Betsy Morais

Hello there! My name is Betsy and I’m on the editorial staff of The New Yorker. Before that I did research, fact-checking, and web writing for The Atlantic magazine. I’m a recent graduate of Columbia University, where I studied anthropology and philosophy, spent six months as an editorial intern at The New Yorker, edited the news at the Columbia Daily Spectator, and wrote the Varsity Show. I like to write, and when I find myself with some spare time, fall into the mindsuck of the internet. So here I am, nice to see you!

Writing

The New Yorker

The Book of the Future, Sliced and Diced

A voyage to digital book world.

A Museum of Math

A non math-person goes to the museum.

Sarin in the sky

With Syria in mind, a look at the worst case of Sarin poisoning in American history.

Anthropological video games

Running a sweatshop and playing "Guess my Race."

Ladies who drink

A book on women and alcohol leaves the reader with a hangover.

Table tennis may be the only Olympic sport that’s played concurrently in frat parties and nursing homes.

With a new iPad app, LeVar Burton reads to his fans again, twenty years later.

When the local community board gathered for a meeting the other night, concerned citizens chimed in on a dispute over exactly when Sunday brunch is served. The official answer, according to a rarely enforced city law for sidewalk cafés, is not before noon. But this week, three New York City Council members set out to legislate in favor of morning brunching.

Scrolling through these deleted tweets is a bit like falling into a portal to a politician's self-correcting brain.

April showers sprinkled onto the High Line’s greenery like the misty spray in a supermarket produce aisle. Meanwhile, under the cover of the 16th Street Chelsea Market passage, Alison Knowles was looking for her cleavers.

The Atlantic

How designers are responding to e-readers.

For “Pilgrimage,” the photographer turned her camera away from celebrities, toward important traces of cultural history, and caught up with Susan Sontag.

I tagged along while the former NYTimes.com design director and new Mixel creator walked his dog, Mister President.

A startup sets out to stock digital shelves of allusions.

Despite all his lucky breaks, he still feels like he got screwed.

A character study of Kevin Clash, the puppeteer in Elmo’s shadow.

There is a long-held belief about cinema: “There never was a silent film.” But reading is silent by design. I considered a new app that provides cinematic soundtracks for digital books, and tried to hear myself think.

In 1792, Wollstonecraft wrote of the need “to persuade women to endeavour to acquire strength, both of mind and body.” The women who find themselves at Deep Springs will have a unique opportunity to test themselves on both counts. Unless the idea of baling hay at 4:30 a.m. does not appeal.

It’s as if the novel’s theme of history repeating itself manifests in the controversies Vonnegut’s book has caused over the years.

Kids know what they like, which usually has little to do with what they are supposed to like. But that hasn’t stopped celebrities like Gloria Estefan, Dolly Parton, or Madonna from getting into the children’s literature game.

See all of the stories I have written for The Atlantic.

Tablet

Although Rabbi Helga Newmark survived the horrors of the Holocaust, a childhood slight from Anne Frank stayed with her for the rest of her life. Then she told my seventh grade class.

This Recording

I saw an old friend on the side of a bus. And on a billboard. I pass her everywhere, and she gazes outward, voiceless.

For the arts and culture mag This Recording, I found my way to Washington, D.C. but lost my bearings.

Capital

Capital is an online magazine covering New York politics, culture, and media.

Charlie Rangel walked through the door and shook a few hands, grinning from ear to ear. Then he went straight for the microphone.

“Art history, in fact, as we know it today, is a child of photography.”

The marchers shouted, “Housing is a right! Fight! Fight! Fight!” One by one, the hands of thirteen protestors were tied behind their backs, and they were led off by police officers on charges of civil disobedience.

Though the records listed in the URDB are often ones like “Most Screws Screwed into a Banana” and “Most Sips of Eggnog in 30 Seconds While Listening to Neil Diamond,” their holders mostly take them seriously.

The woman behind the counter of the Hudson News stand at the World Trade Center Path Station said she doesn’t carry The Epoch Times, and said she hadn’t heard of it. The funny thing is that The Epoch Times is a big publication, printed in 33 countries.

The panelists were introduced as “human rights photographers,” referred to as journalists, and suggested by one student to be advocates. They projected anthropological curiosity and artistic sensibility. Much conversation sprung from trying to figure out exactly what they are and what they are doing.

Columbia Daily Spectator

The Columbia Daily Spectator is the undergraduate student newspaper of Columbia University. I served as the news editor of the 133rd managing board.

