If you are on the BU campus this Wednesday, we are lucky to be hosting a visit by Carlotta Gall, who has covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for the New York Times for more than a decade. Forget the analysts. Forget the politicians. Here comes someone who really knows what she’s talking about.
Place: CAS, 223. Time: 4 p.m.
by Chris Daly
For years, I had heard about a newspaper that once existed in New York City that carried no advertising.
How could this be? I wondered.
Years later, I had the chance to explore the history of that newspaper, which was called PM. For eight madcap years during the 1940s, PM defied many of the assumptions about the news media and offered New Yorkers a daily paper that was smart, funny, and avowedly left-wing.
As it turned out, the paper’s founding editor was Ralph Ingersoll — one of the most important journalists of the 20th Century whom no one has ever heard of. To my great good fortune, it also turned out that Ingersoll decided to donate all his papers to Boston University. That’s where I caught up with them and discovered that Ingersoll was a great keeper of records and a serial drafter of his own memoir.
The result is an article that I wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review, which posted it to the CJR website today. Enjoy.
(BTW: In the CJR piece, I did not write the headline!)
By Chris Daly
I just finished a book that surprised me — Second Read: Writers Look Back at Classic Works of Reportage.
I found it surprising because when I first picked it up, I thought it would be yet another anthology of great works of journalism, perhaps with brief headnotes introducing each one. Instead, this is a collection of well-considered essays by contemporary writers about some of the great works in the history of (mainly American) journalism. The overall editor is James Marcus of Columbia’s J-School, and he drew on the faculty and the masthead of CJR for most of the entries.
A few of these essays pointed me to works that I have never read and now want to catch up with (DeFoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year,” Paul Gallico’s “Farewell to Sport,” Cornelius Ryan’s “The Longest Day”).
Others were meditations on familiar works that made them fresh again (Evan Cornog on Liebling’s “Ear of Louisiana,” Scott Sherman on Frady’s “Wallace,” David Ulian on Didion’s “Slouching Toward Bethlehem”).
My only regret is that this book does not include the originals — or at least significant excerpts — that are being celebrated. I am sure a publisher can explain why this book can make a little money at 184 pages and would lose a fortune at 1,840 pages. Oh, well. Off to the library to hunt down the originals.
If you have any interest in journalism history or “literary journalism,” don’t missSecond Read.
From David Carr comes welcome news to all of us who care about the magazine trade, long-form journalism, etc.: Esquire magazine is thriving.
Way to go, David Granger!
By Chris Daly
The Supreme Court (finally) got one right today. Ruling in a critical case that involves (among other things) your freedom to control who knows what about you, the Court said the police do not have the right to sneak into (or under) your car to plant a secret GPS device so they can track your every move, for as long as they want. It was a unanimous ruling, no less, which is a rarity these days.
Here is the ruling.
Here, for the record, is the Fourth Amendment (always worth brushing up on), plus the Wiki page.
Can this happen fast enough?
Look here and here.
My only quarrel with Joe Nocera, who is doing some good reporting on this issue, is that I think he just wants to reform the NCAA, when the real answer is staring him in the face: Ban intercollegiate sports.
Here’s my question: What educational goal does the NCAA advance?
To read the full Supreme Court decision in the foreign-copyright case (Golan v. Holder), go here.
Be sure to read the dissent by Justice Breyer, which kicks in after page 41. He alone on the court seems to get that the Constitution recognized copyright as a mechanism to provide for the general benefit of society and not to create a property right for certain individuals.
May some future court come around to that understanding.