Nav bar

Tag Archives | New York Times

Get an exclusive inside look at what writers never (rarely?) let you see

“The New York Times” recently launched Times Insider, which “takes readers behind the scenes of the New York Times newsroom to show how its journalists around the globe work and how decisions are made.”

Seeing how the “Times” is this blog’s chief competitor, I’m going to try to one up it.

Today, I’m working on the first draft of an article about my recent visit to Boston (I was born there and grew up 15 miles north of the city, but haven’t had much opportunity to explore the city since). It’s part of MapQuest’s 99 Summer Travel Quests series. While traveling around Boston, I shared the experience in real-time via Tweets, Instagram posts, and Facebook updates. And now I’m letting anyone watch me write the article. Seriously:

Those links will be live from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT today. A couple caveats:

  • If I’m not there, assume I’m in the restroom and/or getting a snack, and will be back shortly.
  • You might see big blocks of text pasted into the document. I’m not cheating. Those are notes and I’m copying them from iA Writer, the app I typically use for writing an article.

Unintentional comedy at its best: Racehorse owner profiles

From The New York Times’s “Orb Finds Joy in Mudville”:

Orb is owned by Ogden Mills Phipps and Stuart Janney III, who are first cousins and prominent members of the Phipps racing empire. Six generations of the family have been involved in the sport, stockpiling victories in the biggest races, all except the Kentucky Derby. Easy Goer finished second for the Phippses and McGaughey behind Sunday Silence in 1989. Throughout the lead-up to the race, the family insisted they did not have Derby fever. But a glance at Phipps during the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” showed he might have had more emotion inside than he was letting on.

Afterward, the owners gave credit where it was due, to [Shug] McGaughey, who has trained for the family since 1986 and has been a fixture in his barn throughout the week, carefully watching over his charge and getting his hand dirty in the process.

“This is a time to reflect on our terrific trainer,” Janney said. “I certainly hoped it would be his time, and it was.”

Phipps, who is known as Dinny, quickly chimed in, “Well, he’s right about that.”

Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is making big progress

Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death PenaltyToday’s New York Times published an editorial titled “Kentucky’s Egregious Death Penalty,” calling on the state to abolish capital punishment.

Since 2009, I’ve overseen the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty‘s online presence and am on its board of directors. Here are KCADP’s blog posts that highlight Kentucky’s progress towards eliminating capital punishment, beginning with the American Bar Association’s findings from its two-year assessment of the state’s death penalty, which it released in December 2011:

To read more about my work with KCADP, please visit my consulting page.

Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Recommended Internet consumption: If Mitt Romney was so good for Mass., why is Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) bragging about his Obama ties?

Pulpo gallega at Louisville's Seviche A Latin RestaurantSalman Rushdie, The New Yorker, “The Disappeared: How the fatwa changed a writer’s life”—”‘You must never write history,’ he [Arthur Hibbert] said, ‘until you can hear the people speak.’ He [Rushdie] thought about that for years, and it came to feel like a valuable guiding principle for fiction as well. If you didn’t have a sense of how people spoke, you didn’t know them well enough, and so you couldn’t—you shouldn’t—tell their story.” Read more.

Katharine Q. Seelye, The New York Times, “Hitching His Wagon to Obama’s Star: a Republican Senator”—”President Obama is appearing in yet another television commercial in the Massachusetts Senate race. This time, it was not produced by the Democratic candidate, Elizabeth Warren, but by the Republican, Senator Scott P. Brown…That approach would be unusual enough for a Democrat in a year in which many feel the need to distance themselves from the administration, but it is virtually unfathomable for a Republican. That both candidates are trying to leverage their ties to Mr. Obama underscores how popular the president is here and how unpopular his rival, Mitt Romney, is, even though he once served as the state’s governor. Mr. Obama is expected to carry Massachusetts overwhelmingly in November.” Read more.

Neetzan Zimmerman, Gawker, “Restaurant Owner Creates Fake Sex Site Profile for Patron Who Posted Negative Review Online”—”An Ottawa restaurateur was found guilty yesterday of defamatory libel after she created a phony sex site profile for a patron who wrote a negative review of her restaurant. Marisol Simoes, co-owner of two dining establishments in the city’s ByWard Market district, also impersonated customer Elayna Katz in a raunchy email sent to Katz’s superiors at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. ‘I am open to anything — couples, threesomes and group sex,’ Simoes wrote in the email, which she signed in Katz’s name. ‘Am especially into transsexuals and transgenders (being one myself). I am…a tiger in the bedroom.’” Read more.

