Though maverick reporter Jayson Blair has yet to sell his story, signings are beginning for books about the recent meltdown at the New York Times that led to the departure of editor Howell Raines. At Random, editor-in-chief Dan Menaker signed Newsweek correspondent Seth Mnookin, a longtime observer of Raines's career, for an untitled book that will tell of Raines's rise and fall at the paper, and will discuss the current journalistic climate in which newspapers are produced. This was a North American rights buy from agent David McCormick at Collins McCormick, for publication in fall next year.

Meanwhile small San Francisco house Encounter Books signed conservative press critic Bill McGowan for a book to be called Grey Lady Down: Jayson Blair and How the New York Times Lost Touch with America, which, the author says, will be about the changing newspaper itself as much as the recent crisis. Encounter publisher Peter Collier signed this with agent Glen Hartley at Writers Representatives, and plans to publish next summer.