Al Jazeera’s Looking for Six Global Fellows
Al Jazeera’s AJ+ is launching this fall. With it, they’re hiring six global fellows. Some basic details:

We’re on the hunt for six seriously stellar young people from around the globe to make up our first class of AJ+ Fellows.
It’s a one-year gig, it’s paid, and it’s an opportunity unlike anything else, an opportunity to be at the heart of the next generation of storytellers. Throughout the year, you’ll work with and learn from our core AJ+ team. You’ll join us in our adventure as we introduce AJ+ to the world, and you’ll be a valuable part of making sure this introduction unfolds with fireworks.

The fellowship begins with a 2-3 week stint in San Francisco before heading back to your home region.
Major Qualification: You “have to be downright obsessed with the news and trends in your region and — just as importantly — with the pursuit of unearthing untold stories.”
Deadline to Apply: August 1. Details and application here.

Al Jazeera’s Looking for Six Global Fellows

Al Jazeera’s AJ+ is launching this fall. With it, they’re hiring six global fellows. Some basic details:

We’re on the hunt for six seriously stellar young people from around the globe to make up our first class of AJ+ Fellows.

It’s a one-year gig, it’s paid, and it’s an opportunity unlike anything else, an opportunity to be at the heart of the next generation of storytellers. Throughout the year, you’ll work with and learn from our core AJ+ team. You’ll join us in our adventure as we introduce AJ+ to the world, and you’ll be a valuable part of making sure this introduction unfolds with fireworks.

The fellowship begins with a 2-3 week stint in San Francisco before heading back to your home region.

Major Qualification: You “have to be downright obsessed with the news and trends in your region and — just as importantly — with the pursuit of unearthing untold stories.”

Deadline to Apply: August 1. Details and application here.

True Facts About The Mantis Shrimp

Filed Under: Explainers done right.

For more “True Facts,” say on the octopus, the armadillo and the frog, head this way.

Want a Do Over?
Yes, yes you do.

Want a Do Over?

Yes, yes you do.

Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.

Ira Glass to Lifehacker. I’m Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work.

Quick tip for things to do immediately post-interview:

When I come out of an interview, I jot down the things I remember as being my favorite moments. For an hour-long interview usually it’s just four or five moments, but if out I’m reporting all day, I’ll spend over an hour at night typing out every favorite thing that happened. This is handier than you might think. Often this short list of favorite things will provide the backbone to the structure to my story.

Read through for the gear This American Life uses and its editing process.

I regret being scared. I regret wasting time thinking I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t deserve a seat at the table. You do belong and your voice is worthy. Say it to yourself in the mirror every morning if you have to, but don’t ever forget it.

Jenna Wortham, reporter, New York Times, to Buzzfeed. 39 Pieces Of Advice For Journalists And Writers Of Color.

Buzzfeed asks twenty established writers what advice they’d give to those breaking into the industry.

Here are the questions:

  • What piece of advice would you, as a writer of color, give to burgeoning writers/journalists of color?
  • What do you know now about being a writer of color that you wish you’d known when you first started?
  • Is there anything you did as a writer starting out that you now regret?

Read through for the answers.

Drone Footage: Washington State Wildfire Aftermath

The footage above is from the Carlton Complex Fire in north-central Washington that as of yesterday had burned down 200 homes and was only 16% contained. The wildfires are the largest in state history.

#Propaganda
Via The New York Times:

Propaganda wars have unfolded alongside the battlefield for generations. But analysts said the latest flare-up between Israel and the Gaza Strip has brought a new level of dehumanizing, hateful language and a muddying of official talking points with incendiary threats, as social media broadcast an explosion of voices, an onslaught of unreliable information, and creative mash-ups of pop-culture icons with war imagery.

