"Places like Picher are why Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980—better known as the Superfund bill." - Wired Magazine on the most toxic town in America, Picher, OK , and the people who still live there
In coming months, The [Los Angeles] Times will publish a series of articles and a database analyzing individual teachers' effectiveness in the nation's second-largest school district — the first time, experts say, such information has been made public anywhere in the country. This article examines the performance of more than 6,000 third- through fifth-grade teachers for whom reliable data were available. [more inside]
"Israel is our only hope as the post-American president is aiding and abetting a nuclear Iran. Barack Obama is enabling Iran’s Islamic bomb" - Pamela Geller
As the "ground zero mosque" story approaches bipartisan consensus, thanks to unexpected statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (joining a growing opposition), several journalists trace the origins of how the Park 51 community center became(warning: CNN) a toxic subject. What they found was Pamela Geller, a blogger at Atlas Shrugs, who has some very interesting vlogs. You may previously know her from this cozy 2006 interview with Bush's infamous anti-UN UN ambassador John Bolton.
Heartbreaking news for people who care about reading. Founded in 1925, the Virginia Quarterly Review has become the standard-bearer for long-form narrative journalism - "the sort of articles that make readers want to become writers." "The Life and Lonely Death of Noah Pierce" is a great example of what this kind of writing can achieve, but it's not the only one. The essential Bookslut has called the VQR "the best fucking magazine on the planet right now." Last week Mefi's own Waldo made the blog post we all dread having to make. His friend and boss, the VQR's genius editor Kevin Morrissey made his will, left his affairs in order, called the police to report a shooting that had not yet happened, and took his own life. Previously on the blue.
"She wants the world to see the effect a Taliban resurgence would have on the women of Afghanistan."
"I showed it to my two young sons, 9 and 12, who both immediately felt sorry for Aisha and asked why anyone would have done such harm to her." [WARNING: Graphic image.] Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine, on why he chose to run on the magazine's cover a photo of a young woman whose nose and ears had been cut off at the insistence of the Taliban. It accompanies the article "Afghan Women and the Return of the Taliban."
Kevin Kelly has posted a list of what he believes are the best magazine articles ever.
Tabloid Watch and Daily Mail Watch (previously) keep a beady eye on what Nick Davies' Flat Earth News calls "churnalism" in British media. So, you can find out if PC Officials Tone Down Punch and Judy, if Councils Install Muslim-only Toilets or if Muslim Bus Drivers Turf Guide Dogs off the Bus.
"I was completely aware that I was writing crap," she said. "I was like, 'I hope to God people don't read my advice on how to make gin at home because they'll probably poison themselves.'" PBS MediaShift takes a week-long look at content farms. (Previously)
Daniel Schorr is dead at 93. Schorr began a career in journalism which spanned more than six decades at 12 years old, when he wrote a story for the Bronx Home News about a suicide. A woman had jumped from the roof of his building, he phoned the police and then wrote and article about the event, for which he was paid $5. After serving in military intelligence during World War II, he worked as a foreign correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times before joining CBS in 1953 as one of the legendary "Murrow Boys". [more inside]
Malnutrition, the silent epidemic - Photojournalist Ron Haviv traveled to Bangladesh to document a silent epidemic that may lack the drama to make the nightly news, but has the power to undermine a world's worth of young lives: childhood malnutrition.
The Toronto 18. "The [Toronto] Star was the first to break the news, just over four years ago, that an al-Qaeda inspired homegrown terror cell had been busted in Toronto. ... Numerous publication bans have kept the full story from the public. Now, with the case over, we can present the complete narrative of the Toronto 18: Who they are, how they met, what they did." This is a great example of how to present long-form journalism online.
A Minute and 100 Metres Down the Road. The soldier outside the station had one hand on the barrel and the other on the butt of his shotgun. There were two military trucks by the bus stop and two soldiers in the back-right seats of every bus leaving Urumqi station... I arrived via long-haul train, 40 hours and just under 4000km in a hard-seat, from Beijing, where rumours were circulating about the extent of the military presence, needle attacks, Uighur and Han street gangs, and the validity of the reports coming out of Xinjiang. After four days I left with more doubts about why ethnic tensions in Urumqi arose and how they could be resolved. [more inside]
"Trying to do something he knows he really can't do for no good reason tells you a lot about Peter Van Loan" MeFI's own mightygodking snagged an official accredited journalist title via Torontoist in order to post reports and interviews from the controversial G20 Conference.
