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While I focus on Technology, Innovation, and Publishing, because I have a platform, I also flag items that I think are important and try to include a bunch of resources & opportunities. I’d love to hear what you think of this newsletter.
MT @themaxburns People scoffed and said it was overdramatic to say that overturning Roe v. Wade would mean putting women in prison. Welcome to the new America.
A ProPublica investigation has found that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas secretly participated in Koch network donor events — a breach of judicial norms that one federal judge said “takes my breath away.” The Koch network has brought multiple cases before the Supreme Court, including one of the most closely watched of the upcoming term. In 2018, Thomas flew to Palm Springs on a private jet and attended a dinner for the network’s donors. The justice was brought in, former network staffers said, in the hopes that such access would encourage donors to continue giving. That dinner happened during the network’s marquee fundraising event, typically open to donors who give at least $100,000 a year. Ethics experts said Thomas’ relationship with the network could call his impartiality in the case into doubt.
MT @PENamerica Being afraid to feature queer artists. Seeing a Mother’s Day reading canceled because of a picture book. Removing “Safe Space” stickers. These are among the consequences of educational intimidation laws being passed under the guise of “parents’ rights.”
MT @veronikellymars This perfectly encapsulates everything I’ve said now for almost 3 years: the bigots create a controversy, make it cost a lot of money, then turn around and complain about how their manufactured outrage proves how wasteful libraries are with tax money.
It’s about time! Hopefully something will be done!!
After a 3-year period that saw their workforce participation plummet — so severe, it was labelled the “she-cession,” women’s employment has been rising, leading to current record numbers of women in the workforce — now topping pre-pandemic levels. Amid the encouraging news, the reality is women are returning to many of the same issues that have long plagued the workplace, well before the pandemic — and their future is more uncertain than men’s. The enduring lack of pay parity is one issue. Women still make just 83% of what men earn, and that figure widens for black, Hispanic and indigenous women as well as women 35 years and older. Also, in homes with male-female partnerships, much of the domestic labor still falls on women, just as it has in the past, regardless of whether they are in the workforce. The uncertain future of both the workplace and public health at large also means women are more vulnerable than men to future job loss: Even if women are able to retain their necessary remote work arrangements, they may be affected by proximity bias or flexibility stigma — phenomena in which bosses advantage in-person workers whom they can see, even unconsciously.
Wish all states did! Nearly half of all states have similar programs that combine getting a driver’s license or state ID card with registering to vote.
Wish all libraries had this! Libraries make voting more accessible and inclusive.
MT @imillhiser Early voting has begun in much of Virginia for the upcoming state legislative election, which is likely to decide whether Republicans have the votes to enact an abortion ban. If you want to vote early, this link will tell you where and when to vote.
MT @MikeSington COVID eroded trust in vaccines- the 2024 election may make it worse.
MT @DrEricDing AMAZING — The US government will relaunch a program to provide free COVID19 home tests starting Monday September 25th, 2023. Officials say the tests are able to detect the latest variants.
The first wave of AI was classification of data, images, video, audio, language. the second wave is generative AI — users take input data to produce new data. The third wave will be interactive, where AI bots can carry out tasks by calling on other software & people to get stuff done
Imagine posting a thought or piece of content on Threads and having followers from another platform, like Mastodon, like and comment on that post. It’s a possibility that’ll soon come to fruition if Meta keeps its promise to allow the nearly 10 million people who still use Threads to follow and interact with users on other platforms like Mastodon. This is all thanks to the fediverse, or the federated universe, which is best described as a group of social media networks that are independent but able to communicate with one another. The fediverse’s origins reportedly date back to the early 2000s. But in with an increasingly fragmented social media landscape, Twitter’s decline, data privacy concerns and a colossal creator economy, the promise of cross-platform communication in the fediverse has sparked curiosity for some in the industry, especially with Meta’s plan to make Threads part of it.
OpenAI announces DALL-E 3, a next-gen AI image generator based on ChatGPT
HT @DeepLearningAI_ Microsoft will cover the legal cost for any copyright violations that may arise from use of its Copilot generative AI features.
Amazon is “lowering the volume limits we have in place on new title creations” on its Kindle Direct Publishing platform amid efforts to limit AI-generated content.
