A.A. Bondy
American Hearts

Leaves in the Gutter

For What I Don't Become

The Thick of It
BBC America

Saddest Ghost Lamp

Sunday, December 18, 2005

How Do You Know They'll Print It?

Inspired by Jennifer Aniston's role as a New York Times obit-writer who gets off on leathery old men--what? A Times reporter who sleeps with powerful older men?--in "Rumor Has It," the Paper of Record engages in a little institutional ego-tripping today in a survey of the paper's starring and walk-on roles on the big screen, from "Serpico" to "Dr. Strangelove":
In another serious, but fictional, film, Sydney Pollack's "Three Days of the Condor" (1975), Robert Redford portrays an agent ensnared by a corrupt wing of the C.I.A. who takes his story to The Times and imagines himself protected as a result. But in the enigmatic final scene (set in front of the Times building on West 43rd Street), the corrupt agent played by Cliff Robertson makes clear that his life depends on whether the story runs. "Hey Turner, how do you know they'll print it?" he taunts. "You can take a walk, but how far if they don't print it?" The Redford character hesitates but affirms, "They'll print it."
Fictional, indeed. The notion of the New York Times sitting on a blockbuster story about illegal activity on the part of an intelligence agency is laughable. Where do you get this stuff, Hollywood?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Failing Upward

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Off the Radar

In the winter of 2002, I took an assignment for Talk magazine, a 1,200-word column about the Fang family of San Francisco and their bizarre and successful machinations to take over the San Francisco Examiner. It was a fun and colorful story, and the whole issue it was to appear in had been laid out and copy edited and fact-checked and was all ready to go when Maer Roshan, Talk's deputy editor, called to tell me how much he liked the piece and how sorry he was that Talk was folding and the issue was dead, never to hit stands.

It was a very small point of pride for me that my first and last byline in the misguided but daring media experiment that was Talk was in what eventually became a mythical "lost issue," and it was the beginning of a working relationship with Maer. He was cool enough to make sure I got paid anyway, and I eventually sold the story to the Chicago Tribune, probably the least appropriate venue for the story this side of Cat Fancy, for something like 13 cents a word. I kept in touch with Maer, and when he relaunched Radar earlier this year, he was kind enough to offer me a freelance contract as a contributing editor that allowed me to quit my job at the Tribune. It has been a gas.

Anyway, so I've been working on a really great story for the next issue of Radar, and it was all laid out and copy edited and fact-checked and ready to go and....

My only regret is that I lost my gig before Jeff Zucker lost his. UPDATE: Or got promoted. Whatever.

War on Ramadan, Anyone?

From Middle East Online, via the Counterterrorism Blog:
He said that during last month's street protests in France, the US television network Fox -- owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in which Al-Walid himself has shares -- ran a banner saying: "Muslim riots."

"I picked up the phone and called Murdoch... (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty," he said.

"Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots."
That's Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the fourth-largest voting shareholder in News Corp., and the guy who got a post-9/11 donation of $10 million thrown back in his face by Giuliani after suggesting that the attacks were caused by U.S. mideast policy.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Great Moments in Bloggery

At 5:04 p.m. Eastern on December 5, 2005, Jim Romenesko posts on his popular web log a memo from Village Voice publisher Judy Miszner announcing to her staff that Voice editor Don Forst has resigned.

At 5:19 p.m. on December 5, 2005, the Village Voice's web site posts a news account of Forst's departure.

Also at 5: 19 p.m. MediaBistro posts on its, um, popular (and snazzily named) "FishbowlNY" web log, the readership of which one can reasonably assume overlaps in its entirety with that of Romenesko, the following intelligence:
Unconfirmed Intel: Has Village Voice Editor Don Forst Resigned? We just got a tip that Village Voice EIC Don Forst has resigned. We haven't confirmed it yet. We're about to. But FYI.
Good luck confirming that hot tip, Fishbowl.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Note to Ann Marie

FYI: The storied Chicago wire service that the Tribune Co. is shuttering is not the "New City News Service," as you called it in your note to the Chicago Tribune's staff. In his Tribune story on the layoffs, David Greising calls it "City News Service"; this Editor and Publisher report says it was briefly called "New City News Service" after the Sun-Times bowed out in 1999, but Tribune soon dropped the initial "new" because it sounded kind of stupid. Not that it matters now.

The Axe Is Swinging in the Tower

The lay-offs--pardon me, "separations"--have begun at the Chicago Tribune. WomanNews and the City News Service--a descendant of legendary City News Bureau, where Mike Royko, Seymour Hersh, and Kurt Vonnegut got their starts--are both being shut down by the end of the year. People are apparently crying in the newsroom.

UPDATE: Holy Shit. The Trib actually managed to post a staff-written story on a breaking news event. About itself, no less.