The editor of the Atlantic maligned a reporter for getting the story right.
The Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg took some heat on Twitter Thursday for remarks he made in an interview about why there are so few women and people of color writing cover stories at his magazine. Then he tried to pin the blame for his words on the woman journalist who published them.
Goldberg spoke with Nieman Lab’s Laura Hazard Owen about recent diversity achievements at the Atlantic, when he conceded that the writers of the print edition’s most important stories are overwhelmingly white and male. Nieman Lab noted that of the 15 issues published this year, 11 had cover stories written by men.
Here’s what Goldberg said:
It’s really, really hard to write a 10,000-word cover story. There are not a lot of journalists in America who can do it. The journalists in America who do it are almost exclusively white males. What I have to do — and I haven’t done this enough yet — is again about experience versus potential. You can look at people and be like, well, your experience is writing 1,200-word pieces for the web and you’re great at it, so good going!
That’s one way to approach it, but the other way to approach it is, huh, you’re really good at this and you have a lot of potential and you’re 33 and you’re burning with ambition, and that’s great, so let us put you on a deliberate pathway toward writing 10,000-word cover stories. It might not work. It often doesn’t. But we have to be very deliberate and efficient about creating the space for more women to develop that particular journalistic muscle.
It’s difficult to take this position seriously since there are obviously lots of women and people of color who already have the particular journalistic muscle required to write excellent longform nonfiction, as evidenced by the fact there are lots of women and people of color doing it all across America, including for the Atlantic! For example, “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates changed the political debate in the Democratic Party on the question of reparations. “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” by Anne-Marie Slaughter is a defining piece of our era on women and work.
Sample Article: The case for Elizabeth Warren
Comedians have figured out the trick to covering Trump
While major news networks have struggled to figure out the right way to cover the Trump administration, political satirists like Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers have demonstrated why comedy can be such a powerful antidote to bullshit.
The first few months of the Trump administration have been a goldmine for late-night comedians and political satirists. Shows like Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Saturday Night Live, and Late Night With Seth Meyers have enjoyed ratings boosts thanks to their regular lampooning of the Trump White House.
But beyond the jokes and sight gags, political satirists have done an excellent job of seriously covering the Trump administration — sometimes even better than major TV news networks. And that’s because while traditional journalists feel compelled to take President Trump’s often absurd statements and conspiracy theories seriously, political satirists have demonstrated an extremely low tolerance for bullshit.
How Jackson Pollock became so overrated
There’s an overlooked reason for Pollock’s fame. Even if you love him, you might not know the name of the man who made him famous.
Jackson Pollock is one of the 20th century’s most famous artists. But do you know the critic who made his reputation? Clement Greenberg is a well-known name in the art world, but not necessarily to art fans. However, he earned a reputation as one of the most influential art critics in the 20th century, whose legacy included the canonization of Jackson Pollock. Abstract expressionist art needed vocal champions to support challenging, unique work, and Greenberg was the most powerful and vocal in his defense of the art and, in particular, Jackson Pollock. Greenberg went from tie salesman to intellectual in less than a decade, thanks to strongly worded arguments for a new artform. Jackson Pollock was one of his favorite artists, and the two spent time together socially as they simultaneously climbed in the art world. Is Clement Greenberg the reason that Jackson Pollock is so famous? He’s definitely a part of it — and understanding the role of Greenberg and critics like him can be a useful tool to understanding art in the 20th century. Overrated is a series that takes a look at the things we all know — the books, the trends, and the ideas that have become iconic — and answers the question: “Why is this so famous”?
The weird rule that broke American politics
The filibuster started as an accident. Today it lets the losers rule Congress.