More consumables after the jump…

Continue Reading →

Recommended Internet consumption: Springsteen, X-47B drones, and Olympic sex

David Remnick in The New Yorker, “Bruce Springsteen at Sixty-Two”—”‘When you are that serious and that creative, and non-trusting on an intimate level, and your art has given you so much, your ability to create something becomes your medicine,’ [Patti Scialfa, Springsteen's wife a member of the E Street Band] said. ‘It’s the only thing that’s given you that stability, that joy, that self-esteem. And so you are, like, “This part of me no one is going to touch.” When you’re young, that works, because it gets you from A to B. When you get older, when you are trying to have a family and children, it doesn’t work. I think that some artists can be prone to protecting the well that they fetched their inspiration from so well that they are actually protecting malignant parts of themselves, too. You begin to see that something is broken.’” Read more.

Graham Warwick in Aviation Week, “A Twist of the Wrist — How to Drive an X-47B”—”Standing off to one side at last week’s press unveiling of the US Navy’s X-47B unmanned combat aircraft system demonstrator at NAS Patuxent River was a guy with what looked like a Borg cybernetic implant on his arm.” “That guy” = my brother. Read more.

Sam Alipour in ESPN The Magazine, “Will you still medal in the morning?”—”At the 1976 Montreal Games, three-time Olympic diver and four-time gold medalist Greg Louganis, appearing in his first Olympics at age 16, developed a kinship with the boys on the Soviet Union diving team and soon found himself partying in their rooms. ‘Once events were over, our entire diet was caviar, vodka and Russian champagne. It was crazy,’ Louganis says. He was particularly struck by the Russians’ sense of sexual liberation. ‘Culturally, they’re more openly affectionate toward each other, which I just drank up, since I was still discovering who I was. But I had my eyes on one Soviet. I’d curl up in his lap; we’d hug and cuddle. I felt so protected.’ It didn’t progress beyond that, Louganis says. ‘He was hooking up with one of the other male divers on the team’ — not to mention married.” Read more.

More consumables after the jump…

Continue Reading →

Fortnighter has its best day ever

Fortnighter
Congrats to Fortnighter and its owner Alexander Basek! The New York Times and Fortune both recommended the service recently, and yesterday the customized travel-itinerary service had its best sales day ever.

Crafted by professional travel writers (including me), each itinerary is made to order by an expert with local knowledge (like me), not by an algorithm. With an itinerary from Fortnighter, travelers receive fresh intelligence on where to stay, what to eat, and what to see on your next trip.

For more info, or to order an itinerary, visit Fortnighter’s website.

Former editor at Gridskipper, Hunter Walker, goes legit, but not

In 2007-2008, Hunter Walker was an assistant editor at Gridskipper. In that capacity, he was possibly the sole editor I’ve written for who sexed up my work rather than made a few strategic deletions (I had no objections).

So what did the future hold for such a depraved blogger?

He’s now enrolled in Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. And demonstrating that the conflux of old and new media is almost complete, he’s talking about it with The New York Times and blogging about it for Gawker.

Maureen Dowd is a lazy writer

Read a  New York Times’ op-ed writer for a few months and you know what his or her column will say ahead of time.

  • Thomas Friedman: Globalization is good and inevitable.
  • Nicholas Kristof: Life is miserable in developing countries.
  • Bill Kristol: I am wrong about everything.
  • Paul Krugman: George W. Bush is bad.
  • Bob Herbert: There’s nothing a government program can’t fix.

While Maureen Dowd doesn’t hawk an ideology, she seldom makes sense. She just fires out a slew of zingers; sure, some of them hit, but mostly she makes a mess. Every Dowd column I read has me thinking The Times sacked its copyeditors.

But as I’m a Tiny Fey fan (and who outside of Wasilla isn’t these days?), I read Dowd’s cover article on the comedian in this month’s Vanity Fair. As expected, there are several passages that are great examples of how not to write.

  • “Vintage-y Upper West Side apartment”—Tacking a “y” onto the end of a word is the epitome of lazy writing. A minute or two searching a thesaurus probably would have led Dowd to a real word or phrase.
  • “Her [Fey's] former S.N.L. pal Colin Quinn”—Were Fey and Quinn once, but no longer, friends? Or is Dowd just referring to the fact that they used to work together? If it’s the former, don’t leave your readers hanging, dish the dirt Dowd. If it’s the latter, “pal” is a lousy word choice; we all have colleagues with whom we aren’t friends.
  • “Then she retreated backstage at S.N.L., wore a ski hat, and gained weight writing sharp, funny jokes and eating junk food”—On first read, it sounds as if writing jokes made Fey fat. Writing the fragment as “she gained weight eating junk food while writing sharp, funny jokes” prevents confusion.