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).
The entire first episode of John Oliver's new current-events comedy show on HBO, Last Week Tonight
, is viewable
on its official YouTube Channel. [more inside]
... and other quality headlines by Headline Smasher
What I think we forget–or worse, never even realized—is the extreme privilege often inherent in “digital literacy.”
Yes, much of the Internet is free. But it takes time and energy to develop the skills and habits necessary to successfully derive value from today’s media. Knowing how to tell a troll from a serious thinker, spotting linkbait, understanding a meme, cross checking articles against each other, even posting a comment to disagree with something–these are skills. They might not feel like it, but they are. And they’re easier to acquire the higher your tax bracket.
- The New Digital Divide: Privilege, Misinformation and Outright B.S. in Modern Media
Gabriel Stein reflects
on the end of the The Rocky Mountain News, his father's decades-long career there as an editorial cartoonist, and the silver lining he sees in the billionaire acquisitions of The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.
Why the controversial
(and somewhat backfired
) Lauren Green interview of Reza Aslan is is about more than just Fox News idiocy
"By following this process, I’m not looking for ignorance – I’m looking for a way to remove irrelevance and stress from my daily routine, so I can be more aware of relevant things." The value of ignoring the news
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]
"Designed in collaboration with interactive designer Jonathan Chomko, the COLORS News Machine turns your tweets into headlines, but only after they’ve been passed through all the media filters and technological platforms that disseminate and distort the news today."
"A megaphone will read your tweet out loud. Its tape recorder listens, converting what it hears into text so that the television can show it onscreen. A camera watching the television converts what it sees into a signal to the radio antenna, which broadcasts the tweet. And the waiting microphone interprets this radio address as text again for printing."
Tweet to here: @ColorsMachine
. Live stream here
"Conservative news site Breitbart.com duped by fake story that Paul Krugman declared dankruptcy. A satirical item published last week
purporting that economist Paul Krugman had filed for bankruptcy has spread to Boston.com and the conservative website Breitbart this morning.
The item originated in The Daily Currant, a satirical news site. Austria's Format online magazine
picked it up, and their report was subsequently cited by Boston.com [It has since been taken down 404 error.]
. Then it spread to Breitbart.
It has since been taken down this morning, but here's a screenshot:" [more inside]
The First Rough Draft of History:
A Behind-the-Scenes History of Newsweek Magazine
The Guardian, the 191-year-old British daily newspaper whose name is synonymous with broadly left-leaning values, is reported to be planning to open an Australian online-only news operation
. The venture (which has not been confirmed) is said to be headed by current Saturday Guardian editor Katherine Viner, and to be a joint venture with Australian philanthropist Graeme Wood, who already runs a not-for-profit media site
). The Guardian already runs a US online news operation
) with local reportage and commentary. [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 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]
You know how Jon Stewart shows politicians contradicting themselves on news clips? Do it yourself by searching a giant database of TV transcripts and video on Internet Archive
. The collection now contains 350,000 news programs collected since 2009 from national U.S. networks and stations. The archive is updated with new broadcasts 24 hours after they are aired. Older materials are being added. [more inside]
Kathi Goertzen, a TV news anchor on KOMO in Seattle, has died
after battling brain tumors for 14 years. In 2011, she candidly discussed how it felt to be in the public eye
after a tumor caused one side of her face
to become paralyzed. [more inside]
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.
Gawker has posted i inaugural column of "The Fox Mole"—a long-standing, current employee of Fox News Channel
"I work at Fox News Channel.
The final straw for me came last year. Oddly, it wasn't anything on TV that turned me rogue, though plenty of things on our air had pushed me in that direction over the years. But what finally broke me was a story on The Fox Nation. If you're not a frequenter of Fox Nation (and if you're reading Gawker, it's a pretty safe bet you're not) I can describe it for you — it's like an unholy mashup of the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post and a Klan meeting
. Word around the office is that the site was actually the brainchild of Bill O'Reilly's chief stalker (and Gawker pal) Jesse Watters."
Following an amendment
in the recent Conservative Party budget, VAT on 'Baked Goods
' will be re-instated. In response, the question of whether or not David Cameron
once ate a Greggs
pasty infects the British press. The Telegraph have a live blog
covering what has been termed by some Pasty Gate
The Media Map: Who's Reading What And Where: [Forbes]
We worked with Bitly and its data on millions of Web clicks to find the most influential media outlets in the country. This map shows which news sources are read and shared at above-average levels by state. Roll over and click on the media outlets below to see where they influence readers and which stories were big hits. Updated monthly to reflect the latest trends. More about the map.
Teaching Kids News
Timely, relevant news articles for kids, educators in the classroom and parents at home. How to Use This Site: On TKN you’ll find original news articles on topics that are timely, relevant and intriguing. They are written for an elementary and intermediate school audience (grades 2-8) and can be used easily by kids, parents, and teachers.
'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]
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time
: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing
— foreign affairs
, social trends
, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.)
By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues,
) America’s entry to WWII
. Video samples are available at Time.com,
the March of Time Facebook page
and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required)
at HBO Archives. [more inside]
Why I Quit My Job
Kai Nagata on why he just quit his job as CTV's Quebec City bureau chief at age 24: a critique of Canadian government and media.
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.
An Open Letter to Writers of Open Letters:
To those who feel compelled to address the world from Facebook, Twitter, and email chains, TEDDY WAYNE has a message: No one is listening, least of all Luther Vandross. [TheMorningNews.org]
The Burns Archive
is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing
subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery
this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through
with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
Avoid the News: Towards A Healthy News Diet. (large-ish PDF) Go without news. Cut it out completely. Go cold turkey. Make news as inaccessible as possible . . . . After a while, you will realize that despite your personal news blackout, you have not missed – and you’re not going to miss – any important facts. If some bit of information is truly important to your profession, your company, your family or your community, you will hear it in time – from your friends, your mother-in-law or whomever you talk to or see. When you are with your friends, ask them if anything important is happening in the world. The question is a great conversation starter. Most of the time, the answer will be: “not really.”
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]
The Like Log Study: [SLVimeo]
What can we learn from Facebook reactions to online news? Sortable statistics from a study on Facebook "Likes" of major news sites and stories.
"‘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]
Andy Carvin hasn't slept much for the last 19 days.
Curation of news, social media, and rumor: is this the future of journalism? The story of @acarvin
. [more inside]
has been pretty low on the media radar since it's founding by a forward-thinking former Vice President
. As a network based around documentary-style journalism and viewer-generated content, Current has struggled to find both an audience
and a solid direction
, with it's largest headlines generated by a run-in with North Korea
. This may change
with the announcement that former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann
) has been hired as Chief News Officer and host of a new prime-time news program
Salon.com's War Room
is listing the worst columnists and cable news commentators America has to offer. The Hack 30
presents thirty of the most predictable, dishonest and just plain stupid pundits in the American media. Notables so far include: David Brooks Tucker Carlson Howard Kurtz
and Bill Kristol
Science meets the news cycle, part n
: Researchers look at cancer rates in the ancient world and conclude that cancer is "a modern, man-made disease."
The story makes headlines
in the UK (and pops up on the political fringe
). Meanwhile, New Scientist
debunk the claim. Will that critical perspective get as much coverage as the original story? [more inside]
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]
How to Save the News.
"Everyone knows that Google is killing the news business. Few people know how hard Google is trying to bring it back to life, or why the company now considers journalism’s survival crucial to its own prospects."
No Secrets: Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency.
A New Yorker profile of WikiLeaks
founder Julian Assange and his "media insurgency."