Polyhedra and the Media - On the new polyhedra of Schein and Gayed, and mathematical journalism.
Today, March 8, is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women, and focus attention on areas still needing action. In the run-up to the event, Reuters photographers in countries around the globe took a series of portraits of women and their daughters. They asked each mother what her profession was, at what age she had finished education, and what she wanted her daughter to become when she grew up. They also asked each daughter at what age she would finish education and what she wanted to do in the future. (SLAtlantic)
"On Monday, veteran Washington Post editor and New Yorker contributor Marc Fisher published a deeply reported, scrupulous Columbia Journalism Review cover story on how the Internet’s metabolism and economy [including instant-headline video start-up NowThisNews], which places a premium on being first to a story and on attracting clicks, has led to compromises when it comes to the whole accuracy thing. As if on cue, a fun news story has been making the rounds in the past few days: A survey found that 11 percent of Americans believe that "HTML" is a sexually transmitted disease. Other findings included that 20 percent believe a "motherboard" is a cruise-ship deck and 15 percent believe "software" is a type of clothing. The survey itself... may not exist." -- TNR on the Circular Fact Checking ecosystem of online news reporting.
Writing In The Gray Areas - "Are some acts so revolting that the people who commit them do not deserve a hearing?" [more inside]
Science journalist and NOVA correspondent extraordinaire Miles O'Brien was working on a story in Japan and the Philippines when a piece of luggage fell on his arm causing minor swelling. The next day his arm was amputated due to Acute Compartment Syndrome. He recounts his experience with as much humor and grace as one can muster.
No one talks to the games press officially. I wish they did, but I get it. They want to keep their jobs. Let's just say multiple people within a studio were willing to risk their careers to confirm to me that yes, in fact, if their game didn't sell extremely well, like exponentially more than its predecessor or "well" according to a matrix of time and cost investment and desired profit, that their studio would be closed in a year.[more inside]
Patrick Henry College has been called "God's Harvard." The tiny, elite school is considered a safe haven for fundamentalist evangelical Christians. It teaches a dominionist "Biblical Worldview" and has a uniquely religious campus culture (pdf) that emphasizes evangelical moral values. Which leaves female students in a particular bind: How do you report sexual assault at a place where authorities seem skeptical that such a thing even exists?
A few years back, Fox News head Roger Ailes moved to Garrison, NY, built a house, bought the local newspaper, and got involved in local politics. New York Magazine has the story of Ailes' efforts to remake the small town in his own image, and the rage, paranoia, and narcissism those who've interacted with him have come to expect.
Top-secret documents published by The Intercept reveal how GCHQ and the National Security Agency have targeted Wikileaks and "the human network that supports Wikileaks", with tactics ranging from covert surveillance to prosecution, targeting The Pirate Bay and Anonymous, urging countries to file criminal charges against Julian Assange, and secretly logging visitors to the Wikileaks website. [more inside]
I.F. Stone's Weekly, a 1973 documentary about one of the greatest American journalists of the 20th century (Part 1). Part 2 of 6 here (incomplete). Isidor Feinstein "Izzy" Stone discusses how he exposed widely-accepted fictions about the Vietnam War and the escalation of the Cold War—merely by reading what the government published. He was blacklisted in 1950 and began his own newsletter, which railed against McCarthyism, racial discrimination, and the complacent establishment media. [more inside]
It's well known among the small world of people who pay attention to such things that the liberal-leaning reporters at The Wall Street Journal resent the conservative-leaning editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. What’s less well known—and about to break into the open, threatening the very fabric of the institution—is how deeply the liberal-leaning reporters at The New York Times resent the liberal-leaning editorial page of The New York Times.The New York Observer reports that the journalistic staff of The New York Times is in "semi-open revolt" against the opinion pages. Chris Bray asks: "When was the last time you were surprised by something in the opinion pages of the New York Times, leaving aside the moments you were surprised by how awful something was?"
