paper trail

A look at the women leading publishing in Africa; Michelle Alexander envisions a path forward

Michelle Alexander

In the New York Times, Michelle Alexander reflects on the continuing protests across the nation and offers her thoughts on how we can learn from history and envision a new system. “In part, we find ourselves here for the same reasons a civil war tore our nation apart more than 100 years ago: Too many citizens prefer to cling to brutal and unjust systems than to give up political power, the perceived benefits of white supremacy and an exploitative economic system,” she writes. “If we do not learn the lessons of history and choose a radically different path forward, we may lose our last chance at creating a truly inclusive, egalitarian democracy.”

At the Pittsburgh City Paper, an interview with Alexis Johnson, the Post-Gazette reporter banned from covering the protests against racism and police violence. Johnson’s employers took her off the beat after claiming that one of her viral tweets showed bias. Johnson’s union, the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, quickly rallied online support for Johnson. The reporter told the City Paper: “Oftentimes, Black people don’t feel seen or heard, but I feel the Post-Gazette news guild is the perfect example of what allies should look like.”

After the Poetry Foundation released a “vague” and noncommittal statement against racism, poets and authors have written an open letter to organization calling for the resignation of president Henry Bienen and board chair Willard Bunn III, as well as a number of other changes to increase the support for and power of Black poets and poets from other underrepresented groups within the organization. “For many of us this is a moment to reflect on the ways in which, while the awards or opportunities conferred by the Foundation may offer material benefits, they also involve forms of extraction, harm, exploitation, or even trauma,” they write. “What does it mean for the Foundation to publish one’s work, to partner on various programs, or to see the Foundation use one’s likeness on promotional materials, but to feel unwelcome or unsafe in the Poetry Foundation building?”

For Literary Hub, Emeka Joseph Nwankwo reports on the women who are leading Africa’s literary and publishing worlds.

On Twitter, Ben Smith shares a memo from the Washington Post that analyzed the suspensions of reporters Wesley Lowery and Felicia Sonmez and found the paper’s management “ill-equipped to deal with social media in the modern era.” In his latest New York Times column on the media, Smith looked at “the revolts erupting” in American newsrooms, including his own.

Refinery29 co-founder and editor in chief Christene Barberich is leaving the website after a number of current and former staff members of color shared their experiences of discrimination. “As a former employee I can definitely say that Refinery29 is the official publication of White Feminism™,” former entertainment writer Sesali Bowen tweeted. “Well meaning, but violently clueless about race.”