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Claudia Rankine on the legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks; Why MTV abandoned longform

Gwendolyn Brooks

Mic examines MSNBC’s thwarted evolution into a centrist news channel. Chairman Andrew Lack had been planning to reorganize the network and increase its ratings by cancelling opinion-based programming in favor of more balanced news coverage. “But the election of Donald Trump has complicated that evolution,” Kelsey Sutton writes, “raising the profile and popularity of MSNBC’s liberal hosts just as Lack sought to dial back the network’s liberal identity.”

Although the White House claims that Anthony Scaramucci’s departure was meant to give the new chief of staff a “clean slate,” that may be an impossible task for the Trump administration. From lies about crowd size at the inauguration, to the resignation of Michael Flynn and claims of surveillance by Barack Obama, Erik Wemple writes that “in light of all that, there’ll be no clean slates at this White House, no matter how many people are pushed out the door.”

Actor, playwright, and author Sam Shepard died last week at 73. The New York Times remembers him through their reviews of his plays, books, and movies.

At the Times, Claudia Rankine reflects on the legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks, as found in two new anthologies honoring the poet. Referring to a reader’s report on Brooks from the 1940s, in which novelist Richard Wright wrote that “America needs a voice like hers,” Rankine writes that Wright’s claim is confirmed by “the hundreds of artists represented in these two new anthologies, poets who have used her work as a prompt or a point of engagement.”

Poynter talks to Dodai Stewart, the editor in chief of Splinter, the website formerly known as Fusion. Although Splinter has hired a number of former Gawker and Gizmodo Media Group staff, Stewart maintains that the site is not trying to replace Gawker. “Splinter is the new Splinter. Splinter is not the new Gawker,” she said. “I'm looking forward and not back.”

MTV president Chris McCarthy talks about his plans to revive the network, which include bringing back Total Request Live and abandoning MTV News’s longform project. “MTV at its best—whether it’s news, whether it’s a show, whether it’s a docu-series—is about amplifying young people’s voices,” he said. “We put young people on the screen, and we let the world hear their voices. We shouldn’t be writing 6,000-word articles on telling people how to feel.”