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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Metaphorically speaking, I foresee glacier ice melting and molten rock flowing in your immediate future, Aries. I expect that hard solids will become fluid, that permanent fixtures will be in flux. This is a good thing, believe me. Though it may unnerve you at first, you will have the power to change things you never thought could be changed in a hundred years. You will have the freedom to create new vessels for energy that has outgrown its old vessels.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Here’s the problem as I see it: You’re not feeling sufficiently confident to trust your unique insights, and so you haven’t dared to communicate them. But it’s crucial that you do speak up. Even though you may not be as knowledgeable about the big picture as other people are, you possess a missing piece of the puzzle that they’ve got to have. You may even be an outsider or a latecomer with relatively little credibility in the eyes of those in the inner circle, but still: You know something they don’t know and need to know.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “I wish I had a holy grail to quest for, even if it was really small,” writes my Gemini reader Marta, who describes herself as a “wannabe Prometheus.” I have good news for her, as well as for all the rest of you wannabe Prometheans who have been pining for a raison d’être, a burning desire, or a not-quite-impossible dream to throw yourself into with 110 percent commitment: Look out of the corners of your eyes to spot the strange attractor (also known as the unauthorized magic) that is bobbing ever so seductively on the far horizon.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): According to a report in The Onion, behavioral scientists in Chicago have proved that many people are in fact not entitled to their opinions. “On topics from evolution to immigration reform, we found that 38 percent of the opinions people expressed were so off-base and ill-informed that they actually hurt society by being voiced,” said one researcher. I’m betting, however, that only a small proportion of these unfounded beliefs and spurious theories will originate from Cancerians in the coming weeks. Your tribe is likely to be more scrupulous in your data-gathering and more rigorous in your reasoning than the rest of the population. In fact, I suggest you regard yourself as a role model whose job it is to demonstrate the beauty of thinking deeply.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Can you feel the moon tugging at the fluids in your body? Usually, you can’t. Are you aware of how large-scale cultural influences affect your day-to-day rhythms? Again, that’s typically beyond your capacity to sense in any immediate way. But this week, you just might be able to do both of those things. You’re more attuned than usual to the subtle currents that are unfolding within you. You’re also more alert to the impact that big cosmic energies and long-term historical trends are making on your unconscious mind. I advise you to take maximum advantage of this extra sensitivity. You could discover important clues about how to position yourself to thrive in the face of upcoming social transformations. (PS: Listen reverently to the secrets your body tells you.)

