To watch Reza Aslan spar with political pundits on television is always a treat because he exhibits a calm assuredness that often puts his adversaries in a state of forensic paralysis. But on “Rough Draft,” he takes a lighter yet still serious tact as he discusses the fi ner points of storytelling and journalism with some of the best writers on the planet. A best-selling author (“Zealot,” “No god but God”) and TV producer (HBO’s “Leftovers,” ABC’s “Kings and Prophets,” and CNN’s “Believer”), Aslan is more than up to the task of engaging the wits behind the wordsmithing. Guests on the fi ve-part, weekly series have included writers Norman Lear, Jill Soloway, Tim Kring, Gideon Raff, Damon Lindelof and Mike White, as well as musical talents Ingrid Michaelson, The Local Natives, Alison Sudol, Antonio Sanchez and Daniel Lanois, and The Bird and the Bee. But it’s clear that writers and the lives they lead are the singular focus of Rough Draft. In a world in which all the accolades tend to go those in the public spotlight, those who create the words and visions behind the scenes sometimes go unnoticed. Aslan has a way of bringing that amazing talent to the forefront in a way that makes all of us marvel at the tough, tedious, sometimes demoralizing slog all great writers endure as part of their work—the intellectual and emotional journey they take from inception, to rough draft, and eventually to reality.

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Bernstein Halting Media coverage

Bernstein is temporarily suspending its coverage of U.S. media companies in light of senior analyst Todd Juenger ’s sabbatical. “We plan to reinstate coverage

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