Syllabi provides context and collects informative links for a wide variety of timely topics. The posts cover material ranging from The Mystery of Whales to The Violinists vs. the Stradivarius to The Finnish Approach to Education Reform. There are also regular roundups of good reads from the previous week. [more inside]
If you like real-life crime drama, Burgled in Philly, by John Davidson, will keep you occupied for a few minutes. [more inside]
Nine ways scientists demonstrate they don't understand journalism. Ananyo Bhattacharya, chief online editor of Nature, writes in the Guardian that science journalism will never and should never be what some scientists want it to be. Meanwhile, aggregators like Futurity (previously on MetaFilter) and The Conversation are aiming to let scientists present their findings to the public without mediation through the traditional press. Bhattacharya describes both as "a bit dull." Bhattacharya, previously: "Scientists should not be allowed to copy-check stories about their work."
Néo Fénéon: "Three thousand seven hundred dollars richer after stealing from the job, Marvin Williams, 25, of Brooklyn, went to urinate in a playground." - Items from the NYPD blotter remixed daily in the style of Félix Fénéon. (previously)
The New York Times Public Editor asks "Should the Times Be a Truth Vigilante?" As of this writing, 98% of registered commenters are saying (often in all-caps) "Yes".
"To really love Joan Didion—to have been blown over by things like the smell of jasmine and the packing list she kept by her suitcase—you have to be female. … Women who encountered Joan Didion when they were young received from her a way of being female and being writers that no one else could give them. She was our Hunter Thompson, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem was our Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He gave the boys twisted pig-fuckers and quarts of tequila; she gave us quiet days in Malibu and flowers in our hair. … Ultimately Joan Didion’s crime—artistic and personal—is the one of which all of us will eventually be convicted: she got old. Her writing got old, her perspective got old, her bag of tricks didn’t work anymore."
Grierson believed strongly that the filmmaker had a social responsibility, and that film could help a society realize democratic ideals. His absolute faith in the value of capturing the drama of everyday life was to influence generations of filmmakers all over the world. In fact, he coined the term "documentary film." [more inside]
10b Photography has established itself as one of the world’s leading digital darkrooms, handling post-production for scores of award-winning photojournalists who trust that the company knows where to draw the line between processing and manipulation. [...] 10b is quick to point out that it is not a retouching firm. The term is often associated with Photoshop experts, who are hired to alter the look and shape of fashion icons, for example. So when it comes to defining Palmisano's role, it can get tricky. Post-processing in the digital age.
In this time of corrupt politics, police brutality, media dereliction, and increasingly vicious culture wars, there's perhaps no graphic novel more relevant today than the brilliant and blackly funny Transmetropolitan. Created by Warren Ellis back in 1997 and inspired by prescient sci fi novel Bug Jack Barron, the series covers the work of gonzo journalist, vulgar misanthrope, and all-around magnificent bastard Spider Jerusalem in a sprawling futuristic vision of New York so chaotically advanced that humans splice genes with alien refugees, matter decompilers are as common as microwaves, and a new religion is invented every hour. As a callous Nixonian thug nicknamed The Beast prepares for his re-election to the presidency, a primary battle heats up between a virulent racist and a charismatic senator whose rictus grin masks some disturbing realities. When Jerusalem delves into the machinations of the race, he breaks into a web of conspiracies that threaten the future of the country -- a problem only he, his "filthy assistants," and the power of intrepid journalism can defeat. More: Read the first issue (or three) - browse images from the new artbook - Tor's read-along blog (another) - Jerusalem's touching report on cryogenic "Revivals" - dozens of original sketches and sample pages - timeline - quotes
We got through the basics—how I’d arrived in Libya, why I was there—in civil tones. Then the Inspector asked, “If you were a professor at Harvard, why did you quit your job to come risk your life in Libya?” I explained as best I could that I had not been a professor but a graduate student, and part of my training was teaching undergraduates. The academic job market was tough and demoralizing, and the rigidity of the academic lifestyle had never appealed to me that much anyway. I had suspected for a few years that I’d be temperamentally better suited to working as a reporter. “Why you work journalist? You don’t study journalism, you study history!”—What I Lost in Libya by Clare Morgana Gillis, a journalist who was captured by Gadhafi forces.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times celebrated the 130th anniversary of its first issue, and marked the occasion with 130 photos from Los Angeles history, as well as a gallery of historic front pages.
Women journalists confront harassment, sexism when using social media You come to expect it, as a woman writer, particularly if you’re political. You come to expect the vitriol, the insults, the death threats. After a while, the emails and tweets and comments containing graphic fantasies of how and where and with what kitchen implements certain pseudonymous people would like to rape you cease to be shocking, and become merely a daily or weekly annoyance, something to phone your girlfriends about, seeking safety in hollow laughter.
The sad truth is that we have a govt that seems intent on turning corruption into a national sport...
