Technology * Innovation * Publishing Newsletter #278

Kathy Sandler
10 min readJan 8, 2024

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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, which you might have missed, and try to include a bunch of resources & opportunities. I’d love to hear what you think of this newsletter.

Important Items

The Supreme Court is allowing Idaho to enforce its strict abortion ban, even in medical emergencies

In Texas case, federal appeals panel says emergency abortions not required by 1986 law

The Biden administration cannot use a 1986 emergency care law to require hospitals in Texas hospitals to provide abortions for women whose lives are at risk due to pregnancy, a federal appeals court ruled. The administration issued guidance that year saying hospitals “must” provide abortion services if there’s a risk to the mother’s life, citing the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986, which requires emergency rooms to provide stabilizing treatment for anyone who arrives at the emergency room.

Mask mandate resumes at all 11 New York City public hospitals amid rise in flu, COVID and RSV cases

Vaccination Dramatically Lowers Long Covid Risk

Several new studies reveal that getting multiple COVID vaccine doses provides strong protection against lingering symptoms

We are all playing Covid roulette. Without clean air, the next infection could permanently disable you

The virus thrives in badly ventilated, shared spaces — especially classrooms, where students sit together for long periods. One study found that mechanical ventilation systems in classrooms reduce the infection risk by 74%. Parliament now has a sophisticated air filter system, incorporating electrostatic precipitators. According to the contractor that fitted them, they ensure airborne viruses and bacteria are “kept to an absolute minimum within the space.” The same goes for the government departments where ministers work. At the World Economic Forum in Davos this month, there were filtration systems in every room, in some cases protecting politicians who have denied them to their own people. The clean air standards rich and powerful people demand for themselves should be universal, rolled out to all schools and other public buildings.


New Class of Antibiotics Discovered Using AI

HT @benedictevans A deep-learning algorithm helped identify new compounds that are effective against antibiotic-resistant infections in mice, opening the door to AI-guided drug discovery.


AI Is Telling Bedtime Stories to Your Kids Now

Artificial intelligence can now tell tales featuring your kids’ favorite characters. It’s copyright chaos — and a major headache for parents and guardians.

OpenAI In Talks With Dozens of Publishers to License Content

OpenAI said it’s talking to dozens of publishers about striking deals to license their articles, a broader effort than was previously known as the startup looks for content to train its AI models

OpenAI Offers Publishers as Little as $1M Per Year

Inside the News Industry’s Uneasy Negotiations With OpenAI

Gannett, News Corp still in talks with OpenAI on the price and terms of licensing their content for artificial intelligence

G/O Media: AI Stories Might Not Be Accurate

A disclaimer on articles on The Inventory read: “This article was generated by an AI engine which may produce inaccurate information.”

iHeartMediTurns to AI to Boost Podcasting

iHeartMedia a is looking to use artificial intelligence to translate and voice content from its podcast archives into multiple languages.

Copyright law is AI’s 2024 battlefield

MT @ThadMcIlroy “Copyright owners have been lining up to take whacks at generative AI like a giant piñata… 2024 is likely to be the year we find out whether there is money inside.”

AI-created “virtual influencers” are stealing business from humans

Instagram analysis of an H&M advert featuring virtual influencer Kuki found that it reached 11 times more people and resulted in a 91 percent decrease in cost per person remembering the advert, compared with a traditional ad. One of the first virtual influencers, Lil Miquela, charges up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for any given deal and has worked with Burberry, Prada and Givenchy.

How to Use OpenAI’s ChatGPT to Create Your Own Custom GPT

I created an experimental chatbot with 50 of my WIRED articles. Try it out for yourself.

Apple wants AI to run directly on its hardware instead of in the cloud

Google to pay $700 million and make tiny app store changes to settle with 50 states

Amazon’s Ad Push for Prime Video Expected to Generate an Extra $5 Billion in Revenue

Prime Video ads to start appearing in North America on Jan. 29. Subscribers can pay extra $3 per month for ad-free streaming

Publishing & Media

What Gen Z Is Finding at the Library

New research released by the ALA found that more than half of Gen Zers and Millennials surveyed in 2022 had visited a physical library location in the previous year. And of the Gen Zers and Millennials who said that they did not identify as readers, more than half still reported going to the library. The report found that younger members of Gen Z were reading more print books than older readers in their age cohort were, and print was the preferred format for the Gen Z respondents.