Project Gutenberg is dedicated to promulgating public domain literature in as many formats as possible. But it was only when they teamed up with MIT and Microsoft that they were able to perform the kind of code magic necessary to use AI-generated speech to bring these books to life. The problem with their archive is that the files are not uniformly formatted. They come from various sources, often error-ridden optical character recognition processes, and often are imperfectly edited and corrected by volunteers. “Each one of the e-books in Project Gutenberg is in its own idiosyncratic html format with lots of text you wouldn’t want to hear read aloud like tables, contents, indices, page numbers etc. The hardest part of the project was extracting the good text to read aloud.” explained project co-lead Mark Hamilton, affiliated with Microsoft and MIT. To solve this, they designed a system that worked through the archive and identified book files that were formatted similarly, then figured out which of those clusters were the best suited to being automatically read out.
The Authors Guild, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, David Baldacci, George R.R. Martin, and 13 Other Authors File Class-Action Suit Against OpenAI
HT @BoSacks Using AI in online and digital publishing
What the San Francisco AI Industry Boom Means for the Next Generation of Journalists, Authors and Screenwriters
YouTube will roll out a slew of AI-enabled features for creators, including tools to help w editing videos. For example, a generative AI “Dream Screen” will allow creators to add photo and video backgrounds to YouTube Shorts
HT @benedictevans Amazon wants a piece of every single part of the supply chain: Amazon wants to monetize the vast network of warehouses and transportation it has built — even if that means helping merchants deliver goods to businesses that aren’t Amazon.
TikTok Shop’s pitch to marketers is pretty straightforward: Don’t just buy ads on TikTok for products you’re selling elsewhere, actually sell them on the platform too. But marketers aren’t so sure just yet.
Publishing & Media
The incoming owners of Simon & Schuster are giving employees a stake in the publisher. Is it corporate whitewashing, good capitalism, or both?
MT @BookRiot At Slate, Megan Greenwell put the screws to a KKR executive in an interview about the private equity firm’s plans for newly acquired Simon & Schuster. Greenwell asked great questions, and Pete Stavros, KKR’s co-head of global private equity, answered them like a seasoned pro who has had extensive media training. Which is to say, he didn’t say much. Longtime publishing industry vet @KathMSchmidt offers a decoder ring for Stavros’s corporate speak in a new post at Publishing Confidential.
MT @wordisdiversity Select your next writing podcast listen from this list by Audible:
RT @mariskreizman Hi, I’m a freelance book critic and I know for sure that the more info we share with each other, the better! Help the Freelance Solidarity Project to better understand rates of pay for book criticism. If you’re a freelancer who covers books, click here:
MT @FirstBook Exciting news! We just released a groundbreaking study on the impact of diverse books in classroom libraries. Find out how these books are changing the reading habits of young students and boosting their reading scores. Learn more here!
National coalition announces commitment at Clinton Global Initiative 2023 Meeting to distribute 600,000 diverse children’s books
MT @diversebks4all At the Clinton Global Initiative 2023 meeting, the Diverse Books for All Coalition announced their commitment to purchasing and distributing 600,000 new high-quality, affordable diverse children’s books over the next 18 months.
The Book Industry Charitable Foundation, in cooperation with Humble Bundle and 17 publishers, has raised more than $1 million over six years to support owners and workers at bookstores and comics shops across the country.
A funding shortfall means the country’s library service will operate with reduced hours, and is ‘unable to purchase new books or take requests at present’
MT @adriennemwest “As sales figures turn artists into numbers, a fitting reaction is for artists to treat one with a greater sense of humanity, to create friendships and communities defined by enthusiasm and mutual aid.”
RT @tachtco If you’re in academia and also a literary translator, these guidelines are designed to help you advocate for how translation counts in tenure/promotion/reappointment. Please share widely, and sign on!
New York Times Digital Journalist Tries Print: After a few months writing headlines for the print New York Times, one journalist has some takeaways: “The job of print editors is hard.”
Is Quibi finally dead? Maybe…Podcast on Amazon’s decision to kill their periodicals business, putting more media companies and creators out of business.
Sounds a bit like the Forbes model: Time Launches Editorial Platform for Opinions: Time’s new editorial platform, called Time100 Voices, is dedicated to elevating perspectives from global thought leaders.
Plenty can change in a year, particularly in the publishing industry. A year after the media business slipped into a downturn, the upswing seems to have started, at least for Hearst Magazines.
MT @sarafischer Local news giant Advance is plotting a new Gulf Coast news site, 4 yrs after it sold New Orleans Times-Picayune — That 2019 sale led to a talent bloodbath. 161 people were laid off.