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Writing on Salon.com, Scott Rosenberg recalled how, in his youth, he loved to play the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. “You’d have to choose not one but two ‘alignments’ for your character,” he mused. “Good and evil, of course, but also ‘law’ and ‘chaos.’ And among the people I ran with, ‘chaotic/good’ was the thing to be, because it let you trust other people and still have fun.” Your assignment in the coming week, Virgo, is to adopt the “chaotic/good” approach for the character you will be playing in your actual life.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Plagued by back problems, my friend Eduardo went to a psychic healer in Brazil. He got his treatment while seated on a chair in a room crowded with other patients. The shaman massaged Eduardo’s spine for a few minutes. Suddenly, out of nowhere, streams of black mud appeared all over his back. Was this some sort of stage magic? The healer announced that the mud had been the cause of the pain, and that he had exorcised it from Eduardo’s body. My friend rested there a while, musing on the improbable event that had apparently happened, and enjoying a new feeling of ease in his back. His bewilderment at the mystery of his own cure turned to stupefaction when he saw what the shaman pulled from the next patient’s belly: an old shoe. Now here’s an odd coincidence, Libra: One of the best gifts you can give yourself right now is to visualize a psychic healer (or your guardian angel) removing a load of mud and an old shoe from your body.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The experiment I’m proposing is something you should try only if you’re feeling adventurous. Don’t do it if you’re in a timid or self-pitying mood. Here it is: Empty yourself out completely, and do it gladly. With impish daring, lower your expectations all the way down to zero. Surrender every remnant of hope you might be tempted to cling to. With a jaunty nonchalance, pretend you have nothing to lose. And then open an enormous welcome in your heart for the messy, unpredictable sweetness of life exactly as it is. Say yes to the beauty of ambiguity and paradox. Free yourself to accept every person and every situation on its own terms. If you try what I’ve suggested, I bet you will be united with a potent blessing you didn’t even know you needed.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Right now, you have what it takes to be a liberator. You can free people who are enslaved to their fears. You could also be a bridge-builder who provides wandering souls with the means to escape from the middle of nowhere. If you’re feeling especially heroic, you might even be able to serve as both a liberator and bridge-builder. To do so would almost certainly require you to be more of a leader than you’ve ever been before. But if I’m reading the astrological omens correctly, you have more than enough cosmic juju at your disposal to do just that.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “Dear Rob: In your book Pronoia, you say, ‘The universe always gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.’ I have a different view. I often find that I disagree with what the Universe decides is best for me. But that turns out to be a good thing. It’s fun for me to always be arguing with God! I learn a lot and generate a lot of high energy from trying to outmaneuver the divine will. What do you think about that? —Cagey Capricorn.” Dear Cagey: Whatever works! I think your approach may be especially useful for your fellow Capricorns to try now. Thanks for articulating it.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I want to call your attention to the title of a Christian-themed inspiration book by John Ortberg: If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. You don’t really need to read it, because simply meditating on the theme will yield all the insight you need. To jump-start your intuition, I’ll add a corollary: If you want to talk to a burning bush, you should initiate the conversation. Don’t wait for the bush to break the ice.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “Dear Rob: I love your compassionate contrarianism. Your horoscopes are so spiritual, they’re practical. They’re so earthy, they’re cosmic. They’re anti-hero horoscopes for heroes, or maybe heroic horoscopes for anti-heroes. Here’s my question: Do you have any advice for my psychotherapist? You’re doing a better job than he is, and I’d like to give him some tips from you. —Pisces Gamer.” Dear Gamer: Tell your psychotherapist that what you Pisceans need these days is a dose of reversalism. That means you should experiment freely with seeing the other side of every story and tuning in to the opposite of what you’ve tried before.


HOMEWORK Compose an exciting prayer in which you ask for something you’re not “supposed” to. Go to RealAstrology.com and click on “E-mail Rob.”

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Whose Work Is It Anyway?

In my last column, I accused Salon of screwing its freelancers.

That’s an opinion, but it’s a fact that Salon recently mailed contracts to freelancers who never received contracts to begin with, asking them to give up resale rights to their published work in exchange for 25 percent of the resale fee.

Salon managing editor Scott Rosenberg doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. Last week, he defended the so-called “catchup contract,” calling it an “honest attempt to secure resale rights individually—we make no claims to have the rights until a writer signs—and to compensate writers for those rights.”

But Rosenberg is having trouble explaining one case when Salon claimed to own something it did not. Last week, San Francisco writers Sam Witt and Sean Durkin told me Salon resold a story of theirs to The Vancouver Sun, without ever obtaining a contract from the writers. Witt and Durkin call it an “open-and-shut case of copyright infringement.”

Also last week, Mediaweek columnist Catherine Seipp reported that Salon has sold stories by Susan Straight to the Los Angeles Times, but never paid reprint fees—because the fees are “so small.”

These complaints are part of a trend in which freelancers, long accorded no bargaining power, are stamping their feet for respect. In the wake of a court ruling known as Tasini v. The New York Times, several class action suits are pending this fall in which writers refuse to have their work resold without permission or adequate compensation. The targets are publishing conglomerates who have the best lawyers money can buy. But for many writers, the Tasini ruling has come to symbolize the right to pursue a creative life free of corporate strong-arming, and that passion will fuel this intifada for a long time to come.

The latest copyright claim to surface arose in 1998, when Witt and Durkin pitched a story to Salon about a doctor who planted an electrode in the brain of a stroke victim, enabling him to “talk” to a computer. Rosenberg assigned the piece, which Salon posted on November 23, 1998, under the headline “Thought-activated Computing.”

Witt and Durkin didn’t look at their contract until after the story went up. When they did, says Witt, “We didn’t like what we saw.” They showed the contract to San Francisco attorney Gregory Brod. “I advised them not to sign it,” says Brod, partly because “Salon was asking them to sign away all their rights for a 25 percent cut.”

The writers also didn’t like a clause asking them to participate in a chat room for no extra pay. Rosenberg told them to scratch that clause, Witt says, but balked at raising the fee. Witt got the impression that “the time to sign the contract was past.”

