Technology * Innovation * Publishing Newsletter #292

Kathy Sandler
13 min readMay 7, 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 (and also if you missed my newsletter while I was on vacation). This is a big one — a triple issue!

Important Items

Emergency rooms refused to treat pregnant women, leaving one to miscarry in a lobby restroom

RT @shannonrwatts NEW REPORT: Since Roe was overturned by SCOTUS, pregnant women are being turned away from US emergency rooms — even by security guards — and are being forced to miscarry or give birth alone in ER lobbies and parking lots.

Pregnant women in Missouri can’t get divorced. Critics say it fuels domestic violence

Wyoming voids 28% of its voter registrations in mandatory purge

While it’s not unusual for voter rolls to fluctuate, local election officials want residents to know that anyone who didn’t vote in the 2022 general election must register again to vote in 2024.


Adobe previews AI object addition and removal for Premiere Pro

Adobe’s impressive AI upscaling project makes blurry videos look HD

VideoGigaGAN can improve video resolution by 8x without introducing flickering or other visual distortions.

Adobe’s new Firefly model makes it easier to use Photoshop’s AI

New generative AI tools for creating backgrounds, enhancing detail, + using reference images now avail in the Photoshop desktop beta. Reference Image uses user-uploaded images to inspire AI output.

Inside Big Tech’s underground race to buy AI training data

Photobucket is in talks with multiple tech companies to license 13B photos & videos to train generative AI models for 5 cents to $1 dollar per photo and more than $1 dollar per video.

Financial Times signs licensing deal with OpenAI

In return, OpenAI will work with the news organization to develop new AI products. The FT already uses OpenAI products, saying it is a customer of ChatGPT Enterprise. Last month, the FT released a generative AI search function on beta powered by Anthropic’s Claude large language model. Ask FT lets subscribers find information across the publication’s articles.

As Tech Firms Prioritize AI in News Dealings, Other Deals Get Cut

Google has agreed to pay News Corp between $5 million and $6 million annually to fund development of artificial intelligence content.

Newsweek Goes All-In on Use of AI for News

“We firmly believe that all journalists will be working with AI in some form and we want our newsroom to embrace these technologies.”

New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, and others sue OpenAI and Microsoft

News organizations, including the NY Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, San Jose Mercury News, and 4 others, are suing OpenAI and Microsoft for alleged copyright infringement. The publications, all owned by hedge fund Alden Global Capital, claim AI trained on their articles without compensation or permission.

AI is contentious among authors. So why are some feeding it their own writing?

According to a recent poll from the writers’ advocacy nonprofit The Authors Guild, 13% said they do use AI, for brainstorming character ideas and creating outlines.

Op-Ed: Generative AI is generating astronomical profits by trampling authors and publishers

Via Maria Pallante, Mary Rasenberger, and Danielle Coffey

AI is stealthily altering how news is made and how the public finds information

By @GretchenAPeck,249473

Audio and AI

RT @arhomberg How Artificial Intelligence may change the audiobook landscape — from the Audiobook Forum @bolognabookplus

AI-Powered World Health Chatbot Is Flubbing Some Answers

HT @rachelmetz SARAH doesn’t have up-to-date medical data, can ‘hallucinate.’ WHO bot falls back on ‘consult with your health-care provider’

How to Stop ChatGPT’s Voice Feature From Interrupting You

ChatGPT’s conversation tools are fantastic — when the chatbot isn’t constantly talking over you. Try these tips for a better AI audio experience.

Meta is adding real-time AI image generation to WhatsApp

How Meta is paving the way for synthetic social networks

RT @ThadMcIlroy The company’s apps have 3.19 billion daily users, and Meta will work to ensure that those users find reasons to consult its AI bots regularly.

In Race to Build AI, Tech Plans a Big Plumbing Upgrade

Microsoft, Meta, and Alphabet, disclosed that they had spent more than $32 billion combined on data centers and other capital expenses in just the first three months of the year. The companies all said in calls with investors that they had no plans to slow down their AI spending. In the clearest sign of how AI has become a story about building a massive technology infrastructure, Meta said it needed to spend billions more on the chips and data centers for AI than it had previously signaled.

