Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Hail and Farewell: Village Voice, 1955 — 2018

September 4, 2018
Hail and Farewell: Village Voice, 1955 -- 2018

Last print cover, 9/20/17. The digital edition ended on 8/31/18. 1965 photo by Fred McDarrah.

New York’s Village Voice, regarded as America’s first alternative newsweekly, ended its digital edition on August 31st. The last paper edition was printed last year. The Voice was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes, the National Press Foundation Award, and the George Polk Award. Writers included Henry Miller, Barbara Garson, Katherine Anne Porter, James Baldwin, E.E. Cummings, Jonas Mekas, Andrew Sarris, Nelson George, Greg Tate, Tom Stoppard, Lorraine Hansberry, Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, and Allen Ginsberg.

More:

“The Village Voice, a New York Icon, Closes,” By Tyler Pager and Jaclyn Peiser, New York Times

“The Village Voice has been shut down,” Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

“Iconic NYC Weekly ‘Village Voice’ Shutters After 63 Years,” Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone

“It Took a Village: How the Voice changed journalism,” Louis Menand, The New Yorker

“Billionaire Village Voice owner tells staff he’s closing the paper because it doesn’t earn enough,” Emily Q. Hazzard, ThinkProgress

“The Village Voice’s Magic Mirror,” Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker

“Last Rites for the Village Voice, a Bohemian Who Stayed On Too Long,” Tricia Romano, New York Times

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WHCD Comic Didn’t Insult Sarah Sanders’ Looks, Just Her Lies

May 2, 2018

Someone who never saw the comedian’s act booked Michelle Wolf for the White House Correspondents Dinner, and right now that talent booker is probably looking for a new job. True to form, Ms. Wolf flamed the media and the public figures who are the White House correspondents’ meal ticket. Oddly, it was this relatively light toasting of Sarah Huckabee Sanders that caused the greatest uproar:

“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

Critics saw it as a gratuitous slam at Ms. Sanders’ looks, which it wasn’t. Why would they think that?

  1. Because that’s the kind of thing that critics expected, Sarah being a woman and all; and
  2. A combination of room echo and Ms. Wolf’s casual enunciation allowed some in the room to hear the word “facts” as “fat” (see #1); and
  3. Men in the audience didn’t recognize the allusion to a Maybelline “smokey eye” ad campaign.

Another joke likening Sarah Sanders to the Aunt Lydia character of the “Handmaiden’s Tale,” the enforcer of the patriarchy’s enslavement of women, was seen as a comparison to the physical appearance of the middle-aged actress who plays her.

The Michelle Wolf gag that really skewered the heart of America’s media, though, was this:

“You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you used to date him? Because you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him. I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric, but he has helped you.

He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off him. And if you’re going to profit off Trump, you should at least give him some money, because he doesn’t have any.”

Even in past years, when the White House Correspondents Dinner was a politician- and celebrity-infested “nerd prom,” the hoopla of the annual dinner overshadowed the event’s purpose, raising money for journalism student scholarships. Maybe next year’s WHCD (if it happens) will eschew comedy and feature singing, juggling, or mime.

More:

“Since when did ‘perfect smokey eye’ become an insult, America?” Jean Hannah Edelstein, The Guardian

“No, Michelle Wolf Didn’t Joke About Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s Looks,” Jen Chaney, Vulture

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‘Local’ News: Sinclair’s Soldiers in Trump’s War on Media

April 3, 2018

Nearly 200 TV stations across America are owned by a single company, the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Headquartered in the Baltimore area, the firm is owned by the conservative Smith brothers (no, not them), David, Frederick, J. Duncan, and Robert. Sinclair Broadcast HQ forced local news anchors at its stations to read a script echoing Donald Trump’s dismissal of major media as ‘fake.’ Videos from Think Progress and Deadspin (above) capture the scope of this truly phony ‘local’ editorial item. Right-wing rival Fox News said the Sinclair TV anchors “looked like hostage victims.”

Sinclair’s $3.9 billion deal to buy an additional 42 TV stations from Tribune Media is awaiting FCC and antitrust review. If approved, Sinclair broadcasts could reach 72% of American households.

More:

“How America’s Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump’s War On The Media,” Timothy Burke, Deadspin

“As Sinclair’s sound-alike anchors draw criticism for ‘fake news’ promos, Trump praises broadcaster.” Paul Farhi, Washington Post

“CNN: Local Sinclair Staff Trash Must-Run ‘Propaganda’ Segments,” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

“Sinclair Chairman Claims Entire Print Media Has ‘No Credibility,’” Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine

“Sinclair-owned TV station chooses not to air media bias promo,” Avery Anapol, The Hill

“Public Shaming Won’t Stop Sinclair,” April Glaser, Slate

“The nation’s biggest conservative broadcaster is putting words in its anchors’ mouths. Critics blame the FCC.” Brian Fung, Washington Post

Related:

“Local news hurt by broadcast media conglomerate,” Chloe Reichel, Journalist’s Resource

“Sinclair says asking news directors for PAC contributions isn’t a conflict of interest,” Al Tompkins, Poynter

Update:

“‘It borders on a regulatory fraud,” Margaret Harding McGill, Politico

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AP Rules on Writing About the ‘alt-right’

December 1, 2016

AP Rules on Writing About the 'alt-right'

How should the press write about the “alt-right” cabal behind the election victory of Donald Trump, that loosely-affiliated group of folks who look like sharp-dressed young Republicans with odd haircuts who have a “think tank,” but give nazi salutes and speak ill of African Americans, Jews, and non-European immigrants?

