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Authors Guild vs. Authors Alliance

Writing for a living vs. the broadest possible sharing of one's work

(trade authors hoping to earn royalties from book publishing

vs. academic authors who want broadest possible free distribution)


What is the Authors Alliance? May 15 note from Authors Guild board member T.J. Stiles to the San Francisco Writers Grotto, criticizing the Authors Alliance. "However, if you are an academic, or scorn the idea of making a living from writing as a quest for “fame and fortune,” the Authors Alliance may be the organization for you. If you think, in our digital age, that the biggest problem facing authors is how hard it is to give your work away for free, it’s for you. If you think you’ve got too much power over people who copy and distribute your work without your permission, by all means sign up....

     "It’s an astroturf organization. It was not organized by authors, nor is it governed by them. The four directors are Berkeley academics. The executive director and her right-hand-woman are law professors who have made many proposals to reduce copyright protections for authors and restrict remedies for infringement. (I take that wording from the writings of Prof. Samuelson.) As Samuelson stated in Publishers Weekly, the organization is intended to represent the interests of authors who don’t write for a living—academics and hobbyists. See my comments below on the financial interests they represent, and how they are at odds with those of authors who write for a living."
      The Authors Guild sent out a note later that week: "Some of our academic authors have written to make clear they don’t share the radical copyright views this organization espouses....Far too often, copyright is used to separate scholars and scientists from their intellectual property. Scientific and scholarly journals frequently insist on seizing the author’s copyright as part of the price of publication. For scientists in particular this can be galling: their work is usually publicly funded, yet privately locked up."
Why Authors Alliance Supports a Broader View of Fair Use Than the Authors Guild (Authors Alliance co-founder Pamela Samuelson, 2-22-2016) "When the Authors Alliance filed a brief in support of Google’s fair use defense, it emphasized that Google Books helps authors because it allows prospective readers to discover that their books exist and contain relevant information....Google Books also allows authors to discover other authors’ works that are relevant to their own research....If the Supreme Court decides to review the Google decision, the Authors Alliance will file a brief to explain why Google’s different purpose use is much fairer to authors than the Guild has so far been willing to admit."
Author vs. Author: The Authors Guild and the Authors Alliance Set to Duke It Out? (Rick Anderson, Scholarly Kitchen, 6-4-14) "The natural constituency of the Alliance is academic writers who make their living primarily through salaried work (which includes writing for publication) and who benefit more from building their brands than from selling their copyrights. The Guild, on the other hand, is, as its name suggests, a trade organization that exists to help its members make a living as professional writers—a mission that implies a much greater dependence on traditional publishing, and thus a greater investment in the publishing system that currently exists." The "Alliance has very explicitly set itself up as an organization in support of authors who are primarily concerned with the broadest possible sharing of their work and with new approaches to rights management and to the signaling of scholarly quality." Stiles asserts that the Alliance “exists to make it appear that there is a grassroots authors’ organization in favor of loosening copyright protections and limiting remedies for copyright infringement.”
The Authors Alliance vs. The Authors Guild (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution, 6-3-14) An interesting exchange of opinions, and in the comments a good example of how Google snippets make it unnecessary for writers to buy books (because they can get what they need from the snippets).
Founder of Just-Launched Authors Alliance Talks to PW (Peter Brantley's interview with law professor Pamela Samuelson, Publishers Weekly 5-15-14)
Authors Alliance launches, to the chagrin of the Authors Guild (Kirsten Reach, Melville House, 5-28-14). The problem: "the Authors Alliance—founded by Berkeley academics interested in providing support for authors interested in sharing their content for free—is causing some disruption at the Authors Guild, an advocacy group for published writers...focused on copyright and fair contract terms." Find a way to work together, writes Reach.
Authors Guild, Authors Alliance Battle Over Speaking for Writers (Mercy Pilkington, goodEreader, 5-18-14) Open access is the slippery slope T.J. Stiles was attacking. "AG’s feelings about a group that supports access to information by the masses should come as no surprise given its lawsuits against both Google and the Hathi Trust for scanning and digitizing rare works that have been locked away in academic libraries all this time....Authors Alliance co-founder Pamela Samuelson gave an interview to Publisher’s Weekly that very clearly illustrates how the [Authors Alliance] isn’t even on the same radar as the Authors Guild, instead planning to advocate for authors who are interested in making their works available on a widespread, no cost basis [that is, free]." See Fair Use Has a Posse (Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, 5-14-14)
What is the "Authors Alliance?" (Authors Guild, 5-16-14) Authors Guild warning against the Authors Alliance (from T.J. Stiles to the San Francisco Writers Grotto) "If any of you earn a living as a writer, or hope to, I strongly urge you not to join the Authors Alliance....As Samuelson stated in Publishers Weekly, the organization is intended to represent the interests of authors who don’t write for a living—academics and hobbyists. See my comments ... on the financial interests they represent, and how they are at odds with those of authors who write for a living."
• BIO's Fair Use: A Statement on Best Practices for Biographers (Biographers International Organization) is clearly influenced by Authors Allliance -- perhaps because so many of its board members are in academia? I hesitate to link to it in the section on Codes of Best Practices and Fair Use Guidelines because, among other things, it fails even to refer to the "four factors" at the center of fair use decisions under current copyright law:
1) The Transformative Factor: The Purpose and Character of Your Use 
2) The Nature of the Copyrighted Work
3) The Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Taken
4) The Effect of the Use Upon the Potential Market.
Surely BIO does not believe that all writers start with a clear understanding of the principles spelled out in copyright law. This fair use statement seems to have been developed mostly as an argument with book publishers who require authors to clear permissions for any material quoted from other works -- and leans on the Authors Alliance argument that quoting from someone else's work not only doesn't harm the market for their work but improves it by mentioning them. It's more a case for weakening fair use than a clear guide for authors on the framework for determining what's fair use in biography. Perhaps it's because the Alliance comes from academia, where so much of their writing is hidden behind paywalls for scholarly journals, that they are for expanding "fair use," and I don't disagree with them there, but please:  what practical examples from real life and the rest of the publishing world can we talk about here, and in what ways do the Guild and the Alliance truly differ?

