Category Archives: writing

Frank Sinatra has a kale salad


Frank Sinatra ate something once and someone probably reported on it.

Celebrities ate (and drank) a lot of things in 2013. Sometimes a print media reporter was present to capture it. Here is a 2013 history of food consumption as told through through celebrity profiles.*

Steve McQueen, director 12 Years a Slave: curry

“We’d each ordered curry, and when the young waitress came back to ask about the food, McQueen pointed at the B-grade health-inspector placard in the window, joking, in his hurried London accent, that it deserved an A.”

Jimmy Fallon, late-night host: Peppers with anchovies

“At Frankies Spuntino restaurant in Brooklyn, Jimmy Fallon orders the peppers with anchovies to share.”

Renata Adler, author: the briniest mollusks

“I met Renata Adler on a cold December day – actually, on 12/12/12, a date that spawned mass weddings and superstitions – at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York. We realized within minutes of being seated that the plan was a mistake. Over endlessly echoing, impossibly loud lunchtime noise, we ordered Bloody Marys and the briniest mollusks and agreed to just treat lunch as lunch.”

Armie Hammer, actor, The Lone Ranger: steak

“Alas, the bar doesn’t open till 8 p.m., the waiter tells us. Acceptance settling in, Hammer orders a steak, rare.” Continue reading

A 2011 power ranking of New York writers as food

(see  below)

Emma Strauberry

Jen Carlsjrson

Puree Shafrir

Anil Mrs. Dash

Nate Freerangechicken

Brian Rieses Pieces

Rosie Gravy

Carl Ron Swanson’s Breakfast

Choire Sriracha

Alex Balkan Tulumbe 

Jim Brûlée

Emily Gulden’s

Kat Stouffers

Jen Dahl

Dill Keller

Sachertorte Frere-Jones

Joe Cous-couscarelli

Hugo Limburger

Ryan O’krannel

Edith Zeppoleman 

Lawrence Ryeght

Jennifer Veganburger 

Molson Whitehead

Jonathan Franzia

Brian Speltler 

David Carrbonara

The best time I got rejected from The Awl

Dec 23, 2011, 9:22am:
>For your consideration. Thanks!



Dec 23, 2011 at 9:33 AM, Choire Sicha wrote:

You are so wrong in the head!

Dec 23, 2011 at 9:36 AM, Tim Donnelly wrote:
> sometimes I just have to amuse myself.

Dec 23, 2011 at 9:39 AM, Choire Sicha wrote:

Dec 23, 2011 at 10:12 AM, Tim Donnelly wrote:
> this is still exponentially nicer than most pitch responses I get*
On Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 10:16 AM, Choire Sicha wrote:
(*this is so true).

Recent conversations with editors

1. via email

Me: not to be hung up on the newspaper era…
…but we have a hell of a front page right now
Editor: you mean the wood?
Me: I mean the whole first page is power-loaded. is “wood” an obscure term even I don’t know?
Editor: front page of a tabloid!
Me: broadsheet til the death!
Editor: Yes, bored to death.

2. via text

3. via email

Me: (sends article)
Editor: Gracias! (Note: I really still don’t understand how wireless internet works. Is that weird?)
Me: Kinda?

Will horizontal loyalty save journalism?

The speech by Radiolab host Robert Krulwich is one of the best (only?) optimistic things I’ve read about journalism since I saw newspapers my friends and I worked for take a nosedive in quality over the past five years. And it’s certainly one of the most honest things I’ve read about the industry since graduating J school, a period of years when we were all fed tone-deaf and and unrealistic optimism about what was clearly a flawed business model (for instance, the McClatchy head’s video message to employees that taking on a ton of debt by buying Knight Ridder was still a smart decision, ending the video by quoting [and then playing] the song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”)

The speech to Berkeley Journalism School’s Class of 2011 earlier this month should be required reading for every recent J school grad, every person toiling away in the journalism salt mines and everyone who hasn’t abdicated the future to aggregators and partisan news outlets.

In a nut, Krulwich’s point is: stop caring about big media. The era where a job at CBS, The New York Times or Newsweek meant you had “made it,” that you had reached the plateau of your career built upon a mountain of hard scrabble reporting chops, and now you could coast for a career along with the big fish, is most certainly over. A job at the NYT is no longer an invincibility cloak.

“You can’t trust big companies to keep you safe,” Krulwich told the grads. Continue reading

Everyone gets a go

This little comment I got from one of our new writers this week after posting her first story warmed my heart in a strange way, and it alone explains why there’s inherent value in working for a scrappy but diligent blog staffed by volunteers, open to all and welcoming to anyone willing to put the time in to contribute — and also why, even with all the hyper competitiveness bred into all corners of New York City, Brooklyn is the right place to be for anyone just looking for a place to give it a shot:

AWESOME!  My first non-self published work ever!  Thanks!  (AKA, looks great.)

I know the feeling, for sure, and I’m glad to help. (And in case the relevant writer happens to be reading this, thanks for sharing!)

At long-form J panel, hunger is the only future

David Remnick and Ira Glass at the New School

What was supposed to be a discussion of the role of long-form journalism in the world of Twitter and Tumblr turned more into a wistful and vibrant defense of “elitism” in media. Throughout the entire two hour panel at the New School featuring an all-star panel of long form journalists — David Remnick, Ira Glass, Raney Aronson-Rath of Frontline and Stephen Engelberg of ProPublica and Alison Stewart (formerly of MTV News!), the host — the word “Twitter” was only mentioned but twice, while the discussion of the demographics of the audience for long-form journalism received loads of attention.

Among the more interesting revelations made during the Longform Storytelling in a Short-Attention-Span World panel organized by ProPublica on Wednesday, was the sheer amount of excess necessary to pursue in-depth journalism.

Ira Glass, host of This American Life (and an increasingly incisive media critic in his own right), said that half the interviews he conducts never make it on the air. Even when the first 48 episodes of the show were in production years ago, the $240,000 budget still allowed enough wiggle room to spike interviews, Glass said. Continue reading