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What Borges Learned from Cervantes

Borges reinvented Don Quixote as a playful novel, full of surprises and unexpected anticipations of the way we read today. Across genres and over decades, his varied meditations opened new paths for readers. The following conversation took place during January 2016 between Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, author of Quixote: The Novel and the World (2015), and publisher of Restless Books, and…

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Out of the Zuckersphere, (back) into the Blogosphere

This is why I still blog. While commercial platforms like Facebook and Twitter are designed to keep you churning out new content that attracts shallow attention, a weblog encourages reflection, the exploration of lateral thinking and deep linking, and the accumulation of ideas (your chronologically sorted, taggable history of posts) over time. Mark C. Marino says it well: [T]he problem with living your life on FB and Twitter is that…

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Journalism isn’t dying. But it’s changing WAY faster than most people understand.

Think of journalism as falling into three basic baskets: The “what” basket, the “so what” basket and the “now what” basket. The “what” basket is filled with reporting in a straightforward manner on things that happened. “There was a fire at 8th and Elm Street today. No one was injured,” and all that. The “so what” basket is the why it happened and/or why it mattered arm of journalism. It’s…

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Fair use prevails as Supreme Court rejects Google Books copyright case

Fair use is a concept baked into US copyright law, and it’s a defense to copyright infringement if certain elements are met. The US Copyright Office says the defense is decided on a case-by-case basis. “The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may…

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For News Outlets Squeezed From the Middle, It’s Bend or Bust

Hundreds of thousands of people on Facebook followed BuzzFeed’s live video of two people putting rubber bands around a watermelon until it burst. We should all reflect on how journalism can make the news that is truly important interesting enough to compete with exploding fruit. Traditional media companies face the increasingly daunting task of hooking already-inundated audiences, but they also have more tools than ever to lure them. Videos, podcasts,…