 

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Doing a virtual book launch (during the coronavirus pandemic)

How to do a virtual book launch

A talk with actual content may be more effective than just reading aloud from your book.
Virtual Author Events Are the Next Big Thing (Claire Kirch, PW, 5-1-2020) Booksellers say the format draws big audiences, but sales vary. St. John Mandel has drawn audiences of up to 400 people at each of the dozen virtual events she has done to promote The Glass Hotel, and sales of her 2014 novel Station Eleven, about a flu pandemic, are also way up.
DIY: How to Plan a Virtual Book Tour (Jennifer McCartney, Publishers Weekly, 6-9-14) This particular type of book tour lasts about two weeks, with an author “visiting” a new blog every day, while promoting each stop on social media. An author may choose to hire a publicity professional to book a tour, or decide to go it alone. A blog tour starts with a lot of research. Aim to begin planning at least three months before your book’s publication date. First, make a list of 50 blogs that might be interested in your book—for a book review, a question and answer segment, an excerpt, a book giveaway, a webinar, a guest post, or a combination of these. She offers brief instructions for a successful event.
How to Throw a Virtual Book Launch Using Facebook Live (K.B. Jensen on Jane Friedman's blog, 5-11-2020) "If selling books directly, announce the cost of the event ticket on your event pages. The “ticket” includes the cost of your book, tax and media mail shipping. The cost for a signed and shipped copy of Helen’s book was set at $20, for example. Ideally, you’d set up payment options through your author website. You could also create a payment link through Square. Some authors take PayPal or Venmo, as well. Whatever payment method you choose, ask your fans to put their address in the comments or email you their address, so you know where to send the books."
How to Effectively Use Live Video (Even If You Fear the Camera) to Reach Readers (Amy Collins on Jane Friedman's blog, 10-7-19)
Resources and Tips for Creating Virtual Events: Video Conferencing, Virtual Meeting, and Video Sharing Applications (American Booksellers Association) Links to information on Zoom, GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar, Crowdcast, Skype, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube, Be.Live. See downloadable PDFs for guidelines from various publishing houses.
Virtual Book Launch Events: 8 Ideas from Authors.(Diana Urban, Book Bub Partners, 4-30-2020) How authors did book events from Instagram Live, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, a Zoom webinar, Twitch Livestream, prerecorded videos, Twitter Chat, and Reddit AMA. With links to "how-to" pieces.
How to use Facebook Live (Sophia Bernazzani, HubSpot)
Facebook Live tutorial, streaming (YouTube video, Sean, 2-25-17)
How to go live on Facebook (YouTube)
How to Throw a Virtual Book Launch Using Facebook Live (K.B. Jensen on Jane Friedman's blog, 5-11-2020) "Practice using Facebook Live prior to the launch and using your third party-app with a split screen, too, if you will use that. When Helen had her launch, she was able to interact beautifully with her friends and fans in an authentic and collected manner, because she’d gotten over the nerves in her practice sessions counting down to her launch." Watch recording of Helen Starbuck’s launch for Legacy of Secrets.
Best Practices for Hosting a Digital Event (Kristen Klein, Zoom blog, 3-4-2020) If you expect attendees to mostly just listen, consider a Zoom Video Webinar. When you need more back and forth between the audience and the host, a Zoom Meeting might be the better option.
Zoom: Live Stream to YouTube or a Custom Streaming Service
7 Steps to a Successful Virtual Book Launch Even if You Don't Have an Audience (Yet) (Author Unlimited, 4-23-17) Prepare. Research. Schedule. Invite. Create the Event. Promote. Social Media. Thanks/acknowledge.
2020's Virtual Bookish Events (NetGalley, We Are Bookish)
BookCon's Virtual Author Tour series
How to Throw the Best Online Party. Ever. (Barnes & Noble, 4-27-15)
The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read-Alouds & Activities (We Are Teachers)
The Quarantine Book Club

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Kinds of editors and levels of edit--what every writer and editor should know (updated)

Updated 5-17-2020. Original post 7-22-13)

If you want to hire (or be) an editor, it is important to know the difference between what different kinds of editors do. There are developmental or substantive editors, assignment editors, story editors, production editors, photo editors, line editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders, among other specialties? Read up on the different functions in these stories (linked to below), so you know what to ask for and what to expect. These articles are sorted roughly by category; Freelance editing


What editors do: levels and types of editing
Fiction editing
Copyediting
Proofreading
Newspaper editing
Technical and academic editing
Freelance editing
The editor-author relationship
Whether editors are valued and valuable
Becoming an editor
Editing a website

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Pat McNees, social distancing

Pat McNees, social distancing (Paulette's near the sidewalk), after swapping eggs from Paulette's chickens for carrots from Pat's fridge. Painting by Lucinda.
Pat McNees, social distancing during pandemic (talking with Paulette, not in the picture), after swapping eggs from Paulette's chickens for carrots from Pat's fridge. Painting by Paulette's daughter Lucinda Nehemias. She painted this based on a photo Paulette took when she was bringing me the eggs. Lucinda tells people (Instagram, Etsy, Facebook and Word of Mouth) that if you send her one of your photos, she will make a drawing/painting inspired by your photo, typically 4" x 6" and she will email you a photo of the painting and then the actual painting as well. She only wants people to pay if they love the piece. She did 30 such pictures for Mother's Day.
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Deciding what level of editing to assign to a piece of writing

The following email exchange started in response to an earlier blog post (Kinds of editors and levels of edit--what every writer and editor should know). It seemed worth its own blog post.


JOE CASEY WROTE: "Thanks so much, Pat. This is a great and helpful explanation of a reasonable hierarchy. It is also supported by the fact that edits get progressively easier to fix as one moves down the list. By metrics I mean this: when the editor is also managing writers (say in a content development context for instance) and has to assess their writing (track performance), how can one translate this hierarchy into something numerical? How do we "weight" a structural problem against other types of errors? Maybe this forum is not the best place for this query as it is not a purely editing question, but I'm just curious if anyone has had to defend an assessment of the relative merits of different writers. It's obviously not an exact science, but sometimes it has to be done, and can have very real consequences (on pay etc.). My question is really about quantifying quality of writing.


PAT McNEES RESPONDS: Well that's a different kettle of fish, and also closer to what a managing editor has to do -- figure out what level of editing to assign to a particular writer or piece of writing. It isn't always easy to assess ahead of time if a piece of writing is a structural mess, without reading or at least skimming it, but if you sense that it probably is, you will assign it to a good developmental editor--someone who can see the big picture as well as handle the nitpicking. And if the writer is sound but a little sloppy on the details, as we all can be when we're in a rush, you'll assign it for a light edit.

      So when you are assigning an edit, why not think in terms of heavy, medium, and light edit. And if you are evaluating their skill, evaluate the same as if you were grading a student: D for structural, B for grammar and spelling, C for style and flow (or whatever), A for typos. (Whatever you can easily measure.) I had a friend in college who wrote brilliant papers, but couldn't spell worth a darn (this was before we knew about dyslexia), and her teachers would give her a split grade: A/D , to show appreciation for the quality of her thinking and writing -- but yes, they did notice she would always need an editor. Which is why exams are worth giving because students don't have time to get a friend or parent to correct all the spelling errors so the teacher doesn't see them.
      And I agree with what you said: Sometimes it's only the typos and obvious grammatical errors that most people notice--they just wonder why a piece of writing is heavy slogging for the reader.I hope others respond with how they do a quick assessment of the writing they're about to hand off to an editor.


JOE RESPONDS: I like your idea, and I have been developing a few tracks.... Another track I have to consider is level of difficulty: some projects are relatively easy, others very difficult!


PAT ADDS: And then there is budget: If you have a small budget, you have to decide which aspects of the ms. you can afford to have edited.

