Live Journalism, with Song, History and Taylor Mac in Melbourne – New York Times

I was there last night for a six-hour segment of what will be a 24-hour show (the final six hours are Friday night) in part simply for the fun of what one New York Times critic previously described as “one of the great experiences of my life.”

But I was also there because I’ll be hosting a discussion with Taylor and his company on Saturday as part of the festival. It’s free and open to the public — here’s how to register — and I’m looking forward to asking him not just about how his epic was produced, but also about what he adapted or changed to make certain themes, such as immigration, more relevant for Australian audiences.

I suspect we’ll also discuss President Trump, same-sex marriage, what it means to be included or excluded from the mainstream, and Taylor’s favorite songs and costumes.

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Taylor Mac performing “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” in Brooklyn in 2016.

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Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

My hope is that the discussion — live journalism, from The New York Times — will illuminate the work itself, and the relationship between culture and politics, and the United States and Australia.

These kinds of experiences are becoming a regular part of what we do all over the world, but especially in Australia. Last month I moderated panel discussions with government officials and corporate executives about fake news and global creative leadership at the International Chamber of Commerce conference in Sydney.

Next week, Joseph Kahn, the managing editor of The Times, will be in Sydney for a series of events.

He’ll give the Andrew Olle Media Lecture. And on Oct. 30 at 3 p.m., he’ll also be in conversation with Simon Jackman, the head of the United States Studies Centre, talking about what it’s like running a newsroom in an era of digital disruption and President Trump.

The event is free. Details are here. And if you do come, don’t hesitate to find me and say hello.

We are also looking at partnerships with Australian museums and cultural centers to bring New York Times journalists to new sites. And next month, I’ll be working with children on media literacy as part of MediaMe, an educational gathering led by the Australian children’s newspaper, Crinkling News.

The goal with these appearances is twofold: First, we are looking to introduce The New York Times and what we do to new audiences in Australia that may not realize we are here or can play a relevant role in their lives; second, we are looking to deepen our relationship with readers like you, those who we hope to engage in a conversation so we can learn a bit more about each other and our world.

With that in mind, we welcome feedback at nytaustralia@nytimes.com. And if you’re a subscriber, don’t forget to join our Facebook group.

Now here are my stories of the week, plus an especially personal recommendation.

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An expansion at Abbot Point is planned as part of Adani’s mining project.

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David Maurice Smith for The New York Times

Adani and More

We hired a plane to get a better view of Adani’s proposed coal mine and what it might affect. We also tried to capture the mood on the ground nearby as we explored the question: Does the world really need another giant coal mine?

This week’s Australia stories also included a touching look at a fancy ball to celebrate older gay Australians, seeking equality that goes beyond marriage; the news of Lisa Wilkinson’s decision to leave “The Today Show” amid questions of a gender pay gap; and an overview on house hunting in Melbourne (mostly for international readers).

Coming soon, hopefully this weekend: my in-depth look at Amazon’s arrival in Australia and its potential impact on this country’s book industry and culture. Keep an eye out for that.

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Kawther al-Obaid fed her injured husband at a hospital in Tal Abyad, Syria.

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Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

Syria, China, Austria, Venezuela

I found myself marveling at some of my colleagues in far-flung places this week, so I figured I’d highlight a few examples. Where in the world are New York Times correspondents?

We’re in Syria, covering the Islamic State and the battle for Raqqa. We’re in China, examining Xi Jinping and the Communist Party congress. We’re in Austria, probing the rise of a 31-year-old populist leader, Sebastian Kurz. And we’re in Venezuela, looking closely at the country’s electoral credibility.

You can always find all of our global coverage on our World page.

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George Saunders has won the Man Booker Prize for his first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo.”

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David Crosby

Read George Saunders, Now

George Saunders has won the Man Booker Prize for his novel “Lincoln in the Bardo,” and many of his fans (me included) are thrilled for him.

He’s a bit of a New York Times favorite, so much so that we even made an immersive 360-degree video inspired by his novel, but if you’re new to his work, you’ll want to read this magazine profile of him from a few years ago, when he published his fourth book of short stories, “Tenth of December.”

It’s a wonderful book. Without any exaggeration, that book and his speech to college graduates about kindness changed my outlook on life.

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Opinion | Selections

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• Michelle Goldberg, our newest Opinion columnist, takes on the tut-tutting Republicans using Harvey Weinstein’s demise to lecture about liberal hypocrisy: “The movie business is corrupt, depraved and iniquitous — and still morally superior to the Republican Party under Trump.”

• Frank Bruni, as only a foodie like Frank can, finds existential dread and American horror in that autumnal flavor known as pumpkin spice. “It’s invention run amok,” he writes, “marketing gone mad, the odoriferous emblem of commercialism without compunction or bounds.”

• David Brooks laments something I’ve noticed as well in the United States and in other developed democracies (including Australia) — lost faith in institution building. He describes it as “a loss of civic imagination.”

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… And We Recommend

Last year, I worked with a handful of colleagues on a digital project called Unpublished Black History.

We unearthed a series of photos from The New York Times archives about black history in the United States and explored what the images revealed and why they had never been seen before.

Now, those photos and dozens more are part of a new book: “Unseen: Unpublished Black History from The New York Times Photo Archives.”

I’m a co-author, which puts me in the awkward position of recommending my own work, but really, I’m just one of many involved and even if I had nothing to do with it, I’d still be recommending the book for the images and the conversation it aims to stir up: What do we see and what do miss in our own country’s history? And how or when does journalism have a responsibility to go back and re-examine its own choices?


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