paper trail

Hamilton Nolan on the past decade in media; R. O. Kwon's 2020 reading list

R. O. Kwon. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti

For Electric Literature, R. O. Kwon lists fifty-six books by women and nonbinary writers of color that she’s looking forward to in 2020. Selections include Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings, Leslie Streeter’s Black Widow, and Samantha Irby’s Wow, No Thank You.

On the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast, Whitney Terrell and V. V. Ganeshananthan talk to T. C. Boyle about LSD, hippies, and his most recent novel, Outside Looking In. “The beauty of literature is, the reader supplies the images,” he said of his work. “You give the reader a guide and each person sees it in a different way.”

At NiemanLab, Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor write that journalists need to look to sources beyond Twitter in 2020. “Relying on convenient access to prominent officials via Twitter seems like an easy win, but when news stories position Twitter and the content there as a primary information resource, the true winner is Twitter,” they write. “Passing along tweets as the official record grants authority and legitimacy to Twitter, not to sources, and certainly not to journalists.”

At The Guardian, Hamilton Nolan reflects on the past decade in media. During the 2010s, Nolan went from “writing every week about the recession-fueled layoffs and closures across the media world” to becoming “a casualty of a publication closure and layoff, just another unemployed writer hustling for what comes next.” Despite the ups and downs, Nolan still recommends working in media. “Yes, journalism has flaws. Its highest level is full of self-important twits and lazy white men failing upwards; it is dour, sensationalistic, and ignorant of vast swaths of the country; it routinely publishes falsehoods, exaggerations, errors, and lies, due in large part to an unearned conviction that it is competent in many matters that are in fact wholly beyond its capabilities; and it is fascinated with nothing more than itself,” he writes. “Which is all to say: I recommend it highly. If you ever get a chance to be a journalist, grab it and hold on tight. It is much, much better than having a real job.”