---Editing for structure, organization (not every editor is good at this)
---Editing for clarity
---Editing for grammar and style
---Editing (proofing?) for typos and other mechanical errors

 

If it's a structural mess, does it make sense to have it edited only for grammatical and spelling errors?

 

 

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Celebrating diversity in children's books

BOOKS THAT CELEBRATE DIVERSITY: RECOMMENDED READING
10 Websites to Help You Find the Best Diverse Books Lists (and Other Resources) (Melissa Reif, Book Source Banter blog, 10-15-15) Links to National Education Association, Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Children’s Book Council, Anti-Defamation League, Teaching Tolerance, Jane Addams Peace, Reading Is Fundamental, We Need Diverse Books, Diversity in YA, and PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People).
20 Wonderful Children's Books That Celebrate Diversity (Anna Lane, The Bump, 7-18)
22 Diverse Book Choices for All Grade Levels (Edutopia, 2-15-19)
30 Children’s Books About Diversity That Celebrate Our Differences (Danika Ellis, Book Riot, 9-19-18)
The Ultimate List of Diverse Children's Books (Here Wee Read, 2018)
Diverse voices: the 50 best culturally diverse children's books (The Guardian, 10-13-14)

What children's books that celebrate diversity would you recommend?  Let me know in the comments section (and be sure to leave your name).

ARTICLES ABOUT DIVERSITY IN CHILDREN'S BOOKS
American Indians in Children's Literature (blog of Dr. Debbie Reese of Nambé Pueblo and Dr. Jean Mendoza)
An Updated Look at Diversity in Children's Books (School Library Journal, 6-19-19) H/T for many of the links in this section.
CCBlogC blog. Observations about books for children and teens from the Cooperative Children's Book Center. Statistics from April 2018.
Children’s Books as a Radical Act Excellent infographics based on the work and philosophy of Maya Gonzalez.
Diversity in Children’s Books: Check Your Blind Spot (Jennie McDonald, Center for the Collaborative Classroom, Part 1)
Diversity in Children’s Literature: Check Your Blind Spot, Part 2
Diversity Resources (Crazy Quilted)
Is Equality in the Children’s Book Industry Possible? (a post on Maya Gonzalez's blog)
The Invisible Lesbian in Young Adult Fiction and other blog posts about LGBTQ fiction by Malinda Lo. See also her book review.
Picture This: Diversity in Children's Books 2018 (Sara Park, sarahpark.com, musings on korean diaspora, children’s literature, and adoption) A shareable infographic.
Publishing Statistics on Children's/YA Books about People of Color and First/Native Nations and by People of Color and First/Native Nations Authors and Illustrators Documented by the Cooperative Children's Book Center School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Reading While White Workiing for racial diversity and inclusion in books for children and teens. See excellent links to other resources along right side.
Research on Diversity in Youth Literature A peer-reviewed, online, open-access journal hosted by St. Catherine University’s Master of Library and Information Science Program and University Library. See and download Most Popular Papers.
We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) Imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.
Zetta Elliott's blog
Zetta Elliott Discusses the "Difficult Miracle" of Black Girl Poets (School Library Journal, 2-21-2020) and Other Zetta Elliott pieces (SLJ)

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And the people stayed home (a poem about the 2020 pandemic)

by Kitty O'Meara

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.
And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.
Some met their shadows.

And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.




And no, the poem wasn't written in 1869, during the Irish famine, or in 1918, during the Spanish flu epidemic. It was written during the 2020 coronavirus epidemic. 

Kitty O'Meara, Author of "And the People Stayed Home," Opens Up About Writing That Viral Poem ~ Elena Nicolaou, Oprah, 3-19-2020

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Covering the COVID-19 pandemic: Resources for journalists

Updated 6-1-2020

Reliable sources for updates on COVID-19
Coronavirus: Resources for reporters (First Draft News)
AP Stylebook tips on the coronavirus (Kristen Hare, Poynter, 3-4-2020) For example: "Because COVID-19 is the name of the disease, not the virus, it is not accurate to write a new virus called COVID-19. Instead: A new virus caused a disease called COVID-19....The virus itself is called SARS-CoV-2, given by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses....COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2.
Tipsheet: Covering the Coronavirus Epidemic Effectively without Spreading Misinformation (Laura Helmuth, The Open Notebook, 3-2-2020)
Journalists are recognizing they’re writing a rough draft of history – and can’t say definitively ‘that’s the way it is’ (Kevin M. Lerner, The Conversation, 4-13-2020) Journalists have historically done a bad job of explaining to the public that each day’s news report is, by necessity, incomplete and provisional. The question about masks is just one rapidly shifting element among a wide-ranging group of stories whose facts are updated daily, if not hourly. With one paragraph, the Los Angeles Times admitted that its information was incomplete and subject to revision. “One thing to keep in mind before we continue: It is possible that the information you read below will be contradicted in the coming weeks or that gaps in knowledge today will soon be filled as scientists continue to study the virus.”
"News organizations, intent on projecting authority and knowledge, rarely admit their fallibility or lack of omniscience....If the rest of the press likewise acknowledges that today’s truth is not a finished story and audiences begin to demand that sort of transparency, then as trust builds between journalists and the public, a mutual understanding of the facts and, ultimately, the truth can emerge."
Phases of clinical trials (National Comprehensive Cancer Network). With dozens of clinical trials competing for the market for effective Covid-19 treatment, it is important to understand what each of four phases covers. Phase I trials, for example, test only for safety, not for whether the virus works, no matter what a firm's press release says. See similar explanations from University of Michigan HealthWikipedia (which has a useful chart)
Covering the coronavirus amid infection, misinformation and scared sources (Emilia Díaz-Struck, Scilla Alecci, Will Fitzgibbon, Jelena Cosic, Delphine Reuter, and others, Press Freedom, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 5-7-2020) Journalists covering the coronavirus from Hungary to Chile are not only faced with the risk of contagion. They are battling secretive governments, restricted movement, misinformation and sources who are too scared to speak.  (Scroll to bottom for links to more fact-checking sites.)
COVID-19 Reporting Resources: Experts from ScienceWriters conferences (Council for the Advancement of Science Writing)
Combatting the Misinformation Epidemic/Campaign (Comfortdying.com) See also The latest conspiracy theories.
10 tips for journalists covering COVID-19 (Taylor Mulcahey, International Journalism Network, 3-5-2020)
Journalism in pandemic: online training for thousands of international journalists (Gary Schwitzer, Health News Review, 5-2020)
AHCJ freelancers give advice on COVID-19 coverage (Sources, studies and self-care) (Carolyn Crist, Covering Health, AHCJ, 5-12-2020)
New York Times reporter calls Pence a ‘sycophant.’ The newspaper says he ‘went too far.’ (Erik Wemple, Opinion, Washington Post, 5-12-12-) Appearing for an interview with CNN's *Christiane Amanpour*, the NYTimes's science and health reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr. -- who was well ahead of the curve with his warnings about the pandemic -- said he believed CDC director *Robert Redfield* "should resign" and that VP Mike Pence is a "sycophant." Did he go too far?

