William T. Vollmann
This year, the Columbia Journalism School will give its prestigious award to Al Jazeera English. Says CJS dean Nicholas Lemann: “Al Jazeera English has performed a great service in bringing the English-speaking world in-depth coverage of the turmoil in the Middle East. We salute its determination to get to the heart of a complicated story unfolding in countries where news has historically been difficult to cover.”
Minnesota legislator Matt Dean apologizes for calling Neil Gaiman a “pencil-neck weasel.” Dean was moved to apologize because his mom “was very angry this morning and always taught me not to be a name caller.”
Byliner.com, a huge database devoted to long-form journalism of the past and present, is preparing to launch sometime this month. Based on authors you like, the site will direct you to other articles that might or might not interest you (you can glimpse some examples here). The site is also releasing original articles, including “Into the Forbidden Zone,” William T. Vollmann’s account of traveling into post-quake Japan’s nuclear hot zones.
“That [Osama bin Laden] was hiding in a community that had been created by the British is only one of the situation’s ironies.” Jeremy Bernstein reflects on the beauty and temperate weather of Abbotabad.
A new issue of Triple Canopy, Black Box, is devoted to online photographs, with Dan Torop’s “Tahoe Passage” presenting an artful combination of photos and quotes from Mark Twain’s Roughing It. As Twain wrote: “There is no end of wholesome medicine in such an experience.”