And so we learn that the Israel Defense Forces has a  social media team of 40 that publishes on 30 platforms in six different languages while a team of 400 Israeli students volunteer to counter “false representation(s) of Israel in international and social media through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Across the way, Hamas offers a list of do’s and don’ts: Don’t post images or videos of missiles fired from cities, avoid close-ups of masked gunmen and where possible begin your missives with something along the lines of, “In response to the cruel Israeli assault.”
All of which makes for a tidy trove of photos, videos and graphics prepackaged for the rest of us to share across our networks.
To which Andy Carvin, formerly of NPR, told CNET earlier this year, “I don’t know if that’s going to change the hearts and minds of people who already support you or already hate you. There aren’t exactly undecided voters in this particular conflict.”
Somewhat related, Part 01: The Verification Handbook, released by the European Journalism Centre earlier this year, guides readers through verifying “digital content” during emergency situations.
Somewhat related, Part 02: A 1985 study explored a concept called the hostile media effect where people with opposing views are exposed to the same news programming and each side comes away claiming that the same show is biased against them (PDF).
Somewhat related, Part 03: In 2009, the BBC published an “Israel-Palestine” glossary with entries ranging from “cycle of violence” to “outpost” to “assassinations” in order to explain how the BBC uses them.
For those keeping social score at home: On Twitter, #GazaUnderAttack has been used over 4.5 million times in the last month; #IsraelUnderFire about 216,000 times.
Image: Because Hitler, via The New York Times. In Gaza, Epithets Are Fired and Euphemisms Give Shelter.

#Propaganda

Via The New York Times:

Propaganda wars have unfolded alongside the battlefield for generations. But analysts said the latest flare-up between Israel and the Gaza Strip has brought a new level of dehumanizing, hateful language and a muddying of official talking points with incendiary threats, as social media broadcast an explosion of voices, an onslaught of unreliable information, and creative mash-ups of pop-culture icons with war imagery.

And so we learn that the Israel Defense Forces has a social media team of 40 that publishes on 30 platforms in six different languages while a team of 400 Israeli students volunteer to counter “false representation(s) of Israel in international and social media through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Across the way, Hamas offers a list of do’s and don’ts: Don’t post images or videos of missiles fired from cities, avoid close-ups of masked gunmen and where possible begin your missives with something along the lines of, “In response to the cruel Israeli assault.”

All of which makes for a tidy trove of photos, videos and graphics prepackaged for the rest of us to share across our networks.

To which Andy Carvin, formerly of NPR, told CNET earlier this year, “I don’t know if that’s going to change the hearts and minds of people who already support you or already hate you. There aren’t exactly undecided voters in this particular conflict.”

Somewhat related, Part 01: The Verification Handbook, released by the European Journalism Centre earlier this year, guides readers through verifying “digital content” during emergency situations.

Somewhat related, Part 02: A 1985 study explored a concept called the hostile media effect where people with opposing views are exposed to the same news programming and each side comes away claiming that the same show is biased against them (PDF).

Somewhat related, Part 03: In 2009, the BBC published an “Israel-Palestine” glossary with entries ranging from “cycle of violence” to “outpost” to “assassinations” in order to explain how the BBC uses them.

For those keeping social score at home: On Twitter, #GazaUnderAttack has been used over 4.5 million times in the last month; #IsraelUnderFire about 216,000 times.

Image: Because Hitler, via The New York Times. In Gaza, Epithets Are Fired and Euphemisms Give Shelter.

The Russian Public Has a Totally Different Understanding of What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Via The New Republic:

Did you know Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was full of corpses when it took off from Amsterdam? Did you know that, for some darkly inexplicable reason, on July 17, MH17 moved off the standard flight path that it had taken every time before, and moved north, toward rebel-held areas outside Donetsk? Or that the dispatchers summoned the plane lower just before the crash? Or that the plane had been recently reinsured? Or that the Ukrainian army has air defense systems in the area? Or that it was the result of the Ukrainian military mistaking MH17 for Putin’s presidential plane, which looks strangely similar?

Did you know that the crash of MH17 was all part of an American conspiracy to provoke a big war with Russia?

Well, it’s all true — at least if you live in Russia, because this is the Malaysia Airlines crash story that you’d be seeing

…And, mind you, this is not part of a larger debate of could they, or couldn’t they; this is all of Russian television and state-friendly papers pushing one line: The pro-Russian separatists we’ve been supporting all these months couldn’t have done this. Watching some of these Russian newscasts, one comes away with the impression of a desperate defense attorney scrounging for experts and angles, or a bad kid caught red-handed by the principal, trying to twist his way out of a situation in which he has no chance.