     The NYT agreed with that assessment. In a statement, a spokesperson for the paper said McNeil "went too far in expressing his personal views. His editors have discussed the issue with him"  to reiterate that his job is to report the facts and not to offer his own opinions. We are confident that his reporting on science and medicine for The Times has been scrupulously fair and accurate.?<<

    Journalist Bob Roehr commented in a NASW discussion on McNeil writing "that was because of incompetent leadership at the CDC, I'm sorry to say — it's a great agency, but it's incompetently led, and I think Dr. Redfield should resign."

     Roehr wrote: "The test was not developed by Redfield but by the lifers in the agency who failed big time, chiefly because they suffer from the not-invented-here complex that did not take advantage of the work done elsewhere by others; they insisted in developing their own test when it was not needed. Redfield's failure was the trust he placed in those employees.

     "Overall the CDC has been a troubled agency for several decades that consistently takes a defensive posture and is not responsive to journalists. It still suffers PTSD from being politically kicked around for its early HIV work and anything having to do with sex." 

Editors’ Roundtable: Managing Pandemic Coverage (The Open Notebook, 5-7-2020) For editors who oversee their newsrooms’ coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis has brought extraordinary challenges, from prioritizing stories when faced with a daily flood of possibilities, to protecting reporters’ health and well-being at a time of tremendous strain—all while working remotely, in many cases for the first time. Here five editors who are managing their publications’ coronavirus coverage took part in a wide-ranging roundtable discussion via email with TON editor-in-chief Siri Carpenter. (Participants: Eliza Barclay, science, health, and climate editor at Vox; Martin Enserink, international news editor at Science; Laura Helmuth, editor-in-chief at Scientific American, and formerly health and science editor at The Washington Post; Jude Isabella, editor-in-chief at Hakai Magazine; and Sarah Zielinski, managing editor at Science.) News for Students. These TON resources may help.
CPJ Safety Advisory: Covering the coronavirus outbreak(Committee to Protect Journalists, updated 4-6-2020) Detailed practical advice about how to protect yourself while covering this story. See also (and especially) CPJ’s interviews with journalists covering the pandemic.
COVID-19 Reporting Diaries: March 25–31, 2020 (Shira Feder, TheOpenNotebook, 4-7-2020) "Nothing that has come before in the infectious-diseases beat is remotely as huge as this story," says STAT reporter Helen Branswell, one of five journalists reporting on their coverage of this crisis. "The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that when covering a rapidly evolving event like this pandemic, it’s important to be open to new evidence and data, even if it goes against what I’d previously reported," says Garcia de Jesus. "We’re watching science happen in real-time—sometimes that involves conflicting information." (Other reporters on the panel: Mark Johnson, Antonio Martínez Ron, and Jane Qiu. Questions answered: What strategies have you used for finding suitable sources for your stories? What skills do you feel have been most essential to your work in covering this pandemic? Knowing that this pandemic will be a marathon, not a sprint, what have been some of the most important forms of self-care that you’ve been seeking out for yourself? What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned so far, in covering this pandemic? What tips do you have for other reporters covering COVID-19? Plus links to other interesting, insightful pieces.
How to use Twitter to find a treasure trove of real patient voices (Sally James, Center for Health Journalism, 4-8-19) Thousands of patients spend time on Twitter talking about their cancer, or diabetes, or psoriasis, or almost any diagnosis you can imagine. As a reporter, you can find patients to interview while absorbing valuable background here. You can find an individual to be the face of your story, or sharpen your perspective on a chronic disease by reading about the experiences of dozens of patients living with it. These insights can change the questions you ask and the direction of your reporting.
Watch webcasts on your lunch break. “Use your lunch break to stay up-to-speed on COVID-19. Many organizations — the Alliance for Health Policy, Commonwealth Fund, National Academy of Medicine, JAMA and others — are hosting webcasts and livestreams about various aspects of COVID-19 weekly or even more frequently, and they have fantastic guests such as Dr. Anthony Fauci. The recordings are almost always posted for after-the-event viewing within 24 hours. Choose one to listen to in the background while you’re cooking, doing chores or completing other tasks. It’s an easy way to get story ideas and learn from top experts.” (Lola Butcher @LolaButcher, quoted on AHCJ)
Mass General FLARE (MGH FLARE) is a collaborative effort among doctors at Mass General to update fellow physicians in the pulmonary and critical care divisions on the latest novel coronavirus research--with a quick review of specific topics that have popped up in the news or social media literature on SARS-CoV-2, with a focus on critical care issues. H/T @JenniferLarson.
Bad State Data Hides Coronavirus Threat As Trump Pushes Reopening (Darius Tahir and Adam Cancryn, Politico, 5-27-2020) In at least a dozen states, health departments have inflated testing numbers or deflated death tallies by changing criteria for who counts as a coronavirus victim and what counts as a coronavirus test, according to reporting from Politico, other news outlets and the states' own admissions.
Avoid single patient, single source COVID-19 stories – especially on “cures” (Gary Schwitzer, Health News Review, 5-21-2020) Don't jump to conclusions based on news stories about a single patient, or about a single researcher’s belief in a cure.
How COVID-19 is threatening press freedom: An interview with Joel Simon (Ann Cooper, Journalist's Resource, 4-13-2020) "It’s sobering to see how many governments have taken action against journalists for their COVID-19 coverage....political leaders are being told by experts that they must take dramatic action to stem the spread of a deadly disease but they are worried about the economic and social consequences of doing so. Of course one way to avoid making a difficult decision is suppress any reporting that suggests that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly, and many governments are doing just that."
The COVID Tracking Project collects and publishes the most complete testing data available for US states and territories.
Op-ed: Covering science at dangerous speeds (Ivan Oransky, Columbia Journalism Review, 5-4-2020) How not to get it (especially Covid-19) wrong, especially if medical science is not your usual beat. Always read the entire paper. Ask 'dumb' questions. Ask smart questions. Quantify. What are the side effects. Who dropped out? Are there alternatives? Etc. and explained.
Data Drum: COVID-19 Data (data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention. Also available as a mobile app.)
COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) (the Allen Institute for AI in partnership with leading research groups) a free resource of over 45,000 scholarly articles, including over 33,000 with full text, about COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses for use by the global research community.
