The Sunday Long Read (with Steven Levy), 10/25/20

Welcome back to the SLR! Today we’ve got the privilege of introducing guest editor Steven Levy.

Steven is editor at large at WIRED and an author whose latest book is Facebook: The Inside Story. He’s written for Rolling Stone, Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and Spy. In the early, 1980s, he began writing about technology, and in 1984 his first book, Hackers, appeared, with subsequent books on Google, Apple, Cryptography and Artificial Life. Levy was a senior editor at Newsweek (when it was Newsweek) and he has been at WIRED since 2008, with a couple of years off to start a publication for Medium called Backchannel..

And now, The SLR is Steve’s!

As we tumble towards an election, it is even more impossible than ever to avoid that Covid-infected thing in the White House (Now cured!). But while I, like most of us, am still pretty much sheltered, there’s plenty of time to sample the unbelievable bounty of reporting and commentary that my colleagues heroically produce. Forty-five years ago this very month, I began my own long-form odyssey with three magazine stories—one in the now-defunct Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine (about a Penn State football weekend) and two in the November issue of Philadelphia Magazine (about Temple University’s return to big-time football effort and a profile of Bruce Springsteen). I’m proud to still be writing long.

This week was typical of our new digital normal, with voluminous coverage of the breaking news of a presidential debate, record levels of Covid, a Supreme Court nominee, and the usual bonkers behavior of our leader, in this case breaking a contract to release a video of his “60 Minutes” interview. This from an administration that briefs us on background and asks us to keep embargos! The big news in my world was the government’s suit against Google, something that the Department of Justice reminded us was their biggest move under the Sherman Act since the Microsoft trial twenty years ago. I had a lot of fun covering that trial, mainly because Bill Gates got so grouchy when discussing it. He once threw a pencil at me while disagreeing with my definition of anti-trust. I don’t expect the same from Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, a more measured leader. But since Facebook may be next in the docket, there may well be fireworks. Looking forward to Zuckerberg’s response! 

Did Apple announce the iPhone 12 this week?  Checking… no, that was last week. This week was the “Zoom dick incident.”

While writing about the Google suit, putting out my WIRED newsletter, and closing a print story, I only scratched the surface of all the amazing long reads out this week (Fortunately, I got a lot of great pointers from other readers).

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