"Every day during Black History Month, we will publish at least one of these photographs online, illuminating stories that were never told in our pages and others that have been mostly forgotten.... other holes in coverage probably reflect the biases of some earlier editors at our news organization, long known as the newspaper of record. They and they alone determined who was newsworthy and who was not, at a time when black people were marginalized in society and in the media."
Tits, boobs & Kelvin Mackenzie. A partial history of The Sun newspaper, starting from its launch in 1964 as a left-leaning broadsheet. [more inside]
Kevin Dawes: searching for a missing American in Syria. A young American man and sometime SomethingAwful goon, self-taught as a medic and aspiring to journalism, maxes out his credit cards and heads for Syria, on his own. His contacts and friends increasingly fear he is mentally ill. The last report of him is from 2013. (GQ, 1/15/2016) [more inside]
Inside the Snitch Tank. After his arrest for the worst mass shooting in Orange County, CA history, Scott Dekraai poured out his feelings to a jailhouse informant. But instead of nailing down a death-penalty conviction against a confessed killer who was arrested with murder weapons in his car, the bugging of Dekraai’s cell touched off a legal storm over prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants which has delayed justice and drawn national attention. The Orange County Register has set up an extensive website to accompany their ongoing investigation and report.
When an NBC producer fell for celebrated surgeon Paolo Macchiarini while filming a Dateline documentary special about him, she thought her biggest problem was a breach of journalistic ethics. Then things got really interesting.
"Syrian journalists who have fled to Turkey for their safety are not safe at all.": Naji Jerf was the editor-in-chief of the Syrian independent monthly Hentah and a documentary maker who worked with the collective Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS). Jerf also trained citizen journalists as part of his work with RBSS. [more inside]
French journalist accuses China of intimidating foreign press. by Tom Phillips [The Guardian]
China is facing accusations of attempting to muzzle and intimidate foreign press after it said it would expel a French journalist who refused to apologise for an article criticising government policy. Lu Kang, a spokesperson for China’s ministry of foreign affairs, claimed Ursula Gauthier, the Beijing correspondent for French magazine L’Obs, had offended the Chinese people with a recent column about terrorism and the violence-hit region of Xinjiang. “Gauthier failed to apologise to the Chinese people for her wrong words and it is no longer suitable for her to work in China,” Lu said in a statement, according to Xinhua, Beijing’s official news agency.[more inside]
RIP Nigel Buxton, journalist, who found fame in later years as 'BaaadDad' on The Adam and Joe Show. As ever, the Telegraphy has an interesting obituary [more inside]
In 2007, the Pinellas County, Florida School Board abandoned integration, joining hundreds of US school districts in former Confederacy states that have resegregated since 2000. The Board justified the vote with bold promises: Schools in poor, black neighborhoods would get more money, more staff, more resources -- none of which happened. This past August, the Tampa Bay Times published an exposé, revealing how district leaders turned five once-average schools into Failure Factories. [more inside]
The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was established in 1961 and has grown into one of the US government’s largest intelligence organizations. It employs 17,000 people, including thousands stationed overseas, and its 2013 fiscal year budget request was for $3.15 billion. Yet, the DIA is also one of the more secretive agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, regularly denying access to basic information about its structure, functions and activities. On November 20, the National Security Archive posted a new sourcebook of over 50 declassified documents that help to illuminate the DIA’s five-decades-long history. [more inside]
The Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism — roughly Australia's version of the Pulitzer Prizes — announced its 2015 winners at a ceremony on Thursday. Some of the winners won't be that interesting to an international audience, but here are some that might be: [more inside]
Photojournalists put their lives on the line every day, after all, and a photograph is less likely to contain bias, right? "With his new photobook War Is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict, David Shields is taking aim at what he characterizes as the “war porn” routinely seen on the front page of America’s most respected paper of record." [more inside]
On Gawker's Problem with Women. A former staff writer describes how a media company founded on whistleblowing and radical transparency failed its female employees.
Of the many concerns unearthed by the protests at two major universities this week, the velocity at which we now move from racial recrimination to self-righteous backlash is possibly the most revealing. The unrest that occurred at the University of Missouri and at Yale University, two outwardly dissimilar institutions, shared themes of racial obtuseness, arthritic institutional responses to it, and the feeling, among students of color, that they are tenants rather than stakeholders in their universities. That these issues have now been subsumed in a debate over political correctness and free speech on campus—important but largely separate subjects—is proof of the self-serving deflection to which we should be accustomed at this point.
