Technology * Innovation * Publishing Newsletter #281

Kathy Sandler
12 min readJan 30, 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

More than 26K rape-related pregnancies estimated after Texas outlawed abortions

An estimated 26,313 Texas women have become pregnant from rape since the Texas abortion ban was passed, which was only 16 months ago. In Texas there are no exceptions for rape, incest, or health of the mother.

Ban of transgender people from Utah’s public bathrooms passes Senate

MT @ErinInTheMorn House Bill 257 has just passed in Utah. It will go back to the House for a concurrence. It will ban trans youth from bathrooms, trans adults from changing rooms, and would end legal recognition for trans people in much of law.

Texas attorney general requests transgender youths’ patient records from Georgia clinic

MT @ErinInTheMorn Ken Paxton is sending out subpoenas for transgender patient data across state lines. First, Seattle Children’s. Now, QueerMed in Georgia. Republicans are attempting to investigate and potentially arrest people across state lines for providing trans care.

An Oklahoma state senator has proposed a law that would make watching pornography a felony and ban sexting among people who are not married

HT @FFRF It would carry prison sentences of up to a year and $2,000 fines.

COVID survivors may be at a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease–like symptoms, researchers warn

People who have been infected with COVID — yes, that’s virtually all of us — could be at greater risk for Parkinson’s disease–like symptoms down the line.

Babies exposed to COVID in the womb are more likely to suffer breathing problems

A study finds that babies born to women who got COVID while they were pregnant were 3 times more likely to develop serious breathing problems than infants whose mothers didn’t have COVID during pregnancy, even if the infants weren’t infected themselves.

CUNY journalism program goes tuition-free

Here’s some good news! @craignewmark, who founded Craigslist, is committing an additional $10 million to the school’s endowment, on top of a $20 million contribution he made in 2019. The school will use that funding, in addition to another, smaller endowment for scholarships, to cover tuition for 50% of students next year. The school is raising money to expand its fund to $60 million by 2026 — enough to cover tuition for all students.


6 Deaf Children Can Now Hear After a Single Injection

Several gene therapies aim to restore a protein necessary for transmitting sound signals from the ear to the brain.

14-year-old scientist Heman Bekele on his quest to fight skin cancer with soap

Heman Bekele spent the last year developing a bar of soap that could treat skin cancer. It was the winning entry at the annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge, considered one of the top science and engineering competitions for fifth through eighth graders.

Biosignature on Exoplanets

The James Webb Space Telescope detected dimethyl sulfide, a molecule only living organisms produce, on K2–18 b exoplanet. The biosignature could make habitability more likely on K2–18 b which is a hycean exoplanet with water oceans & hydrogen-rich atmosphere.


Adobe Firefly is doing generative AI differently and it may even be good for you

Adobe has its own stock image library, Adobe Stock, with hundreds of thousands of contributors and untold assets across photos, illustrations, and 3D imagery. It’s free of commercial, branded, and trademark imagery, and is also moderated for hate and adult imagery. Adobe used that data to train Firefly, and then programmed the generative AI system so that it cannot render trademarked, recognizable characters. Adobe is paying its creators for the use of their work to train its AI. What they’re paid is based, in part, on how much of their creative output is used in the training. Adobe is also allowing creators to add generative imagery to Adobe Stock, which may mean the system is feeding itself

Generative AI isn’t marketing’s future, it’s already part of its present

Brands and agencies are already using GenAI and AI in myriad ways, from segmentation to creative testing, and from media planning to measurement. Here are some use cases.

The AI-generated Books Trend is Getting Worse

It has gotten so bad that Amazon’s new policy limits self-published Kindle ebooks to three a day.

Is A.I. the Death of I.P.?

Generative A.I. is the latest in a long line of innovations to put pressure on our already dysfunctional copyright system.

AI-Generated Fake News Is Coming to an Election Near You

Targeted, AI-generated political misinformation is already out there — and humans are falling for it.

Ugandan internet propaganda network exposed by the BBC

Most Top News Sites Block AI Bots. Right-Wing Media Welcomes Them

Nearly 90% of top news outlets like The New York Times now block AI data collection bots from OpenAI and others. Leading right-wing outlets like NewsMax and Breitbart mostly permit them.

AI and crypto mining are driving up data centers’ energy use

Data centers’ electricity consumption is ballooning as cryptocurrencies and AI take hold, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.

The 6 Types of Conversations with Generative AI Bots

Company disables AI after bot starts swearing at customer, calls itself the ‘worst delivery firm in the world’

Google is using AI to organize and customize your Chrome browser

Your 2024 guide to Google & Yahoo’s new requirements for email senders

Marketers: ICYMI Google and Yahoo are turning what was once considered best practices for email authentication into mandatory requirements — and senders who don’t comply with the new requirements will start to see issues getting their emails delivered in 2024.

‘It hasn’t delivered’: The spectacular failure of self-checkout technology

Publishing & Media

Reading the Oscars 2024 Nominations

RT @nypl The Oscar nominations were recently announced and five of the ten Best Picture nominees were based on books — explore these and more!

Apple Podcasts to get auto-generated transcripts in iOS 17.4

Transcripts will appear for English, French, German, and Spanish-language podcasts and will be available in over 170 countries. Similar to how lyrics work in Apple Music, you can view a live text version of an episode, and the words are highlighted as you listen. You can also tap anywhere in the transcript to play the episode at that specific spot. To pull up the transcript, click on the new “quote” icon at the bottom of the Now Playing screen. View the transcript without listening by holding down on the episode details page and selecting “View Transcript.”