The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus “Sochi used to be much prettier... These days crooks from Moscow come here to build and sell skyscrapers and apartments, although it used to be such a small, lovely town." via The New York Review of Books article on "Why Sochi"
Putin explicitly links the Games to the humiliations of the recent past: “There is also a certain moral aspect here and there is no need to be ashamed of it,” he said. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union, after the dark and, let us be honest, bloody events in the Caucasus, the society had a negative and pessimistic attitude.” The Olympics, he explains, are a necessary part of an effort to “strengthen the morale of the nation.”
Earlier in the week, Slate posted an article on the massive Atlanta traffic jam. The article quoted a book about the Southern character that stated it was "Proud, brave, honorable by its lights, courteous, personally generous, loyal." Yet the same book also stated the South had the less admirable qualities of "suspicion toward new ideas, an incapacity for analysis, an inclination to act from feeling rather than from thought, an exaggerated individualism and a too-narrow sense of social responsibility." The book was 1941's "The Mind of the South" and its author was W. J. Cash. [more inside]
13 reasons why I am taking the Daily Mail to the Press Complaints Commission Jon Danzig deconstructs and demolishes a Daily Mail immigration story. [DM story: Sold out! Flights and buses full as Romanians and Bulgarians head for the UK]
Alaa Abd El-Fattah (wp, manalaa.net) is among the many Egyptian activists, organizers, and bloggers being held under the military government's law against protests. The EFF's Bloggers Under Fire section highlights bloggers detained for their online speech and provides advice for bloggers at risk.
In the wake of recent debates about the responsibility of journalists to their subjects, this essay from TampaBay.com, about a woman suffering from a rare disorder, and the writer's relationship with her before and after the story is being written, has been hearalded as a good counterexample of "a journalist analyzing her actions ferociously," and doing a more ethical job of dealing with "suffering, suicide and a journalist's responsibility".
MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki has been collaborating with NJ journalist Brian Murphy on some investigative journalism about the Chris Christie administration's alleged withholding of Sandy Relief funds until the Mayor of Hoboken agrees to fast-track a real-estate development. Hoboken was one of the hardest-hit communities and has so far received $6 per resident. Christie became governor after leading a US Attorney investigation which convicted NJ politicians of crooked real-estate deals.
Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
Jesse A. Myerson described five economic reforms millenials should be fighting for in Rolling Stone. Conservatives were generally aghast at the suggestions. Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog wrote a response, "Five conservative reforms millenials should be fighting for". Liberals disapproved. Both articles argued for I. Employer of Last Resort II. Basic Income III. Land Value Tax IV. Sovereign Wealth Fund V. Public Bank. Ezra Klein discusses the trolling.
"Why biotech whiz kid Jack Andraka is not on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list." Forbes science and medicine reporter Matthew Herper sends out Andraka's draft paper on his cancer diagnostic test to scientific experts, who find the results do not match the breathless excitement attracted by initial coverage, seen previously on MetaFilter and elsewhere. [more inside]
2013 had a lot of great longform writing. Longreads and Longform lead the way with their best of lists. Lots of sites provided year end lists: The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Business Week Buzzfeed, The Daily Beast, Dazed Digital, Deadspin, Esquire UK, Flavorwire, Gawker, Inc., Impose Magazine, Indiewire, i09, Lifehacker, Maclean's, Mashable, Mother Jones, National Geographic, National Journal, The New Yorker, On Earth, Out, Pocket, ReadWrite, Slate, Spin, Sports on Earth, The Electric Typewriter, The Verge, The Voice Media Group, and The Washington Post. [more inside]
The Millions has finished its Year In Reading for 2013. Sixty-eight people, including Metafilter's own Stephen Dodson, write about the books they read in 2013. Highlights include Choire Sicha, editor at The Awl, Sergio de la Pava, who wrote A Naked Singularity, and Rachel Kushner, who wrote The Flamethrowers. Full list here.
The 2013 edition of Salon's annual Hack List is out, and this year, Salon hackmaster Alex Pareene has stirred the pot of hackery by "channel[ing] each hack's unique voice" and "let[ting] them 'write' their own entries." [more inside]
Ron Burgundy did the News last week in Bismark North Dakota. Some thought it made a mockery of the news, but the station is pretty happy with how it turned out. This week, Ron dropped in on Emerson College to give some advice to the journalism grads, starting with "Of course you have to report the facts. Unless it’s too hard to find the facts — then, just make something up."
