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Writing Worth Reading

Brick By Brick: The Bezos Post

Jeff Bezos makes his presence felt as owner of the Washington Post. “We’re clearly in Get Big Fast mode,” says one editor. “The logic of the current expansion is Amazonian. We’re going to get big and then figure out what to do with it”, says another. There’s a touch of the Huffington Post about two new features, Morning Mix and Post Everything. The target, apparently, is 100m digital readers worldwide (5,100 words)

Bloomberg’s Folly

Back-story of the conflict which erupted within Bloomberg LP when Bloomberg News published an exposé of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s family wealth. Rivals hailed it as “the most amazing reporting on the Chinese leadership we have seen, maybe ever”. Bloomberg’s bosses took a different view. They feared for their business in China. A follow-up piece was spiked. China broke Bloomberg (3,785 words)

Evgeny Morozov Against The Internet

Full-length portrait of grumpy tech guru as he makes the transition from enfant terrible to world-class intellectual. “Part of my job is to raise the cost of producing bullshit, and to make sure people pay for that with shame”. Two big books under his belt, and he’s not yet 30. “If a musician were to apply a time signature to Morozov, it wouldn’t be 4/4, it would be some crazy 11/5 time signature, sort of Steely Dan meets Stockhausen” (4,600 words)

Unconventional Wisdom

Rather wonderful profile of The Baffler, “the journal that blunts the cutting edge”. Sample quotes from editor John Summers: “We want the most destructive possible criticism with the highest possible literary standards.” “The consensus has all been wrong. The country is dying at the top.” Regular contributors include Chris Lehmann, David Graeber, Susan Faludi, Rick Perlstein. So yes, you probably should be reading it more often (2,950 words)

Health Journalism: Survival Of The Wrongest

Why is so much health journalism so bad? Even the New York Times seems happy to publish collections of claims, trends and anecdotes masquerading as fact. It’s partly because health is a complicated and changing subject. But it’s more because journalists are content to report research, instead of scrutinising it as they should

Six Degrees Of Aggregation

Monumental essay on origins, development of The Huffington Post. Excellent analysis throughout. “It iterated. It did not try to eliminate the possibility of failure. It did something different. It embraced it”

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