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Dorkiness fits the narrative

The NBA season has ended, and the playoffs have begun, causing a figurative ton of internet ink to be spilled on predictions and power rankings. But one word in particular seems to keep popping up in articles to describe white players like Steve Novak, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee, Andrew Bogut, and Josh McRoberts: "Dorky." And the writers that use it are inevitably white. Triangle Offense's Khalid Saalam (previously) thinks they should probably cut that out.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 22, 2014 - 43 comments

"I really like polyhedra."

Polyhedra and the Media - On the new polyhedra of Schein and Gayed, and mathematical journalism.
posted by Wolfdog on Mar 11, 2014 - 20 comments

Best Longform of 2013

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, FlavorwireGawker, 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]
posted by reenum on Dec 30, 2013 - 37 comments

“Don’t go around asking the question, ‘Is this character likeable?’

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]
posted by Fizz on May 10, 2013 - 23 comments

one great sentence can equal one great post

Stop Making Fun of Leaked Washington Post Blogger Job and Start Applying for It, Says Slate's Dan Kois
posted by Potomac Avenue on Mar 21, 2013 - 27 comments

"Please don't use any less than a 16px base font-size for body content"

Stop Using Small Font Sizes "I'm calling you out. All of you. The hackers, the designers, the code monkeys, the word-smiths, the editors, the CSS gurus, and everyone else who works on content management systems and style sheets for news sites. Stop using small font sizes." [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Mar 12, 2013 - 120 comments

Why's This So Good?

Conceived as sort of a companion to Longreads, Longform, Pocket, Byliner, etc., Nieman Storyboard's Why's This So Good? series looks at why some great long-form journalism and narrative nonfiction pieces are so great. There are over 60 installments of writers talking shop about writing. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Nov 26, 2012 - 7 comments

If a reader ends up confused, it’s not their failure as a reader but yours as a writer.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named the 2012 winners of their science journalism award. The winning text, radio and TV segments -- which cover subjects ranging from bat ecology to nuclear power post-Fukushima -- are all free access. [more inside]
posted by metaBugs on Nov 21, 2012 - 2 comments

A Chat With Jon Ronson

But I couldn't do it. I spent three months and I just couldn't do it. And the reason was because I kept on meeting people who worked in the credit industry and they were really boring. I couldn't make them light up the page. And, as I said in The Psychopath Test, if you want to get away with wielding true malevolent power, be boring. Journalists hate writing about boring people, because we want to look good, you know?
A Chat With Writer Jon Ronson [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 16, 2012 - 26 comments

So f*>%ing future

"Yelp Reviews As Poetry". "A guide to the queer teen stars of YouTube." "Can a video game company save capitalism?" "In Defense of Ke$ha." "Playing golf inside Louisiana's largest prison." "What getting an abortion is like in a Red State." "We may have reached peak infographic." Here ye Here ye! The first (& only?) issue of Tomorrow Magazine [founded by fired Good Magazine editors] is out! [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 1, 2012 - 9 comments

You eat too fast, and I understand why your antidyspeptic pill-makers cover your walls, your forests even, with their advertisements.

In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Jul 7, 2012 - 16 comments

"We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master."

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.
posted by Fizz on May 28, 2012 - 13 comments

"...whatever job you take, you're going to spend a lot of time there. You should try to make it fun."

In 2007, the Madison (WI) Police Department hired their first civilian Public Information Officer: former reporter Joel DeSpain. Over the last five years, Mr. DeSpain has reportedly combined "humor, a flair for the dramatic and sense of the absurd", and turned the mundane Madison Police Blotter into an "art form and a thing of joy." So Why Has Madison Wisconsin Has Become the Weird News Capitol of the Midwest? Meet the United States’ most whimsical police reporter. (Last one's a gawker link. If you dislike their site / interface, have no fear: all reports in that article (plus four extras) can be found after the jump.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 28, 2012 - 19 comments

