who's got the most toxic culture of them all?

The weird musical chairs effect of media outlets reporting out each others’ racist, abusive, or generally shoddy work culture recently sure feels like one big The Office standoff meme; just in the past week, we had Digiday on Bleacher Report, Business Insider on more suspensions at Bon App, and Jezebel on Remezcla, amongst many others (though I’m still waiting on whoever wants to flesh out the Peter Meehan/Lucky Peach narrative!! good lord is hip food media messed up!!) 

You should read them all and then also make time to read the latest from yesterday, VICE’s blockbuster of a report on What Went Wrong at The Los Angeles Times, which is basically a compendium of all the different ways you could erode a newsroom staff and their trust, complete with mysterious anonymous letters, a truly horrific metaphor about seeds and soil, and ugh, just the most dramatic first quote you could dream of. 


Signal Boost:

Joe Cole: I have 7+ years in the ad industry, mostly in social/digital strategy. I’m preferably looking join the social/digital/marketing team for a Democratic political campaign. I would also be interested in political orgs or non-profits related to voter rights, climate change/green new deal, or other progressive causes. Essentially, I’m tired of selling cars and fast food and I want to help democracy and people. As my job hunting experience is mostly tailored to ad agencies, I am interested in everything from posted job opportunities to picking the brain of people who are in these spheres, particularly if they are or have worked on a political campaign. Email SBjoecole@gmail.com


Deez Links is a dailyish newsletter written by delia cai. You can support the newsletter by sharing it or hitting up our merch store! Also, we are off tomorrow so see ya Monday!

and you thought your job was hard over zoom

After devouring all ten episodes of Mindy Kaling’s very sweet Never Have I Ever on Netflix **only** a month after everyone else had been talking about it (a personal record!), I was watching some Instagram Live interview that actor Darren Barnet did a few weeks ago, and he mentioned shooting an entire movie over Zoom, and I remember thinking hmmm must be some bit role in like a teen flick that involves like ten min of video chatting, but Vanity Fair just wrote up a piece on the upcoming movie: This Cast and Crew Made a Film in Quarantine Without Ever Meeting, and even if the plot sounds very Unfriended (2014), the mind-blowing logistics of how this movie got made will definitely go down in history. 

The two coolest details imo: Apparently, the hair and makeup team would send the cast video tutorials on how to fake bruises and wound, and the action consultants would tape themselves doing the choreography and then also do a step-by-step tutorial. The article makes a big point out of how unusual it is for cast members to handle so much of the non-acting work of making the movie, but in the DIY YouTuber (and TikTokker) era, it almost seems bizarre to remember that onscreen talent isn’t usually pulling double-duty as their own producers, costumers, directors, etc.

Anyway TL;DR, if not a general appreciation for the constantly evolving world of movie magic and Zoom complications, your takeaway today is that we as a society get Darren Barnet onscreen soon!!!! (hello obvi I am pro-Paxton but we should all ultimately and forever be Team Mohan.)


Signal Boost:

Yvonne Juris: A former employee of Law360, who for the past two years covered federal and state tax news and controversy, I am now looking for a position as a staff writer or editor covering politics, financial news, immigration, health, police brutality and/or the arts and culture. I am a multimedia journalist who also has experience with podcasts and audio and on-camera reporting. Additionally, I'm a classically trained singer and flautist and have a strong background in music reporting. Previously worked as a contributor for Bustle and People Magazine, interned at MSNBC and holds an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Please reach out to yvonnepeople21@gmail.com.


Deez Links is a dailyish newsletter written by delia cai. You can support the newsletter by sharing it or hitting up our merch store!

You could get a $25k advance or a whole entire $100K grant if you’re one of Substack’s next fellows

Some news Deez Links has learned: Substack, aka your fave newsletter platform and mine, duh, is launching a second round of their independent writers fellowship, only this time instead of a $3,000 stipend, you could land one of four **$25,000 advances** or the **$100,000 senior fellow grant.** That’s huge!

