Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Fridge Clean-Out: Of author blogs, writing contests, jilted journalists, and a J-school's flub

The fridge is overloaded, links are threatening to leak all over. Here goes:

Follow along as (my friend) novelist Christina Baker Kline chronicles the year ahead as she writes a new historical novel, Orphan Train. Along the way, her upcoming novel Bird in Hand will hit the market, she'll teach in London and at Fordham's MFA program, and otherwise be her amazing self. She's a first-time (and already a first-rate) blogger. So go, visit!

• Gotham Writers' Workshop is holding a two day writing weekend, June 20-21, in Manhattan, at a very reasonable fee.

• Here's a thoughtful piece on writing contests, and oh yes, those contest fees.

• One estimate has it that nearly 15,000 folks have already been laid off, downsized, terminated, bought out, or otherwise thrown from the media train in the last year. This new site's title says it all: Jilted Journalist.

• I have "met" so many interesting writers and other literary types over on Twitter, many of whom have terrific blogs which I never would have found otherwise. I’m going to try to list at least one here each week, and I'll start with Blog of Innocence, where Lethe Bashar (find him on Twitter @blogofinnocence) shares "essays and meditations on social technology, science, writing, art, and life."

• I got my journalism degree at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications, and have always been proud of that. But this week I couldn't agree more with Simon Dumenco's AdAge column drubbing the (relatively new) Dean of Newhouse for presenting the University's Lifetime Achievement Mirror Award to….wait for it…Arianna Huffington.

Yes, the same Arianna whose Huffington Post refuses to pay writers, who says that's "not our business model," and who instead insists that "visibility, promotion and distribution" are compensation enough.

If I were a parent paying $40,000 a year for an SU journalism education I'd want to ask: Why is my child's journalism school Dean more or less affirming the Huffington "business model" of not paying writers, by honoring its founder? And if I were a student there now, I'd want to know: Why is SU condoning the decimation of the very profession it is preparing me to enter?

• Since it is Friday, and I don't want to end on a sour note, here's another blog about a forthcoming memoir which pivots on the popular what-I-did-for-a-year theme. This one's The Happiness Project. The question is, can one woman get happy by following all the theories, suggestions, and advice out there?

Have a great weekend.

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