The Craziest Magazine Ever

The Police Gazette had it all: misogyny, violence, racism, and venereal disease. It was yellow journalism concentrated into its purest form (SL Cracked List).
posted by reenum on Feb 21, 2012 - 55 comments

Janet Flanner

Janet Flanner began her career at The New Yorker composing evocative and cogent dispatches from Europe, writing nearly seven hundred Letters from Paris under the nom de plume Genêt, from 1925 to 1975. In between these, she contributed Profiles, Reporter at Large dispatches, and other Letters from around the globe. In a Postscript published after she died, in 1978, editor-in-chief William Shawn wrote of his prolific correspondent: "Her eye never became jaded, her ardor for what was new and alive never diminished, and her language remained restless. She was a stylist who devoted her style, bedazzling and heady in itself, to the subtle task of conveying the spirit of a subtle people." [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 15, 2012 - 7 comments

Writers are always selling somebody out.

"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."
posted by Houyhnhnm on Jan 11, 2012 - 45 comments

Janet Malcolm: The Art of Nonfiction

"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.
posted by escabeche on Jul 25, 2011 - 6 comments

Set aside some free time; you're gonna need it

Launching today is Byliner, both a portal to the best narrative nonfiction from around the web, and a publishing platform for original works. Some additional background here.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jun 21, 2011 - 15 comments

AOHell

One night, I awoke out of a dead sleep, and jumped to my computer, and instantly began typing up an article about David Letterman. I kept going for ten minutes, until I realized I had dreamed it all. There was no article to write; I was simply typing up the same meaningless phrases that we all always used: “LADY GAGA PANTLESS ON LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN,” or some such.

AOL Hell: An AOL Content Slave Speaks Out.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jun 17, 2011 - 126 comments

Janet Malcolm

The public pillorying of Janet Malcolm is one of the scandals of American letters. ... why is it Malcolm, a virtuoso stylist and a subtle, exciting thinker, who drives critics into a rage? What journalist of her caliber is as widely disliked or as often accused of bad faith? And why did so few of her colleagues stand up for her during the circus of a libel trial that scarred her career? In the animus toward her there is something almost personal. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jun 1, 2011 - 27 comments

The internet is too big to take on

Writer Cath Elliot, recently nominated for the Orwell Prize for political writing, posts about what are, sadly, often the occupational hazards of being a political woman online. (NSFW language; author has tagged post with a trigger warning fwiw)
posted by mippy on Apr 20, 2011 - 50 comments

VQR editor takes his own life

Heartbreaking news for people who care about reading. Founded in 1925, the Virginia Quarterly Review has become the standard-bearer for long-form narrative journalism - "the sort of articles that make readers want to become writers." "The Life and Lonely Death of Noah Pierce" is a great example of what this kind of writing can achieve, but it's not the only one. The essential Bookslut has called the VQR "the best fucking magazine on the planet right now." Last week Mefi's own Waldo made the blog post we all dread having to make. His friend and boss, the VQR's genius editor Kevin Morrissey made his will, left his affairs in order, called the police to report a shooting that had not yet happened, and took his own life. Previously on the blue.
posted by rdc on Aug 2, 2010 - 53 comments

Profile of a Profile

Storyboard is an almost-real-time, behind-the-scenes look at the assigning, writing, editing, and designing of a Wired feature. The Birth of Storyboard is a (minimally edited) video of the conversation that spawned the project. The feature—that will be published in November—is about screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. In the past he has woven the process of creating his work into the work itself, so Wired writer Jason Tanz thought it would make sense to do the same. Looking to promote his directorial debut, Kaufman has agreed to take part in the project.
posted by defenestration on Sep 3, 2008 - 6 comments

journalist as writer

"Together they panhandled with Nam Vet Needs Help signs at the highway entrance, converted their proceeds into Icehouse beer and Rich & Rare whiskey, and shared their nights in the perpetual dusk beneath the elevated highway, taking turns seeking the full sleep that never came, so loud was the traffic above, so naked were they below, in addled vulnerability.

