What My Great-Grandfather Taught Me About Trump and the Press

Longreads is teaming up with The Stranger to cover the inauguration and protests. Great first dispatch from Sydney Brownstone…

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The StrangerLongreads has teamed up with The Stranger’s Sydney Brownstone and Heidi Groover, along with photographer Nate Gowdy, to cover the presidential inauguration and protests. Below, a dispatch from Brownstone, on her way to D.C.

My great-grandfather was a man of few words. I never met him, but I understand he had a thick accent from growing up speaking Yiddish in a shtetl in what is now known as Moldova. The shtetl no longer exists, and neither does the deli my great-grandfather opened in Brooklyn after fleeing to America a hundred years ago.

My great-grandfather also had a thing about TVs. He had never owned one, and my dad assumed that was because he couldn’t spend the money. As a gift, my dad bought my great-grandfather his first television set. But when my father visited him not long after, he noticed something strange had happened to the TV.

It…

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Membership, Paywalls, and Funding Journalism Without a Football Phone — Longreads Community

In the 1980s, Sports Illustrated landed on a surefire way to drive subscriptions to its magazine. A high-quality print product? Top-notch journalism? Yeah, yeah, sure — probably all of the above. But as a child sitting in front of my television every afternoon, what really sold me — and then by my constant pleading, sold […]

via Membership, Paywalls, and Funding Journalism Without a Football Phone — Longreads Community

The Truth About Working from Home

I spoke with PSFK Labs about Automattic‘s “distributed” work model — at 430+ employees, we’re one of the world’s largest companies where everyone works from home (or anywhere they please).

There are pros and cons to any work situation. How a company performs depends a lot on who it hires, how those people get along, how they communicate, and how teams are structured to make it as easy as possible to be productive.

We can’t control for those factors, but the simple fact about distributed work is that people can be more productive when they don’t have to commute anywhere. Cutting commute times is better for employees, it’s better for companies to cultivate talent around the world, it’s better for families, and it’s better for our cities to reduce gridlock. I would love to see local governments — and the next president — embrace more policies that encourage companies to “go distributed.”

Photo: cdisegna

In Praise of Public Pitching

I spoke with Jason Fagone and Ted Genoways about the art of pitching in public.

Longreads

I’ve always been fascinated by how narrative journalism gets commissioned, reported, and published–but the most perplexing part of the entire system is the continued power imbalance between writers and publishers.

This imbalance persists in spite of the internet “democratizing” publishing. More digital publishers are embracing feature writing, but the process behind the scenes feels stuck in the past–a time-consuming marathon of unanswered emails and rejection.

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Heather Matarazzo’s Personal Stories from Inside and Outside Hollywood

Heather Matarazzo is writing some very honest, wonderful personal essays. I had a brief chat with her about it.

The WordPress.com Blog

HM-3604

Actor Heather Matarazzo has only published a few posts on her new blog, but each one has stirred up an incredible response from inside and outside the WordPress.com community.

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The Business of Freelancing, Blogging, and Books, According to Author Jennifer Armstrong

Here’s my latest: A chat with author Jennifer Armstrong (we’re not related!) about the business of freelancing and book publishing.

The WordPress.com Blog

First, I should note: I am not related to Jennifer Armstrong. But! I have followed her writing closely over the years — first during her years at Entertainment Weekly, and more recently as the author of books like Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted (Simon & Schuster), which offered a definitive history of the classic TV series. Her blog also happens to be a must-follow on WordPress.com: She gives glimpses into her current work (she’s doing a Seinfeld book next) and she’s refreshingly transparent about the business (and hard truths) of being a freelance writer in 2015. I spoke with her via email about the business of writing and tips for how she makes time for her own blog.

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A Birth Story

Meaghan O’Connell’s birth story is wonderful and highly quotable.

Longreads

Meaghan O’Connell | Longreads | Nov. 6, 2014 | 57 minutes (14,248 words)

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It was Monday, June 2nd, and I was wide awake at 6 a.m. Maybe to some of you this hour doesn’t sound remarkable, but for me it was. It was the first day in a lifetime of six in the mornings, and I made the three-hour leap all in one go.

By this point, it was 10 days past my due date, and I had a very specific and recurring fantasy of being moved around town in a hammock flown by a helicopter. I wanted to be airlifted between boroughs.

When I told my fiancé, Dustin, this wish, he was quiet for a second. He had learned to reply to me with caution, but I imagine in this case he just couldn’t help himself.

“Like a whale?” he asked.

I laughed…

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When Mitch McConnell Met Roger Ailes: An Early Lesson in Winning At All Costs

Excellent bit of history from Alec MacGillis.

Longreads

Alec MacGillis | The Cynic | September 2014 | 13 minutes (3,241 words)

Below is an excerpt from The Cynic, a new book by The New Republic writer Alec MacGillis about Mitch McConnell, who was just elected to a sixth term in the U.S. Senate and—with Republicans now taking control of the Senate—will become the new majority leader. Our thanks to MacGillis for sharing this with the Longreads community.

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