Tag Archives: journalism

Sunday, 22nd Jan 2012

Long reads for a Sunday morning

Some of the articles of significant length I’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks.

Apropos Appropriation – The culture of sampling and copyright infringement for creative gain is hitting the art world. (NY Times)

Clear Lines – One of the nice side-effects of the big Tintin movie is Americans need to be educated as to what the hell is so important about Herge and his creation. This article is a nice concise attempt. (LA Review of Books)

All The Single Ladies – Massive, and I gather quite controversial, essay on being a single woman in your 40s in American. A lovely roller-coaster of personal memoir, sociological study and historical context. (The Atlantic)

Newspapers, Paywalls and Core Users – Clay Shirky’s overview of the online news market starts like this: “This may be the year where newspapers finally drop the idea of treating all news as a product, and all readers as customers.” To which everyone outside the news business replies “you mean they do that?” (Clay Shirkey)

Navigating Love and Autism – A lovely article about two Aspie college kids trying to build a relationship when emotions don’t make sense. “Parents always ask, ‘Who would like to marry my kid? They’re so weird,’ ” she said. “But, like, another weird person, that’s who.” (NY Times)

Can we reach the stars without breaking the bank? – A detailed look at the different options, practical and theoretical, for interstellar space travel. (BoingBoing)

How to get a nuclear bomb – In short, it’s kinda impossible. But the many different ways in which it’s really really hard to blow up New York makes for a highly entertaining read. (The Atlantic)

The first sexual revolution: lust and liberty in the 18th century – An excerpt from a new book by Faramerz Dabhoiwala. (Guardian)

The Torturers Apprentice – Cullen Murphy compared the Medieval Inquisition and the CIA’s interrogation guidelines and finds the Catholics coming out best. The final section is the most interesting, casting torture chambers as “intensely moral places” where “those who wish to justify torture don’t do so by avoiding moral thinking; rather, they override the obvious immorality of a specific act by the presumptive morality of the larger endeavor.” (The Atlantic)

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Wednesday, 28th Dec 2011

Baghdad Country Club

My insomnia lead me to buying one of those Kindle Single thingies from Atavist to read in the early hours. Baghdad Country Club is a piece of long-form journalism (circa 10,000 words which you can buy for a couple of quid. It’s not Pulitzer standard journalism but it’s well written and entertaining to the end.

In summary, Brit contractor in Iraq gets offer to sell imported booze and sets up Casablanca-style cafe in the Green Zone.

it was the one place where anyone — mercenaries and diplomats, contractors and peacekeepers, aid workers and iraqis — could walk in, get dinner, open a decent bottle of wine, and pretend that there weren’t rockets falling all around them. Patrons would check their weapons in a safe, like coats in a coatroom, and wander past a sign that read: BAGHDAD COUNTRY CLUB. NO GUNS, NO GRANES, NO KNIVES — NO EXCEPTIONS!

The links on the main Atavist site are US only – here’s the Amazon UK page.

via BoingBoing

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Friday, 26th Aug 2011

Rillstone on Human Rights

Always essential reading, this man. Always.

It’s no good being a little bit in favour of human rights, or a little bit skeptical of the idea that health and safety means the end of society as we now know it. You have to denounce the whole fantasy; just like you’d denounce someone who believed in the Procols ofthe Elders of Zion. There is no human rights culture. There are no elf and safety fantatics. There is no political correctness brigade. The Queen is not a telepathic alien lizard. Nothing is eating away at the fabric of society and no-one banned Christmas.

I’m always quite astonished that this sort of thing needs to be said, but there you go.

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Thursday, 18th Aug 2011

Girls at the front, boys at the back

It’s Sexy A-Levels time again.

via Jez

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Wednesday, 17th Aug 2011

Daily Mail knowingly used photos after permission denied

Been all over the Twitters but worth another mention. File under “oh, ffs journalists!”

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Saturday, 13th Aug 2011

Why Robert Crumb won’t visit Australia

Background: Internationally acclaimed cartoonist Robert Crumb was due to appear at a festival in Sydney. One of the (many) Murdoch-owned papers in Australia ran a quite evil attack piece calling him a pervert and warped human being. Like most people, Crumb tries to avoid confrontation and his wife was worried for his safety, so he cancelled. Nice one, journalists of Murdoch.

I know, I know, it’s galling to give the Sunday Telegraph sleazeballs the satisfaction. “Ha ha, we scared him off.” But they have already got what they wanted out of me anyway, which was to use me to make the City of Sydney look bad.

The worst part is the apparent irresponsibility of these cynical media hacks. What if I’d gone there, and what if some Mark Chapman-type person who’d read that article decided the world needed to be cleansed of scum like R. Crumb? (Mark Chapman shot John Lennon.) This possibility worried Aline deeply.

Did it occur to the people at the Sunday Telegraph that they might be stirring up such dangerous passions? Do they care? Their article showed a profound lack of integrity and social responsibility. And unfortunately, I was made the object of their hateful Machiavellian tactics.

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Friday, 5th Aug 2011

The newsroom time machine

I love this project, taking a team of journalism students and forcing the to produce a newspaper using pre-digital technology. Despite being only 20 years old it’s fascinatingly alien to them, and to their teachers who’d “forgotten how much they’d forgotten”.

Managing editor Mariam Aldhahi was stymied after typing her first line. “What do I do now?” she asked. “There’s no RETURN key.”

I pointed to the lever that would propel the carriage back to the left, while the gears inside would simultaneously ratchet the paper to the next line.

She tapped it lightly.

“No, this is a manual typewriter,” I told her. “You actually have to expend some calories.”

I slammed the lever to the right, and the carriage flew back to the left margin, stopping with a thud. A look of understanding, laced with horror, crossed her face.

“It’s going to be like this the entire time, isn’t it?”

“Not at all,” I said. “It gets worse.”

This sort of thing should be a standard part of any course where technology has radically changed how things are done. I’m often astonished that photography students don’t have to use a darkroom, for example. The reason why is made vivid in this final quote:

Technology hasn’t made us lazier, but it has made it possible to be lazier while still producing the same amount of quality work.

via Waxy

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Wednesday, 3rd Aug 2011

Daily Mail on Brass Eye, 2001

Brass Eye Special - Daily Mail article, July 28th 2001

Chris Morris’ Brass Eye Pedophile Special was a defining artifact in the splintering of the culture on lines of rational thought and emotional reaction. While the Daily Mail deliberately gets it wrong in this report, how it does so is fascinating and, some might say, worth understanding if you wish to understand how some people think.

via Cook’d and Bomb’d / Neil Holland.

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Monday, 25th Jul 2011

The death of the News of the World is a punishment for violating images of the sacred

Most of the good writing on the News of the Word / Hacking / News Corp saga has been of the moment as events moved so quickly, but this one from Gordon Lynch is pretty timeless, presumably because it’s dealing with timeless issues.

The trangression of the News of the World and News Corp is not simply that they acted “unethically” (in a narrow professional sense), or even illegally. In itself, this would be enough to create the mild sense of scandal that had surrounded the phone-hacking story until this week.

The tipping point came when the actions of people associated with the News of the World became profanations, an evil polluting the cherished sacred significance embodied in the stories of Milly Dowler, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, and the 7/7 bombings. It was after this that public figures felt compelled to speak in terms of their “horror” at the “sickening” allegations, that advertisers fled, and the paper was sacrificed.

The moral narrative which the paper had done so much to create turned back on its creator.

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Thursday, 21st Jul 2011

What Stewart Lee really thinks about Michael McIntyre

File under “don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story”.

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