I replaced the church with journalism—two arenas which share many traits. A journalist, like a priest, is often thrown into extraordinary situations—fires, shootings, political campaigns and interviews with high-ranking officials. The priest stands in for God. The journalist stands in for the community at-large. The latter just felt more honest. —
Matt Hamilton, Spiritual Unplugging, Or What to Do When There is Wifi at the Ashram, Religion Dispatches.
Related: Thoughts on what spirituality and journalism have in common.
Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next 20 years. For those of you counting at home, that’s 12.5 billion concert tickets — or 100 billion copies of Mr. Bieber’s debut album. You better believe it. — White House Responds to “Deport Justin Bieber” Petition
Navigate the News
The Upshot, a new, data-driven venture from the New York Times, launches tomorrow. It will cover politics, policy and economic analysis, Quartz reported in March, and added:
David Leonhardt, the Times’ former Washington bureau chief, who is in charge of The Upshot, told Quartz that the new venture will have a dedicated staff of 15, including three full-time graphic journalists, and is on track for a launch this spring. “The idea behind the name is, we are trying to help readers get to the essence of issues and understand them in a contextual and conversational way,” Leonhardt says. “Obviously, we will be using data a lot to do that, not because data is some secret code, but because it’s a particularly effective way, when used in moderate doses, of explaining reality to people.”
Today, Leonhardt explained the why of it on Facebook:
You have no shortage of excellent news sources — sources that expertly report and analyze news as it happens. Like you, those of us at The Upshot rely on those sources every day. So why are we starting a new site to help people understand the news?…
…One, we believe many people don’t understand the news as well as they would like. They want to grasp big, complicated stories — Obamacare, inequality, political campaigns, the real-estate and stock markets — so well that they can explain the whys and hows of those stories to their friends, relatives and colleagues.
We believe we can help readers get to that level of understanding by writing in a direct, plain-spoken way, the same voice we might use when writing an email to a friend. We’ll be conversational without being dumbed down. We will build on the excellent journalism The New York Times is already producing, by helping readers make connections among different stories and understand how those stories fit together.
Image: @UpshotNYT announces its launch.
Ancona, who lives in Missouri, insists there’s a new Klan for modern times — a Klan that’s “about educating people to our ideas and getting people to see our point of view to … help change things.”
He said he and those like him can spread that message without violence — a sort of rebranding of the Klan. The idea may sound absurd, but is it conceivable? —
Ashley Fantz, Can this KKK leader rebrand?, CNN
An analysis of the KKK from an organizational perspective, in light of the recent shooting in Kansas:
Last Sunday, the world was confronted with another image of the Klan: 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross, a white supremacist and avowed anti-Semite, in the back of a police car, spitting, “Heil Hitler!”
When his alleged rampage at two Jewish institutions in suburban Kansas City, Kansas, was over, three people were shot dead — a teenage boy and his grandfather along with a woman who worked with visually impaired children.
The carnage was devastating to many. Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona was upset, too.
"What this guy just did set back everything I’ve been trying to do for years," said Ancona, who leads the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
CNN tracked Ancona down on Twitter, where he has 840 followers, after he and other self-professed hate group leaders denounced the shootings in interviews withUSA Today and CNN affiliate WDAF in Kansas City, Missouri.
"I believe in racial separation but it doesn’t have to be violent," he told CNN. "People in the Klan are professional people, business people, working types. We are a legitimate organization."
How to Communicate Visually
For all you visualizaton junkies, (or really just anyone who dares to make an infographic), a fantastic free e-book from Column Five Media on visual communication (applicable to designers, editors, advertisers or academics). Image is a screenshot from the book, which you can download here.
Calling All Unicorn + Magazine Lovers
Medium’s flagship publication, Matter, is hiring summer interns. Full details here.
MATTER is looking for two editorial interns to help us spin ideas, words, and images into stories that matter. One intern will work in the New York office; the other, at our San Francisco headquarters. The term is three months: June, July, and August. And we pay $14 an hour (or school credit). You may be asked to prance around the office in a unicorn suit on Formal Fridays.*
FJP: We share this because, unicorns. Also, remember when this happened?
Happy Teen Literature Day
As libraries across America celebrate Teen Lit Day, Readergirlz and some co-sponsors are hosting Operation Teen Bookdrop, which you can participate in too:
* Follow @readergirlz on Twitter and tweet #rockthedrop
* Print a copy of the bookplate and insert it into a book (or 10!) On April 18th, drop a book in a public spot (park bench, bus seat, restaurant counter?) Lucky finders will see that the book is part of ROCK THE DROP!
