Amusing Ourselves to Depth: Is The Onion our most intelligent newspaper?: "While other newspapers desperately add gardening sections, ask readers to share their favorite bratwurst recipes, or throw their staffers to ravenous packs of bloggers for online question-and-answer sessions, The Onion has focused on reporting the news. The fake news, sure, but still the news. It doesn’t ask readers to post their comments at the end of stories, allow them to rate stories on a scale of one to five, or encourage citizen-satire. It makes no effort to convince readers that it really does understand their needs and exists only to serve them. The Onion’s journalists concentrate on writing stories and then getting them out there in a variety of formats, and this relatively old-fashioned approach to newspapering has been tremendously successful." The article is based on the premises of the late media critic Neil Postman, especially from his book "Amusing Ourselves To Death: Public Discourse In The Age Of Show Business."
What Cats Know About War. A reporter adopts cats to reconnect with life amid unremitting death. [Via linkfilter.] [more inside]
Gentlemen Ranters, a "brilliant compendium of reminiscences of the great days of Fleet Street". Via (check the comments for a more depressing viewpoint).
Censored: The scariest news may be the stuff you haven’t seen yet. David Phinney thought he’d struck journalistic gold. The veteran reporter, who has done freelance work for PBS, ABC, The New York Times, and other news companies, learned from a disgusted American contractor that the Kuwaiti company hired to build the U.S. embassy in Iraq was using forced laborers trafficked in from Asia. [more inside]
Old Magazine Articles Neat little database of .pdf copies of vintage magazine articles like Gilbert Seldes' 1922 review of Krazy Kat in Vanity Fair, a 1910 look at "Horse Versus Automobile," early nose jobs, an interview with James Joyce and more. [via ResearchBuzz]
The website of the ridiculously awesome Newseum has been revamped and relaunched in anticipation of its October reopening. Check out the redesigned Today's Front Pages and Analysis sections - and go here for frequent, fascinating evaluations of current front page graphic design (archive). Browse the downloadable front pages of notable dates in recent history (e.g. Katrina, 2004 tsunami, 9/11). Watch discussions of some of the most recognizable Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, and check out the interactive archives of past exhibits. You can also pay your respects at the online version of the Newseum's Journalists Memorial. (previously)
Going After Gore "Al Gore couldn't believe his eyes: as the 2000 election heated up, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other top news outlets kept going after him, with misquotes ("I invented the Internet"), distortions (that he lied about being the inspiration for Love Story), and strangely off-the-mark needling, while pundits such as Maureen Dowd appeared to be charmed by his rival, George W. Bush. For the first time, Gore and his family talk about the effect of the press attacks on his campaign—and about his future plans—to the author, who finds that many in the media are re-assessing their 2000 coverage."
“It seems that everytime I get a request from a western photojournalist to do a project on Manila, it's always about the slums and squatters and I am sick of it.” Carlos Celdran is well known for his chatty walking tours of Manila, and he’s tired of the one-track perception Westerners have of the city. Manila as slum gothic – low-hanging fruit for lazy photojournalists or writers? Or is a fairer perspective (in more ways than one) possible?
Traditionally, media doesn't print names/photos of people only accused, but not yet convicted, but not always. Lots of towns have a police blotter section where arrests are listed. Here in Seattle, the FBI recently asked the public for help in identifying two men seen acting suspicious on the ferry system. The Seattle PI has decided not to publish the photos. Other local media have. The commentary on if the PI made the right choice follows predictable paths...
One of the few to speak the truth about the Middle East, God-like journalist Robert Fisk holds more international journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent. He has covered every major event in the region for the past thirty years. He rarely gives interviews to anyone, but agreed to talk to edgey/angry youth culture magazine, Vice, about his life in the danger-zone.
China Praises Its Progress Toward Olympics. With one year to go before the 2008 Olympics, China still has many challenges ahead, like dealing with Beijing's terrible air pollution. There is still much criticism over China's record on human rights and freedom of the press, and some protests. But perhaps the most embarrassing public relations setback is that one of the official mascots, Yingsel (aka Yingying) the Tibetan Antelope, has defected from China's Olympic team and gone underground to campaign for a free Tibet. [Some links via BB and MoFi.]
The New New Journalism with short bios of a range of selected journalists compiled by Robert S. Boynton director of NYU's magazine journalism program. Remember New Journalism ? and now a look forward. Those who don't read much might prefer this.
Since Rupes went to great lengths to protect Wendi, see some other examples of newspaper self-censorship
Matthew Parris: wonderful British journalist, who mocks our feeble terrorists, never washes his hair, discreetly married his partner, respects suicide, sounds like a railway nutter, believes America is the new Germany. In 2000, he spent the winter on a desert island in the Indian Ocean, and one of his colleagues accidentally shot another dead. More Matthew here.
