paper trail

MTV News layoffs; Protesting cuts at the 'New York Times'

Liu Xiaobo

MTV News has announced that it will be shifting its focus away from reporting and longform essays and toward video. The company laid off several writers and editors—many of whom had been hired from Grantland when that site folded in 2015. At New York magazine, Brian Feldman explains why media brands “pivot to video” and what that trend means for the future of writing online: “The lesson of MTV News and its similarly pivoted peers may simply be that profit-seeking start-ups and enormous publicly traded conglomerates like Viacom, which owns MTV, are poor patrons of ambitious, sophisticated, politically driven journalism.”

New York Times staff members staged a protest against cuts to the copy-editing department yesterday afternoon. Carrying signs that read “Copy Editors Save Our Buts” and “Without Us, It’s the New Yrok Times,” writers and editors gathered outside the Times building chanting, “They say cutbacks, we say fight back!” The protest follows an open letter decrying plans to cut the department from more than one hundred employees to about fifty: “We only ask that you not treat us like a diseased population that must be rounded up en masse, inspected and expelled.”

Liu Xiaobo, the human-rights activist and Nobel laureate, is being denied permission to leave China to receive cancer treatment.

Authors including Margaret Atwood, Jacqueline Wilson, and Philip Pullman have raised more than £150,000 for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in London. Pullman auctioned off the chance to have a character in his next book named after the winner and raised more than £30,000 for the cause. The winning bid was a collective one, made up of contributors who wanted the character named after a student, Nur Huda el-Wahabi, who died in the fire.

The New York Timeslooks at famous writers’ fashions, considering Terry Newman’s new book, Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore. Newman examines what Virginia Woolf called “frock consciousness” in fifty writers, including Woolf, Joan Didion, John Updike, George Sand, and Zadie Smith.