Nikki Usher: The Culture War Swallows the News

From a story on by Nikki Usher headlined “The Culture War Swallows the News”:

It’s 2037, and the expected decline in access to local news and information hasn’t happened — at least not how we thought — but the inequality between those who have access to high-quality journalism and those who don’t mirrors the even starker income inequality dividing the country.

Local digital-first sites, once known as local television, have AI anchors. Audiences (wrongly) believe them to be more neutral than the humans that cover national issues, either for the Republican-backed internet or the “regular internet” now only used by Democrats and for Hollywood’s content distribution.

Lance Morrow: How Minnesota Went From Tom Sawyer to Huck Finn

From a Wall Street Journal commentary by Lance Morrow headlined “How Minnesota Went From Tom Sawyer to Huck Finn”:

I wrote a 1973 cover story for Time magazine that praised Minnesota as “the state that works.” The cover photograph showed Gov. Wendell Anderson, dressed in a plaid flannel shirt, grinning and holding up a northern pike that he had just caught in one of Minnesota’s 12,000 lakes.

The story began with this archaic rhapsody: “It is a state where a residual American secret still seems to operate. Some of the nation’s more agreeable qualities are evident there: courtesy and fairness, honesty, a capacity for innovation, hard work, intellectual adventure and responsibility. . . . Minnesotans are remarkably civil; their crime rate is the third lowest in the nation (after Iowa and Maine).”

John McWhorter: There Now Is Less Writing About “We” and “They” and More About “I”

From a New York Times guest essay by John McWhorter headlined “Don’t, Like, Overanalyze Language”:

A most interesting recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — examining what its authors describe as “the surge of post-truth political argumentation” — proposes that of late, English speakers and writers are more given to using intuition than reason.

Axios Starts Subscription Newsletters Aimed at Dealmakers

From a story on by Sarah Scire headlined “Axios launches a premium subscription product aimed at the ‘dealmakers’ among us”:

The same week Axios celebrated its five-year anniversary, the news startup known for its rapid-fire editorial style has launched Axios Pro, a subscription service focused on deals in financial technology, health technology, and retail.

Axios has been hinting at plans to launch a premium subscription product since the very beginning. Back in 2016, Axios founder Jim VandeHei said he couldn’t imagine being “super intrigued with a subscription less than $10,000” for his new venture. The newly-debuted Axios Pro costs quite a bit less than that — $600/year for one newsletter or $1,800/year for all Pro newsletters — but it’s still not priced for the causal reader. (There’s a free two-week trial.)

January 22, 1973: The Day That Changed America

From a Washington Post Retropolis story by James D. Robenalt headlined “January 22, 1973: The day that changed America”:

It was a day unlike any other in U.S. history. Jan. 22, 1973, was the day Henry Kissinger flew to Paris to end the Vietnam War for the United States. It was the day the Supreme Court issued its opinion on abortion rights in Roe v. Wade. And it was the day the nation’s 36th president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, died of a heart attack in Texas at 64.

Meat Loaf: His Operatic Rock Anthems Made Him an Unlikely Pop Star

From a page one Washington Post obit by Matt Schudel headlined “Meat Loaf, whose operatic rock anthems made him an unlikely pop star, dies at 74”:

Meat Loaf, a singer whose soaring, near-operatic rock anthems and mega-selling “Bat Out of Hell” album made him an unexpected pop star of the 1970s and 1980s and whose many acting roles included an integral part in the cult movie classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” died Jan. 20….

The New York Times By the Book With Tom McCarthy: “The Wrong Kurt Vonnegut Book Is Famous”

From a New York Times By the Book column headlined “Tom McCarthy Thinks the Wrong Kurt Vonnegut Book Is Famous”:

“I was really disappointed when I read ‘Slaughterhouse-Five,’” says Tom McCarthy, the author of “The Making of Incarnation” and other novels. “But then I read his ‘Mother Night,’ and thought it was brilliant.”

What books are on your night stand?

“Critique of Fantasy,” by Laurence Rickels; “The Superrationals,” by Stephanie LaCava; “The Encyclopedia of Surfing,” by Matt Warshaw.

What’s the last great book you read?

Richard Stengel: “What concerns me is that the news business will cleave into the Haves and the Have Nots”

From a story on by Richard Stengel headlined “A Sharpening Divide Between the Haves and Have Nots”:

I’ll stick to the news business, which is what I know a little bit about. I’m generally pretty bullish, but what concerns me about the future is that the news and information business will cleave into two broad categories based on audience: the Haves and the Have Nots.

The Haves — the 200 or so million college educated folks around the world — will have bespoke and sophisticated content that is tailored to their individual interests that they will pay for with premium subscriptions. Heck, they’ll have online news concierges that answer their questions and create colorful pie charts and personalized tutorials.

A Single Word Sparks a Crossfire Between the Supreme Court and NPR Reporter Nina Totenberg

From a Washington Post story by Paul Farhi headlined “A single word sparks a crossfire between the Supreme Court, NPR and its star reporter Nina Totenberg”:

A single word sparked a dispute this week that ensnared at least three Supreme Court justices, a veteran NPR reporter, and eventually her newsroom’s public editor.

It may all come down to the use of the word “asked.”

The Jesup Citizen Herald Can’t Find the Right Buyer and Prints Its Final Edition

From a story on by Andy Milone headlined “Longtime Jesup newspaper ceases publishing after not finding the right buyer”:

The Jesup Citizen Herald weekly community newspaper was printed for the final time Dec. 29, its publisher, Kim Edward Adams, confirmed. That effectively ends a 122-year run, 43 of which have been under Adams’ leadership.

Its website,, while still active, includes a touching letter from Adams titled, “Saying goodbye to Jesup,” as well as access to recent obituaries, and contact information for him.