Ebola and the Construction of Fear
by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:
Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
AdDetector is a browser extension that spots articles with corporate sponsors.
It puts a big banner on top of any article that may appear unbiased at first glance, but is actually paid for by an advertiser.
For example, it turns the small, light-grey-on-white "Sponsored" on this deadspin article
into a giant red banner.
"Native advertising" previously.
Yesterday, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson
- the first woman to hold that position for the paper - was unexpectedly fired
, reportedly because she attempted to bring on a new co-managing editor without consulting the managing editor already at the paper or the publisher
, though there is also a persistent rumor
that it was because she addressed a pay gap between herself and her predecessor
. Today, the first woman managing editor for French paper Le Monde resigned, claiming that she was being undermined
, drawing more attention to
journalism and media's woman problem
. [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.
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]
The journalistic practices
of the Washington Post and Walter Pincus.
What the Snowden Affair Reveals About US Journalism
The Snowden Effect: definition and examples
It's as if Corporate Media is at War
on Independent Journalism.
Back in June as the story broke it was noted that If Edward Snowden Is in Trouble, So Is Journalism
and from zdnet The real story in the NSA scandal is the collapse of journalism
So what does the Snowden Affair Reveal
About US Journalism.
It should definitely force media self-examination
Five reasons why news outlets are even worse than you think.
Brett Arends describes five corrupting influences that keep the public from getting the facts. [more inside]
Claire Messud: “A woman’s rant” [National Post]
"Over the last week, discussion surrounding Claire Messud’s new novel, The Woman Upstairs, has shifted from the book to an interview
its author recently gave to Publishers Weekly, in which Messud took issue with the following question: “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.” [more inside]
The Art Of Making Magazines
"By making what they call "not a how-to book, but… a how-to-think-about-it-book," they help us look at something we've probably been taking for granted: What is a magazine?"
The First Rough Draft of History:
A Behind-the-Scenes History of Newsweek Magazine
On November 30, the Tampa Bay Times published a sympathetic profile of Spring Hill, FL resident Gretchen Molannen: "Persistent genital arousal disorder brings woman agony, not ecstasy
." Her condition, also known as PGAD, is a rare sexual disorder (not recognized by the DSM,) 'characterized
by spontaneous, persistent, unwanted sexual arousal unrelated to feelings of sexual desire.' The Times reported that Ms. Molannen's condition had virtually destroyed her personal and professional life and led to several suicide attempts. One day after the article was published, she successfully committed suicide
. [more inside]
The times of The Times of India
- world's largest broadsheet English daily
In 1962, fifty years ago this month, striking union printers shut down four New York City newspapers in resistance to computerized, automated technologies that were being introduced in newsrooms across the country. Five other area papers shut down voluntarily. The strike lasted 114 days and sounded the death knell for four newspapers. For a brief period, New York was a laboratory that demonstrated what can happen when newspapers vanish. Today, new technology is again shaking American newspapers as the Internet drains away more and more advertising revenue. Is this The Long Good Bye? [more inside]
The new "no comment": F-Off.
Has electronic media created an F-bomb journalistic culture? "The close 2012 presidential campaign has been an especially ideal environment for this new mind-set of nonstop combat — marked by blazing email trails, streaked with profanity and accusations of incompetence and bad faith."
The 4th Estate corrects its numbers -
"That journalism struggles with racial diversity is old news, but a study released on Thursday by The 4th Estate tried to quantify the magnitude of the problem. The organization released an infographic showing that, among the 38 most influential newspapers in the country, 93 percent of front-page articles about the 2012 election were written by white reporters. The infographic received a host of coverage." [more inside]
Eating Only Dessert: Why your information diet is probably terrible
- "[Clay] Johnson is the author of The Information Diet, a book
with a unique core metaphor: heavily processed information, like heavily processed food, isn’t healthy but for some reason we can’t get enough of it. Email. Social networks. Blogs. Online video. People today consume more information than ever before, and typically only consume the things they really, really like. Johnson compares this to a bad diet. “If you only ate what you want then we’d probably put the dessert section at the top of the menu, rather than at the bottom,” he says. “I think the same thing is happening with journalism: we’re going straight to dessert every time.”" PBS Newshour interview with Johnson
(~6 min. video with full transcript). Previously: Who wants to hear the truth when they can hear they're right?