Today the South African parliament, dominated by the ANC, passed by a large majority a media law which will restrict and constrain independent journalism in that country. Indeed, the law seems designed to squeeze, chill or eliminate independent reporting. The state is going to be accountable to the state. [George Brock][more inside]
A short guide to lazy EU journalism: not sure how the EU works or what institutions are involved? –> Just write “Brussels”. [more inside]
The IAEA report on Iran has been leaked to the public. But are the new allegations "a game changer"... or, even new, for that matter?
The Future of journalsim.
Many listeners have written to us since our episode about Georgia Judge Amanda Williams, asking what ever happened to her. Did she face any consequences for the things we documented on our program? Yesterday, Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Commission filed formal charges [PDF] against her. The twelve counts include a number of things reported in our episode: sending away inmates for indefinite detention, jailing Charlie McCullough for 14 days for exercising his right to contest a drug screen, and using “rude, abusive, or insulting language” with individuals appearing before her. Local reporting from the Altanta Journal-Constitution. Previously.
[A.J.] Liebling didn’t invent The New Yorker’s fascination with work, with letting its interview subjects explain what they did for a living. But he did it very well, and his pudgy hand sits comfortably on the shoulders of the next generation, writers like Roger Angell or John McPhee. They are all of them purveyors of non-essential information, and the enormous pleasure we take in them is in inverse proportion to any actual need we have to know.
Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, a documentary by Ben Niles. "Invention for 900 Hands", a nine-part series in The New York Times. "K 2571: The Making of a Steinway Grand", an article in The Atlantic Monthly. [more inside]
Yesterday, Politico reporter Kendra Marr was forced to resign her position after New York Times writer Susan Stellin alerted Marr's editors to similarities between her transportation policy story published Sept. 26 and Marr’s story published Oct. 10. An investigation by Politico into Marr's work found 7 instances of likely plagiarism. Marr, who was formerly a reporter for the OC Register, San Jose Mercury News and the Washington Post, had logged 409 stories (scroll down for list) with Politico during her time there. The outlet has issued a statement. Poynter has a thorough rundown, indicating that more of her articles may come under scrutiny. [more inside]
Getting Away with Murder - The Impunity Index. The Committee to Protect Journalists' 2011 Impunity Index spotlights the 13 worst countries where journalists are slain and killers go free. The CPJ is also behind the International Press Freedom Awards. This year's awards are taking place in New York, Nov 22nd. The recipients are: Mansoor al-Jamri - Bahrain. Natalya Radina, Belarus. Javier Arturo Valdez Cárdenas, Mexico and Umar Cheema, Pakistan.
The American Journalism Review asks, is automotive journalism fundamentally corrupt? Car manufacturers pay for lavish trips and grant extensive seat time in their most desirable cars – in exchange for good reviews. Journalists who write critical reviews are blacklisted. Among the worst offenders is Porsche, who blacklisted journalist Jack Baruth after lukewarm (or simply balanced) print and video reviews of the Porsche Panamera in 2009. Since then, Baruth, who owns three Porsches, has taken to compiling lists of Porsche’s deadly sins (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, but not 7), fabricating Porsche test drives, bashing fellow automotive journalists who he sees as being too soft on Porsche, and borrowing privately-owned cars in order to write reviews. Baruth writes mostly for The Truth About Cars, which guards the independence of its writers so fiercely that its reviews of the Prius, for instance, ranged from the unremittingly hostile to defensively positive to relatively balanced. But what about journalistic independence in mainstream outlets, which often rely on freelancers who simply don't have the funds to be functionally independent of car manufacturers, and which don't want to displease advertisers?
Photographer Mario Tama positioned himself over Netanyahu's shoulder at the UN General Assembly, and photographed hand-written edits he made to his speech. Here's what he saw. (via The Browser)
"...we still can’t tell whether we are all about to die or whether we are being sold a bill of goods."
'The stories about epidemics that are told in the American press—their plots and tropes—date to the 1920's, when modern research science, science journalism, and science fiction were born.' This is the story of how the media back then (January, 1930) helped fuel fears about a parrot-fever pandemic, and the subsequent public backlash. (Via) [more inside]
Bill Kunkel, one of the co-founders of Electronic Games magazine and a pioneer in video game journalism, has died at the age of 61. His list of accomplishments is impressive and diverse, working on everything from strategy guides to graphic novels to feature films, but his enduring legacy will likely be the magazine (Flickr set), in which he and his team coined such enduring terms as "easter egg" and "screenshot." [more inside]
A year ago this August, 72 migrant workers -- 58 men and 14 women -- 'were on their way to the US border when they were murdered by a drug gang at a ranch in northern Mexico, in circumstances that remain unexplained. Since then, a group of Mexican journalists and writers have created' a "Day of the Dead-style Virtual Altar" Spanish-language website, 72migrantes.com, to commemorate each of the victims, some of whom have never been identified. The New York Review of Books has English translations of five of their profiles. [more inside]
Annia Ciezadlo, author of Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War [reviews, excerpt] discusses Iraqi intellectualism, war and food, ancient Iraqi cooking, the Middle East's dependence on imported wheat, and the link between bread and civilian uprisings. [more inside]
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism have been carrying out research into the extent of drone missile strikes carried out by the CIA. Today they published findings. See also: facts and figures, a timeline, and their Twitter feed where updates are ongoing.
