paper trail

Neil Gaiman announces “Neverwhere” sequel; BuzzFeed helps readers escape echo chambers

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman announced that he is currently working on a sequel to his novel, Neverwhere, twenty years after it was first published. Gaiman said that Neverwhere “was this glorious vehicle where I could talk about huge serious things and have a ridiculous amount of fun on the way.” Now, he says that his work with refugees and observations of the world around him made him feel “that it actually was time to do something.” The sequel, The Seven Sisters, does not have a confirmed release date.

The New York Times reports that Michael Dubke has been hired as the new White House communications director. Dubke is the co-founder of the public affairs firm Black Rock Group and has long worked as a Republican strategist. Maggie Haberman writes that “Mr. Dubke was one of the few people who was interested in the job who did not somehow disqualify himself during the campaign or the transition with deep public criticism of Mr. Trump.”

The Times profiles Jake Turx, the Jewish reporter who was shouted down by Trump at his press conference last week for asking a question about the increase in antisemitism in the US. The paper describes him as “a singular presence in the briefing room: a young Hasidic Jew with side curls tucked behind his ears and a skullcap embroidered with his Twitter handle.” Turx was shocked by Trump’s reaction to his question, which he had padded with many qualifications that he did not believe Trump himself was antisemitic. In a phone interview, Turx said last Thursday “was a day I wish we could have done over.”

At The Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance writes that Facebook’s plans to combat fake news and improve media literacy is actually “an expansion of Facebook’s existing threat to the news industry.” LaFrance points out that by asking Facebook users to help train the site’s algorithms and artificial intelligence, Mark Zuckerberg’s is putting the job of editing and curation on readers, rather than employing editors to do the work. “If journalism is an indispensable component of the global community Zuckerberg is trying to build,” she writes, “he must also realize that what he’s building is a grave threat to journalism.”

BuzzFeed announced a new feature on Friday that will help readers escape their social media echo chambers. The website’s new feature, “Outside Your Bubble,” will appear at the end of popular articles and show curated posts from other platforms. “We’re all living in filter bubbles, on social media in particular,” BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith told Bloomberg in an interview. “Anybody who works in news has spent the last year watching how social media affects people’s views of the world and can close you off to dissenting views.”