Posts tagged FJP

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.

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.

Sometimes the CIA or the director of national intelligence or the NSA or the White House will call about a story. You hit the brakes, you hear the arguments, and it’s always a balancing act: the importance of the information to the public versus the claim of harming national security. Over time, the government too reflexively said to the Times, “you’re going to have blood on your hands if you publish X,” and because of the frequency of that, the government lost a little credibility. But you do listen and seriously worry. Editors are Americans too. We don’t want to help terrorists.

Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of The New York Times, to Cosmopolitan. I’m Not Ashamed of Being Fired

In a Q&A with Cosmo, Abramson talks about life after the Times and offers good advice to young journos. For example:

I taught at Yale for five years when I was managing editor and what I tried to stress for students interested in journalism, rather than picking a specialty, like blogging or being a videographer, was to master the basics of really good storytelling, have curiosity and a sense of how a topic is different than a story, and actually go out and witness and report. If you hone those skills, you will be in demand, as those talents are prized. There is too much journalism right now that is just based on people scraping the Internet and riffing off something else.

It all comes back to storytelling.

Q: Today you saw the children lying on the beach. What was it like to see this but be unable to help?
Tyler Hicks: It was clear that these children were beyond help. I was very close to three of the four children who were killed and it was clear that they had been killed instantly. Had there been some way to help them I certainly would have. Because Gaza is so small ambulance crews arrive almost immediately when something happens.
Image: A civilian carries one of four Palestinian cousins killed by an Israeli air strike while playing on a beach in Gaza, by Tyler Hicks via The New York Times. Read the Times’ interview with Hicks about reporting from Gaza. Select to embiggen.

Q: Today you saw the children lying on the beach. What was it like to see this but be unable to help?

Tyler Hicks: It was clear that these children were beyond help. I was very close to three of the four children who were killed and it was clear that they had been killed instantly. Had there been some way to help them I certainly would have. Because Gaza is so small ambulance crews arrive almost immediately when something happens.

Image: A civilian carries one of four Palestinian cousins killed by an Israeli air strike while playing on a beach in Gaza, by Tyler Hicks via The New York Times. Read the Times’ interview with Hicks about reporting from Gaza. Select to embiggen.

My Handwriting’s Crap, How ‘Bout Yours
Ever since personal computers made their way into the classroom, handwriting’s been on the way out. Many schools teach kindergartners and first graders how to print but don’t move on to cursive. Consider handwriting an increasingly obsolete art.
But research shows that writing by hand actually improves brain development. For example, Nancy Darling, psychology professor at Oberlin:

Using our hands requires the development of particular areas of the brain. That’s true when we are learning to use a tool, like our ancestors wielding an axe. It’s true when we learn to play the piano. It’s true when we learn to write. It’s true when we learn to sew or play with blocks. One of the advantages of moving away from the keyboard and doing something that requires greater flexibility in how we use our hands is that it also requires greater flexibility in how we use our brains. This, in turn, requires our brains to develop in new ways.

In Pacific Standard, Ted Scheinman explains, “The benefits of writing by hand, and doing so from a young age, are fundamental: improved and sustained development in social skills, hand-eye coordination, long-term memory. And when one considers “fluency” in its literal sense, it makes sense that cursive especially can energize a more fluid and coherent process of thought.”
He then goes into this doozy of an anecdote from Valerie Hotchkiss at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign:

Recently, an undergraduate asked me for help with a manuscript she was studying. I assumed it was something along the lines of a medieval Latin text or perhaps even a particularly difficult Marcel Proust letter (our library holds the largest collection of Proust letters in the world), but when I bent over the letter to help, I saw that it was in English and in the very neat, clear hand of John Ruskin. “What’s the problem?” I asked.
“Oh, I don’t do cursive,” answered the undergraduate.

Takeaway: Practice your chickenscratch. — Michael
Image: Some words, written using the Dakota font.

My Handwriting’s Crap, How ‘Bout Yours

Ever since personal computers made their way into the classroom, handwriting’s been on the way out. Many schools teach kindergartners and first graders how to print but don’t move on to cursive. Consider handwriting an increasingly obsolete art.