(If you think people won’t pick up the book, slap a Post-It or note on the front cover that reads, “Take this book - IT’S FREE!” Bonus points for using recycled paper and/or making your own funky design!)
* Post the banner at your blog and social networks. Proclaim that you will ROCK THE DROP!
* Snap a photo of your drop and post it at the readergirlz Facebook page. Then tweet the drop at #rockthedropwith all the other lovers of YA books.
See books that people have been dropping all day via the Twitter hashtag #rockthedrop.
Bonus: Our (well, Jihii’s) favorite teen fiction? Everything by Sarah Dessen but especially this and this.
Why was ‘Dasani’ shut out of the Pulitzers? -
Remember this beautiful long-form piece from the NY Times that came out last fall? It was met with a wide array of reactions, some very appreciative, some very unhappy. Over the last few months, Columbia J-School’s Bill Grueskin set out to gather perspectives on why:
I don’t know why Dasani was shut out of not just a Pulitzer, but a nomination from jurors. It did, after all, win a coveted Polk award earlier this year. And though I work just down the hall from the office of Pulitzer Administrator Sig Gissler, I know less about the internal machinations of jurors and board members now than I did when I was a city editor at the Miami Herald in the 1990s. But I do know that many readers found the Dasani story, for all its soaring prose and worthy ambitions, a difficult piece of work.
To understand more about why the piece elicited such strong reactions on both sides, I reached out to about 50 people shortly after the series ended last December. I blind copied them on an email in which I invited them to take part in a private, online discussion about the series. They emailed their thoughts, and I compiled and shared them. We abided by “Chatham House Rules,” which allow quotes to be used—but not the names or affiliations of the people who said them.
The group included journalists, scientists, lawyers, faculty members and a few former and current Columbia students. It also included alumni of the Times, but not current staff, nor any Pulitzer board members.
Why did I pick this story to examine? In part because the Times thought it to be so significant. Its public editor, Margaret Sullivan, called the series “the largest investigation The Times has published all at once in its history.” Moreover, it was stirring up a tremendous reaction, not just among journalists but all around New York City. Indeed, two of Michael Bloomberg’s deputy mayors took to the edit page of the Wall Street Journal to defend their boss’ record on homelessness.
FJP: He compiles the reactions here, a predominant one being that it shouldn’t have been produced as a single story. They are worth looking through because they touch on some ethical and a lot of design issues that are relevant across the industry. These considerations shouldn’t be the absolute measure on what makes a story prize-worthy because Dasani certainly is a compelling and generally well-executed narrative. But they are still worth thinking about. —Jihii
One of the things that we do is ask product managers to go travel to an emerging-market country to see how people who are getting on the Internet use it. They learn the most interesting things. People ask questions like, ‘It says here I’m supposed to put in my password — what’s a password?’ —
Mark Zuckerberg in a Q&A with Farhad Manjoo, Can Facebook Innovate?
Covers a lot of questions about the company and what it’s trying to do. Also see his column, The Future of Facebook May Not Say ‘Facebook’.
Thirteen-Year-Old Girl Showing Who’s Boss While Hunting With Eagle on Mongolian Mountain Top
There’s a term for this. Social psychologists, journalists and social-media users call it “lifestyle envy,” or Instagram envy, and savvy smartphone users are well-acquainted with its tell-tale sign: the little pang you get when a friend posts photos from his or her swanky vacation in Istanbul, or when actress Mindy Kaling snaps her newest pair of spike-toe Christian Louboutain pumps. —
Lane Anderson in The Instagram Effect: How the Psychology of Envy Drives Consumerism, Deseret News.
The piece is part of a series called The Ten Today, which examines the relevance of the 10 Commandments in contemporary society. It’s kind of a a fascinating endeavor. The publication, which, as Nieman Lab reports, just came out of beta, is fascinating in itself:
The Deseret News is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but you might not detect its Mormon roots from looking at the outlet’s national site — officially came out of beta yesterday — which focuses on the self-proclaimed values of family and faith. Even in its faith section, which includes stories as wide ranging as a preview of a new PBS documentary on the history of the Jews and a piece on the Hindu holiday of Holi, there’s very little explicit coverage of Mormonism.
FJP: So most of the articles (see: popular content, for example) comes out of a set of curious, general-interesty questions about American society and the role that spirituality and family plays out in our daily lives. While most new news projects are following the niche-news-serving-narrow-interests trend, it’s an interesting ambition to keep an eye on: a publication aiming to hit such a broad audience and broad set of topics topics from a strangely narrow space. —Jihii