Meanwhile, the story was sold to The Vancouver Sun, which published it three days later. The writers were kept in the dark. When a friend called to congratulate them, Witt contacted Rosenberg. Witt recalls Rosenberg was “surprised” the story had sold so quickly and could not say how it had happened. “I said, ‘Maybe you ought to talk to my lawyer,’ ” Witt recalls, whereupon Rosenberg gave him the name of a woman at Salon who knew about the syndication deal. Rosenberg advised him not to bring a lawyer into it, because the sums were so insignificant.

At first, the woman at Salon told Brod she didn’t know what had happened, then later explained that a middleman had sold the story to the Sun. She thanked him for pursuing the matter, he recalls, because now she realized there were some writers for whom Salon did not have contracts, and others to whom they owed fees. Three months later, Salon sent Witt and Durkin a check in the amount of $16.30, labeled “reprint fee.” They never cashed it, and never signed a contract.

Witt and Durkin have no intention of suing Salon. Indeed, they forgot about it until last week, when I reported on Salon‘s attempt to collect retroactive rights from freelancers. Says Witt, “Most editors are pretty lax about their contracts, and if there’s a feeling of good faith, it doesn’t matter as much. But if Salon has been selling people’s work en masse without their permission, it looks like bad faith.”

Rosenberg says that this is an isolated instance in which Salon sold content for which they don’t own the rights, and that the catchup contract is a good-faith effort to avoid doing it again. “In this situation, we certainly made an error, however unintentionally,” he says.

Asked how it happened, Rosenberg says, “Our then-syndication partner, United Media, blindsided us by reselling this article virtually overnight, before we had a contract.” But United Media has no record of the sale, and it expects Salon to secure rights to stories it puts up for sale.

Don MacLachlan, a spokesman for The Vancouver Sun, says the paper has a direct deal with Salon that allows the Sun to reprint several stories a month, although the Sun might also have bought the story through United Media. He says there is an “implicit expectation” that Salon owns the rights to any content it sells to the Sun.

Since 1998, the Sun has reprinted several Salon stories, including at least 10 by Scott Rosenberg. Ironically, one of his pieces envisions a future in which copyright law falls by the wayside. Instead of trying to profit off corrupt distribution systems, he argues, artists should concentrate on forging direct relationships with their fans. Perhaps Salon should follow the same advice.


Forbes’s Poetic Profits

It’s axiomatic that you can’t make money from a literary magazine. But don’t tell that to the editors of the bimonthly Forbes ASAP, who spend a few months every year rounding up the best writers in the world and turning them loose on some incredibly trippy subject. “What Is True?” is the topic of this year’s Big Issue, a labor of love that stays on the newsstands until November 8. They say it turns a profit. But how?

The Forbes brothers knew the Big Issue would be “something of a risk” when they launched it in 1996, says Forbes ASAP editor Michael Malone. But advertisers quickly responded to the chance to “be part of something memorable and important,” and writers tend to “fall in love with the topic.” It costs more than other issues, with some writers commanding as much as $15,000 in fees. But the ad-edit ratio is up to 53-47 this year, and Malone says the newsstand sell-through rate is equivalent to that of Harper’s or The Atlantic.

It doesn’t hurt that Forbes ASAP is sent free to all 860,000 Forbes subscribers, or that its bread and butter is technology coverage. But once a year, Malone sets his staff free to engage their favorite writers (William Vollmann! Tom Boyle!) in “long and intense editing sessions.” Modeled after special issues of Esquire in the 1960s, the Big Issue is “the ultimate literary journal,” says Malone. “We actually pay the writers money instead of copies of the magazine.”


ccotts@villagevoice.com

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Here’s Your Piece of the Pie

“Ugly times call for ugly tactics,” wrote Salon founder David Talbot last year, defending a scurrilous story on Henry Hyde. Now, with its stock down to barely a dollar, Salon has engaged in what some view as another ugly tactic: screwing its freelancers. In October, Salon sent a letter to past contributors who never got a contract, enclosing a “catchup contract” and asking recipients to sign away their electronic rights for a pittance.

