Introducing: Nice White Parents — Serial
The New York Times Company has agreed to buy Serial Productions, the company behind the hit podcast “Serial,” The Times said on Wednesday, in the paper’s latest move to broaden its digital journalism.
Rachel Abrams for The New York Times
Two birds with one stone in this announcement: Interesting to see The New York Times put their bid in the podcast space. Rather than buying a preexisting podcast network, the Times has purchased a production company. This is also better than a service exclusively buying Serial produced podcasts, like Spotify with Joe Rogan. Serial now has better financial backing to make better and more shows that will be available as an open and available podcast.
Nice White Parents sounds right up the alley of Serial-style podcasts. Excited to listen to it when it airs on July 30.
Resignation Letter by Bari Weiss
Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.
What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.
I’m no regular read of The New York Times: I had never heard of Bari Weiss before today. I became aware of this letter (ironically) through Twitter. Weiss’ words ring true with me though in the types of exchanges I see on social platforms more and more. I feel like this behavior and mentality happens consistently within the video game industry, its journalism aspect included. Outrage and dogpiling are regular events to observe.
Weiss’ letter is a far more eloquent, well-thought, and lived than my own writing. I did voice my own frustration last month in a post titled 280 Characters is Not Enough. The court of public opinion is operating with a “shoot first, never ask questions” mandate that is killing off all the principles I was taught while earning my own degree in journalism.
Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on Fire: by Aaron Gordon for VICE
About 8 months ago, I got a handwritten letter through the mail on a blank piece of paper with one sentence: “File a FOIA with USPS for LLV truck fires.” 4,000 pages of documents later, here’s the story
Aaron Gordon via Twitter
This is some Deep Throat style reporting.
In 125 cases, the trucks were so thoroughly destroyed that the investigators were unable to identify a probable fire cause. Of the remaining 282 fires where investigators could identify a likely cause, the only pattern was that there was no pattern.
The fires occurred in hot and cold climates, at the beginning and ends of shifts, in the battery compartments, dashboards, and fuel pumps, and in vehicles that had both been recently maintained and were overdue for a check-up. They occurred on rural routes and city streets all over the country.
Although one engineering report found occasional lax maintenance practices that may have resulted in an increase in the number of fires, the most likely explanation for the fires is that the trucks are simply too old and are deteriorating on the road.
Besides being crazy, this story caught my attention because I personally know a mailperson. Ironic that the initial tip was sent using the USPS. It seems like it could have burst into flames before Gordon could have even read it.