Confessions of a Paywall Journalist :
Policy journalism in Washington is thriving. It’s just not being written for you, and you’re probably never going to read it.[more inside]
"GetYourCare.org was created to show that women have real choices when it comes to health care," the site says. "All across America, thousands of low-cost health centers offer women and their families high-quality health care." A press release from the Alliance Defending Freedom claimed that the facilities listed on the map "typically offer the full range of women's health services without all the scandal of Planned Parenthood." But in an investigation into the facilities, RH Reality Check has found that these "real choices" include hundreds of elementary, middle, and high schools; clinics that provide care for homeless people; nursing homes; pediatrics centers; and even the D.C. jail. [more inside]
What do we really know about Osama bin Laden's death?
I saw this as more of a media story, a case study in how constructed narratives become accepted truth. This felt like a cop-out to [Seymour Hersh], as he explained in a long email the next day. He said that I was sidestepping the real issue, that I was ‘‘turning this into a ‘he-said, she-said’ dilemma,’’ instead of coming to my own conclusion about whose version was right. It was then that he introduced an even more disturbing notion: What if no one’s version could be trusted?
Amazon has posted (on Medium, natch) an aggressive response to the “everyone at Amazon is miserable but also paid well but also crying all the time” story in the New York Times [Previously]. This story and its aftermath represent a bit of a trap, particularly in discussions on Twitter: If you think the original story contained both valuable information and flaws, your default position is to go to bat for the Times; if you read this story as a portrait of a tough workplace written to cast it in the worst possible light, but acknowledge that it contained some worrying anecdotes, then your tendency will be to defend Amazon.
But these too reveal themselves as proxy positions. It’s not story versus story, or publication versus tech company. It’s media versus tech. [more inside]
But these too reveal themselves as proxy positions. It’s not story versus story, or publication versus tech company. It’s media versus tech. [more inside]
The web, as it appears at any one moment, is a phantasmagoria. It’s not a place in any reliable sense of the word. It is not a repository. [more inside]
A controversial talk by Tuck Ngun at the ongoing American Society of Human Genetics 2015 meeting in Baltimore presented evidence of epigenetic mechanisms associated with homosexuality in discordant male twins (i.e., one gay, the other straight). The conference organizers and news outlets quickly trumpeted that scientists had discovered epigenetic markers capable of predicting the sexual orientation of a male; however, the reaction of scientists at the meeting was less enthusiastic. Ed Yong at the Atlantic wrote a particularly thorough takedown. Criticisms centered around the small sample size (37 pairs of twins), the fact that the samples were taken from saliva (whereas you'd expect epigenetic variants influencing sexuality to occur in the brain), and the fact that the predictive model they developed was not terribly predictive (67% accuracy). [more inside]
When the Kashmir earthquake struck in October 2005, Tabinda Kokab was a teacher in a remote village close to the epicentre. She recalls the day that changed her life, and how it forced her to throw off the expectations that Pakistani society had placed on her as a woman. [more inside]
Fresh from The Intercept (that fearless vanguard of journalism helmed by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras): disturbing documents exposing the unfathomable reach of the United Kingdom's GCHQ in its quest for total awareness of global internet traffic. A hundred billion user actions logged per day. A "Black Hole" database of 1.1 trillion logs. Frightening programs like KARMA POLICE, MEMORY HOLE, and MUTANT BROTH that correlate the kilo-crore corpus -- IP addresses, cookies, forum posts, search histories, emails, and passwords all compiled and cross-referenced into a real-time "diary" that gives penetrating insight into the relationships, beliefs, and desires of every web user on the planet. Internal documents suggest only widespread encryption can threaten the regime -- a movement the UK is determined to subdue (previously). [more inside]
Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been released from prison following Eid al-Adha pardon. [New York Times] [more inside]
The New Games Criticism - a response to Kieron Gillen's The New Games Journalism 10 years after the fact.
