paper trail

Fighting fake news; Celebrating Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson

Facebook announced plans yesterday to fight the spread of fake news. The social media site is testing new tools that allow users to report misleading articles, as well as partnering with news organizations like the Associated Press, Snopes, and PolitiFact to fact-check reported news items. After the announcement, conservative media figures took to Twitter to express their dismay at the new tools, which they say are biased against them.

Daily Mail US politics editor David Martosko has continued writing about Trump even after interviewing at Trump Tower for a position in the president-elect’s administration. Martosko, who is being considered for press secretary, spent much of the campaign season scolding other journalists for being too close to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The New York Public Library is collaborating with Macmillan to create an imprint that will publish books related to the library’s vast holdings. Planned titles range from an untitled book by Maira Kalman that will “rejoice in the role of libraries,” to a children’s coloring book called Coloring in the Lions.

Sarah Smith, a former editor at the New York Times Book Review, has been named editorial director for print and e-books at Amazon.

The New York Times has set up a system for readers to share story tips confidentially, and gives a few guidelines for would-be tipsters that seem to have come from hard-won experience: "Documentation or evidence is essential. Speculating or having a hunch does not rise to the level of a tip. . . . A news tip should be newsworthy. While we agree it is unfair that your neighbor is stealing cable, we would not write a story about it."

On Monday night, the 92Y is hosting a celebration of Shirley Jackson’s centennial, with appearances by novelist Joyce Carol Oates, critic Laura Miller, writer Miles Hyman (Jackson’s grandson, and the author of The Lottery: A Graphic Adaptation), and Ruth Franklin, whose new biography of Jackson was just published. In a review of Franklin’s book in our fall issue, Kate Bolick noted that “Jackson’s most genuinely uncanny talent was the way in which she channeled the nation’s postwar tensions and hypocrisies—particularly those around class, race, gender, and anti-Semitism—into fiction so unputdownable that most readers don’t even see the cultural critique just beneath their nose.”

Former presidential speechwriter Jonathan Reiber reflects on the end of Obama’s literary presidency. Reiber looks to works by James Baldwin and Tony Kushner, Supreme Court decisions, and various speeches from Obama’s political career to prepare readers for the next four years. “When the country suffers or stumbles, as it will,” Reiber writes, “we will have something far greater than our present world to hold onto: The truths of love, as found in words and in our historical experience and in each other.”