92-year-old Murdoch will exit roles atop News Corp and Fox in November and be appointed chairman emeritus.
Media Giants Yet to Find Model for Streaming: The media industry has been upended by the consumer shift to streaming, and legacy media giants are still figuring out how to make it work.
“Hyperbolic and misleading rhetoric continues to ignite fear over the types of books in schools. And yet, 75 percent of all banned books are specifically written and selected for young audiences,” explained Kasey Meehan, program director for PEN’s Freedom to Read Program. “Florida isn’t an anomaly — it’s providing a playbook for other states to follow suit.” “We should trust our teachers and librarians to do their jobs. If you have a worldview that can be undone by a book, I would submit that the problem is not with the book,” said YA author John Green. The average publication date of the most banned books is 2005, making them an average of 18 years old.
MT @debreese Please share! Today I added three more Native-authored books to my log of Native writers whose books are being challenged or banned. Details at my site:
HT @KathMSchmidt Two years into a surge in book banning efforts across the country, restrictions that were largely happening in school libraries, where they affected children, are now affecting the wider community as well.
MT @PENamerica Book banners who claim they are only targeting “pornography” have created a new, Orwellian definition of the word, so extreme that, in one Texas school district, it now includes Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss and a book about a crayon that lost its wrapper.
HT @veronikellymars The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district banned “Red: A Crayon’s Story” after complaints about the content of the book were challenged under the Parent’s Bill of Rights. The book centers around a crayon with a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. The crayon teacher, parents, and classmates all try to help him be red. When this doesn’t work, a pair of scissors tries to help him be red by snipping his label. Eventually, the red crayon discovers what readers have known all along: It’s blue. The lesson, according to the book’s publishers, is finding the courage to be true to your inner self.
Elo Agbada, who is in Grade 11 at Charles P. Allen High School in Bedford, said she read the book for class and it led to some insightful discussions, despite some classmates never having heard of police brutality. Damini Awoyiga, also in Grade 11 at Charles P. Allen High School, said the book should be taught in classrooms because it provides much-needed context about how Black people are affected by racial discrimination and police violence in their day-to-day lives. “It had a really big impact on me, and it made me really think that if a book that has that much impact on me is taken away from other students that could perhaps learn from that experience, then it would be a really negative thing that would happen.”
RT @jonfreadom Another teacher fired. This time for assigning students to read an adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank.
Middle school students cannot borrow Fahrenheit 451 or any YA books without parental permission in Dripping Springs ISD (TX)
Read the gift article. Mary Wood’s school reprimanded her for teaching a book by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Now she hopes her bond with students can survive South Carolina’s politics. HT @lydiakiesling SC is 1 of 18 states to restrict education on race since 2021, per an Education Week tally. At least 1/2 the country passed laws that limit instruction on race, history, sex or gender identity, per WaPo analysis.
Library books have faced challenges for decades, but a recent shift has become more organized as a proxy culture war
RT @smtravis “These books are not being banned from the schools,” a Moms for Liberty parent says. She said you can still get the books at public library or Amazon. But isn’t that still being banned from schools? No one’s saying Amazon is banning books, Schools are.
MT @FLFreedomRead “I don’t know how we protect staff here without banning every single book that has any type of coming of age story line.” This is why “err on the side of caution” = censorship.
HT @PENamerica Per Jesmyn Ward: “This erasure of different voices feels as if it is pushing us ever closer to a more desolate tomorrow — one where even more kids feel unseen, where the magical and necessary work of story is stymied while the Wipers rend and gnash and deprive brave, deeply feeling, sensitive children of the stories they need the most.”
MT @FLFreedomRead When books are read in their entirety, debated in good faith through a committee, and the author’s intent for the work is considered, the books are more than likely to stay. That’s why they want to circumvent the review process.
Ariana Grande, Guillermo del Toro, Padma Lakshmi and More Sign Open Letter Denouncing Book Bans and Their “Chilling Effect”
“It’s only a matter of time before regressive, suppressive ideologues will shift their focus toward other forms of art and entertainment,” warns the letter, headed up by LeVar Burton and MoveOn Political Action.