The NYU Libraries have compiled a database of undercover investigative journalism dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. "The site, designed as a resource for scholars, student researchers and journalists, collects some of the best investigative work going back almost two centuries." [more inside]
The Best American Crime Writing Series (renamed The Best American Crime Reporting in 2006) ran from 2002 to 2010 and presented the finest in true crime journalism. Many of the stories are available from the online magazines in which they were first printed or from other legitimate sources. Links to all 105 available stories appear below the fold. I have previously presented links to the stories from the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 editions. Some of those links have gone bad, so they have been reworked. [more inside]
In 2010, Plain Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell wrote about thousands of neglected rape kits at the Cleveland Police Department. Working with fellow reporter Leila Atassi, their continued, tenacious coverage led to the creation of a 'rape kit task force' to cover a massive backlog, and eventually, a law mandating timely testing. Since 2011, when the city began sending rape kits to the state’s crime lab, almost all of its 4,000 kits have been tested; of these, over 1,600 contained usable DNA. 350 cases have led to grand jury indictments, and as of this month, over 100 rapists have been convicted, some of multiple rapes. [more inside]
From NiemanStoryboard's Annotation Tuesdays, Josh Roiland annotates his ‘Literary Journalism in America’ Syllabus. NiemanStoryboard previously.
"Gals/other marginalized folks: what was your 1st brush (in music industry, journalism, scene) w/ idea that you didn't 'count'?" This tweet from Jessica Hopper kicked off a thread that lasted 2 days, with over 400 stories being shared. Storify of the full thread. Trigger warning for sexism, harrassment, rape.
Investigative journalism lives. How some journalists proved empirically that AT&T has been in a decades-long spying relationship with the NSA, using the Snowden documents as a starting point.
Roughly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism (2014). Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He founded "The Best of Journalism", a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction. This is his list of the best stories from 2014. There are personal essays, business stories, stories of government misbehavior, science stories and more.
Yesterday, journalist Melody Kramer used her column on the website of the Poynter Institute to publish "a list of every hidden journalism-related social media group I could find”. Reaction to her column has been decidedly mixed. [more inside]
"Maybe the story is the difference between the writers on the panels and the writers in the audience. That story is the creation of a celebrity class. That story is the fine line between jealousy and envy: I want everything you have versus I want everything I can have. Or is the story simply vanity?" Choire Sicha of the Awl reports on (and attempts to schmooze through) the two-day New Yorker literary festival
Jennifer Pan’s Revenge: the inside story of a golden child, the killers she hired, and the parents she wanted dead. - Karen K. Ho writing for Toronto Life magazine [via tabs]
The British Movietone archive of nearly fifty thousand newsreel films is now on YouTube. Movietone started making newsreels in 1929 and stopped fifty years later. You can find clips about nearly any subject, women's rights, space exploration, and sports. The archive has a number of playlists, including one where archivist Jenny Hammerton presents clips she finds interesting. But, I hear you say, do they have cute cat videos? Yes. Also, a parachuting dog and jokes about Hitler. Also now availabe, the Associated Press Archive of more than 170 thousand video clips. The Guardian has a list of interesting clips from both archives.
Marlene Sanders’ Feminist Legacy [Slate obit] - "She wrote of her accomplishments: 'As I look back on my career, the women's movement provided an exceptional point when time, place and position all came together to give me the power and focus to contribute to the country’s awareness of the status of women.'" [more inside]
Micah Lee at The Intercept provides a deep and wide introduction to encryption (with a clever but helpful Romeo & Juliet framing device) then brings us all the way through the doorframe, past thinking or talking about it—Chatting in Secret while we're all being watched. [more inside]
Tucking his shapely legs underneath his curvaceous body in the dimly lit booth, Chris Hemsworth looks longingly at the bread basket the waiter places on the table in front of us. “Screw it — I could die tomorrow, right?” He smiles charmingly at me as he grabs a crisp roll and wraps his mouth around it, not even caring who’s watching. He closes his eyes and moans, savoring the carb-loaded moment like it could be his last. “If I die, bury me in a bread casket,” he says, displaying the kind of outrageous humor that doesn’t quite match his angelic looks.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Transgender Rights is your new go-to on transgender 101. (SLYouTube)
One year later, Wessington Springs High School senior Owen Witte chronicles the story of the tornadoes that descended on his home town and destroyed more than 50 homes and left 77 people homeless. Witte's story artfully conveys the heroism and resilience of his 950-person community.
Today, Gawker editorial staff vote on whether to unionize with Writers Guild of America, East, saying that transparency in compensation and fair health benefits are among the issues that have led them to organize. [more inside]
Lahore Landing, an interactive documentary. "It all started when Taahira went to Karachi for a journalism internship ... Over Skype calls, she shared with us her experience – from underground indie rock concerts to alfresco BBQ nights. It surprised us. It seemed that all the media shared about life in Pakistan was a world of violence and terrorism when it was a lot more than that." [more inside]