David Wallis, who runs a syndication service called Featurewell.com, calls the move a “transparent rights grab.” Given that Salon relies on the goodwill of its writers, Wallis says it’s a “bad business decision” to be “greedy and cheap.” “The contract reminds me of the Publishers Clearing House mailing that says, ‘Congratulations, you are already a winner!’ ”

National Writers Union president Jonathan Tasini calls the cover letter “underhanded and sleazy,” because it doesn’t explain Salon’s motivation. He sees the contract as a response to Tasini v. The New York Times, a landmark decision that says publishers must get permission from freelancers before reselling electronic rights to their work. Because many freelancers retain copyrights, Tasini believes Salon has recognized a potential liability. “These retroactive agreements are increasingly common,” he says. “Publishers are trying to go back and clean up their act.”

Last spring, The Boston Globe sent a similar contract to freelancers, asking them for retroactive electronic rights in perpetuity without any additional fee. The Globe informed contributors that if they did not sign the contract, they would never work for the paper again—just enough ammunition for a group of writers and photographers to file a class-action suit. A hearing on that case takes place in Boston on October 26.

Salon managing editor Scott Rosenberg answered questions by e-mail last week. He says Salon is trying to raise revenues “from the resale or relicensing of our content.” For example, Salon would like to syndicate content to Lexis-Nexis. The purpose of this contract is “to make sure that we do not resell any piece of content that we don’t specifically have the right to resell.”

In the past, Rosenberg says, Salon editors have “sometimes neglected” to send contracts, and as a result, Salon needs to plug certain “gaps in our contract records.” He would not say how many gaps exist, and declined to produce the standard contract. But he stressed that resale is a win-win situation that will benefit Salon as well as “every writer whose work is resold.” Asked if there are cases in which Salon has sold electronic rights to freelancers’ work without permission, he says, “None that we’re aware of.”

The question remains: How much should freelancers be paid for their resale rights? Salon‘s catchup contract gives writers the right to resell their work in TV, film, video, book, or audio form, and keep the profits. Rosenberg says that Salon‘s power to resell or license electronic rights is addressed in Clause 2, though the clause strikes some as vague. In exchange, Salon offers writers 25 percent of their share of the net proceeds, which Rosenberg says will be paid within a “reasonable period” after the close of the deal. The company also retains newspaper syndication rights, for which it pays writers nothing at all.

“How generous,” says Wallis, who calls Salon‘s 25 percent of the net “a stingy offer for an organization that hypes itself as supporting the ideas of independent journalists.” Publishers commonly offer 25 percent of the gross, and writers whose work is syndicated by Featurewell.com are paid 60 percent of the gross. That may be why Wallis has attracted 140 writers so far, including Eric Alterman and David Margolick.

Tasini advises Salon freelancers to try to negotiate new terms. For example, ask for a minimal fee up front for electronic rights, and don’t give up any right in perpetuity. But is Salon open to negotiation?

“Depends on how you define ‘open,’ I guess,” jokes Rosenberg. “We want to maximize the number of articles we can resell. . . . But we don’t want to end up with a bookkeeping nightmare of dozens of individualized contracts.”

Rosenberg insists that the catchup contract has “nothing to do with” the Tasini ruling, which he claims applies only to print publications. “Salon isn’t the Globe or the Times,” he says. “We’re not trying to corral a bunch of writers who agreed to have their stories in print into signing away their electronic rights. Everyone who writes for us knows they were dealing with electronic rights all along.

Salon isn’t out to screw anyone,” he says in parting. “Instead, we’re trying to do the right thing and sign up those writers who we failed to get contracts in the first place. You’re free to sign or not. If you don’t like the terms, you don’t sign, we don’t resell, and that’s that.”


U.S. Intelligentsia

U.S. News & World Report has hired 33-year-old Masha Gessen to be its Moscow bureau chief. Gessen, the progeny of a long line of Russian writers, emigrated with her family to Boston in 1981 and returned to the homeland in 1994. A contributor to The New Republic and an “out” Jewish lesbian, she has been writing for the liberal newsweekly Itogi since 1996.

A few years ago, Gessen found it exciting to write for the Russian press. But now, she writes via e-mail, “As the Russian public cheers a genocidal war and crackdowns on civil liberties and the media, this being-inside business has become very depressing.” It didn’t help when Vladimir Putin began harassing Vladimir Gusinsky, who owns Itogi through a company called Media Most.

