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Vox Media buys New York Media; MacArthur "genius" grant winners announced

Ocean Vuong. Photo: Tom Hines

The MacArthur Foundation announced the winners of the 2019 "genius" grants. Fellows include writers Ocean Vuong and Saidiya Hartman.

Vox Media has bought New York Media. “No one had to do this,” New York Media CEO Pamela Wasserstein told the New York Times. “It’s a brilliant, in our view, opportunity, so that’s why we leaned into it. It’s not out of need. It’s out of ambition.”

Director Guillermo del Toro is writing a book of short stories for Amazon’s Original Stories publishing imprint. The still-untitled book “will introduce a world of strange happenings, otherwordly horror, and dark fantasy.”

As the 2010s come to a close, Literary Hub tries to guess which books from this decade will still be read in ten years. Selections include Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, and Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend.

The Atlantic has hired Zeynep Tufekci as a contributing writer. She will cover “the intersection of technology, politics, and society.”

Talent agency WME has signed New York Magazine, according to the Hollywood Reporter. New York Media has also launched its own TV and film production project.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge has signed “a substantial overall deal” with to “create and produce new television content for Amazon Studios.”

At Columbia Journalism Review, Tony Biasotti explains how a recently-passed California law, which aims to stop companies from misclassifying employees as independent contractors, will affect freelance journalists. Assembly Bill 5 limits the number of “content submissions” a publisher can commission from one author to thirty-five per year, a number that some freelancers say is too low. “In my experience it’s been really easy to go over 35 bylines in less than a month,” Los Angeles–based writer Zac Estrada said. “Earlier this year, I was working for a site doing daily news contributions, and they wanted at least 50 per month.”