Looking for AI use-cases

Via @benedictevans We’ve had ChatGPT for 18 months, but what’s it for? What are the use-cases? Why isn’t it useful for everyone, right now? Do Large Language Models become universal tools that can do ‘any’ task, or do we wrap them in single-purpose apps, and build thousands of new companies around that?

Ways to think about AGI

Via @benedictevans How do we think about a fundamentally unknown and unknowable risk, when the experts agree only that they have no idea?

At Kernel, your veggie burger will be served by a robot

Google Cuts Links to News Sites in California

Google says it will remove links to California news sites as it pushes back against a pending bill that would require it to pay publishers.

The Latest Online Culture War Is Humans vs. Algorithms

Ever feel like Instagram or TikTok algorithms know you a bit too well? The backlash against automated curation is building, and new algorithm-free platforms are springing up.

Snapchat will soon let you edit your messages after sending

The edit message feature does have a short window: you need to act within five minutes of sending — and only if the recipient has not yet opened it.

Inside Amazon’s Secret Operation to Gather Intel on Rivals

A secret Amazon team posed as a seller on rivals’ marketplaces, scooping up information about pricing, logistics and third-party services.

Publishing & Media

HarperCollins and ElevenLabs AI to create audiobooks for foreign titles

The use of AI-based text-to-speech technology would largely be used for producing audiobooks for backlist series books in non-English markets.

ABA Seeks to Add Bookstores to FTC Lawsuit Against Amazon

MT @PublishersWkly The ABA has filed a motion with the FTC seeking to fix a hole in the FTC’s antitrust complaint against Amazon, which does not specifically include what Amazon’s practices have done to book retailing in general and to independent bookstores in particular.

Actress Viola Davis Launches JVL Media

Viola Davis, her husband Julius Tennon, and publisher Lavaille Lavette are launching JVL Media, a new publisher and packager focused on diverse and underrepresented voices.

Quick! Someone Get This Book a Doctor.

Inside the book conservation lab at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Finland opens national e-library

MT @CILIPinfo The digital library includes audiobooks, e-books and magazines. The service will be accessible to 85% of people in Finland. The goal is to provide residents in Finland the same library services regardless of location.

Arsenic-laced books removed from National Library of France

Four books have been removed from France’s national library over concerns their covers may be laced with poisonous arsenic. The 19th century volumes, printed in Britain, all have emerald green covers. Arsenic was commonly used to color books at the time. The list of potentially hazardous titles was put together by the Poison Book Projectm which is run by researchers from the University of Delaware in collaboration with Delaware’s Winterthur Museum.

Essence’s parent to buy Refinery29 from Vice Media

HT @sarafischer

California news nonprofit CalMatters acquires tech news nonprofit The Markup

HT @sarafischer

The Onion Gets Sold to Global Tetrahedron

The Onion has a new owner: a company called “Global Tetrahedron,” which is a real thing based on a fake entity invented by the satire site more than two decades ago. G/O Media, a private-equity backed firm as owned The Onion since 2019. The Onion’s new owner is Jeff Lawson, co-founder and former CEO of Twilio, and they’re keeping the entire staff. He asks, “Give Us $1 Or ‘The Onion’ Disappears Forever.”

Magazines aren’t dying: Just ask these indie publishers

Indie publications are finding success with an old-school recipe: high-quality print, a tight-knit community, and less advertising.

Reader’s Digest’s British edition closes down after 86 years

Conde Nast to Expand in Sports, Live Events

Conde Nast will create 100 new pilot shows and 235 original digital video series as part of its effort to increase its video footprint. Partners w Formula One and NBCUniversal

Local journalism tax credits included in 2025 N.Y. state budget

RT @sarafischer In what is being called a “monumental” and “historic” win for local news, New York lawmakers have approved $90 million worth of payroll tax credits over the next three years to hire local journalists as part of the state’s 2025 budget.