Last May, unidentified armed men raided the offices of Media Most. Gessen was warned not to write about it, but did anyway. “The repercussions so far have been petty, though vintage KGB: an additional tap on the phone, a broken mailbox. But for a little while this summer I was very, very scared, and I would be lying if I said this didn’t contribute to my decision.” She says U.S. News has a “genuine investment in covering Russia” and “editors who understand the story.”


Capitol Gains

U.S. News has hired another new writer: former Washington City Paper senior editor Michael Schaffer. . . . • Next month, Regardie’s Power will publish Eddie Dean’s “Virginia Moon,” a revision of the moonshiners story that Talk killed last spring. Editor Bill Hogan calls it “manna from heaven. . . . ” • Vanity Fair’s Hollywood, a mammoth new photo album, boasts captions by D.C.’s Christopher Hitchens. According to the foreword, Hitchens spent much of last winter holed up in the Mayflower Hotel with a laptop, 251 research files, and a “supply of Johnnie Walker Black.”

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WELL Done

On April 5, the day the Web magazine Salon morphed into a network, the media had lots of stories to pursue. First, Salon introduced a new URL (www.salon.com), a new site design, new editorial content, and a new ad campaign. Then, two days later, Salon announced it had bought the WELL, generating such a press frenzy that The Industry Standard soon posted a story offering analysis and links to all the other stories that had appeared on the Web.

The WELL is the Internet’s elite bulletin board, a kind of laid-back gated community online that dates to 1985 and counts among its residents the hippest
of writers and thinkers. Because a virtual community is self-reflexive by nature, it was
no surprise that within hours of the Salon takeover, people were talking about it
on the WELL.

The WELL’s response was overwhelmingly positive, first and foremost because so many Salon staffers are longtime WELL members. Bruce Katz, a previous owner of the WELL, had never shown up much on the opinionated bulletin board, leading passionate users to conclude that he could not understand its true nature.

By contrast, Salon has the highest respect for the WELL, says Scott Rosenberg, vice president of site development for Salon and a longtime WELL member— so much so that when Salon launched its online chat room, “We modeled it very much on the WELL.” Because Salon understands the fragile nature of online communities, Rosenberg says, “We’re not coming into this with a vast master plan to transform the WELL. If we stormed in and said, ‘We’re the new owners. We’re changing everything,’ a lot of people would get very upset and leave.”

By Friday, skeptical comments had begun to appear on the WELL. The primary concern was whether Salon would replace the WELL’s conferencing software, a prospect that led some users to fantasize taking up their pitchforks and staging a rebellion at Salon headquarters on Mission Street in San Francisco. Other postings discussed Salon content (thumbs down on Camille Paglia), and one posed what is perhaps the most pertinent question about the acquisition: What’s in it for Salon?

The first and obvious answer is revenue. The WELL currently charges members $10 to $15 a month, netting an estimated $750,000 a year. By marketing the WELL to Salon readers, Salon expects to increase WELL membership, thereby increasing revenues for Salon. But the WELL represents another hidden potential for profit: a database of information on 7000 high-end intellectuals. When subscribing to the WELL, users supply both their names and their credit card numbers.

Currently, Salon collects information on readers in traditional ways: through surveys and server logs, which identify the last site the user clicked on and the nation the user resides in. According to Rosenberg, Salon tries to collect reader demographics “without being intrusive. If you enter Table Talk [Salon‘s chat room], we get your name and your e-mail, but we don’t use that in
a marketing sense. We’re not going to sell
it on a list.”

Rosenberg realizes that user data must be respected if Salon is to preserve its good name on the WELL. “If we started behaving badly with that information, people would know and they would spread the word. The WELL is fiercely privacy oriented, and we’d be nuts to try to exploit that in any way.”

If Salon was concerned about negative feedback, it had no further to look than its own chat room. By Friday, Table Talk people were complaining about the redesign (too busy, too much like a newspaper, too many ads), and over the weekend some “TTers” had launched into tirades against their counterparts on the WELL (those boring, repetitive, name-droppers). The feuding certainly kept Table Talk moderator Mary Elizabeth Williams busy. But what better way to generate buzz than by instigating a flame war online?


By the Numbers

Rudolph Giuliani must be feeling pretty cocky, having temporarily dodged allegations of police misconduct by introducing a new “courtesy” campaign. But the mayor is not immune from further press criticism of his vaunted arrest rate. The centerpiece of his war on crime, the arrest rate gives him proof that crime is falling. Yet for all the good publicity the numbers bring, they may turn out to be a double-edged sword.

