David Carr on Atavist, good as gold

by David Alm May 22, 2012

Leave it to David Carr to let us know what’s what. Yesterday’s New York Times featured a classic Carr piece (no pun intended, honestly) about Atavist, a new Web-publishing platform that allows publishers to “seamlessly weave together their text, video, audio, photos, maps, interactive graphics, and timelines” in a multimedia “environment.” Atavist also produces its […]

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The book vs. the app — a tired, boring debate

by David Alm April 24, 2012

I’ve come around. No longer do I wish to disparage apps and technology in favor of books and reading by kerosene. To be fair, I’ve never done the latter, but I do own a lot of books and I don’t plan on getting rid of them. One thing I don’t own, still, is an iPad […]

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When books begin to annoy

by David Alm February 23, 2012

Something strange is happening to me. When I read books now, I find myself getting annoyed with them about halfway through. This is an entirely unscientific observation, anecdotal at best, and sporadic in actual occurrences. But it’s happened a few notable times in the past year, and I’ve come to a conclusion that seems to […]

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Getting paid in links

by David Alm December 28, 2011

You can call it narcissistic, but sometimes I Google myself. Who doesn’t? If you’ve done anything in the public eye — writing, especially — you’re bound to show up in unexpected places on the Web. When I Google my own name, it’s simply to find those places. And each time I do this, I find […]

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Mixed metaphors, and other things to keep you up at night

by David Alm November 30, 2011

Writers pride themselves on understanding — and caring deeply about — the minutiae of their craft. I once met a writer who had a semicolon tattooed on her forearm. When I asked her why she had such a tattoo, she plainly said, “Because I’m an elitist.” I got what she meant, and somehow calling herself […]

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Rushdie tweets on a reality-show twit

by David Alm November 3, 2011

When Salman Rushdie is an earlier adopter than me, I know I’m out of step with technology. But so it is. Using Twitter to weigh in on Kim Kardashian’s divorce from Kris Humphries (two people I frankly know absolutely nothing about) after just 72 days of marriage, Rushdie proved that he could be at once […]

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Knox is free, thanks (or no thanks?) to the media

by David Alm October 4, 2011

In early 2008, I read a disturbing story of young lust and murderous rage, fueled by alcohol one late night, that left a 21-year-old woman dead in Perugia, Italy. I read about the murderers: an attractive couple in their early 20s, who looked like any clean-cut college students you’d see on any campus in the […]

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The Robin Hood Party

by Rebecca Lehmann April 17, 2011

After watching the Tea Party rallies which took place over the weekend in places like Florida and Madison, Wisconsin, held by reality-TV show star Donald Trump and reality-TV show star/former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, I began to think that those of us Democrats who believe in fiscal responsibility via raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans […]

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An academic, a journalist, and a copywriter met on a sidewalk…

by David Alm April 12, 2011

Just about every time I have a conversation with anyone about his or her career, I get an earful of doubts, misgivings, annoyances, and, oftentimes, a nagging sense of futility about the entire enterprise. (And bear with me, the photo to your right will make sense soon enough.) Case in point: yesterday I ran into […]

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Journalism, exquisite torment

by Jeff McMahon March 25, 2011
Publicity still from the movie

I left the daily life of journalism at the turn of the Century, just before the daily life of journalism collapsed. That left me feeling a bit like Charlie Chaplin, who sold all his stocks in 1928. Since then I’ve maintained journalism as a practice more cyclically, and less cynically, focusing more on reporting and […]

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James Fallows: Old dog learns new media

by Jeff McMahon March 14, 2011

The genius of James Fallows’ new piece in The Atlantic is that he takes some of the best values of traditional journalism—skepticism, research, fairness, eagerness to question authority and topple conventional wisdom—and he applies them to traditional journalism. He disputes the tediously common view that old journalism is better than new.

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Dear Los Angeles Times, this is a photo of Jennifer Egan

by Cynthia Newberry Martin March 11, 2011

Dear Los Angeles Times, Regarding your headlines* today on the National Book Critics Circle Awards, the photo you posted is not Jennifer Egan. In addition,  I would also like to point out that you mention the name of Mr. Franzen’s novel, the one that didn’t win but it’s true was written by a male, while […]

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Why I love business news

by David Alm March 8, 2011

People are often surprised when I tell them that my favorite section of the New York Times, a newspaper that’s still delivered each morning to my front stoop, is business. Their surprise is reasonable enough: I have degrees in the humanities, not economics or finance, and I don’t make a lot of money, have no […]

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Sullivan to join the Daily Beast

by David Alm March 1, 2011

Andrew Sullivan, one of the more sought-out bloggers in the great big blogosphere, is leaving his prestigious post at the Atlantic online to write for the Daily Beast. Launched by Tina Brown in 2008 as an alternative to the Huffington Post, the Daily Beast has since become not just a juggernaut of the Web, but an […]

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How the internet saved reading

by Jeff McMahon February 26, 2011
Image of a book and an Amazon Kindle reader.

Last week when my friend David Alm published his lament of digital publishing in these pages, I happened to be writing an introduction for a visiting writer. I recognized in my draft a soft rebuttal to David’s post, but I decided it had to complete its original mission before I could post it. This introduction […]

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