paper trail

Hachette closes Weinstein Books; Seventy authors sign letter in support of Jill Bialosky

Jennifer Egan. Photo: Pieter M. van Hattem

Slate’s Isaac Chotiner talks to New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor about her work on last week’s article exposing Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment and abuse. Though Kantor was happy to discuss the reporting process and why her sources chose to come forward, she was less willing to speculate on how the women felt about having their stories ignored for so long. “You’d have to ask them that,” she said, “but honestly I think a lot of them were more consumed with their own feelings.” In regards to Sharon Waxman’s assertion that the Times killed her story about Weinstein in 2004 after pressure from the producer, Kantor said that in her own experience, “there was a tremendous amount of pressure, but the pressure was to get the story, not to abandon the story.”

Hachette Book Group has closed the Weinstein Books imprint. Staff and in-progress titles will be moved to Hachette Books.

Poynter talks to Jessica Bennett, who was recently hired as the Times’s first gender editor.

Seventy-two authors—including Claire Messud, Jennifer Egan, and Louise Glück—have signed a letter addressed to the New York Times in defense of Jill Bialosky, who was recently accused of plagiarizing parts of her new book. “Given the trust that is assumed between a writer and her readers, this mishandling is not something to shrug off,” they write. “Yet it bears saying that Ms Bialosky’s inadvertent repetition of biographical boilerplate was not an egregious theft intentionally performed. . . . It would be a terrible disservice to Ms Bialosky and to your readers if the article kept people from appreciating her substantial contributions to American letters.”

Quartz’s Zheping Huang looks inside the world of Chinese news assistants, who do much of the work for foreign correspondents but, due to Chinese law, cannot take any of the credit. Employed by the Chinese government, news assistants report stories, translate interviews, and arrange travel and accommodations for journalists at foreign news outlets, but are not allowed to have a byline. After publishing a story under the name of his news assistant, former Washington Post China correspondent Keith Richburg received a phone call from the government, “asking him why he wasn’t following Chinese rules.” “It’s gutting not to be able to give them a byline or real credit for the amount of work they’ve done, when in fact 90% of it is their work,” Richburg said.

In an interview with Axios editor Mike Allen, Sheryl Sandberg denied that Facebook is a media company. "At our heart we're a tech company," she said. "We hire engineers. We don’t hire reporters. No one is a journalist. We don’t cover the news.” Business Insider’s Steve Kovach notes that the company, “which distributes media and makes money off it by selling ads is, by definition, in the media business.”

Actor Andrew Rannells is working on a book. The Book of Mormon and Girls star’s memoir will be published by Crown Archetype in 2019. “Being an author has always been a dream of mine and I am incredibly honored to be given this opportunity,” he said in a statement. “I am excited to share these stories and I will try my absolute best not to embarrass my family. Too badly.”