Covering COVID-19 and the coronavirus: 5 tips from a Harvard epidemiology professor (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 3-6-2020) Choose experts carefully. Distinguish what is known to be true from what is thought to be true — and what’s speculation or opinion. Use caution when citing research findings from “preprints,” or unpublished academic papers. Ask academics for help gauging the newsworthiness of new theories and claims. To prevent misinformation from spreading, news outlets also should fact-check op-eds. Read the work of journalists who cover science topics well.
Reliable sources for updates on COVID-19 (ComfortDying.com site) See also Coronavirus: A Primer and How to protect yourself from COVID-19.
The Five Questions Reporters Need to Ask Hospitals and Local Officials About Coronavirus (Charles Ornstein, ProPublica, 3-17-2020) Including: How many beds does each hospital in your state/region have? How many of those beds are already occupied?
Coronavirus Rumor Control (FEMA)
Covering the Coronavirus Pandemic (National Association of Broadcasters) Webcast and other resources.
The Newsroom Guide to COVID-19
Covering Coronavirus: Resources for Journalists (Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, 2-28-2020)
A virtual conversation with science journalist Carl Zimmer (YouTube video, ScienceWritersNY, recorded 5-12-2020) He answers key questions frankly and knowledgeably (worth a listen). SWINY's further video interviews on the topic, including one on how Sweden handled the pandemic, here: Archive of virtual conversations with science journalists
Carl Zimmer's archive of articles about Covid-19 issues
Coronavirus, SARS and Flu Resources (Mike Reilley, Journalist's Toolbox, 4-1-2020) The most extensive set of links for journalists--both general and very specific!
Presenting Trump and Science as Equals Isn’t Balanced, It’s Dangerous (Neil deMause, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, or FAIR, 3-23-2020) Stopping the coronavirus pandemic from taking millions of lives may require news organizations to take sides—but if it’s on the side of science, that’s the kind of bias that journalism needs.
I Lived Through SARS and Reported on Ebola. These Are the Questions We Should Be Asking About Coronavirus. (Caroline Chen, ProPublica, 3-5-2020) Instead of asking: How many test kits do you have? Ask this: How many samples are you running per patient? Instead of saying: The mortality rate is X%. Say this: Scientists estimate the mortality rate is X%, based on the information they have.
Mapping coronavirus, responsibly (Kenneth Field, ESRI, 2-25-2020)
Covering Coronavirus: Expert Tips for Journalists and Communicators (YouTube video, CDC at National Press Club, 2-10-2020, 1 hr 26 minutes) Streamed live, available with comments via LiveStream replay.
Use caution when reporting on pandemic potential of Wuhan coronavirus (Bara Vaida, Association of Health Care Journalists, 1-23-2020)
Despite pronouncements, no quick turnaround likely for COVID-19 treatments, vaccines (Bara Vaida, Covering Health, AHCJ, 3-20-2020)  "An inaccurate statement that President Trump made during a March 19 news briefing - that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine had been approved as a COVID-19 treatment - demonstrates how skeptical journalists should remain when covering the unfolding story about treatments and preventative measures. While there are more than 85 trials for vaccines and treatments underway for COVID-19, scientists don't expect them to be available to the public soon, despite what some headlines suggest." President Trump is absolutely NOT a reliable source, and some of the things he's said have caused harm.
Finding the latest COVID-19 studies — and covering them thoughtfully (Tara Haelle, Covering Health, AHCJ, 3-20-2020) In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, most data came from news reports, clinical summaries and preprints. Now more and more peer-reviewed studies are coming out each day, and it's challenging to keep up with them. Several journals have set up dedicated coronavirus sites that can help in keeping up with the research. The Lancet's COVID-19 Resource Centre, JAMA Network's COVID-19 resource center and NEJM's Coronavirus (COVID-19) page all include the newest studies, commentary and related data and information on the pandemic.
The Simplest Way to Spot Coronavirus Misinformation on Social Media (Will Oremus, OneZero, 3-4-2020) A digital literacy expert shares his method. Fact-check! See also Fact-Checking In the Age of “Fake News”: A Q&A With Brooke Borel and Alex Kasprak (Tips from the 2017 World Conference of Science Journalists)
RSS service streamlines access to COVID-19 preprints (Tara Haelle, Covering Health, AHCJ, 5-13-2020) A new service from NewsRx is an RSS feed specifically for COVID-19 preprints. (It attempts to streamline the process for journalists and researchers by turning the fire hose of research into something a bit more manageable.) You can check the site itself, sign up for the feed or sign up for email alerts. See also Beware the preprint in covering coronavirus research (Tara Haelle, Covering Health, AHCJ, 4-17-2020)
NewsRx Delivers COVID-19 Preprints NewsRx is a journalism technology company with several resources that reporters may find helpful while reporting on the pandemic, including a primer on preprints. See also The Power of Preprints, a primer on preprints.
Problems with Preprints: Covering Rough-Draft Manuscripts Responsibly (Roxanne Khamsi, The Open Notebook, 6-1-2020) 'Hastily conducted and reported scientific studies are an unfortunate hallmark of the current pandemic, as journalist Christie Aschwanden wrote recently in Wired. She says journalists should have their guard up. “Where I’ve seen reporters go wrong on this is when they sort of grab these [preprints] because they want to be first,” Aschwanden says.'
Stop Getting So Excited About ‘Preliminary’ Findings (Christie Aschwanden, Wired, 4-24-2020) No, seriously, when it comes to Covid-19—or any disease—bad data is worse than no data at all.
The many challenges of covering the coronavirus (Jon Allsop, CJR, 3-9-2020) The challenge here is to communicate nuance and uncertainty in formats—headlines, tweets, and so on—that reward brevity and clarity.
What Investigative Reporters Around the World Need to Be Asking About COVID-19 (Amruta Byatnal, Global Investigative Journalism Network, 3-10-2020) Q&A with Thomas Abraham, an expert on infectious disease and global health security, and the author of Twenty-first Century Plague: The Story of SARS and of Polio: The Odyssey of Eradication. Remember that science evolving as rapidly as this is hedged by huge amounts of uncertainty.
How newsrooms can tone down their coronavirus coverage while still reporting responsibly (Al Tompkins, Poynter, 3-4-2020) When you do anecdotal stories about sickness and death from coronavirus, infuse them with the data that points out the wider context of the issue.
The coronavirus crisis is also a domestic abuse crisis. Keep these tips in mind to cover it. (Kellie Schmitt, Center for Health Journalism, 5-29-2020)
How to name a coronavirus ( Merrill Perlman, CJR, 2-24-2020)
How to Report on the COVID-19 Outbreak Responsibly (Bill Hanage, Marc Lipsitch, Scientific American, 2-23-2020) Reporting "should distinguish between at least three levels of information: (A) what we know is true; (B) what we think is true—fact-based assessments that also depend on inference, extrapolation or educated interpretation of facts that reflect an individual’s view of what is most likely to be going on; and (C) opinions and speculation."
COVID-19 reports (Imperial College London‌)

