paper trail

ProPublica hiring dozens of journalists; Javier Marias on surviving the Trump administration

Javier Marias

The Trump administration is struggling to fill the role of communications director. Press Secretary Sean Spicer took over the role after Jason Miller, the communications director for the Trump campaign, backed out before inauguration. Steve Schmidt, a former member of the George W. Bush administration and John McCain’s campaign runner, talked to Politico about why the president is having trouble filling a “normally coveted” job. “The communications director job in the White House has always functioned as . . . building and maintaining public approval for the president’s policies,” he said. “When you look at the complete and total chaos emanating from the White House on a number of issues, it’s clear they have no strategic planning function.”

Former New York Post sports writer Bart Hubbuch is suing the paper for wrongful termination after he was fired for an anti-Trump tweet on inauguration day. After a request by management, Hubbuch deleted the post that compared Trump’s inauguration to 9/11 and the Pearl Harbor attack, but was fired the next week. In its filing, the lawsuit notes that the paper itself often profits from articles and headlines that some have deemed offensive: “Not known for its sensitivity, the Post regularly exploits tragedy, violence and death to sell news. . . . Post readers don’t need, demand, or expect ‘safe spaces,’ or to be sheltered from controversial views.”

After donations to ProPublica increased exponentially during and after the election, the nonprofit news organization is looking to add up to twenty-five journalists to its newsrooms in New York and Chicago.

At the Washington Post, Carlos Lozada writes that “Donald Trump is making America read again.” Lozada looks to the numerous books that have found a renewed readership since the election, including Representative John Lewis’s memoir Walking With the Wind, dystopian fiction like George Orwell’s 1984, and J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. According to Lozada, this newly-formed “book club” will continue for at least the next four years. “Every feud, every outrage, every did-he-really-just-do-that episode propels a new literary discussion,” he writes.

The Los Angeles Review of Books talks to Javier Marias about the new US president, growing up under Franco, and his recently-translated novel, Thus Bad Begins. Marias was a young adult when Franco died, and offers some advice to his American readers worried about their own political situation: “You can always survive bad times more than you think you can when they start.”