‘For eight years Barack Obama walked on ice and never fell.’

7851227002_0519358cd2_k
Photo via barackobamadotcom

Obama was born into a country where laws barring his very conception—let alone his ascendancy to the presidency—had long stood in force. A black president would always be a contradiction for a government that, throughout most of its history, had oppressed black people. The attempt to resolve this contradiction through Obama—a black man with deep roots in the white world—was remarkable. The price it exacted, incredible. The world it gave way to, unthinkable.

-From Ta-Nehisi Coates’s history of the Obama presidency, in The Atlantic.

‘With Child’: Kiera Feldman on a Pregnancy in South Dakota

Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

-In Harper’s, Kiera Feldman reports from Rapid City, South Dakota, one of the most restrictive states in the country when it comes to ending a pregnancy.

Yelp for Journalists

Scott Carney is a freelance magazine writer who has launched a site called WordRates, which aims to be a “Yelp for Journalists”—helping freelance writers share information about editors and publishers who accept unsolicited story pitches, who pay actual money for writing, and who respond to emails in a timely manner. It’s like an updated version of Writer’s Market—and it’s not unlike the wonderful Who Pays Writers, which came before it, and Pressland, which has come after it. (This has resulted in some unfortunate press about who’s the real Yelp for Journalists.) Continue reading “Yelp for Journalists”

Things I’m Working On: Being a Better Editor

Millions of people wish they could be a great writer, but I suspect fewer dream of becoming a great editor. It’s always the writer. I recently met Chris Vogel, the articles editor for Boston Magazine, and he compared being an editor to parenting, because it’s about “selfless love.” “Editors are in the people game as much as the words business.” Editors aren’t the stars, but they’re coaxing, listening, pushing, making the writer comfortable that she can do great work. Maybe they’re part coach or therapist, or maybe they’re just customer support. They can help make someone else shine—or at the very least, get out of the way and do as little damage as possible before passing it along to readers. Continue reading “Things I’m Working On: Being a Better Editor”