What journalists who blog think “blogging” is. Lizzie Skurnick (pseudonymous author of the literary blog the Old Hag) almost got called up to the Show – the New York Times actually asked her to write. But under their terms. And that’s the problem:
[T]he media who, after constantly treating me as an amusing quantity who, despite the zillions of print articles I have written, is still a blogger, while they, who are now blogging, because they crashed their whole goddamn field, are somehow not bloggers except for how maybe they are running blogs, want to tell me what to do.... You link wrong. You’re not funny.... You think posts are something you “pitch.” [...] You think other bloggers should respond to other bloggers, preferably in chin-stroking ways like “I appreciate your thoughts, Gwendolyn, yet I….” You want headlines maximized for SEO.... Worse, you seem to take blogging as some amusing shift you’ve been asked to do that is entirely within your powers. You are a fancy important journalist! You are an actual writer. OK, maybe you are. But you are sure as hell not a blogger any more than that dude with the novel in the drawer is a novelist.(Via)
Restoring Journalism Maureen Tkacik talks about her life as a journalist, the nothing-based economy, and the future of journalism. She suggests abandoning authority and productively channeling narcissism. (via 2p & dd) [more inside]
"A Pulitzer Prize ain't gonna win us two readers," Pope told Newsweek once. "I don't care if other media respect us or not."
In 1994, Leon Dash, while still at the Washington Post, wrote a Pulitzer winning series of articles about a woman named Rosa Lee Cunningham. [more inside]
Ann Curry dispenses graduation advice to the wrong student body. Close but no cigar.
When New York Observer publishes a thin article, apparently mostly based on a press release, about the altruistic new career direction of ABC News VP Mimi Gurbst, who "liked to advise her colleagues on various ways to improve their personal and professional lives" reader comments tell us that oh boy, did she ever! One of the many, many comments by ABC News alumni, from former ABC journalist Richard Gizbert, sums it up: "Finally: Don’t you just LOVE the internet? Don’t you just LOVE seeing this whole thing backfire on Mimi and the underhanded underling who tried to get away with this piece of fiction?" Oh snap!
"The Journalist as Programmer" is an academic, ethnographic case study (pdf), which considers whether the New York Times' Interactive Newsroom Technologies unit, source of the paper's Open Source Developer Network, should be thought of as a template for the future of Web Journalism. Slide Deck. (Previously on MeFi.) NYMag profile of the INT team from '09: The New Journalism: Goosing the Gray Lady. ("What are these renegade cybergeeks doing at the New York Times? Maybe saving it.")
It is not a Sunday host's job to make sure his guests aren't lying any more than it's a party host's job to make sure the food isn't poisoned.
Jay Rosen thinks that "Sunday morning talk shows are broken. As works of journalism they don't work." In December, he had a suggestion for the producers of "Meet the Press": "Fact check what your guests say on Sunday and run it online Wednesday." When asked about the proposal, David Gregory responded, "People can fact-check 'Meet the Press' every week on their own terms." Two college students took Gregory up on this and created Meet the Facts. On the other hand, it looks like Jake Tapper of ABC's "This Week" thought it was a pretty good idea. [more inside]
Cocaine, The CIA, And The Unification Church: A History of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and The Washington's Times influence on Washington and South America by Robert Parry
Working With Studs is a radio documentary about Studs Terkel. You will like it. Good production and tech notes, courtesy of Transom.org
The Glass Box versus The Commonplace Book: Steven Berlin Johnson returns to his old school to talk about two possible models for the future of text online and whether the Internet really does encourage echo chambers.
Judith Thurman chronicles the fabricated literary interviews penned by Tommaso Debenedetti, an Italian freelance journalist. His subjects include Philip Roth, John Grisham, Gore Vidal, Günter Grass, Toni Morrison, and other famous authors. [more inside]
Al Jazeera English's "Listening Post" on the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a proposal that could turn Iceland into a "journalism haven."