Every Sunday Dan Barry writes about America in his This Land column for the New York Times.
posted by four panels on Nov 10, 2007 - 13 comments

KSJTracker

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]
posted by grobstein on Feb 7, 2007 - 4 comments

'I'm a fucking hero. A real one': New Games Journalism, the state of play...

New Games Journalism (a Wikipedia definition for the uninitiated), appeared on MetaFilter last December with a link to the now legendary 'Bow, Nigger' article. In the first quarter of 2005 the buzz surrounding the phenomenon grew. Articles like This is Why Your Game Magazine Sucks got the attention of the Guardian, who examined the role of NGJ in a February article. In March, they linked to ten unmissable examples. At about the same time, the movement got its very own publication, The Gamer's Quarter; and in June PC Gamer wrote an open letter to the gaming community requesting articles about, well, anything really.
posted by nthdegx on Oct 16, 2005 - 17 comments

The New Games Journalism

The New Games Journalism is a manifesto written earlier this year in an attempt to re-shape the way that video game reviews are written, moving away from a stats-based view (these are the weapons, the graphics quality is X, the A.I. is as good as Y), and toward a more narrative approach. The goal, essentially, should be to convey to the reader what it's actually like to play the game. Be sure to follow the link to "Bow, Nigger" as an example. This review of Eve Online (pdf) is another good example. Are other areas of media criticism in need of a revolution?
posted by mkultra on Dec 9, 2004 - 20 comments

I uppercased K.D. Lang’s name in a story... and it felt good.

Testy Copy Editors is a site run by WaPo Financial Copy Editor Philip Blanchard, with guest columns and discussions dedicated to blowing off steam for people in the occasionally tense business of making words fit, parse properly and make sense in print.

If you've actually edited copy under a deadline, or know someone who has, you know how thankless the job can sometimes be.
posted by chicobangs on Sep 10, 2004 - 16 comments

eh?

Words: Woe & Wonder The CBC explains and debates usage from a Canadian-journalism standpoint - for example, why the Iraqi ex-leader is referred to by his first name and whether to capitalize this place.
posted by casarkos on Jul 15, 2004 - 8 comments

vanishing world

For the adventurous reader Dispatches From The Vanishing World a collection of environment themed travel articles by Alex Shoumatoff. Observe the "skeed row" behaviour of The Alcoholic Monkeys of St.Kitts, or travel to the worlds largest swap almost twice the size of England in the Amazon, this site presents magazine articles by Alex over the last 30 years as seen in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 20, 2004 - 6 comments

memento mori

Obitpage, dedicated to the writer's art of the obituary. Recommended among the greats in the (partial) "hall-of-fame" archive is Idi Amin's: "One of the Most Reviled Figures In Recent History."
posted by stupidsexyFlanders on Sep 2, 2003 - 5 comments

Literature of fact

'Literature of fact' The high wall which seperates fact and fiction has a small door in it through which people can step. A piece which discusses how someone writing a supposed eyewitness account of an event always tends to fictionalise, even unconciously, in order to make the subject interesting, the idea being that just because a book is in that section, it might not actually be completely non-fiction.
posted by feelinglistless on Nov 16, 2002 - 12 comments

Great article about the decline of obituary writing in American journalism. Notable obits it names include Hunter Thompson's unflattering rendition of Nixon and H.L. Mencken's scathing posthumous indictment of William Jennings Bryan.

Should we go back to obits like these? Damn right we should, says suck.com.
posted by Yelling At Nothing on Jan 26, 2002 - 10 comments

More proof CNN layoffs have screwed CNN.com

More proof CNN layoffs have screwed CNN.com "Completely destroyed?" (Paragraph 3) Man, I learned not to use that redundancy in freshman J-school. Geez. Turn out the lights, Ted, the party's over.
posted by darren on Mar 12, 2001 - 28 comments

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