Frederick Remington was an American artist who in 1898 became a war correspondent and illustrator for the New York Morning Journal during the Spanish-American War. The Journal's editor in chief, William Randolph Hearst I was an American newspaper magnate whose paper had, circa 1895, fought to liberate Cuba from Spanish rule by writing sensational stories of Cuban virtue and Spanish atrocities in an attempt to influence US opinion. In 1898, Hearst sent Remington to Cuba to report on the war which Hearst was certain was about to begin. However when Remington arrived, he telegrammed Hearst saying "Everything is quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. I wish to return." Hearst responded "Please remain. You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war." Not long after, the war began. These telegrams are often cited as one of the most famous (if not the first) examples of yellow journalism (so much so it is mentioned in Citizen Kane) and is meant to speak to the powerful potential effects of the news media. But did The Remington-Hearst "telegrams"actually ever take place, or is this simply another urban legend?
Tornadoes have touched down in New Zealand, and journalistic standards have vanished into thin air, not surprising with the current standard of NZ news output.
David Halberstam's last column, The History Boys - Politics and Power, is in this month's Vanity Fair magazine. In other news, the student driving him at the time of his death, Kevin Jones, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter. (Previously)
Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC channels the popular outrage over Paris Hilton oversaturation during a time when mainstream media has grown bored with the war.
So, you represent a country whose leader renamed the month of January after himself? We'll take the job!
"Even the best-endowed regimes need help navigating the shoals of Washington, and it is their great fortune that, for the right price, countless lobbyists are willing to steer even the foulest of ships." Journalist Ken Silverstein poses as a representative of the government of Turkmenistan to see if Washington lobbying firms will take on the job of making a country with a considerably less-than-stellar human rights record more palatable. The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials calls Silverstein's work disingenuous; others disagree.
"A smart story often does contain new facts," Bennett explains. "But just as often it takes facts that are lying in plain sight and synthesizes them, or arranges them in a way — sometimes in a narrative — that really exposes some new meaning on an important subject. And I think that's a conceptual scoop." (via ATC)
Kidnapped BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston said that his captors have been treating him well in a video released today. There was no way to tell when the video was recorded. Mr Johnston was kidnapped on March 12 by Palestinian gunmen in Gaza City, and before today, had not been seen or heard from since. [Previously]
Project Censored compiles an annual list of 25 news stories of social significance that have been overlooked, under-reported or self-censored by the country's major national news media. On this year's list : Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran, Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger, High-Tech Genocide in Congo, and many more.
"If people can't trust that journalists are journalists, then we are on the road to intellectual anarchy."
Vancouver police posed as journalists to lure out and arrest the activist who threatened to bring protest of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics to the doorsteps of Olympic officials - and it isn't the first time police in BC have impersonated the media to make an arrest. The Canadian Association of Journalists is not amused, but a constable speaking for the VPD "doubts the outrage from the person on the street over the issue would be the same as it has been from the journalistic community". (Previously)
Best headline ever. The AP lets it's geek flag fly in an article about high-wire artists crossing a river in Korea. [thanks kottke]
"The people who murder journalists in Sri Lanka feel so well protected that they carry out fresh murders to mark the anniversaries of their preceding ones."
Citizen journalism is a form of fascism waiting to happen, suggests InfoWorld columnist Ephraim Schwartz.
The ten things most likely to be on The Daily Express front page. This UK newspaper has gained something of a reputation of late because of their apparently monosyllabic attitude to the news and what'll appear as their front page story -- today with everything that's going in the middle east they ran with yet another story about Princess Diana. Here, Martin Belam analyzes the leaders for the past three months and examines the patterns.
I know MeFiltopians have likely found more diverse samplings of images for their desktops than the default windows samples... but have you ever wondered where this image was taken? vanity fair has.
Cashiers du Cinemart. Film Threat's Dave Williams: "a thin, primitive hobby publication with an obvious ax to grind; making it far less interesting than you think it is, and compelling me to conclude it's impossible for you to ever get your shit together...killing one more tree for your pointless, directionless, self-aggrandizing 'zine with nothing to offer is a sad, selfish waste." Best known for the Anti-Tarantino saga, one man's quest to get a director to acknowledge his influences, Cashiers is a great '90s 'zine with archives online.