The mayor’s magic abacus is officially known as “CompStat,” after a software program that compiles statistics precinct by precinct. Twice a week, as the stats come in, CompStat meetings are held at
a command center on the eighth floor
of police headquarters downtown, where large screens display the latest crime trends. Giuliani recently testified to Congress that CompStat allows the NYPD
to stop a crime “trend” before it becomes a crime “wave.”

CompStat bashing is nothing new. But in recent weeks, worship of the miraculous database has come under fire in columns by Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News, Murray Weiss of the New York Post, and Bob Herbert of The New York Times. According to Gonzalez, police chief Louis Anemone is “notorious for berating commanders who fail to improve their stats.” When that pressure trickles down, Herbert suggests, it leads to street cops searching thousands of innocent people and putting thousands of petty offenders in jail.

Giuliani might deflect this criticism by attributing it to his political opponents. But the complaint isn’t coming just from liberals. On March 31, Weiss’s story in the New York Post directly linked the Diallo shooting to CompStat, quoting a former police official who said, “The culture of this administration is nothing bothers them as long as crime is down.” On April 7, the Times quoted the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association pointing a finger at police brass who constantly harp on the numbers.

“What I’m really concerned about
is the way [street cops are treated] by their ranking officers,” said PBA president James Savage, dismissing Giuliani’s plan to
distribute cards instructing cops in how to be courteous. “[Cops] are under constant pressure to get more and more numbers, more summonses,” said Savage. “Even though the crime rates are down, they have to maintain the same level
of activity.”

It’s the brass who do the berating. But it’s Giuliani who made stats a top priority in New York, just as he did back in the early 1980s when he was the number three man at the Justice Department. According to a must-read 1983 profile in The American Lawyer, at the same time Giuliani was persuading President Reagan to launch “narcotics task forces,” he was promising more money to U.S. attorneys if they increased their “case counts.” How? By making more drug and gun busts, of course.

In recent years, the press has begun to expose the drug war as a boondoggle that targets racial minorities and petty drug offenders in an effort to boost crime statistics and expand police power. (For a history
of “racial profiling,” the system by which highway police surreptitiously target
minorities to boost their numbers, see Gary Webb’s excellent article in the April
issue of Esquire.) Nevertheless, most New Yorkers don’t associate Giuliani with the drug war, even though 16 years ago, he
was flogging U.S. attorneys to multiply their drug indictments.

And not too many New Yorkers associate the drug war with crime statistics. But in 1983, at least one man had Rudy’s number: Joseph Tompkins Jr., a former deputy chief in the criminal division of the Justice Department. Tompkins complained to The American Lawyer, “The [Carter] administration spent years trying to get U.S. attorneys over the case count mentality.” Pointing out that the quantity of arrests does not guarantee their quality, Tompkins said, “U.S. attorneys can easily double their cases with penny-ante gun possession and drug cases. If Giuliani ingrains this case count mentality . . . it will take a long time to undo it, and a lot of damage will be done.”


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  • Three top Mother Jones editors are headed east, even as incoming editor Roger Kohn, formerly of Audubon magazine, completes his migration west. Mother Jones senior editor Kerry Lauerman has been hired as an editor at The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Meanwhile, acting editor Patti Wolter and managing editor John Cook have also quit, with their sights on the East Coast. The departures are said to be unrelated to Cohen’s arrival. EKudos to Molly Moore of The Washington Post‘s Foreign News Service, for her ongoing coverage of the disappearance of Mario Villanueva, the former governor of Quintana Roo who authorities say is mixed up in the drug trade. Elements of the man-on-the-lam story have appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, and The Dallas Morning News (which was first to provide details from the testimony against Villanueva). But the Post was on the story first and continues to upstage the Times.
  • Correction: Due to an editorial error, the April 13 Press Clips column omitted a quote that came in at closing time from Vanity Fair publicist Beth Kseniak. In response to comments by Steve Brill, the editor in chief of Brill’s Content, regarding an upcoming Vanity Fair article about the magazine, Kseniak said, “Steve Brill can’t be serious. I can’t believe the media watchdog entertains such paranoid theories about how magazines are run.”