Peter Manso: A journalist and biographer of Marlon Brando and Norman Mailer

From a New York Times obit by Sam Roberts headlined “Peter Manso, Biographer of Brando and Mailer, Dies at 80”:

Peter Manso, an embracing biographer of Marlon Brando and Norman Mailer and a journalist whose piercing interviews with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward I. Koch returned to haunt them when they ran for the governorships of California and New York, died on Wednesday at his home in Truro, Mass., on Cape Cod….

Anne Lamott: “Mondays are not good writing days”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of writer Anne Lamott, born in San Francisco in 1954. She was an alcoholic and an addict in addition to being a novelist; she went to rehab, became a Christian, started teaching writing, and in 1993 published a journal of the first year of her son’s life, Operating Instructions, to great acclaim. Within a year she’d published Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, a book known for giving advice to aspiring writers that’s practical and wry.

On Editing Oliver Sacks: He Never Stopped Loving Publishing

From a post on by Bill Hayes headlined “On Editing Oliver Sacks After He Was Gone”:

As much as Oliver Sacks loved writing (and I do mean the very act itself—filling his fountain pen; starting a fresh yellow pad; whispering words aloud to himself as they came to) he also loved getting published.

The “getting” part was a big part of it: Even after publishing 13 books and hundreds of essays and articles in his lifetime, Oliver still considered it a privilege to “get” his work in print….

From the Washingtonian Magazine’s Notes for Writers

Speak to the reader as an intelligent friend. The best style is clear, honest, and direct. We like sophisticated ideas and simple language, not the reverse. And don’t forget the favorite question of the late New Yorker editor Harold Ross: “What the hell do you mean?”

Jessica Bacal About Dealing With Literary Rejection: “I interviewed many about their lowest blows and letdowns.”

From a post on by Jessica Bacal about dealing with literary rejection:

Professional rejection is like romantic rejection. Remember how you went for a drink with the person who broke your heart because you were “still friends?” At goodbye, you hugged in the darkened doorway of your apartment building, which turned into making out. He came upstairs, and the next day you felt lonely and full of regret. When you pin your future hopes on a person—or a job, or a publication, rejection can wreak havoc on your identity. And the feelings rejection, even professional rejection, stirs up can hang around….

Anne Beatts: “Her words were like weapons — really sharp, really satirical.”

From a New York Times obit by Neil Genzlinger headlined “Anne Beatts, Original ‘S.N.L.’ Writer, Dies at 74”:

Anne Beatts, who wrote for “Saturday Night Live” from its beginning in 1975 until 1980, a raucous, innovative period that established the show as a central feature of the American cultural landscape, died on Wednesday at her home in West Hollywood, Calif…..

Ms. Beatts had written for National Lampoon and other outlets when the producer Lorne Michaels signed her for a new late-night sketch show to be aired live on NBC on Saturdays.

Reporting Lessons From Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh

From a post on by Don Nelson headlined “Lessons from a relentless ‘Reporter'”:

“Reporter” had to be the inevitable title for legendary investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh’s 2018 autobiography. It’s perfect — a simple, proud word that encompasses craft, passion and conscience. In Hersh’s telling, it’s the grandest job in the news business and, done right, the most demanding.

Hersh was a freelancer in 1969 when he uncovered the truth behind the My Lai massacre, a search-and-destroy mission that left 504 Vietnamese villagers dead, the majority of them women and children. His story became one of the revelations that shaped American sentiments against the Vietnam War. It also earned Hersh a Pulitzer Prize and elevated a career that included stints at The New York Times and The New Yorker….

Brooke Baldwin: “Raising the curtain on CNN’s male-dominated staff and how she had to fight for women’s stories”

From a story by Gabrielle Fonrouge headlined “Anchor Brooke Baldwin claims CNN’s leadership too male-dominated”:

With little over a week left on the job, outgoing CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin is raising the curtain on the network’s male-dominated executive staff and how she had to “fight for women’s stories.”

“The most influential anchors on our network, the highest-paid, are men. My bosses, my executives, are men. The person who oversees CNN Dayside is a man, and my executive producer for 10 years is a man. So I’ve been surrounded by a lot of men,” Baldwin, 41, said. “I was surrounded by a lot of dudes,” she said….

About the Media and Political Conflict: “Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out”

From a Wall Street Journal column by Jonathan Marks about Amanda Ripley’s book “High Conflict, Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out”:

Amanda Ripley, a journalist whose first book, “The Unthinkable,” was about how people survive disasters, has covered “all manner of human misery.” Her latest book, “High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out,” is prompted by misery of the American political kind. After the 2016 election, Ms. Ripley reflects, journalists who cared about telling the truth in all its complexity were preaching to a “shrinking choir of partisans.” Those who still read the news searched it for weapons to use against enemies. It “felt like curiosity was dead.”

The Next Generation of News People: “You should start by covering a community for a newspaper.”

From a story on about the next generation of news professionals:

Alec E. Johnson, 35
Editor and publisher, Watertown Daily Times; president and chief operating officer, Johnson Newspaper Corp.
Watertown, N.Y.

Education: Columbia University, master of science, journalism; Dickinson College, bachelor of arts, political science

What advice do you have for other young professionals in the news industry?