All the details are on their site, but basically the difference between the advance and the grant is this: 

  • The $25K works more like a book advance in that it’s an “up front payment out of the fellow’s expected future earnings,” per Fiona Monga, who leads Substack’s writer partnerships. The idea is that you’d start/have a Substack newsletter that charges a subscription, then Substack gets 40% of the subscription revenue (plus the normal 10% fee they charge all paid newsletters, plus credit card transaction fees) until they make back the $25,000.

    After that, you get to keep all the money you make from subscriptions (though Substack will still have the 10% fee, and there will still be credit card fees, etc.) If you don’t make back the $25,000, you do not owe Substack.

    *Also,* you still get the no-strings-attached $3,000 stipend (which is separate from the advance!), and if you don’t actually want to do subscriptions, you can forgo the advance entirely and just get the stipend and coaching/other perks.

  • The senior fellowship, which comes with the $100K grant, meanwhile, is paid out over six months while you publish on Substack. The only requirement is that you gotta publish something every week!

Other perks of both levels of the fellowship: You get a bunch of mentorship and support, including coaching from independent subscription model posterboy Judd Legum, newsletter branding help, and even a finance 101 workshop with personal finance wiz Yanely Espinal, who will be teaching banking basics, tax considerations, investing basics, and how to manage money earned from subscriptions. Basically, the kind of support network every independent writer would commit crimes for. Also you get a cool custom domain like the kind actual ur-Substackers like Daniel Lavery and Bill Bishop have, which honestly will be the biggest of flexes.

Who gets to apply? Per Monga: “Any writer on Substack anywhere in the world,” which includes writers who have just signed up to start on Substack, writers who have been writing free publications, and writers who have paid publications.” So as long as you have a Substack account, this could be you!! Go get ‘em. 

Applications are open today through Tuesday, July 14 at 5:00 pm PDT, and winners are announced Tuesday, July 28, so gogogogogo get that $$$ my newsletter brethren!!


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Deez Links is a dailyish newsletter written by delia cai.

i've got your thursday night plans right here

If you also saw Twitter aflutter last week about comedian Ziwe Fumudoh doing an IG live interview with Alison Roman (future generations will be able to take Alison Roman Discourse 1100 as an accredited history class one day I hope) and weren’t totally sure what the deal was, Vanity Fair’s Yohana Desta has the Q&A with Ziwe that you need, complete with asking the obvious question: How did you get so comfortable asking people uncomfortable questions? To which Ziwe answers:

I like awkwardness. I like tension. I’ve gone through several white institutions as sort of an other, so I am constantly having conversations where I’m the person who’s uncomfortable and the people I’m talking to are none the wiser. I’m confronted with these issues when I’m talking to someone and they say, “Oh, I got married on a plantation.” Well, why did you get married on a plantation? The subtext is uncomfortable for me, so I want to bring the subtext to the foreground.

All eyes peeled for whether we get Lea Michele on the docket for this week’s show (follow @ziwef, her shows are Thursdays at 8). Ahh, appointment viewing. How I’ve missed you. (@menshealthmag see you there??)


Deez Links is a dailyish newsletter written by delia cai.You can support the newsletter by sharing it or hitting up our merch store!

even your "scrappy" faves aren't immune from toxic work culture

So Jezebel’s account of all the horrifying bullying and Toxic Media Startup Bro Syndrome that has apparently been going down at Remezcla for ages is just one rolling horror story, not only about the all-too familiar ways “scrappy” outlets get away with working 20-something-year-old women of color into the ground and casually not having an HR department, but also re: the crushing betrayal incurred when this shit is happening at a supposedly mega progressive outlet that was designed in the first place to give voice to underrepresented Latinx culture.

The details are bad, but I was struck by the common thread in a lot of the interviews from the women staffers where they talk about just being too inexperienced or early in their careers to have expected better. It makes you wonder if maybe the sum total of all this recent reportage on toxic media culture (/ work culture in general since the #MeToo Movement) means that every time a piece like this gets published, we’re arming future generations with incredibly valuable warning: that work — even for a dream job at the dream company — should never feel like this. And for those of us who are already here, it’s our responsibility to make sure of it.


Deez Links is a dailyish newsletter written by delia cai.You can support the newsletter by sharing it or hitting up our merch store!

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