Goodbye, for now

Fairy tales. Space. The climate crisis. A pandemic. An uprising. A war. The border. The end of Roe. #MeToo. A presidential election. An insurrection. Two sets of midterms. Two State of the Union addresses. Two impeachments and a special counsel probe. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner (twice). Megxit (twice). Piers Morgan (three times). Facebook, Twitter, and Uber. Ozy, Deadspin, and Semafor. The BBC, Le Monde, and Bild. Neil Young, Stromae, and Ye. Jon Gruden, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and Simone Biles. Jeff, Jamal, Daphne, and Shireen. Five live dispatches from COP26. KJP, AOC, Bernie, Kamala, John Lewis, and Howard Schultz. ACB, Rummy, Rudy, John Boehner, John Bolton, Bill Barr, and Steve Bannon. At least eight debates. Several brutal seasons of media layoffs. Several hurricanes. Far too many mass shootings. Far too many police killings. Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Brazil, Australia, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, China, Hong Kong, India, Kashmir, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Mali, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Algeria, France, Hungary, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. More British prime ministers than I can count (and not even the current one). Some guy called Donald Trump.

Above is an (extremely) non-exhaustive list of the people, places, and events I’ve written about, all in the context of their interactions with the press, since taking over the Media Today newsletter four years ago this week—when the news cycle felt impossibly crazed and yet, it turned out, was only just getting started. Since then, as unimaginable world-historical events have tumbled forth, often all at once, I’ve compiled, critiqued, and, well, covered the coverage—much of it very good, much of it depressingly bad (especially where US politics has been concerned). At the same time, I’ve tried to cover those doing the coverage: their working conditions, the perilous finances of their business, their basic freedoms, their very lives. It has been sad, maddening, thrilling, and, often, all-consuming work. I’ve poured myself into it, while trying to approach it with humility and grace. Often, I’m sure, I got it wrong. Right, too, hopefully.

Starting today, The Media Today is taking a pause; it’ll return in early January, in a new form. I have, frankly, run myself into the ground, so I’m taking a two-month sabbatical. This doesn’t mean that CJR is going on hiatus. We’ll still be publishing regular stories, podcasts, and more on our website, cjr.org (including from my colleague Mathew Ingram, whose Thursday edition of The Media Today on journalism and tech will also be going on hiatus, but who will continue to write for the site). We’ll also continue to appear in your inboxes. Each week, we’ll keep you up to date on what we’re doing with a newsletter from our editors. And, from time to time, we’ll send you special reports and analysis directly from our newsroom.

The Media Today will return in January with a new look, and added depth to what, I hope, has been our breadth. I’ll still be writing (on political and international media), as will Mathew, and you’ll hear more, too, from different voices, both across our newsroom and outside of it. I’m excited to tell you much more about all that in the new year. For now, I’m going to hibernate for a bit.

Before I go, thanks to everyone at CJR for supporting this incarnation of The Media Today; in particular, to Brendan Fitzgerald, the editor and unsung hero of this newsletter, who is leaving CJR this week. His generosity, early-morning perspicacity, and Simpsons references will be greatly missed. And thanks to all of you, for sticking with me through four years of this; your attention in such a crowded news cycle is always appreciated and never taken for granted. Stay well. And see you soon.

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Jon Allsop is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Review of Books, Foreign Policy, and The Nation, among other outlets. He writes CJR’s newsletter The Media Today. Find him on Twitter @Jon_Allsop.