Charlie Hebdo's Editors Illustrate the Importance of Being Uncomfortable

The editorial cartoons that incited the January 7 attack by Islamist extremists on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo portrayed the prophet Muhammad in an extremely unflattering light — the faithful would call it blasphemy, though for a lot of American writers, "offensive" is the key word. When PEN announced its decision to honor Charlie Hebdo with the Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award at tonight's annual gala, six writers who had previously agreed to host tables at the event noisily withdrew.More »

'They Had Done Their Homework': Meet Victor Kovner, Attorney for The Jinx Filmmakers

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Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office
Sometimes life imitates art. Other times art intimidates life. That seemed to be the case with the HBO documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which, over the course of a decade, tracked the shady past of the New York City real estate scion, in particular the trail of deaths that seemed to follow him. The final episode of The Jinx contained a shocking revelation: Durst, after an on-camera interview with filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, wandered into a hotel bathroom still wearing his microphone and made what sounded like a full confession. The shock was compounded by real-life events. The day before the finale was set to air, the FBI arrested Durst in New Orleans for the murder of Susan Berman, a friend of his who was killed in Los Angeles in 2000.

In a media landscape transfixed by artfully told true-crime stories (The Jinx comes on the heels of NPR's wildly popular Serial podcast), the show's presentation of its case against Durst — not to mention the timing of Durst's arrest — raised a host of questions regarding the lines between entertainment and jurisprudence, chain of custody, and the legal responsibilities of documentary journalists. The Jinx navigated this thicket with the help of Victor A. Kovner, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine with a long history of providing pre-print or pre-broadcast review to media outlets (including, from the mid-1960s until the mid-2000s, the Village Voice).

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Nearly a Year After His Death, Counterculture Radio Legend Steve Post Still Brings the Laughs

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Courtesy Laura Rosenberg
Steve Post
Those familiar with the late FM-radio legend Steve Post likely remember one of the early masters of free-form radio, notorious for his acerbic wit and spontaneous on-air personality. When he died last summer at age 70 after a long battle with lung cancer, he was eulogized as a curmudgeon "who mischievously mocked himself, his employers, his sponsors, and the conventions of broadcasting."

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Read 'Escape From New York,' From Ellen Willis's Award-Winning Anthology

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University of Minnesota Press
Ellen Willis
On March 12, the National Book Critics Circle awarded the late Ellen Willis the top prize in its criticism category for The Essential Ellen Willis, a collection of over 40 years' worth of Willis's writing. Willis, who served as the first-ever pop critic for the New Yorker in the early Sixties, died of lung cancer at the age of 64 in 2006. She began writing for the Village Voice in the early Seventies, and became a staff writer here in 1979, where she remained as a writer and senior editor for the next decade.

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The Education of David Carr

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Photo by Brian Lambert
David Carr
In the early 1980s, decades before David Carr became David Carr — the New York Times' authority on all things media, brash star of the documentary Page One, author of the drug-fueled memoir The Night of the Gun — he was an ambitious journalism student who had to talk his way into reporting classes at the University of Minnesota because he couldn't pass the 40-words-per-minute typing test. Over the next fifteen years, Carr, who died tragically of lung cancer in the Times' office February 12, became a Minneapolis institution as a reporter and editor of the Twin Cities Reader, an alternative weekly that competed fiercely with City Pages until it shut down in 1997.

As a reporter, Carr brazenly investigated the darkest corners of the city: police brutality on the North Side, murders in gangland, and downtown politics. He had the gift of sight — the ability to see clearly the stories others could not — and the power of synthesis that allowed him to churn out long, complicated stories in one sitting at a typewriter. Carr influenced and later hired many young talented journalists, some of whom would go on to be among the best known in the Twin Cities.

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Jon Stewart's Five Most Memorable NYC Moments on The Daily Show

For most of the past two decades on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart has been as important a part of our political and cultural discourse as anyone. But he was often criticized for letting his New Jersey and New York City roots bleed into his show, which was otherwise directed at a national audience. He interviewed New York personalities, would sometimes send up the local story of the day, and had an odd fixation with being a vocal champion of the New York utility pizza slice. But what some saw as a show that was "too New York" (a criticism also leveled against Big Apple–based late-night comedy shows like Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman), we saw as a sign that one of our most beloved voices was also one of us. As he begins his lame-duck period before leaving The Daily Show later this year, let's look back at five of Stewart's best on-air New York City Moments.More »

The Word Those 'Wimps' at the New York Post Won't Publish

Categories: Media, Tab Libs

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The lead story on the New York Post's website a little before 9 a.m. on Tuesday was headlined "Osama bin Laden 'died like a pussy.' " After 9 a.m., the headline became "Osama bin Laden 'died like a wimp.' "

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Serial List-Maker WalletHub to Newark: You're Unhappy, Bad for Business, and You Hate Vets

Categories: Media

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Photo credit: Underpuppy via Compfight cc
Newark is catching flak from some flack's sorta flimsy ranking.
WalletHub, some kind of financial-social-media-maker-of-surveys thingy*, has dropped a bit of a shitstorm onto our downtrodden neighbors to the west.

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Power Rankings: The Worst Catcall Parody Videos

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With more than 35 million views, the video of Shoshana Roberts walking through Manhattan and being subjected to dozens and dozens of catcalls from men about her appearance and figure pulled back the curtain on an uglier part of our culture. It also spawned several cringe-inducing parodies by enterprising dudes (mostly dudes, anyway) who wanna hop on the pageview train by offering comparisons between getting catcalled as as a woman alone in New York to, oh, trash-talk you might hear as an unshaven Jets bro walking through Union Square on a Sunday. Here are the worst, from worst to least-worst.

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How Diverse Are New York City's Newsrooms?

Categories: Media

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nycmayorsoffice via Flickr
Chirlane McCray
On Sunday, the New York Post published an anonymously sourced piece detailing first lady Chirlane McCray's fury after hearing that Chief of Department Philip Banks (her pick, the paper says, for commissioner) was leaving the force after a disagreement with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

"I told you we can't trust him!" the paper says she "railed" at her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio. After that, the report goes on, the mayor "summoned Bratton to City Hall, blasting him face to face for not catering to Banks."

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