I do not enjoy Facebook - I find it cloying and impossible - but I am there every day. Paul Ford writes about social media, the ceaseless flow of time, and narratives - or, "Facebook and the Epiphanator".
Should a Wash Post writer take one toke over the line to build trust to get the story? The Washington Post has a strict policy that its reporters not engage in anything illegal to get a story. Does that include taking a hit on a joint or pipe if it will get the subject of the story to open up? Not surprisingly, the reader poll had over 70% say, I'd hit that.
"I can’t imagine a nonfiction writer who wasn’t influenced by the fiction he or she had read. But the “thriller-like pacing” you find in my writing may come more from my own beat than from thrillers. I walk fast and am impatient. I get bored easily—no less with my own ideas than with those of others. Writing for me is a process of constantly throwing out stuff that doesn’t seem interesting enough. I grew up in a family of big interrupters." Janet Malcolm interviewed by Katie Roiphe in The Paris Review.
Could Rupert Murdoch really not have known about phone-hacking? Veteran Canadian journalist and TV producer Howard Bernstein thinks it’s possible, because something almost as bad happened at CTV News, which “produced a story on Chinese students keeping Canadians out of Canadian universities. It was a crock, fabricated by a senior producer on the show.... I am certain [the] then-president of CTV had absolutely no idea.... So why is it so hard to believe that Rupert and son didn’t know about the telephone hacking?”
ALEC Exposed is a wiki site set up by The Center for Media and Democracy which posts and chronicles leaked documents including more than 800 model bills drafted and approved by corporations during ALEC meetings. The documents have been analyzed and marked-up for clarity. Journalists along with the general public are invited to download the documents and sift through the bills in order to help map the connections back to their own state legislation and legislators. [more inside]
PR Industry Fills Vacuum Left by Shrinking Newsrooms - "You would go into these hearings and there would be more PR people representing these big players than there were reporters, sometimes by a factor of two or three" ..it's getting tougher to know when a storyline originates with a self-interested party producing its own story.
Threats, blackmail, bribery and illegal bugging all in the name of journalism? Jack Anderson, the bombastic muckraker who broke some of the biggest political stories of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, would have felt right at home at the News of the World. A devout Mormon, Anderson was "part circus huckster, part guerrilla fighter, part righteous rogue," a crusading journalist who believed that God was behind his work, no matter how he went about it. [more inside]
Beloved gaming website Insert Credit is back, and has kicked off its relaunch with an eight page manifesto about game journalism. During its hiatus fans hungry for intelligent videogame commentary migrated to the forums at Select Button and Tim Rogers' site Action Button (Tim uses the IC manifesto to discuss leaving game journalism). Over at Kotaku, Mike Serrels asks whether something is wrong with video game reviews. Via Gamefilter
"It seems that the majority of health claims made, in a large representative sample of UK national newspapers, are supported only by the weakest possible forms of evidence." So states the Guardian's Bad Science columnist and blogger Ben Goldacre in an article describing a study he performed with several colleagues investigating the quality of health advice given in British newspapers. The study can be found here (only the abstract is free for those who don't subscribe, unfortunately). The Guardian's science editor, James Randerson's critique of the article. Goldacre replies in the comments.
Thirteen-year-old Milly Dowler was kidnapped and murdered on her way home from school in 2002. During the six-month hunt before her body was found, her parents gave exclusive interviews to the News of the World, saying they believed she would be found alive. That hope was based partly on the fact that her voicemails were still being listened to and deleted. Today, it was revealed that the deleting was being done by the News of the World. [more inside]
Gawker's John Cook yesterday published an exclusive report on a trove of documents from the Nixon Presidential Library tracing the development of Fox News to a 1970 internal memo annotated by then-consultant Roger Ailes. Part of a 318-page cache of similar documents, the memo -- "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" -- called for the creation of a strongly pro-Nixon news outlet operated from the White House which would disseminate partisan news packages free of charge to local affiliates across the country. By coordinating release of these targeted reports with allied politicians and duping opponents into hostile interviews, Ailes hoped to bypass the "prejudices of network news" -- a desire which led him to advocate for some unexpected political policies at the time, from campaign finance reform to anti-poverty efforts. The report comes as Fox is waging an aggressive two-front PR war with perceived ideological enemies -- calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network, while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods following a critical interview with Chris Wallace (previously).
Johann Hari, British columnist for The Independent and The Huffington Post (recently on mefi), has this week been caught in a storm of controversy concerning his apparent plagiarism of interview quotes. [more inside]