Bob Emmet Cox: “A malcontent journalist making his own brand of good trouble.”

From an obit in the Highlands Ranch Herald by Mikkel Kelly headlined “Cox wielded words as watchdog of government”:

Robert E. Cox, publisher of the Jefferson Sentinel Newspapers, died in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Retired Aurora Sentinel Publisher Harrison Cochran described him as ahead of his times. And Mr. Cox proved to be ahead of his passing by leaving an epitaph:

I have traveled on, and I leave with the knowledge that I will remember each and every one of you as I make my exit. Goodbye to all. Live happy and respectful lives. — Bob Emmett Cox 7/31/38-6/25/21

E. B. White: “No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

Today is the birthday of E. B. White, born in 1899 in Mount Vernon, New York. He started publishing essays when he was in his mid-20s. Eventually, the New Yorker decided to hire White as a staff writer and he wrote for the magazine for nearly 60 years. In 1938 he and his wife — the New Yorker’s fiction editor, Katharine Angell — left New York City and moved to a farm on the coast of Maine. There he continued to write essays and his reflections on farming for Harper’s were collected in the book One Man’s Meat.

Howard Means: The Best Books That Tell a Big Story Through a Small Lens

From a post on by Howard Means headlined “The best books that tell a big story through a small lens”:

I’m not a big fan of 800-page biographies, sprawling histories, or overweight novels that tell me everything about a subject but give me no place to sit down and enjoy the view. I want something that anchors my interest, that holds my imagination, that shows me the general through the particular — something that hints at a bigger meaning, a bigger world without shoving my nose in it. To me, great writing is all about compression — not the number of words but the richness of every word. I want a book that opens up like a flower as I read it.

How Ronan Farrow spends his Sundays: “I inherited some weird snacking preferences from my mom.”

From a New York Times story by Paige Darrah headlined “How Ronan Farrow Spend His Sundays”:

Ronan Farrow, the investigative journalist who most recently took a deep dive into the Britney Spears conservatorship case for The New Yorker with Jia Tolentino, is usually not described as laid-back. But these days he certainly looks it. “I think the phrase you’re searching for is ’90s boy band,” Mr. Farrow said about growing out his hair, which is usually groomed to a State Department-ready length. “Wasn’t the intention, but seems to be the result.”

DC Journalists Launch Media Company to Cover the Day’s Biggest Stories

From a post on by Sara Fischer headlined “DC journalists launch media company with $10 million+ funding”:

Laura McGann, former politics editor of and Politico, and Mark Bauman, previously with the Smithsonian, National Geographic and ABC News, are teaming up to launch a yet-to-be named media company.

Why it matters: McGann and Bauman say they’re looking to build a newsroom that goes deep on select topic areas like misinformation, climate and Chinese geopolitics.

Athan Theoharis: “His research into the FBI’s formerly unobtainable files produced revelations about decades of civil liberties abuses under J. Edgar Hoover”

From a New York Times obit by Richard Sandomir headlined “Athan Theoharis, Chronicler of FBI Abuses, Dies at 84”:

Athan Theoharis, a pre-eminent historian of the F.B.I. whose indefatigable research into the agency’s formerly unobtainable files produced revelations about decades of civil liberties abuses under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, died in Syracuse, N.Y….

Beginning in the mid-1970s, Theoharis, who taught history at Marquette University in Milwaukee, deftly used Freedom of Information Act requests to pry open the F.B.I.’s deep well of secrets, including the extent to which Hoover compiled damning information on public officials and his cooperation with Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy’s campaign against people he accused of being Communists.

“Newsletters May Threaten the Mainstream Media But They Build Communities”

From a Washington Post story by Sarah M. Ovink headlined “Newsletters may threaten the mainstream media, but they also build communities”:

Newsletters are in again, provoking anxiety about whether they will finally kill off newspapers.

Dozens of famous authors, journalists and scholars have started online newsletters, in some cases abandoning premier platforms like the New York Times and Vox. Top newsletter authors reportedly bring in millions, with some securing hefty advances at platforms like Substack. Original essays and cultural commentary are typically delivered via email, with creators seeking payment in monthly fees rather than through advertisement revenue. Paid subscribers can also enjoy upgrades like exclusive content, meet-and-greets or access to members-only comment sections.

How “Noise” Affects Our Judgment

From a Bookshelf interview by William Tipper and Taylor Cromwell  in the Wall Street Journal headlined “How ‘Noise’ Affects Our Judgment”:

In expertise we trust: Throughout business, science, medicine and the law, we count on the experience and training of those in carefully vetted roles to deliver consistent information and judgments. But what if we are, collectively, unable to spot the way human variability undermines that consistency?…What if, in our quest to make institutions free of unfair bias, we are overlooking an even wider cause of misinformation and injustice?

Punctuation Marks and Traffic Flow

From Roy Peter Clark in the book “Writing Tools”:

If a period is a stop sign, then what kind of traffic flow is created by other marks. The comma is a speed bump; the semicolon is what a driver education teacher calls a “rolling stop”; the parenthetical expression is a detour; the colon is a flashing yellow light that announces something important is up ahead; the dash is a tree branch in the road.

h/t Mike Pope, who posted this on Twitter.

Priscilla Johnson McMillan: “A Journalist and Historian Who Knew JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald”

From a Washington Post obit by Harrison Smith headlined “Priscilla Johnson McMillan, historian who knew both JFK and Oswald, dies at 92”:

Fresh out of graduate school in 1953, Priscilla Johnson McMillan joined the Senate staff of John F. Kennedy, then a newly elected Democrat from Massachusetts. As she told it, he was “mesmerizing” and flirtatious; if you got into a cab with him, “he’d be on you like a toad.” She turned him down but visited his bedside when he was hospitalized for spinal surgeries, posing as one of his sisters to get past a line of nurses.