Via @veronikellymars Although book censorship impacts every single one of us — it impacts our democracy on a nationwide level — it is the students who are most impacted. They are the ones who lose the ability to access materials that educate, enrich, and entertain and more, given that the vast majority of books being banned right now are those by or about people of color and queer people, students know, see, and feel the impact of these decisions on them beyond the covers of those books. Marginalized teens see themselves being labeled inappropriate, disgusting, and more, all of which takes a tremendous toll on their mental health. Take the opportunity to get to know these teenagers doing important, relevant, and vital work in their schools and communities more broadly. Follow them on social media and offer them the encouragement and support they deserve.
Florida governor’s constant attacks on the education system have led to an increasing backlash from a wide range of people
Simon & Schuster is introducing a new “multi-platform education and resources program,” Books Belong, as part of an effort to expand the publisher’s response to the book bans and challenges.
MT @BKLYNlibrary We launched a new podcast series to help you understand what’s going on with book bans, and what you can do about it. Over 7 episodes Borrowed and Banned will tell the story of America’s ideological war with its bookshelves.
‘In a polarised world, it is important our sector is clear in its opposition to censorship’ says the Cilip report, published as services increasingly asked to remove books
Children’s Books Ireland has launched the Reading Matters campaign in response to anti-LGBTQ+ book protests held by right-wing groups.
HT @jbakernyc Hand out copies of this “10 Ways to Get Involved in Your Local Public Library” flier in your community (and do those ten things!). Please spread the word/get involved!
Resources & Opportunities
Hope to see you at this in-person event that I helped plan! New speakers announced: Check out the AWESOME line-up for this power panel of Latina storytellers! Authors, agents, editors, magazines, books, podcasts, journalism — we’ve got it covered!! 10/3 5:30–7:30pm ET NYC. $20 for WMG members, $25 non-members. REGISTER ASAP!
MT @WMG_NYC Sign up today for a special event with Gail Papp and Rose Styron on the #memoir writing process, the challenge of writing about lives lived in public, and tips for aspiring memoir writers. This event is free for WMG members and $15.00 for non-members.
MT @JulieBlattberg Support the Women’s Media Group by bidding on a custom pup portrait, generously donated by Steve Alpert.
The fourth annual Authors for Voices of Color silent auction will be held September 26–October 3.
MT @pbromberg Don’t miss this free, virtual Banned Books Week panel discussion with BookRiot’s Kelly Jensen and EveryLibrary’s John Chrastka.
RT @_Pitch_Blaque UPDATE: The 2nd annual #PitBLK has been moved to 10/17/23 from 8a-8p EST!! We’ve migrated the event to a new platform http://pitchpitblk.wixsite.com/home where participants can upload up to 3 pitches by 10/14/23 at 5p EST. Visit the new platform for more info on the rules and process!
HT @wordisdiversity Celebrate Latine-owned and/or managed bookstores during Latine Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15–10/15).
MT @womenjournos Are you an experienced journalist with an idea for a high-impact story that “follows the money?” The McGraw Center via Newmark J School is accepting applications for its fall fellowship until Oct. 6.
RT @ALALibrary Need some 💰 to help pay for library school? More than $300,000 is available annually through the ALA Scholarship Program. Submissions are open through March 1, 2024. Get your application in early!
MT @sarahschulman3 Applications are open for the Northwestern three year dual degree MFA/MA. FULLY FUNDED plus health insurance, plus $35,000 a year stipend for all three years. We are taking 2 students in Poetry and 2 students in nonfiction this year. Deadline: December 12, 2023.
Note: I can’t help with this. MT @MarindaOnline 📢📢📢 Applications for Penguin Random House internships are live!🐧🏠📚 Roles are available for production editorial, design, publicity, and more!
You do not need to be a current student to apply! #teamPRH
9 days of events from September 24th — October 2nd, starting with our Virtual Festival Day on September 24th. Plus, our citywide Bookend events kick-off that day. The Festival Day and Literary Marketplace, the city’s largest free literary celebration, is October 1st and kids can meet and create projects with the favorite authors on Children’s Day September 30th. This year’s participants include Hilton Als, Jamel Brinkley, Nicole Chung, Roxane Gay, Ibram X. Kendi, Karl Ove Knausgård, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Emma Straub, Jeff VanderMeer, Colson Whitehead, and Jacqueline Woodson.
MT @ADCOLOR In celebration of Latine & Hispanic Heritage Month, ADCOLOR and Brainlabs invite you to attend No Me Digas (“Wait, don’t tell me…”), a hybrid panel and celebratory reception!
Free event 9/27 6:30–8pm at SVA Theatre 333 West 23rd Street.
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