But research shows that writing by hand actually improves brain development. For example, Nancy Darling, psychology professor at Oberlin:

Using our hands requires the development of particular areas of the brain. That’s true when we are learning to use a tool, like our ancestors wielding an axe. It’s true when we learn to play the piano. It’s true when we learn to write. It’s true when we learn to sew or play with blocks. One of the advantages of moving away from the keyboard and doing something that requires greater flexibility in how we use our hands is that it also requires greater flexibility in how we use our brains. This, in turn, requires our brains to develop in new ways.

In Pacific Standard, Ted Scheinman explains, “The benefits of writing by hand, and doing so from a young age, are fundamental: improved and sustained development in social skills, hand-eye coordination, long-term memory. And when one considers “fluency” in its literal sense, it makes sense that cursive especially can energize a more fluid and coherent process of thought.”

He then goes into this doozy of an anecdote from Valerie Hotchkiss at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign:

Recently, an undergraduate asked me for help with a manuscript she was studying. I assumed it was something along the lines of a medieval Latin text or perhaps even a particularly difficult Marcel Proust letter (our library holds the largest collection of Proust letters in the world), but when I bent over the letter to help, I saw that it was in English and in the very neat, clear hand of John Ruskin. “What’s the problem?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t do cursive,” answered the undergraduate.

Takeaway: Practice your chickenscratch. — Michael

Image: Some words, written using the Dakota font.

One in every seven statehouse reporters today (or 14% of the total) is a college student.
Statehouse reporters, who cover state government and public policy, are on the decline, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. Get the facts here.  (via pewresearch)
Hacking Politics with Browser Extensions & Twitter Bots
Sixteen-year-old Nick Rubin created a browser extension that shows who’s funding US politicians. Called Greenhouse, the extension pulls data from OpenSecrets.org so that when reading a story you can mouse over politicians’ names to get a quick overview of what industries have donated to them. Additional data pulled from Reform.to shows if the politician supports campaign finance reform.
Over in the political satire corner of the Web, this Chrome Extension will play Entry of the Gladiators when an article about Toronto mayor Rob Ford loads in your browser. Entry of the Gladiators? You might know it better as the clown song that’s played at the circus. Sounds like this.
Meantime, two bots on Twitter are fighting the transparency fight.
One, @PhrmaEdits, tweets whenever anonymous edits to Wikipedia are made that can be traced back to a pharmaceutical’s IP address. The bot is based on @CongressEdits by Ed Summers, that does the same.
As Summers explains on his personal site, the idea behind @CongressEdits has gone international:

The simplicity of combining Wikipedia and Twitter in this way immediately struck me as a potentially useful transparency tool. So using my experience on a previous side project I quickly put together a short program that listens to all major language Wikipedias for anonymous edits from Congressional IP address ranges… and tweets them.
In less than 48 hours the @congressedits Twitter account had more than 3,000 followers. My friend Nick set up gccaedits for Canada using the same software … and @wikiAssemblee (France) and @RiksdagWikiEdit (Sweden) were quick to follow.

Image: Best Web Browser Extension by I Can Barely Draw. Select to embiggen.

Hacking Politics with Browser Extensions & Twitter Bots

Sixteen-year-old Nick Rubin created a browser extension that shows who’s funding US politicians. Called Greenhouse, the extension pulls data from OpenSecrets.org so that when reading a story you can mouse over politicians’ names to get a quick overview of what industries have donated to them. Additional data pulled from Reform.to shows if the politician supports campaign finance reform.

Over in the political satire corner of the Web, this Chrome Extension will play Entry of the Gladiators when an article about Toronto mayor Rob Ford loads in your browser. Entry of the Gladiators? You might know it better as the clown song that’s played at the circus. Sounds like this.

Meantime, two bots on Twitter are fighting the transparency fight.

One, @PhrmaEdits, tweets whenever anonymous edits to Wikipedia are made that can be traced back to a pharmaceutical’s IP address. The bot is based on @CongressEdits by Ed Summers, that does the same.

As Summers explains on his personal site, the idea behind @CongressEdits has gone international:

The simplicity of combining Wikipedia and Twitter in this way immediately struck me as a potentially useful transparency tool. So using my experience on a previous side project I quickly put together a short program that listens to all major language Wikipedias for anonymous edits from Congressional IP address ranges… and tweets them.

In less than 48 hours the @congressedits Twitter account had more than 3,000 followers. My friend Nick set up gccaedits for Canada using the same software … and @wikiAssemblee (France) and @RiksdagWikiEdit (Sweden) were quick to follow.

Image: Best Web Browser Extension by I Can Barely Draw. Select to embiggen.