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Friday, August 10, 2018
What was the genesis of Nat Rich's 30,000-word long-form reportage in the Times taking up the entire issue of the August 5 edition of the glossy New York Times Sunday Magazine?
''With more and more cli-fi novels and movies on tap, I cannot stop thinking about how it is now possible to mine affecting, resonant drama out of the certainty of climate change catastrophe. It's no longer science fiction. What I'm saying here is that living through the twilight of humankind is gonna be worth it for future cli-fi novels and movies.''
-- Stephen Kelly, UK culture writer in London
HOW THE NYT ARTICLE CAME TO BE:
[What was the genesis of Nat Rich's 30,000-word long-form reportage in the Times taking up the entire issue of the August 5 edition of the glossy New York Times Sunday Magazine .....66 pages......(plus some advertisements for posh luxury brands and 3 pages of puzzles!!! -- yes gotta publish puzzles even as the Titanic goes down....).
Two years in the making, with 18 solid months of researching and writing, and conducting over 100 interviews, the piece went viral online and on blogs and Twitter, attracting both wild approving applause ....and angry, stinging criticism.] In early 2019 a nonfiction book of the same text with the same title with a much expanded narrative will be published by MCD/Farrar Strauss Giroux publishers with major fanfare in the publishing world, much like John Hersey's 1946 nonfiction piece titled HIROSHIMA that first appeared as a 30,000-word article in The New Yorker magazine later became a book and is still in print.) Also Apple has our based TV rights for a Losing Earth documentary tv series.
[Many people want to know: Did Nat pitch the idea to his editors? No, they and the Pulitzer Center people pitched it to him as a major marketing and branding undertaking, and he took them up on it -- with a nice payday, too, as you can imagine. Well, he deserved it; -- that was one long 2 year slog through research and writing and editing and publication and PR chores after publication!]
[Nat, 38, explained it all in a recent podcast in NYC, still online, done with a friend, Max Linsky, 36:]
[Paraphrased and slightly edited for clarity]:
''......No, I did not pitch the idea to the Times. Rather, it happened this way: The Times and the Pulitzer Center team asked me two years ago if this project would be something that I would be interested in doing. And I said yes.''
"And so the NYT editors and the Pulitzer Center people asked me two years ago, in 2016, if I was interested in doing something, and I said ''of course'' and we tried to figure out a way to take on the issue in an original manner, and so we came upon the idea of doing a historical piece covering ten years from 1979 to 1989.''
"So the Times has had a partnership with the Pulitzer Center ....and after a long-form article like mine is published in the Times Sunday Magazine, the Pultizer Center which helped fund my reporting, they also, after publication, chop it up into different sections for their student and educational outreach and create course syllabi and have a whole educational program and apparatus which is pretty substantial..... so my piece gets a longer life after publication than a normal NYT Sunday Magazine piece.... and in 2016 they [The Pulitzer Center people] wanted to do something about climate change. That's how all this came together over a two-year period of collaboration between the NYT and the Pulitzer Center. ''
see also via Google search "Losing Earth' author Nat Rich plans to publish book soon in the fall or early 2019 with same title