"Over time, it has become clear that anti-negativity is a worldview of its own, a particular mode of thinking and argument, no matter how evasively or vapidly it chooses to express itself. For a guiding principle of 21st century literary criticism, BuzzFeed's Fitzgerald turned to the moral and intellectual teachings of Walt Disney, in the movie Bambi: 'If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all.'"
Theatre critic Mark Shenton has been fired from the Sunday Express for having brought the company into disrepute after naked images of him were posted on a gay website behind a paywall. Richard Desmond, the owner of the Sunday Express is also the owner of Television X, the UK's most popular pornographic TV channel.
Honor and deception: A secretive Air Force program recruits academy students to inform on fellow cadets and disavows them afterward.
If It Happened There … America’s Annual Festival Pilgrimage Begins. This is the fourth installment of a continuing series in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries. Previously. Previouslier. Previouslierest.
The Far Post is a journalism series by Roads and Kingdoms and Sports Illustrated on global soccer culture that will run every other week until the start of "the largest theater that has ever existed in human history," the World Cup. So far there are five articles: Brazil 2014 Starts Now by Laurent Dubois gives an overview of the history of the World Cup and what it means now. Messi in Kolkata by Kanishk Tharoor is about a visit by the Argentine national team to Kolkata and the state of the game in India. Afghanistan United By May Jeong is the story of the incredible triumph of the Afghan national team at the 2013 South Asian Championship. Soccer and the Street in Istanbul by Izzy Finkel reports on the links between soccer and politics in Turkey. The Long Revolution of the Ultras Ahlawy by Patrick Kingsley is the account of how hardcore soccerfans in Egypt, at the center of the 2011 revolution, have fared in the aftermath.
Last week, Time magazine put out a feature on the Gods of Food, a series of articles on 60-some-odd empire-building chefs who the magazine thinks are influencing and leading cuisine today. Beyond the statistical problems with the article ... some folks had the temerity to point out that this culinary Mount Olympus was basically a bunch of white dudes. Actually it was all dudes, not a single woman deified. Eater's interview with Time's food editor Howard Chua-Eoan about the story. Amanda Cohen's scathing takedown of the clusterfuck. The New York Times' Room for Debate feature asking leading female chefs about underrepresented women in food media. Eater's latest piece on the question of gender bias in food journalism. [via]
The Trans-Pacific Partnership has come under fire for the sweeping effects it may have on intellectual property laws in signatory countries, and is expected to export and even extend some of the worst features of US copyright law, including the criminalisation of DRM circumvention. The level of secrecy surrounding the agreement has been controversial: the US Trade Representative has refused to make the text of the agreement public, and only three persons in each TPP nation have access to the full text. The New York Times editorial board has been criticised for its endorsement of the deal, when the public (and supposedly the NYT) were unable to read the agreement. In advance of the 19-24 November Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Wikileaks has obtained and published the secret negotiated draft text of the TPP Intellectual Property Chapter, including negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states. [more inside]
2013 Science Journalism Award winners from the American Association for the Advancement of Science:
- Large Newspaper: Deep Trouble, about invasive Asian Carp, sewage, the Chicago River and Lake Michigan
- Small Newspaper: Warning: Quake in 60 Seconds, about why California doesn't have a decent early warning system for earthquakes
- Magazine: Attack of the Mutant Pupfish, about genetic integrity vs. genetic restoration in the fight to preserve endangered species
- Television (20 minutes or less): NOVA's profile of computer scientist Adrien Treuille and Foldit, a crowd-sourced protein-folding game
- Television (more than 20 minutes): Smithsonian Channel: Killer in the Caves, about bats and the deadly white-nose fungus
- Radio: NPR and The Center for Public Integrity - As Mine Protections Fail, Black Lung Cases Surge and Black-Lung Rule Loopholes Leave Miners Vulnerable
- Online: An environmental scandal that’s happening right underneath your feet, about the hidden cost of natural gas leaks in pipelines underneath cities
- Children's Science News: Cold Water Corals: Paradise on the Seabed [pdf]
In the Shadows. The healthcare and human rights challenges of the LGBT populations of Malawi -- where homosexuality is outlawed. Via
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper published a special project recently: The Stolen Ones investigates the local child sex trafficking industry, and documents stories from survivors and their families. (SFW, but some readers may find the content disturbing.) [more inside]
On October 8, the LA Times' Letter Editor, Paul Thornton published a piece entitled, "On letters from climate-change deniers" following up on a claim in an earlier article that said, " Simply put, this objection to the president's healthcare law is based on a falsehood, and letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there's no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed." [more inside]
Where a journalist tries to identify TheIneffableSwede, an online commenter on the Guardian website and elsewhere online. A journalist from the Guardian adds more context.
