New York Times

Yes, A Free Press Really Matters -- Especially in Times of Crisis

Forrest Hartman

There will be time for an outbreak postmortem once the U.S. gets past the threat of the coronavirus  --  and the nation will move past it, just as it has countless challenges in the past. The question now is how many Americans will suffer and how many will die unnecessarily. Our goal should be to protect as many fellow citizens as possible, regardless of political affiliation, race, age, gender, etc. Viruses neither care about nor recognize these traits, nor should we when addressing a crisis. Unfortunately, our efforts to safeguard the populace have been seriously undermined by the current social and political climate, rife with division and prejudice, and this climate has been not only fostered, but furthered, by the current administration.

Is Cinema Making a Comeback? The Plight of ‘American Hustle’

Mary Kinney

With so many critically acclaimed films out this winter—and a stacked awards season—it’s easy to make the argument for a new Golden Age of cinema: this season, American HustleWolf of Wall StreetTwelve Years a Slave and more films were garnering buzz for their nominations and reviews. Is this the sign of a new boom for cinema? Or does saying the art of film is back a self-fulfilling prophecy? American Hustle was a front-runner this award season and was initially met with fairly consistent acclaim, but with its 10 Oscar nominations, American Hustle left viewers empty-handed. 

The New and (White) Face of Journalism Start-Ups

Charles D. Ellison

Diversity has always been—and for a number of reasons still is—the china-crashing elephant in the room that few really want to talk about or address. Lack of black people in the mainstream newsroom is an ongoing phenomenon that most—if not all—outlets seem unwilling to fix. Even worse is the lack of black leadership in the newsroom. But the fact remains that most demographic segments, regardless of background, still rush to bigged-up brand-name institutions as their most reliable sources for news. That won’t and shouldn’t change if you’re a rapacious consumer of information. As a result, people of color should hold these vaunted publications’ collective feet to the fire.

 

As the Publishing World Goes Digital, Seniors Still Cling to Print

Peter McDermott

Last year, the Pew Research Center for the Internet and American Life announced that for the first time a majority of seniors (53 percent) use e-mail or the Internet. But a previous Pew survey revealed that most of the older set doesn’t get news from any online source. The study found that only four in 10 members of those 65-74 ever go online for news, and merely one in six members of the “Greatest Generation” (75 and over) do so.

The Yes Men Strike Again

Tyler Huggins

The Yes Men revolt against the status quo of corporate antipathy and civilian complacency with Swiftian public displays. In their traditional approach, Andy and Mike portray themselves as corporate executives and deliver presentations, awards or speeches that satirically out the inhuman nature of the company they purport to represent (think Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal using modern modes of dissemination).  If the fate of the world is played on a corporate stage, the Yes Men are playing the role of the fool.

Is the Sky Falling on Obama? Quick, Let’s Take Another Poll

Sandip Roy

In a September 12-16 poll Romney trailed Obama by eight points among likely voters. In a post-debate poll, Obama lags four percentage points behind Romney. What's sent the likes of Andrew Sullivan into an even greater hysterical frenzy is the fact that Romney has erased Obama's gender advantage. Women are evenly divided (47 percent) between the two. Last month Obama had an 18 point lead over Romney among women. Reuters found Romney and Obama tied at 45 percent each among likely voters. Obama still leads by five points among registered voters in Gallup's latest tracking poll, which averages seven days of data.

Creating Digital Identities: Recording Our Lives (and Others’) Online

Andrew Lam

So many of us now have been raised on video games, cell phones and iPods. We’ve spent a large bulk of our lives in chat rooms, on Skype and posting videos to YouTube, to the extent that we’ve become news reporters and newsmakers, without even making much of an effort. We announce our actions and, in some cases, our impending demise online without giving it much thought. We have been so conditioned to invest our emotional life in the virtual space that it has become second nature. 

Provocative Alt-J Rides the Wave of Success With Debut Album, Tour

Tyler Huggins

The premise of ∆ is simple. Resist definition. A note penned by the band (or intimate of) noted that a decisive sound bite for ∆ has yet to surface. This drives music journalists loco. Said Music journalists pride themselves on their ability to collapse a band's sound into relatable genres, akin bands/artists or slap them with an adjectival morass. While many have tried to encapsulate the aesthetic of ∆, none  has succeeded, resulting in reviews that liken the group to Nick Drake and the Gangsta Rap; Radiohead (the ultimate cop-out comparison); Fleet Foxes and Mystery Jets and Adam Sandler.

Lorin Stein, The Paris Review’s Wonderboy, Channels the Late, Great George Plimpton

Benjamin Wright

Lorin Stein, the current editor of the Paris Review, has been described by literary agent Ira Silverberg in a New York Times profile piece as “the best thing to happen to The Paris Review since George Plimpton.” That rather bold statement is not the least undeserved. The magazine has undergone some highly lauded renovations since Stein assumed the helm, among which are the redesign of the magazine itself and, more notably, the overhaul of the Review website, which now includes free online access to the celebrated Paris Review interview archives. 

NY Times Writer Researches Michelle Obama’s Ancestry in ‘American Tapestry’

Cynthia Gordy

In her new book, American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama, Rachel L. Swarns digs up the first lady's family roots. Throughout the meticulously researched tome, Swarns, a New York Times correspondent, uncovers a diverse history that Mrs. Obama hadn't even known herself. Swarns speaks  about what struck her most about the project, her extensive research process and what she hopes readers will take away from learning about a family that went from slavery to the White House.

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