Why the U.S. Media Industry Is in Meltdown

Between the layoffs at Sports Illustrated, Pitchfork’s absorption into GQ, and many other hits to major news organizations, the U.S. news industry is in a dire situation

G/O media shopping portfolio of editorial assets to find buyers for its titles

HT @KathMSchmidt ⁩Gizmodo, Deadspin, Quartz, Kotaku, The Root, & The Onion. A likely scenario is that buyers will fold each into an existing media entity & reduce staff.

Country singers Eric Church and Morgan Wallen have purchased Field & Stream and will relaunch the brand with a print magazine, online, and a music festival

Quad Graphics closing Saratoga Springs plant

Sad news. I remember visiting Quad there & a paper plant w WIP — quite a fun bus tour! HT @BoSacks

Christian Nationalists Are Demanding The Removal Of Books From Public And School Libraries Across The Country based on their personal religious and political ideals

HT @EveryLibrary

Florida rejects books on voting, Tuskegee airmen for museum’s storytime

MT @FLFreedomRead “FL’s Dept of State tossed out the entire slate of books recommended by the civil-rights Grove Museum for the 1st 6mths of its 2024 monthly storytime program for young children, including books on voting rights & Black history.” They haven’t rescheduled.

Book Challenges May Cost Polk County (FL) Public Schools $25,000 This Year

MT @FLFreedomRead It is costing Polk at least $25,000 to review books. “Community members are upset that we are spending staff time & tax dollars to hold reviews when there is already a process in place for parents to keep their child from checking out any and all books.”

After national backlash, Florida lawmakers eye changes to book restrictions

Let’s hope this initiative prevails! The FL House is discussing a bill designed to discourage parents from going overboard on challenging books in school libraries. $100 fee to submit challenges to >5 books or if you don’t have a child enrolled in the school where the book is located

New Bill in Illinois Addresses Threats to Library Workers

Some bright light: MT @veronikellymars A new bill in Illinois would protect library workers from harassment and threats, both in person and those made online

A proposed bill in Iowa would make it illegal to use ALA’s guidelines for selection or collection policies in school libraries

HT @veronikellymars

Kansas Legislators Introduce Anti-Book Ban Bill

Some good news! HT @veronikellymars So far this year, several states have proposed anti-book ban legislation, including Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Colorado. Another state–and perhaps one that might be somewhat surprising–has added a similar bill to their agenda this year, too: Kansas. Senate Bill 358 is sponsored by Senator Cindy Holscher and seeks to curb book challenges in school and public libraries. It was inspired by a pair of librarians in Sterling who lost their jobs last year because of a display in the public library that featured rainbow colors. The display promoted autism awareness, but one board member believed it “had connotations of maybe some LGBTQ things.”

West Virginia GOP majority pushes contentious bills arming teachers, restricting bathrooms, books

MT @FReadomFighters West Virginia legislature now considering penalizing librarians and teachers for book content. Despite court victories and courts protecting First Amendment, bills like these are continuing to advance.

Resources & Opportunities

WMG’s 50th Anniversary Gala Tickets Now on Sale!

WMG Members: Sign up for early bird pricing for @WMG_NYC’s 50th Anniversary Gala until 2/1! Non-members and guests welcome! Tickets on sale now for our fabulous celebration on 3/25 6pm at New-York Historical Society. See for info on tix & sponsorships!!

Journalism Job Openings: The January List

A nice roundup from @RebeccaAguilar.

Retweeted freelance pitch calls + journalism jobs

A thread of journalism opportunities (jobs & freelance)

Plan Your Writing Pivot

From @jenni_gritters: A free download on how to use your journalism/writing skills to pivot into higher-paid industries.

Twelve Contests From Independent & University Presses That Offer Book Publication as the Prize

MT @sangeeta_editor Hoping to land a book deal but don’t have an agent? Consider entering one of these contests targeted toward writers of adult #fiction. There’s still time (until Jan 31) to apply for Black Lawrence Press Big Moose Prize for novels (+ other hybrid forms)!

2024 Editorial Fellowships at A Public Space

MT @APublicSpace Calling aspiring editors! Apply to the 2024 A Public Space Editorial Fellowships! We are seeking aspiring editors who have not worked extensively in literary publishing. Deadline to apply: February 15, 11:59pm ET.

Guggenheim Public Engagement Poet-in-Residence

MT @WhitingFdn Applications are still open for the Guggenheim Museum Poet-in-Residence position, an annual position created in collaboration with the Academy of American Poets that specifically focuses on poetry and public space. Apply now through Jan. 31.

BookMachine webinar — Putting Accessibility into Practice: Helping publishers connect the dots

Time is swiftly running out to prepare for the EU Accessibility Act (EAA), which comes into full force in June 2025. With the clock ticking, publishing professionals across departments are now needing to come together to dig into processes, check compliance, and create meaningful and lasting impact with our accessibility measures.

Help Write an Anthem

Anthem to US, a new project presented by Brooklyn Public Library and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, in collaboration with The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Queens Public Library, invites all voices to create a contemporary anthem that echoes our collective hopes, struggles, and untold histories. Up to 160 selected participants will embark on an immersive three-part writing workshop series guided by instructors. Eight outstanding song lyrics will emerge from the workshops, and three applicants will advance to collaborate with composers who will craft a final composition. The final three anthems will be judged and brought to life with performances at Brooklyn Public Library and Lincoln Center.

Angel Investing 101

HT @jkhoey Free event in NYC on angel investing.

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Kathy Sandler

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