Axel Springer’s Trump years

Axel Springer sees the WSJ as a “top acquisition target”; CEO Mathias Döpfner pushed to fire BI’s Nic Carlson after Bill Ackman’s pushback on coverage

What Phones Are Doing to Reading

HT @pwheeler_agent

New Report Finds Unprecedented Surge in School Books Bans

Between July and December 2023, PEN America recorded over 4,000 book bans — more than the entirety of last school year.

Books about sexual assault aren’t pornographic. Schools are banning them as ‘obscene’ anyway.

RT @eramshaw A new trend is emerging in book banning: School officials are pulling works about sexual violence from library shelves, often by labeling them “obscene.” @NadraKareem covers the latest censorship target + what it could mean for survivors.

Suit Challenging Iowa’s Book Ban Is Backed by Every Major Publisher

HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and others join legal action started by Penguin Random House last fall. #teamPRH

17 States Are Considering Laws That Would Imprison Librarians

Meanwhile, Ron DeSantis has been forced to limit certain Floridians to only one book-banning attempt per month.

Alabama lawmakers advance bill that could lead to prosecution of librarians

New Maryland law to prevent book banning signed by Gov. Wes Moore

RT @EveryLibrary Maryland just signed the Freedom to Read Act to help curtail book bans sweeping the country!

Resources & Opportunities

Entrepreneurs’ Roulette

Entrepreneur Roulette is for entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs (like me), consultants, freelancers, or side hustlers. You rotate from table to table to hear from 6 small biz experts, and you get to ask them questions about scaling your business, cash flow, hiring, and more. 5/8 from 5:30–7:30pm. $20 for @WMG_NYC members, $30 for non-members. In-person at Penguin Random House, 1745 Broadway, NYC. Networking and wine & cheese to follow the presentation.

The Women’s Media Group Gala Made Me Feel Like I Found Where I Belong

Awesome write-up of WMG’s 50th Anniversary Gala by @sabrina_blandon!

Interested in joining WMG? Please reach out to me!!-Kathy

LKBF Latinx Storytellers Conference

MT @evascalzo The inaugural LKBF Latinx Storytellers Conference will take place Sept. 13–14, 2024 at Scholastic’s Headquarters in SoHo, NYC. Registration opens Wednesday, May 1st.

Digital Marketing Jobs

Via @thedigitalyenta

Newsletters for freelance writers looking for new clients

Per @SamanthaAnderl

Latine Editors

RT @LatinxinPub Calling Latine Editors. Are you on our list? Have a new gig? Left editorial? Let us know so we can update our database!

May 2024 Funding Opportunities For Nonprofits, Writers, Podcasters, and More

Via @thethoughtcard

Do you identify as an Indigenous kidlit creator? Scholastic’s fiction team would like to hear from you!

AIR New Voices 2024

MT @AIRmedia New Voices is back, uniting emerging audio makers in a 5-month virtual program from Aug-Dec 2024. 16 participants will receive mentorship, workshops, a $1,000 stipend + a supportive community. Info session on 5/9, apply by 5/17.

Inkluded Academy Summer 2024

MT @marcelalandres Inkluded is a tuition-free publishing course that helps place publishing aspirants from typically underrepresented groups into the industry. All participants receive a $500 stipend upon completion of the course. Application deadline 5/26.

Kweli Journal Submissions

MT @marcelalandres Kweli Journal is a highly regarded online literary journal created by and for writers of color and they pay their writers, submission period ends 5/30

Girls Write Now First Chapters Contest

MT @girlswritenow Writing the next great American novel? Submit to the Girls Write Now First Chapters Contest, presented in partnership with Penguin Random House and Electric Lit! Winner receives a cash prize of $500 & publication on Electric Lit. Open to GWN mentees & alumni. #teamPRH

Ocean Reporting Network Fellowships

MT @pulitzercenter Apply now for the Ocean Reporting Network second cohort of Fellows! We are seeking journalists ready to unveil underreported oceanic issues such as deep-sea mining, marine energy generation, the blue economy, and MPAs. Apply by May 26!

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Kathy Sandler

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