The crisis in local journalism has become a crisis of democracy

The paucity of reporters has triggered an invisible power shift toward elected officials. A Pew Research Center study of Baltimore showed an increase in local stories based on press releases from elected officials. The trends in journalism exacerbate the divide between the coasts and the rest of the country. In 2014, almost 1 out of 5 U.S. reporters worked in New York, Washington or Los Angeles, compared with 1 in 8 in 2004.…

Books vs. Kindles: The Choice No One Made Ever

“I bought a Kindle. I didn’t immediately go home and burn all my other books. I didn’t stop buying paper books. I read both and no one came knocking at my door. It’s a boring story, I know. I’m thinking of adding in a talking pig and a plot to destroy Lady Elaine from Mr. Roger’s world of make believe. But it’s the truth. There is absolutely no reason you can’t…

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Superman Comic about Sympathy and Hope

Just in case someone out there could use it, here’s a powerful comic that emphasizes the power of sympathy (written by J. Michael Straczynski, creator of my second favorite TV show). No sunshine and rainbows, no victim-blaming, no finger-pointing — just humane compassion. (Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.) Superman on sympathy and hope

Chapbooks — the latest assignment in my “History and Future of the Book” class.

Students have already done a 400-word speech, a 400-word manuscript, and a 400-word typescript. I asked them to make multiple copies of their books. They wrote, cut, pasted, photocopied, folded, and bound. Our classroom today smelled cheerfully of glue.  Up next: A “Futuretext” (whatever that means).

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What About “The Breakfast Club”?

I made three movies with John Hughes; when they were released, they made enough of a cultural impact to land me on the cover of Time magazine and to get Hughes hailed as a genius. His critical reputation has only grown since he died, in 2009, at the age of fifty-nine. Hughes’s films play constantly on television and are even taught in schools. There is still so much that I love in them, but lately I have felt the need to examine the role that these movies have played in our cultural life: where they came from, and what they might mean now. When my daughter proposed watching “The Breakfast Club” together, I had hesitated, not knowing how she would react: if she would understand the film or if she would even like it. I worried that she would find aspects of it troubling, but I hadn’t anticipated that it would ultimately be most troubling to me. -Molly Ringwald, New Yorker