"The Times and Sunday Times newspapers will start charging to access their websites in June, owner News International (NI) has announced. Users will pay £1 for a day's access and £2 for a week's subscription. The move opens a new front in the battle for readership and will be watched closely by the industry."(BBC) Some early reactions from other newspapers. Interview with Times editor about the charges. Previously
Give us 15 minutes of your time, and we will give you everything that matters in the world: "In our Best of the Moment section, we recommend journalism online which we judge likely to be of lasting value to the intelligent general reader." Also featuring interviews with experts recommending the best five books on everything. [more inside]
Last month, Arundhati Roy decided to visit the forbidding and forbidden precincts of Central India’s Dandakaranya Forests, home to a melange of tribal people many of whom have taken up arms to protect themselves against state-backed marauders and exploiters. She recorded in considerable detail her face-to-face encounter with armed guerillas, their families and comrades.
Professors at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute will soon be voting on "The Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade". There are 80 nominees.
Targeting the Good Cell: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covers the latest stem cell advances, built around a gripping 2008 series (1, 2, 3) about the competitive race to reprogram mature cells into functionally embryonic stem cells. [more inside]
Historian Tony Judt has been the subject of MetaFilter posts before. He has also written an essay on his struggle with ALS that has been debated here. However, it may have taken an article in the mass-market magazine New York to put his race to complete his latest book into perspective.
Poland's late, great, legendary reporter Ryszard Kapuscinski is accused of making it up. [more inside]
Asia Snapshots "is a blog that examines topics in Asia through the perspectives of interesting people interviewed by a group of bloggers in Mainland China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and more." Meet Gao Qingrong and family, who along with seven other households are part of an organic farm co-op in Anlong Village, Sichuan. Or there's the tale of how one of the bloggers met Jun Jun, a male prostitute in Beijing; an encounter with Silang Laji, a road maintenance worker in Kham, a Tibetan region of China; and Gege, an enterprising journalist in Chengdu.Via
The Google/China hacking case, or "How many news outlets do the original reporting on a big story?"
Looking for something to read? Check out the best journalism Conor Friedersdorf encountered in 2009. And in 2008. He also updates a twitter feed with pieces he comes across that he either missed or that might make onto a 2010 list.
Baseball might not allow you to love it by playing it for all your time on Earth, but it can guide you to a love that can last that long. (NYTimes). As Spring Training begins, Doug Glanville, former MLB outfielder and UPenn graduate, offers an interesting and insightful look at how baseball can affect relationships and love. [more inside]
ZDNet(!) reports on a strange case of technology journalism malfeasance. It turns out that journalist Randall C. Kennedy has been posing as the CTO of Devil Mountain Software, purveyor of Windows performance data.
"..when a victorious chief minister openly admits that he himself approached the leading newspaper of his state with money for “positive stories” after learning that the newspaper had signed a “package deal” with his rivals to print negative stories, you had better sit up and take urgent notice"
"The symbiotic relationship between the press and the power elite worked for nearly a century. It worked as long as our power elite, no matter how ruthless or insensitive, was competent. But once our power elite became incompetent and morally bankrupt, the press, along with the power elite, lost its final vestige of credibility." "The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News" by Chris Hedges.
President Obama spoke at length to House Republicans at their retreat in Baltimore, responding to questions after his remarks. Video (also here). Transcript. [more inside]
A farewell to Yasser. The Times of London's driver of seven years in Baghdad was killed in a bombing this week. This was his story. [more inside]
In late October, New York Newsday put their website content behind a pay wall. How many subscribers signed up since then? 35. [more inside]
Is there something you wish would be reported comprehensively by mainstream news media, even though they won't likely touch the topic? Try open-source reporting. From the 2006 experiment NewAssignment, professional journalists, non-profits seeking crowdfunding, and the Internet public have collaborated to do in-depth investigation and reportage of whatever people were interested in. Jay Rosen, founder of ExplainThis, the newest site in crowdsourced journalism, wants a way to answer questions that are too complicated for a Google search. Will these things deliver well-researched thoughtful analysis, or will they be no match for the Green?