list she kept by her suitcase—you have to be female. … Women who encountered Joan Didion when they were young received from her a way of being female and being writers that no one else could give them. She was our Hunter Thompson, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem
was our Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
. He gave the boys twisted pig-fuckers and quarts of tequila; she gave us quiet days in Malibu and flowers in our hair. … Ultimately Joan Didion’s crime
—artistic and personal—is the one of which all of us will eventually be convicted: she got old. Her writing got old, her perspective got old, her bag of tricks didn’t work anymore."
"I can’t imagine a nonfiction writer who wasn’t influenced by the fiction he or she had read. But the “thriller-like pacing” you find in my writing may come more from my own beat than from thrillers. I walk fast and am impatient. I get bored easily—no less with my own ideas than with those of others. Writing for me is a process of constantly throwing out stuff that doesn’t seem interesting enough. I grew up in a family of big interrupters." Janet Malcolm interviewed by Katie Roiphe in The Paris Review
Launching today is Byliner
, both a portal to the best narrative nonfiction from around the web, and a publishing platform for original works
. Some additional background here
One night, I awoke out of a dead sleep, and jumped to my computer, and instantly began typing up an article about David Letterman. I kept going for ten minutes, until I realized I had dreamed it all. There was no article to write; I was simply typing up the same meaningless phrases that we all always used: “LADY GAGA PANTLESS ON LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN,” or some such.
AOL Hell: An AOL Content Slave Speaks Out.
The public pillorying of Janet Malcolm is one of the scandals of American letters. ... why is it Malcolm, a virtuoso stylist and a subtle, exciting thinker, who drives critics into a rage? What journalist of her caliber is as widely disliked or as often accused of bad faith? And why did so few of her colleagues stand up for her during the circus of a libel trial that scarred her career? In the animus toward her there is something almost personal. [more inside]
Writer Cath Elliot
, recently nominated for the Orwell Prize
for political writing, posts about what are, sadly, often the occupational hazards
of being a political woman online. (NSFW language; author has tagged post with a trigger warning fwiw)
Heartbreaking news for people who care about reading. Founded in 1925,
the Virginia Quarterly Review
has become the standard-bearer for long-form narrative journalism - "the sort of articles that make readers want to become writers." "The Life and Lonely Death of Noah Pierce"
is a great example of what this kind of writing can achieve, but it's not the only one. The essential Bookslut has called the VQR "the best fucking magazine on the planet right now."
Last week Mefi's own Waldo
made the blog post we all dread having to make. His friend and boss, the VQR's genius editor Kevin Morrissey made his will, left his affairs in order, called the police to report a shooting that had not yet happened, and took his own life.
Previously on the blue.
is an almost-real-time, behind-the-scenes look at the assigning, writing, editing, and designing of a Wired feature
. The Birth of Storyboard
is a (minimally edited) video of the conversation that spawned the project. The feature—that will be published in November—is about screenwriter Charlie Kaufman
. In the past he has woven the process of creating his work into the work itself
, so Wired
writer Jason Tanz thought it would make sense to do the same.
Looking to promote his directorial debut
, Kaufman has agreed to take part in the project
"Together they panhandled with Nam Vet Needs Help signs at the highway entrance
, converted their proceeds into Icehouse beer and Rich & Rare whiskey, and shared their nights in the perpetual dusk beneath the elevated highway, taking turns seeking the full sleep that never came, so loud was the traffic above, so naked were they below, in addled vulnerability.
Every Sunday Dan Barry
writes about America in his This Land column for the New York Times
Knight Science Journalism Tracker
is a new-ish blog (project of a program at MIT
and Charles Petit) that follows science writing and reporting in a very wide range of publications. It's a good way to learn about how science news is reported, and
an efficient way to keep up with the news itself. [some recent examples]
New Games Journalism
(a Wikipedia definition for the uninitiated), appeared
on MetaFilter last December with a link to the now legendary 'Bow, Nigger
' article. In the first quarter of 2005 the buzz surrounding the phenomenon grew. Articles like This is Why Your Game Magazine Sucks
got the attention of the Guardian, who examined the role of NGJ in a February article
. In March, they linked to ten unmissable examples
. At about the same time, the movement got its very own publication, The Gamer's Quarter
; and in June PC Gamer wrote an open letter to the gaming community
requesting articles about, well, anything really.
The New Games Journalism
is a manifesto written earlier this year in an attempt to re-shape the way that video game reviews are written, moving away from a stats-based view (these are the weapons, the graphics quality is X, the A.I. is as good as Y), and toward a more narrative approach. The goal, essentially, should be to convey to the reader what it's actually like to play the game. Be sure to follow the link to "Bow, Nigger"
as an example. This review of Eve Online
(pdf) is another good example. Are other areas of media criticism in need of a revolution?
Testy Copy Editors
is a site run by WaPo
Financial Copy Editor Philip Blanchard
, with guest columns and discussions
dedicated to blowing off steam for people in the occasionally tense business of making words fit, parse properly and make sense in print.
If you've actually edited copy under a deadline, or know someone who has, you know how thankless the job can sometimes be.
For the adventurous reader Dispatches From The Vanishing World
a collection of environment themed travel articles by Alex Shoumatoff
. Observe the "skeed row" behaviour of The Alcoholic Monkeys of St.Kitts
, or travel to the worlds largest swap
almost twice the size of England in the Amazon, this site presents magazine articles by Alex over the last 30 years as seen in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone.
, dedicated to the writer's art of the obituary. Recommended among the greats in the (partial) "hall-of-fame" archive
is Idi Amin's: "One of the Most Reviled Figures In Recent History
'Literature of fact'
The high wall which seperates fact and fiction has a small door in it through which people can step. A piece which discusses how someone writing a supposed eyewitness account of an event always tends to fictionalise, even unconciously, in order to make the subject interesting, the idea being that just because a book is in that section, it might not actually be completely non-fiction.
Great article about the decline of obituary writing in American journalism
. Notable obits it names include Hunter Thompson's unflattering rendition of Nixon
and H.L. Mencken's scathing posthumous indictment of William Jennings Bryan
Should we go back to obits like these? Damn right we should, says suck.com
More proof CNN layoffs have screwed CNN.com
"Completely destroyed?" (Paragraph 3) Man, I learned not to use that redundancy in freshman J-school. Geez. Turn out the lights, Ted, the party's over