Are You There God? It's Me, Monica In equal parts a book review, investigative journalism and an autobiographical account; the author of this article takes on the topic of teenage oral-sex in the US today. There are no easy answers for the reader at the end, but it makes for fairly compelling reading. (Apart from some sexual terminology, the article is SFW) [via]
So Much for Privacy (Part II) In another Sunshine Week "exposé" columnist Christian Trebjal of the Roanoke (Va.) Times decided that everyone needed to know the full names and addresses of every Concealed Handgun Permit holder in Virginia. So he got a list from the VA state police and had the newspaper put it in a handy searchable database. In the ensuing blog post regarding the column and database comments quickly got heated and comments were closed for several hours for unknown and unstated reasons (though perhaps due to the publication of Trebjal's home address). Of course, Virginian CHP holders were completely and wholly unamused. Following the outcry, the newspaper has removed the database, with a self-serving statement about concern for public safety but there was no concern for public safety guiding their actions before the objections. Overall, a question is raised: if Sunshine Week is supposed to be about open government why are newspapers aggregating and publishing information about private citizens at all?
Iraq: The Hidden Story is a very interesting 48 minute Channel 4 report on the news you see and the news you don't. Not for the squeamish. via
The Homicide Report, by Jill Leovy: An L.A. Times blog built on the list of homicide victims reported to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office each week.
Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision 1978 BBC Omnibus documentary (Google Video)
Knight Science Journalism Tracker is a new-ish blog (project of a program at MIT and Charles Petit) that follows science writing and reporting in a very wide range of publications. It's a good way to learn about how science news is reported, and an efficient way to keep up with the news itself. [some recent examples]
Here's $10,000! All you have to do is pick it up and it is yours. There it is, just staring at you. You are a global climate scientist or economist and the American Enterprise Institute, "an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration" wants you to lend them some of your legitimacy, for which they will pay you ten grand.
Time magazine recently launched a new politics blog, Swampland. The blog is, to this point, most interesting for its confrontations between the commenters and the bloggers. [m.i.]
A 7 year-old British boy gets electrocuted while charging his Gameboy in a Thai hotel. The gaming press are up in arms at the way it gets reported.
Remember when folks were "up-in-arms" after learning that the Bush administration paid prominent political commentator Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote 'No Child Left Behind' legislation? It turns out that a handful of liberal bloggers pulled in some decent cash this past year from various political campaigns as consultants, while maintaining their "independent" blogs. Case in point: Jerome Armstrong (MyDD) made $115,000+ from Sherrod Brown (over 15 months) and $65,000 from Mark Warner (over 12 months). Turns out Armstrong admitted this week that he has been writing on his blog under various aliases -- including 'Scott Shields.' 'Shields' received payments from the Robert Menendez campaign.
What can two nerds from Chicago do about the crisis in Darfur? Donor fatigue means the marginal value of each life has effectively dropped to zero. Kill 5 people, kill 500, kill 500,000 - it makes no difference - each added fatality has absolutely no policy impact and won’t change the situation one iota. It’s not that as many as 500,000 (essentially an entire Seattle) have died in Darfur. The horrific thing is that they could kill another 500,000 and nobody will bat an eyelash.
The Harvard University Worklife Wizard, created by an international team of journalists, economists, and statisticians, is Barbara Ehrenreich's wet dream. It's also a fantastic resource that has flown pretty much under everyone's radar. The Worklife Survey drives the constantly-revised, constantly-refined Salary Comparison Tool, which is always hungry for more data about employment from around the world. And when they say they want data from everyone, they mean it-- there's even a VIP Salary Checker that pits the wages of the Yankees against those of the Red Sox. (Plus if you take the survey, you can apparently earn a chance to win a trip to South Africa). Personally, I love the Workplace Horror Stories (and there's a competition there too). I can't look at a nail clipper the same way now.
The rise and fall of the bus plunge story. [via slate] Bus plunge from Wikipedia. Bus Plunge the web site.
The Democrats' Sonny Bono? When George Bush used the 1970s Orleans hit, Still the One, as a campaign song in 2004, John Hall issued Bush a cease and desist order for using his song without permission. A founder of the antinuclear group, Musicians United for Safe Energy (best known for the 1979 concert film, No Nukes), Hall decided to run for Congress in upstate New York, winning upset victories this year in both the Democratic primary and the general election against GOP incumbent, Sue Kelly. Before his Congressional victory, Editor & Publisher posted From Soundchecks to Soundbites, an interesting discussion with Hall about music journalism vs. political journalism.
The Polling Place Photo Project is an experiment in citizen journalism that intends to collect photographs of every polling place in America next Tuesday.
A Reuter's media reporter has been assigned to a new bureau in the virtual world of Second Life: "This is where the story is."