ON A SISTER SITE:
Coronavirus: The good, the bad, and the practical (a full website page on many aspects of the topic)
---Pandemic: The big picture
---Social distancing and sheltering in place
---Testing, testing, testing--and contact tracing
---What patients with covid-19 experience
---The race for effective vaccines and anti-viral treatments
---Where in the world things went right
---Politics, government, and the coronavirus
---Trump's handling of the pandemic
---Why Covid-19 is so dangerous
---Who is harmed most by Covid-19
---Reliable sources of information (and against misinformation)
---A salute to the medical workers and others who help (I need more here!)
---Facts and tips that don't fit elsewhere
Coronavirus: How to minimize your risk
Covering the coronavirus story as a journalist
On keeping a diary or journal of the pandemic
26+ things to do (listen, watch, read, share, do) during the pandemic
Coronavirus: A primer

FACT-CHECKING SITES especially useful on MISINFORMATION/CONSPIRACY THEORIES

Social Media Posts Spread Bogus Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory (FactCheck.org)
The coronavirus ‘infodemic’ is real. We rated the websites responsible for it (John Gregory, First Opinion, STAT 2-28-2020) I’m an editor at NewsGuardNewsGuard, which rates the credibility of news and information websites. Our ongoing analyses show that misinformation about the outbreak is clearly beating reliable information when it comes to engagement on social media worldwide. NewsGuard has rated the credibility and transparency of more than 3,200 news and information sites in the U.S., accounting for 96% of online engagement, previously reporting that more than 1 in 10 of these sites share health misinformation. An overview of the misinformation epidemic. conspiracy theories, and the most prolific peddlers of health misinformation.
Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center (Newsguard)
FactCheck.org to Work With Facebook on Exposing Viral Fake News (Annenberg Public Policy Center, 12-15-16)
Coronavirus Coverage (FactCheck.org)
SciCheck (FactCheck.org)
Debunking False Stories

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Estate Planning: Your literary estate

Have you spelled out who inherits your intellectual property? Here are some helpful explanations.This is an update of an earlier blog post (Authors' wills, trusts, and estates), with much new material added.

by Pat McNees
Estate Planning for Authors (Edward M. McBoyd, YouTube video of Authors Guild webinar, 11-6-19, 1.4 hrs) Pretty thorough legal overview to help you plan for your author's estate.
Estate Planning For Writers (Matt Knight, Sidebar Saturdays, 12-2-17) The advantages and disadvantages of wills and trusts, whether you need both an executor and a literary trustee, how to structure a literary estate.
What Happens When An Author Dies. Estate Planning With Kathryn Goldman (Joanna Penn, Creative Penn, 11-23-15) Podcast and text.
The Death of a Writer (Allison K Williams, Brevity's nonfiction blog, 6-4-19) Who is going to deal with your literary legacy, and what do you want done with your journals, family photos, genealogical research, story notes, complete and unfinished manuscripts, published works (who inherits the copyright?), treasured mementos, social media (wipes? or legacy status?), passwords and account numbers for whoever wraps up your estate? And do you want any old letters or evidence of love affairs preserved or destroyed?
Death is not the end: the lucrative world of literary estates (Financial Times, 7-25-19) The growth of streaming services, demand for audio books and the globalisation of publishing are a boon for a writer’s descendants.
Your Literary Estate, Part One: Assigning a Literary Executor (Christopher Klim, The US Review of Books, 2-1-17) "Your heirs will have varying degrees of concern for your legacy, ranging from not-at-all through avarice to sincere compassion for your work. Get control of the process now....Your literary executor would optimally be someone who is both involved in the business of publishing and is familiar with you and your heirs. It could be an editor, agent, or fellow writer. He/She should understand both your work and intentions....Gover knew that his heirs would trust me and my eventual decisions, but I was powerless in managing his literary estate unless it was official. However, I learned that almost no one had information on this topic."
Your Literary Estate, Part Two: Managing Your Work (Christopher Klim, The US Review of Books, 3-1-17) "Assigning a literary executor is not all about contract negotiation and oversight. It also involves handling your literary papers and letters....For the Eric Hoffer estate, his papers had already been stored at the Hoover Institute, but with regular rights inquiries, it was important to have access to existing contracts in order to help avoid copyright conflicts....In my experience, publishers will be intentionally unhelpful. They have a long history of hiding royalties from authors, as well as assuming rights that they had never obtained. Make sure your literary executor knows everything you do, so he/she can make the best decisions. Slapping a firm letter on a publisher with the power of an informed literary executor is better on any day than filing a lawsuit. The big publishers will out-wait and out-lawyer you every time."
How to Fund a Living Trust With Royalties (John Stevens, LegalBeagle) A royalty is the right to receive financial compensation for a body of work that is used by a third party (e.g., for songs played on the radio, for books sold). A living trust is a common way to pass those rights at death. The main reason to create a living trust is to avoid probate
My Life, Their Archive (Tim Parks, New York Review of Books, 5-21-14) 'For the author, needless to say, the lure is money. Large sums can be involved. The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas reputedly paid $1.5 million for J. M. Coetzee’s papers. The British Library more modestly gave £110,000 for the manuscripts of novelist Graham Swift, announcing as a special attraction “a tape recording of the answer phone messages he received on the night he won the Booker Prize.” ...But not only money. Any organization that spends a considerable sum on you will also have an interest in promoting your reputation. They don’t want to be accused of having thrown cash at a lemon. So there will be exhibitions, seminars, features of archived material.'
Final Drafts: Selecting a Literary Executor (Lloyd Jassin and Ronald Finkelstein, CopyLaw.com, 2002) 'A General Executor will often be a spouse or other family member that does not have experience with literary matters. Therefore, you should consider entrusting the care of your papers, existing contracts and unpublished manuscripts to a Literary Executor. Keep in mind that being a Literary Executor can be a lot of work. By taking the time to carefully select a Literary Executor, you lessen the likelihood of intra-family disputes that could result in family members refusing to negotiate for the further exploitation of your works -- preferring instead to retire your copyrighted works from publication....While a family member may agree to work for free, attorneys and literary agents will most likely seek a fee of between 10% and 15% for new contracts they negotiate on behalf of the estate....In some instances, an author may create a lifetime (“inter-vivos”) trust and transfer literary assets to the trust. In this case, a trustee will be appointed to carry out responsibilities similar to an Executor. In such instances, the author appoints a "Literary Trustee" who acts in much the same manner as a "Literary Executor" would under a decedent's will....Authors with significant estates should meet with their attorney or accountant now to determine whether any lifetime planning can be employed to reduce the value of their estates at their death so that more assets can pass to their heirs.'
The Works of Merton (letter from Robert E. Daggy and reply by J.M. Cameron, New York Review of Books, 11-22-79) In 1967, on the advice of friends and with the concurrence of his abbot, Merton decided to name Bellarmine College repository for his literary estate.
Do You Need a Literary Executor? (Susan Spann, Writers in the Storm, 7-15-13) When do you need a literary executor (or trustee) to administer the copyright in your estate? "Copyrights aren’t like houses, or cars, or jewelry—assets which can be readily converted into cash and which require no ongoing business skills. Copyright management requires specialized skills which many heirs do not possess....The copyright management process can be confusing even for one heir and confrontational when many heirs are involved... The literary executor can be one of the heirs, or can be a professional hired (and often paid) to manage the copyrights on your heirs’ behalf....While the general executor’s job may be finished in about a year, the literary executor may continue to manage creative works on behalf of the author’s estate until the end of the copyright term."
Orphan Row Update: Another Living Author, Two Books in Print, Literary Estates Held by Charities, Etc. (Authors Guild, 9-15-11) "Here’s what we can tell you about authors of some of the books that HathiTrust is scheduled to release for downloading by hundreds of thousands of students."
Bitter feuds, buried scandal: the contested world of literary estates (Leo Robson, New Statesman, 1-2-19) When an author dies, literary estates take over – bringing disputes, fraud and conflagrations.
The great estate: those global literary brands roll on (Robert McCrum, The Guardian, 3-15-12) The recently deceased Dmitri Nabokov made a fortune from his father's estate, while the houses of Fleming, Tolkien et al are equally at home in the digital age.
Important. And pass it on... (Neil Gaiman, A Simple Will,10-30-06) Download "A Simple Will" and fill it in for yourself.
Neil Gaiman on why writers tend to put off writing wills, particularly wills that spell out how their intellectual property should be handled. You can download a template (PDF) of a generic will for U.S. authors but maybe run it by a lawyer, as laws vary by state.
Writers' wills: a rich legacy for readers (Claire Armitstead, The Guardian, 1-8-14) As a stock of famous authors' final testaments are posted online, we can be glad of the insights they leave to us.
An end to bad heir days: The posthumous power of the literary estate (Gordon Bowker, Independent UK, 1-6-12) ""On the last day of 2011, the 70th anniversary year of his death, James Joyce's work finally passed out of copyright. It was the dawn of a new age for Joyce scholars, publishers and biographers who are now free to quote or publish him without the permission of the ferociously prohibitive Joyce estate."
Wills of the Rich and Famous (aka "celebrity wills," posted on Living Trust Network, an estate planning portal). Featured: Warren Burger, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Princess Diana. Walt Disney, Doris Duke, Elizabeth Edwards, Henry Fonda, Benjamin Franklin, Clark Gable, James Gandolfini, Katherine Hepburn, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, President John F. Kennedy, John Kennedy, Jr. and more.
Famous wills 1552-1854 In 2014, the National Archives (UK) brought online this collection of documents that will delight biographers and historians. Among them, the wills of William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Admiral Lord Nelson, Dr. Samuel Johnson, John Donne, Sir Francis Drake, William Congreve, Samuel Pepys, William Penn, George Frederic Handel, and William Wordsworth.
• Guest-blogging on Writers in the storm, Susan Spann (author of the popular Shinobi Mystery series, published a series of pieces advising on authors' estate planning and authors' trusts, under the Publaw theme (where you can find more of these). I link to some of them here:
--- WHO WILL YOU TRUST? Wills in Author Estate Planning Susan Spann, guest blog on Writers in the Storm, 5-10-13).
---Who Inherits Your Copyrights? (4-22-13)
---Do You Own Your Copyrights? (Susan Spann, 1-10-14)
---Do You Know Your (Copy) Rights? (Susan Spann, 12-13-13)
---Who Can an Author Trust? Trusts in the Author Estate Plan (6-14-13).
---Do You Need a Literary Executor? (Susan Spann, 7-15-13)
--- How to Choose a Literary Executor (Susan Spann, 8-9-13)
---But What Does a Literary Trustee DO? (Part 1) (Susan Spann)
---Trust The Process: Literary Executors, Part 2 (Susan Spann)