Pierre Omidyar announces his Next Adventure in Journalism and plans to ‘free’ independent journalism. Jay Rosen interviewed him.
In 1994, the Tampa Bay Times published a riveting story about Kenneth Hardcastle. One of Tampa Bay's civic elites, Hardcastle also had a burgeoning crack addiction and a fondness for underage prostitutes. [more inside]
Since the first stirrings of the Nieman Foundation’s narrative writing program nearly 20 years ago, the staff has tended a treasure trove of resource material devoted to excellence in journalistic storytelling. Much of that material went online first via the Nieman Narrative Digest and, in 2009, here at Nieman Storyboard. Storyboard 75 represents some of the most popular posts from our archive so far. Essays, interviews, how-to’s and analyses of narrative journalism.
Freedom of Information. The New Yorker looks behind the scenes at The Guardian under current editor Alan Rusbridger, including the investigation of the News of the World phone hacking scandal (previously), overseeing the release of US diplomatic cables obtained by Wikileaks (previously), and the continuing reporting on NSA material obtained by Edward Snowden (previously).
Gay Talese's "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold" appeared in Esquire Magazine in April 1966. Sinatra had turned down interview requests from Esquire for years and refused to be interviewed for the profile. Rather than give up, Talese spent the three months following and observing the man and interviewing any members of his entourage who were willing to speak -- and the final story was published without Sinatra's cooperation or blessing. In 2003, editors pronounced it the best article the magazine had ever published. Nieman Storyboard interviewed Talese last month about the piece and has annotated it with his comments. [more inside]
UPDATE: The headline, subhead, and lead to this story are not meant be taken seriously. Together they are, in the parlance of journalism, "the thing that gets people to read the article." The Christian Science Monitor website published a brief article summarizing a study that examined the effects of newborn baby smell on women's brains. Its lead sentence: "If you're like most normal people, you've briefly considered eating a baby or two." Via Romenesko
The Lens Is Standard, the Photos Anything But Jerome Delay has been on a quest for simplicity while covering some of the most important stories in Africa for The Associated Press. For the last year he has relied almost exclusively on one camera, and one lens, a 50-millimeter F1.4.
Who's a 'journalist'? People who can afford to be- and absolutely not Julian Assange. A US Senate panel has approved legislation to protect journalists from having to reveal their confidential sources. The proposed law defines 'journalism' by profession, and not by practice- shutting out citizen journalists while protecting corporate media.
Tom Yulsman on the ignorant, misrepresentative and fictitious claims promulgated by some conservative journalists.
Inspired by the NYT Pulitzer prize-winning “Snowfall” report, the Charlottesville VA paper the C-ville Weekly decided to "take our last best shot at untangling the Gordian Knot that is the Bypass problem" in one long, media-rich article.
"Here are some of the things and people that my father loved: Gregorian chant, Joe Louis, airplanes, the Detroit Tigers infield of the mid-1930s, Salem cigarettes, Martin Luther King Jr., Latin, and big northern lakes. 'That’s not a lake,' he would say, whenever I used the L-word about some muddy little man-made body of water, 'that’s a pond.' Once, we drove all night from Missouri to vacation at Torch Lake, in Michigan, where he had experienced some happiness as a boy. I was in the front with him when we arrived, exactly at dawn, the rest of the family slumbering in the back of the wagon, a golden sun fingering across the blue water. He had tears on his face. Another thing he loved: reporting."