I reported from Chicago, where I spent Election Day weekend.

This investigative story unveiled challenges to a longstanding University program.

A nameless gas station at 619 125th St. and another on 12th Avenue, across from the Cotton Club stand with peeling paint, are in the project zone for Columbia’s Manhattanville expansion.

Beyond the glass and steel illustrations of Columbia’s planned Manhattanville buildings is a tension between preserving the aesthetic aspects of the neighborhood and convincing local residents to embrace a modern look.

After taking a close look at the plans, I crunched the numbers on Columbia’s campus expansion in Manhattanville.

While marching in the Gay Pride Parade in 1998, local State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell (D-69th district) was asked, “Are you really gay?”

The 35th Annual All-Night Bike Ride for the History of the City of New York class, taught by Kenneth Jackson, took students through Manhattan in a midnight tour of history.

See all of the stories I have written for the Columbia Daily Spectator.

The Eye

The Eye is the weekly arts and features magazine of The Columbia Daily Spectator.

Engaging with the students of Harlem.

Halloween in Paris, the morning after.

Who Runs Gov

Who Runs Gov, a site operated by The Washington Post, features profiles of Washington lawmakers and other national political figures. Here’s a sampling of profiles I wrote.

Scott Garrett — U.S. Representative

Daniel B. Poneman — Deputy Secretary, Department of Energy

William Brinkman — Director of the Office of Science, Energy Department

Kristina M. Johnson — Under Secretary, Energy Department

David Sandalow — Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, Energy Department

Cathy Zoi — Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Energy Department

Caryn Wagner — Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Homeland Security

City Limits

City Limits is a weekly magazine the covers policy and politics in New York.

A state court has rebuffed a landlord’s bid to block Bronx organizers.

A business revitalization plan in Harlem tests the balance between progress and preservation.

An initiative by the City Department of Probation shows signs of success.

Resume

Education

Columbia University — New York, NY

  • Graduated cum laude in May 2011
  • Anthropology major, philosophy minor
  • News editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator
  • Writer of the 2011 Varsity Show, the annual Columbia-themed musical

Journalism experience

The New Yorker

  • Editorial staff (April 2012 – present) — Editorial-assisting, and a bit of writing.
  • Editorial Intern (May 2010 – December 2010) — Researched and pitched story ideas, wrote briefs for direction on future pieces, fact-checked.

The Atlantic Magazine

  • Editorial fellow (July 2011 – April 2012) — Fact-check, research, and proofread pieces for the magazine; evaluate manuscripts; write online stories.

The Columbia Daily Spectator

  • Senior Staff Writer (December 2008 – May 2011) — Senior contributor to Columbia’s undergraduate newspaper and its weekly magazine, The Eye.
  • Training Editor (September 2010 – December 2010) — Developed and led the training program for new writers.
  • News Editor (December 2008 – December 2009) — Managed daily production of the news section, mentored peers, edited breaking news and long-term pieces.
  • Deputy News Editor (December 2007 – December 2008) — Wrote breaking news and analysis stories; spearheaded multimedia web coverage of the 2008 presidential election from New York and Chicago..

CapitalNewYork.com

  • Contributing Writer (June – September 2010) — Contributed stories for the launch of a new online magazine covering New York culture, media, and politics.

WhoRunsGov.com, The Washington Post

  • Contributing Writer/Intern (Summer 2009 – May 2010) — Wrote profiles of D.C. lawmakers, Obama administration officials, and other political figures.

Newsweek

  • Producer, Newsweek On Air (May 2008 – May 2010) — Wrote program inserts including “Quotes from the News” and the archive segment, organized program line-up, recorded On Air archive for podcast, coordinated with guests.

IvyGate

  • Contributor (January 2010 – June 2010) — Wrote blog posts covering news and analysis of the Ivy League.

UWire’s Youth Vote ’08 Blog, distributed by The Washington Post & CBS News

  • News Correspondent (August – November 2008) — Covered the 2008 presidential election, targeting youth voters; live-blogged Columbia’s Presidential Forum.

City Limits

  • News Intern (Summer 2008) — Wrote stories and contributed reporting to a New York City newsweekly.

The Ridgewood News

  • Opinion Columnist (Fall 2006 – Summer 2007) — Created weekly column, relating national issues to hometown readers.
  • Student Editor, “Our Voices” supplement (Fall 2006 – Summer 2007) — Developed and edited weekly student contributions.