What Booksellers Can Teach Us About Reading, Writing and Publishing

Book releases 2024: From RuPaul to Salman Rushdie

HT @publishingtrend

“It was smart to write when I was so angry:” Bonnie Garmus on the winning formula behind Lessons in Chemistry

HT @publishingtrend #teamPRH

Getting It Right: Sensitivity Readers Help Ensure Authentic Characters

“If you were to write a book about rockets, you’d do research. The same holds true for writing diverse characters.”

2021 School Librarian of the Year Amanda Jones Creates Lesson About Navigating Social Media

MT @abmack33 I’m so thankful to @sljournal for allowing me to write this story. I hope it opens up more convos around social media use and online bullying. The “protect the children” crowd are worried about books while these kids are dealing with actual harm in the palms of their hands.

Vanity Fair profiles the NY Times games team, which now has 100 people

HT @benedictevans Wordle. Connections. Spelling Bee. Ye olde crossword. The Times is home to beloved brainteasers that are helping boost the paper’s bottom line. As one staffer jokes, the “Times is now a gaming company that also happens to offer news.”

PEN America, Scholastic Partner to Support Banned Authors

RT @PublishersWkly PEN America has announced that a new “investment” from publisher Scholastic will enable the organization to offer more support for authors facing books bans — with an emphasis on children’s book authors and illustrators.

‘It’s an act of resistance:’ Groups ramp up efforts in the fight to stop book bans

HT @publishingtrend “We need to activate and empower community members…the voters, the taxpayers who live in the community, who use the library, whose rights are being impaired by book censorship,’’ said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. It’s important, she said, that they “go to (school) board meetings and add another voice to the conversation.” The association used to get 300 to 400 reports a year of efforts across the country to remove books from libraries or to challenge a display, Caldwell-Stone said. The number jumped to 729 in 2020 and up to 1,269 in 2022. Most banned books were about LGBTQ+ communities and people of color, she said.

Judge Blocks Key Provisions of Iowa Book Banning Law

A federal judge has blocked two key portions of SF 496, a recently passed Iowa state law that sought to ban books with sexual content from Iowa schools and to bar classroom discussion of gender identity and sexuality for students below the seventh grade. In a 49-page opinion and order, judge Stephen Locher criticized the law as “incredibly broad” and acknowledged that it has already resulted in the removal of “of hundreds of books from school libraries, including, among others, nonfiction history books, classic works of fiction, Pulitzer Prize–winning contemporary novels, books that regularly appear on Advanced Placement exams, and even books designed to help students avoid being victimized by sexual assault.”

Resources & Opportunities

New Member Social with WMG Co-Presidents

Are you a new member of WMG? Don’t miss this FREE, members-only, virtual social with WMG Co-Presidents Jennifer Perry & Jodi Brockington on 1/18 at 5:30pm ET! Register today!!

The Learned-It-in Queens Communications Playbook

Hope you can attend this fun event on workplace and inter-personal communications. 1/24 12–1pm ET. FREE for members, $15 for non-members.

Your Productivity Style Workshop

Do you want to get more done at home or at work, so you can do things you want to do? Who doesn’t?!! Learn from productivity expert Paula Rizzo at WMG’s lunch & learn on 2/6 at 12pm ET. FREE for members, $15 for non-members.

Publishers Weekly’s 2024 Book Business Events Calendar

HT @KathMSchmidt Subscribe to this PW calendar for select trade shows, book fairs, and awards and prizes throughout the year.

You Are a Writer free webinars

RT @PENamerica Ring in the new year with PEN America and @SCBWI’s free online YOU ARE A WRITER series! Featuring trailblazing authors, editors, and multi-industry creatives, it will be a series not to be missed! 5pm PT on four consecutive Wednesdays, starting 1/10!

Apply Now: Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant

MT @ALALibrary Applications are now open for the annual Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant! Two libraries will be awarded $2,000 to support a project that empowers the community. Learn more and apply by February 1.

Apply Now: Peggy Barber Tribute Grant

MT @ALALibrary 2024 is a presidential election year and this year’s Peggy Barber Tribute Grant will support up to three libraries with a $2,500 grant to support programs related to civic education. Applications close February 1.

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Kathy Sandler

Sr Mgr, Content Applications, Penguin Random House * Innovation * Technology * Publishing * Opinions expressed are my own