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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Baum’

Book Review Sparks Reporting Feud

9780670021079L.jpgOver the weekend, journalist Dan Baum reviewed Rebecca Solnit‘s new book, “A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster” for the Washington Post. At the end of the review, Baum criticized her reporting on “illegal killings” in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. “She is right to raise the issue, but she fails to turn rumor into proof,” he wrote.

Solnit replied in a letter that began, “You slander me and my book,” disputing Baum’s points about the killings. Here’s an excerpt from her letter that sparked a nonfiction reporting feud: “The reluctance of the mainstream media to give credence to this story even in the face of substantial evidence has been one of the most shocking things about it. You owe me an apology. You owe a much bigger one to history.”

On his website, Baum replied in a post entitled, “Evidence vs. Hearsay.” If you want to read more about the city, Baum recently compiled a list of “The Best Books about New Orleans” for The Daily Beast. (Via Jesse Sunenblick) UPDATE: Solnit wrote GalleyCat, sending readers to the work of investigative reporter A. C. Thompson to support her case.

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Party Like a New Yorker Editor

pleasestepbackd.jpgIn his Twitter essay this week, Dan Baum called the New Yorker office atmosphere “vastly strained,” and Susan Orlean objected. As a real life counterpoint, one New Yorker editor’s book party wasn’t a bit strained earlier this week.

GalleyCat Secret Agent Rachel Sklar prowled Ben Greenman‘s book party at Galapagos Art Space. The editor was celebrating the release of “Please Step Back,” and the two-level party was packed with literary types. Greenman even unveiled his theme song, “Please Step Back” by Swamp Dogg.

Here’s more from Rachel Sklar: “Who else was there–Sasha Frere-Jones (on stage w/ him); Jody Rosen (Slate); David Sax (Save The Deli), Alana Newhouse (Nextbook Editor in Chief), Dan Rollman (URDB); Lauren Mechling (“Dream Girl” ); Larry Smith (Six Word Memoirs). Greenman commented: ‘Brooklyn humiliates other cities in terms of how many people are doing good work.’”

Dan Baum’s New Yorker Twitter-versy

danbaum.jpgHundreds of Twitter users have been analyzing tweets from former New Yorker writer Dan Baum like ancient scroll fragments. Following numerous questions from readers about his time at the famous literary magazine, the author of “Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans” decided to serialize his memories–in 140-character Twitter posts.

Twitter readers have pondered the essay all morning. John McQuaid wrote: “1st word of [Tom] Wolfe’s attack on the [New Yorker] was ‘Omerta!’–the Mafia code of silence that [Dan Baum] is now breaking.”

Sarah Weinman debated the merits of the Twitter essay with Leon Neyfakh: “Delivering serial narrative people want to read (with cliffhangers!) … no one’s done it before, and it gets people talking about Dan Baum, I guess.”

And finally, Richard Nash commented on the form itself: “I don’t think it’s optimized. This feels like a stunt, a good one, but just a stunt. A budding art that’ll get nipped…”