Rights and Royalties Management, Licensing,

issues about and problems with authors' and artists' estates. What happens to works after authors die. (Writers and Editors, Copyright, work for hire, and other rights issues)


• SFWA runs two helpful lists (which cover more than genre fiction writers):
---Estates Contact Information
---Estates we’re looking for
Literary estates administered by The Society of Authors (UK)
Wills, Probate and Trusts For Writers (H.S. Stavropoulos, author of crime fiction with a Greek-American flavor)

Now some stunning photographs:
15 Famous Authors’ Beautiful Estates (Emily Temple, Flavorwire, 1-24-12) Photos of the beautiful homes of Anaïs Nin, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, Evelyn Waugh, Gore Vidal, J. K. Rowling, Kurt Vonnegut,Vladimir Nabokov, Mark Twain, Stephen King, Robert Graves, Victor Hugo, Eudora Welty, William Shakespeare, Frederick Douglass.'
18 Famous Authors’ Houses Worth Seeing (Nick Mafi, Architectural Digest, 10-4-19)

What other resources are helpful? Tell me about experiences you've had or know about that it might be helpful for others to know about -- particularly problems to avoid or minimize.

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GREAT PODCASTS TO LISTEN TO AS YOU EXERCISE, DRIVE, IRON, FILE, COOK, FALL ASLEEP, DREAM, CLEAN, OR WALK, etc.

 

aka podcasts we, friends, or colleagues have enjoyed
(and sometimes become addicted to)


How to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS (Alina Bradford and Mark Jansen, Digital Trends, 7-31-19) Also useful: Listen Notes (an excellent podcast search engine)


