paper trail

Penguin Random House pulls Nelson Mandela book; The Frick Collection announces Diptychs book series

Hilary Mantel

A number of former Village Voice writers have signed an open letter to the paper’s owner, criticizing his attempts to weaken the Voice’s union. Signatories include Hilton Als, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Vivian Gornick, among others. “As writers and journalists, we understand all too well the challenges that face print media today,” they write. “That said, we wish to see this beloved paper continue to produce the highest caliber of work — work that deserves and demands your fullest support.”

The New York Times talks to the new owners of the Chicago Sun-Times, a group that includes a former city alderman and a labor leader. “The deal not only saved The Sun-Times from possible extinction, but also created a highly unusual arrangement,” the Times writes. “Labor unions now share ownership of a news organization that covers them closely, in what is still one of the nation’s strongest union towns.”

Penguin Random House has pulled a book about Nelson Mandela’s final days due to concerns over patient confidentiality and threats of legal action from his widow. Written by Mandela’s doctor, the book “revealed several undignified episodes at the end of Mandela’s life as well as bitter family squabbles over his care and legacy.”

The Frick Collection will publish the first book of its Diptychs series next April. The short books will “feature one work of art, an essay by a curator and another written piece by an artist or writer.” Authors include novelist Hilary Mantel, filmmaker James Ivory, and author Edmund de Waal.

Fact-checking website Snopes is seeking reader donations to avoid closing during a lawsuit with a former advertising contractor. Since terminating their contract with Proper Media last spring, Snopes has been unable to place revenue-generating ads on their website. “As misinformation has increasingly threatened democracies around the world (including our own), has stood in the forefront of fighting for truth and dispelling misinformation online,” the Snopes team wrote in a letter to readers. “It is vital that these efforts continue, so we are asking the community to donate what they can.”

New York magazine profiles Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, MSNBC hosts who were once family friends with Trump and have lately become the target of his aggressive tweets. “At six-foot-three, or eight-foot-nine including the hair, Scarborough looks like Jimmy Neutron in his Lizard King phase or Tucker Carlson after someone put him through a taffy-pulling machine,” while “Brzezinski is five-foot-six and the unusually even color of a vizsla puppy, her blinding hair a cross between Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s and Polly Pocket’s,” writes New York’s Olivia Nuzzi. “Together, they achieve a kind of strange aesthetic perfection—the decorative figurines topping the bunny cake that is political media in Trump’s America.”