. Jonah Peretti, a co-founder of the Huffington Post, later went on to found BuzzFeed, famous for it's linkbait lists
. He recently wrote a company-wide memo touting the company's success and plans for the future.
The Hemingway Papers:
The legendary writer’s reporting from the Toronto Star archives, featuring historical annotations by William McGeary, a former editor who researched Hemingway’s columns extensively for the newspaper, along with new insight and analysis from the Star’s team of Hemingway experts.
A treatise on fungibility, or, a framework for understanding the mess the news industry is in and the opportunities that lie ahead. The younger the person you ask, the less likely it is you’ll find that link between wanting to know what’s going on and grabbing a paper or opening up a news website. They use Pinterest to figure out what’s fashionable and Facebook to see if there’s anything fun going on next weekend. They use Facebook just the same to figure out whether there’s anything they need to be upset about and need to protest against.
Five senior journalists and editors at the News International tabloid the Sun were arrested on Saturday
along with three public officials as Operation Elveden, the British investigation into bribery of police by News International papers, broadened to include corruption of officials in the armed forces and Ministry of Defence as well. The Guardian reports
that the new arrests escalate the stakes of the ongoing US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation of News Corporation, which carries potential penalties of millions of dollars of fines and prison sentences for senior executives. [more inside]
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]
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]
The Atlantic Cities
is a new site launched
today by the Atlantic. It's about cities.
'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]
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
Newstweek: fixing the facts.
Newstweek is a device that injects fake news into unsecured wireless connections. More info at hackaday.
On May 7th, Robert Krulwich
(of WNYC's RadioLab
and accompanying NPR blog Krulwich Wonders
) gave the commencement speech to Berkeley Journalism School’s Class of 2011 on the future of journalism
. (Via) [more inside]
The poor in Ethiopia are often unable to buy newspapers, so they 'rent' papers for 20-30 minutes at a time
from local entrepreneurs.
For more than forty years, Betty Debnam
has been writing, illustrating, and publishing a newspaper for kids: The Mini Page.
It's now fully archived online. [more inside]
"‘Churnalism’ is a news article that is published as journalism, but is essentially a press release without much added."
Churnalism.com is a site created by the British charity Media Standards Trust
, which lets you input the text of a press release to compare it with the text of news articles in the British media. [more inside]
This week Al Jazeera's excellent roundtable series Empire
tackles the issue of social networks and the blogosphere after Egypt
. (SLYT) Featuring guests Amy Goodman, Clay Shirky, and Carl Bernstein (of Woodward and Bernstein fame), among others. Previously
. [more inside]
An oldie, but a goodie: Michael Lewis goes to Columbia's School of Journalism
to see what such schools actually do to prepare their students.
A charity auction whose grand prize was a business lunch with Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch
has been won by David Brock
. Brock is the CEO of Media Matters,
a group consistently critical of Murdoch
Auction site Charity Buzz described the auction as a "once in a lifetime chance" to sit with Murdoch "face to face over a friendly lunch and get his feedback firsthand on your proposed business ideas."
It said it was valid for a total of six people and would be held in New York at a "mutually convenient" time with Murdoch covering the cost of lunch.
"Winner will be subject to security screening and background check," it stipulated.
Media Matters founder and chief executive David Brock expects the lunch to go ahead.
"I look forward to this opportunity to have a friendly lunch with Rupert Murdoch, along with five of my invited guests," Brock said in a statement.
"I will soon contact Mr. Murdoch's office to determine a mutually convenient time and place in New York," he added.
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
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.
) [more inside]
"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.")
"..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