About those corpses: The conspiracy goes that what really blew up was the Malaysian flight that disappeared into the Indian Ocean back in March. In this telling, the US had the plane (and the bodies!) and flew it over Ukraine to “dispose” of the evidence. 

Read through for Julia Ioffe’s take on Russian media and what it means for the country’s domestic politics and international relations.

Yes There is a Chrome Extension That Makes Reading the News More Fun 
The extension’s here. The code is here.
The original xkcd comic is here.

Yes There is a Chrome Extension That Makes Reading the News More Fun 

The extension’s here. The code is here.

The original xkcd comic is here.

Summer Reading from The New Yorker

The New Yorker is opening up its Web site for the next few months, letting visitors read everything currently being published — along with archives back to 2007 — for free.

The move comes alongside a site redesign.

Via The New Yorker:

Beginning this week, absolutely everything new that we publish—the work in the print magazine and the work published online only—will be unlocked. All of it, for everyone. Call it a summer-long free-for-all. Non-subscribers will get a chance to explore The New Yorker fully and freely, just as subscribers always have. Then, in the fall, we move to a second phase, implementing an easier-to-use, logical, metered paywall.

Images: Twitter posts from The New Yorker… and an ellipsis for good measure.

A New York Times Explainer
Some learning moments in this graph from a New York Times article on Washington DC’s new marijuana rules. 
First, tucked away in a style guide up on 8th Avenue and 40th Street is an entry that tells copyeditors that it’s a “jay” and not a “j”. Fair enough.
Second, “marijuana cigarette”? Who says that? Ever?  ”Joint” is in the dictionary. Use it. — Michael

A New York Times Explainer

Some learning moments in this graph from a New York Times article on Washington DC’s new marijuana rules

First, tucked away in a style guide up on 8th Avenue and 40th Street is an entry that tells copyeditors that it’s a “jay” and not a “j”. Fair enough.

Second, “marijuana cigarette”? Who says that? Ever?  ”Joint” is in the dictionary. Use it. — Michael

The Grammar of Weird Al

Word nerds haven’t been so excited by a grammar song since way back in the days of School House Rocks’ Conjunction Junction

That said, what to make of Yankovic’s grammar rules? A better grammarian than I would have to answer. Thankfully, there’s one over at Slate.

"[A]pparently Mr. Yankovic is quite a prescriptivist," writes Forrest Wickman. “Let’s examine a few of Yankovic’s Rules of Usage.”

Slight aside: you still won’t convince me to use the Oxford Comma. Let’s agree to disagree. — Michael

Images: Stills from “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Word Crimes video. Select to embiggen.

TMZ.

TMZ.

What Writer's Block? Swedish Man and His Bot Have Authored 2.7 Million Wikipedia Articles

Via The Wall Street Journal:

Sverker Johansson could be the most prolific author you’ve never heard of.

Volunteering his time over the past seven years publishing to Wikipedia, the 53-year-old Swede can take credit for 2.7 million articles, or 8.5% of the entire collection, according to Wikimedia analytics, which measures the site’s traffic. His stats far outpace any other user, the group says.

He has been particularly prolific cataloging obscure animal species, including butterflies and beetles, and is proud of his work highlighting towns in the Philippines. About one-third of his entries are uploaded to the Swedish language version of Wikipedia, and the rest are composed in two versions of Filipino, one of which is his wife’s native tongue.

An administrator holding degrees in linguistics, civil engineering, economics and particle physics, he says he has long been interested in “the origin of things, oh, everything.”

It isn’t uncommon, however, for Wikipedia purists to complain about his method. That is because the bulk of his entries have been created by a computer software program—known as a bot. Critics say bots crowd out the creativity only humans can generate.

Mr. Johansson’s program scrubs databases and other digital sources for information, and then packages it into an article. On a good day, he says his “Lsjbot” creates up to 10,000 new entries.

That’s one way to go about it. Some Wikipedia editors aren’t happy it though.