1A (NPR News) Joshua Johnson hosts with great guests, framing the best debate in ways to make you think, share and engage.
Armchair Expert Dax Shepard and Monica Padman interview celebrities, journalists, and academics about "the messiness of being human."
Biographers International (discussions with biographers from around the country and the world)
Blank Check with Griffin and David Hosts Griffin Newman and David Sims delve into the works of film's most outsized personalities in painstakingly hilarious detail.
Caliphate.Rukmini Callimachi  reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul.
Can He Do That? (Washington Post podcast about Trump, exploring the powers and limitations of the American presidency, and what happens when they're tested)
Code Switch (NPR) Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get...stuck? Listen to journalists of color talk about it.
Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend (weekly podcast hosted by American comedian and talk show host, with war stories from TV work)
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central's Podcast Network)
Darknet Diaries Explore the dark side of the Internet as Jack Rhysider takes you on a journey through the chilling world of privacy hacks, data breaches, and cyber crime, as masterful criminal hackers show us just how vulnerable we all are.
Decoder Ring Each month Slate critic Willa Paskin takes a cultural question, object, or habit; examines its history; and tries to figure out what it means and why it matters. Examples: Baby Shark, sad Jennifer Aniston, the rise of the horror clown.
Dolly Parton's America (NPR)
Dr. Death (Wondery) "explores what happens when a power-hungry doctor is not stopped by the people who should stop him until it is too late."
Ear Hustle (Radiotopia) The daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration.
Endless Thread (WBUR and Reddit) Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into Reddit's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities, collaborating with Reddit's 330 million users and over 140 thousand communities to find all kinds of jaw-dropping narratives.
Everything Is Alive (in which inanimate objects tell their life stories)
Family Secrets (IHeart Radio) Dani Shapiro and her guests explore family secrets and the lessons the truth can tell us.
Grammar Girl's Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing
The Habitat Life on Mars, sort of. The true story of six volunteers picked to live on a fake planet.
Half Size Me Heather A. Robertson, who lost 170 pounds and has maintained her weight loss since 2012, interviews real people who share their own motivational stories of weight loss and weight maintenance.
Heavyweight (Gimlet Media) Humorist Jonathan Goldstein helps people try to resolve a moment from their past. See New Yorker review.
Household Name (aka Brought to you by) Surprising stories about how the biggest, household name brands affect our lives and culture — for better or worse.
How I Built This (Guy Razz, NPR) The stories behind some of the world's best known companies: a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.
The Indicator (weekdays from Planet Money) helps you make sense of what's happening today--a quick hit of insight into work, business, the economy, and everything else.
The Last Days of August Jon Ronson, the creator of Audible Original The Butterfly Effect, delves into the pornography industry again as he unravels the never-before-told story of what caused a beloved 23-year-old actress’s untimely death.
Lit Up (a podcast about literature)
The Manual Each week an expert, artisan, or craftsman is invited for a round-table discussion on what’s new, exciting, and unique in their trade, the idea being to help men live a more engaged life.
The Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus serve up tips on living meaningful lives with less.
Mobituaries with Mo Rocca, an irreverent but deeply researched appreciation of the people (and things) of the past.
Modern Love (WBUR and The New York Times) Top actors performing true stories of love, loss, and redemption.
The Moment (host Brian Koppelman). Interviews about the pivotal moments that fueled fascinating creative careers.
Moonface A fiction and drama show about a Korean American son (Joel Kim Booster) who wants to come out to his mom (Esther Moon), but can't because they don't speak the same language.
The “Moonrise” podcast, which tells a tale of nuclear brinkmanship, backroom politics, and science fiction.
The Moth Podcast (NPR, re-airs all new episodes of The Moth Radio Hour)
My Brother, My Brother, and Me Comedy advice from brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy.
Nancy (WNYC Studios, NPR, stories and conversations about the LGBTQ experience today, hosted by Kathy Tu and Tobin Low. Prepare to laugh and cry and laugh again.)
The Nice Guys on Business Hosts Doug Sandler and Strickland Bonner focus on relationships, honesty, trust and integrity.
The NPR Politics Podcast Every weekday, NPR's best political reporters explain the big news coming out of Washington and the campaign trail, telling you both what happened and why it matters.
On Being (Krista Tippett) What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? And who will we be to each other?
The Only One in the Room Laura Cathcart Robbins, who famously once found herself the only black woman in the room, interviews celebrities of all races, ethnicities, creeds, and nationalities who have also felt "othered."
Patient Zero (New Hampshire Public Radio) Exploring one of the most enigmatic epidemics of the 21st century: Lyme disease.
Planet Money (NPR)
People in the Shadow podcasts (Player FM roundup of podcasts on ghosts, paranormal, end times, the spooky and unexplained)
Political Gabfest (Slate, hosted by Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz) Where sharp political analysis meets informal and irreverent discussion.
Pop Culture Happy Hour Freewheeling chat about the latest movies, television, books, and music.
Publishers Weekly podcasts (in various categories)
Radio Diaries First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history, from teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to gospel preachers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life.
RadioLab Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich (for WNYC, New York Public Radio) combine investigative journalism and a lively narrative style to explore a strange world, from driverless cars and the U.S. nuclear chain of command to the history of football.
Sawbones Justin and Dr. Sydnee McElroy take you on a marital tour of misguided medicine through the ages.
Scattered (WNYC, NPR) Chris Garcia's dad had one dying wish: That his family scatter his ashes off the coast of Cuba. As Chris tries to do right by his dad, he sets out to uncover the truth about a man he barely knew.
The Score: Bank Robber Diaries (true crime, 5 episodes)
The Serial Killer Podcast (hosted by Thomas Wiborg-Thune, a Norwegian)
Sincerely, X (talks from speakers whose ideas deserve to be heard, but whose identities must remain hidden. The first season features a compelling program of victims, perpetrators, investigators, activists, empaths, etc.)
1619 (New York Times writer Nikole Hannah Jones) In August of 1619, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed. See also the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project. WritesTime Magazine: "Each episode demonstrates how our economy, political system and popular culture are rooted in the slave trade and built on the work of African Americans."
Spectacular Failures Big business gone bad. Host Lauren Ober tackles some of the most spectacular business failures of all time.
Storybound (Lit Hub Radio and Podglomerate) Listen to your favorite authors and writers reading some of their most impactful stories, designed with powerful and immersive sound environments.
StartUp (hosts Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow, Gimlet Media). A show about what it’s really like to start a business.
StoryCorps (NPR, Stories of the human heart. A candid, unscripted conversation between two people about what's really important in life: love, loss, family, friendship.)
TED Radio Hour Guy Raz explores the emotions, insights, and discoveries that make us human, taking us on a narrative journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, and new ways to think and create.
Timesuck Podcast with comedian Dan Cummins (weekly deep dives into topics ranging from true crime and the paranormal to history, conspiracy theories, and cryptozoology)
Tiny Desk Concerts (NPR Music, Audio--there's also a video version).
Unobscured with Aaron Mahnke. A serialized narrative, focusing on one topic only (for Season 1, the Salem Witch Trials; Season 2, the world of Spiritualism).
Up First (NPR) The three biggest stories of the day, with reporting and analysis from NPR News — in 10 minutes.
A Very Fatal Murder (David Pascall's true-crime podcast for The Onion)
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! NPR's weekly current events quiz. Have a laugh and test your news knowledge while figuring out what's real and what they've made up.
We Like Drinking (hosts Jeff Eckles, John Ruyak, and Jeff Solomon talk with professionals from the spirits industry about booze)
What a Day (Crooked Media) Akilah Hughes and Gideon Resnick bring you the top stories of the day across politics, business, economics and pop culture--what matters and how you can fix it.
The Writer Files (Kelton Reid's interviews with a broad spectrum of writers)
You're Wrong About Mike and Sarah are journalists obsessed with the past. Every week they reconsider an event, person or phenomenon that's been miscast in the public imagination.

 

ROUND-UP REVIEWS OF PODCASTS
The best podcasts of 2019 (Digital Trends) From true crime to comedy.
The Stitcher List Weekly ranking of the most popular shows on Stitcher.
The Best History Podcasts (The Manual)
Best podcasts of 2019 so far (Esquire)
8 of the best podcasts for book lovers (Megan Sutton, The Manual, 4-19-18)
Fast-Lane Listening: The Best Podcasts for Road Trips (LeeAnn Whittemore, The Manual, 5-28-19)
Listen Up: These Podcasts Can Help You Get Your Life Together LeeAnn Whittemore (The Manual) recommends a few self-help podcasts.
20 Inspiring Writing Podcasts to Subscribe to Right Now (Brianna Bell, The Write Life)
Addictive and wonderful TV and cable shows (Pat McNees, blog post)

 

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