paper trail

HuffPo's "positive contagion"; Yale's Bollingen Prize

Nathaniel Mackey

The Huffington Post aims to take better advantage of Facebook by increasing the quantity of “feel-good” stories it publishes. In a recent memo to the staff, Arianna Huffington describes “What’s Working,” a new editorial initiative that, in her words, will “double down” on “positive stories and solutions to major challenges the media too often overlook.” HuffPo will still cover the bad stuff, but—as she also announced “last week in Davos”—it wants to start a “positive contagion by relentlessly telling the stories of people and communities doing amazing things, overcoming great odds, and facing real challenges with perseverance, creativity, and grace.”

The New York Times has a feature on the New Republic, which lately has been trying to dispel suspicions that its recent cover article—in the first issue after December’s staff exodus—was a cynical P.R. move. The article itself, a fairly anodyne assessment of the magazine’s racial history, doesn’t do a lot to contradict the idea. At Capital New York, TNR staff writer Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig is optimistic about where things at the publication are headed.

Nathaniel Mackey has won Yale’s Bollingen Prize for poetry. You can read a few of Mackey’s poems at the National Poetry Foundation—including “Eye on the Scarecrow,” which starts like this: “The way we lay / we mimed a body / of water. It was / this or that way / with / the dead and we / were them. No / one / worried which…”

Ta-nehisi Coates appreciates Andrew Sullivan in the wake of Sullivan’s recent retirement from blogging: “Andrew has never been a prophet, so much as a joyous heretic. Andrew taught me that you do not have to pretend to be smarter than you are. And when you have made the error of pretending to be smarter, or when you simply have been wrong, you can say so and you can say it straight—without self-apology, without self-justifying garnish, without ‘if I have offended.’”

At Matter—which is the normal-magazine part of Medium, a publishing platform that anyone can use (in case you’re as confused by the site as we are)—Emily Witt describes Chaturbate, a live-cam sex website, investigating the category (or is it orientation?) of “internet sexual.”