The Associated Press has finally decided. After the election. Thanks a lot, AP.

“ ‘alt-right’ (quotation marks, hyphen and lower case) may be used in quotes or modified as in the ‘self-described’ or ‘so-called alt-right’ in stories discussing what the movement says about itself.

Avoid using the term generically and without definition, however, because it is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience. In the past we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.

Boilerplate

Again, whenever ‘alt-right’ is used in a story, be sure to include a definition: ‘an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism,’ or, more simply, ‘a white nationalist movement.’

— “Writing about the ‘alt-right,'” John Daniszewski, AP Vice President for Standards, Associated Press blog

Of course, not everyone is an editor. Some writers see it another way:

“Keep calling the alt-right ‘the alt-right.’ Soon, it won’t be a euphemism anymore.” Julian Sanchez, Washington Post

Then again, look here.

More:

“News organizations are telling writers to be clear that the alt-right is a racist movement,” German Lopez, Vox

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AJAM Lives! Sort of ….

February 10, 2016

AJAM Lives! Sort of ....

Award-winning cable news channel Al Jazeera America will terminate all operations in the U.S. as of April 2016. AJAM staffers have created a portfolio site, Best of Al Jazeera America Digital. Besides memorializing great journalism, it should help digital reporters and producers find new jobs.

More:

“Al Jazeera America journalists built a site to help co-workers find their next job,” Kristen Hare, Poynter

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Al Jazeera America Is Signing Off

January 15, 2016

Al Jazeera America Is Signing Off

Award-winning cable news network Al Jazeera America will shut down at the end of April, AJAM executives announced on Wednesday.

“The channel was founded on the utterly ill-conceived idea that Americans were starving for sober, ‘unbiased’ hard news coverage. In other words, it made the mistake of offering viewers the programming they claimed to want, instead of the programming that all available evidence suggests they actually enjoy.”

— Jordan Weissmann, “Why Al Jazeera America Was Destined to Fail,” Slate

AJAM says it will ramp up it’s Web offerings in future.

More:

“Al Jazeera America announces it will shut down by end of April,” Joshua Barajas, PBS Newshour

“Al Jazeera America to Shut Down by April,” John Koblin, New York Times

“Al Jazeera America to shut down,” Bradford Richardson, The Hill

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Death of a Young Black Journalist

August 2, 2015

Death of a Young Black Journalist

“The most basic instinct of a local reporter is to take the importance of her neighbors as a given. In a community like Anacostia—where more than ninety per cent of residents are African-American, one in two kids lives below the poverty line, and incarceration and unemployment rates are among the nation’s highest—this is another way of saying that black lives matter.”

— “Death of a Young Black Journalist,” Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker

More:

“Charnice Milton Was Killed in Community She Loved,” Richard Prince, The Root

“Charnice Milton,” NotionsCapital

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Cow Farts

February 8, 2014

Cow Farts

Have you heard that story of how methane from the flatulence of 90 German cows caused their dairy barn to explode? It’s probably bullcrap.

“While it’s true that cows can produce 250 to 500 liters of methane per day — mostly through burps that vent their fermenting cud — it’s unlikely that flatulence alone concentrated to the point of being flammable. The more likely suspect behind the methane, says a second report from Humnfelder Zeitung, is the common slurry farmers make from cow manure and urine for fertilizer applications. The soupy mixture puts out high levels of methane that can concentrate more easily than farts and burps, which tend to dissipate much more quickly in a ventilated dairy barn, just as it would in a car with a cracked window.

 ‘The cow itself has little to do with the risk of a methane explosion. This is only a danger when dealing with manure,’ said Dr. Hubery Beier, executive director of the local farmer’s association for Rasdorf.”

— “Media Laps Up Bunk Story on Exploding German Cow Farts,” Sam Brasch, Modern Farmer

Related:

“The Taxonomy of Cow Farts,” Christopher Taylor, Catalogue of Organisms

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Alt-Weaklies

January 2, 2014

Alt-Weaklies

The Association of Alternative Media (formerly the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies) will meet in San Francisco January 23rd to 25th. AAM represents 117 publications, most of them owned by a few corporations.

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Wall Street Journal Health Care Expert: Suzanne Somers

October 30, 2013

Wall Street Journal Health Care Expert: Suzanne Somers

“As a writer of 24 books mostly on health and wellness and by using my celebrity to get to the best and brightest doctors, scientists and medical professionals in the alternative and integrative health-care world, I have come to the following conclusions:

 First of all, let’s call affordable health care what it really is: It’s socialized medicine.”

 — “The Affordable Care Act Is a Socialist Ponzi Scheme,” Suzanne Somers, Wall Street Journal blog

“You might expect the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal to pit its own expert against the Obama administration, seizing on this opportunity to argue for the dismantling of the program. And it did: Its blog The Experts delivered a blistering guest post by an ‘expert’ on health care: Suzanne Somers, the developer of the Suzanne Somers Toning System with ThighMaster Gold and ButtMaster, and the former Chrissy Snow of the sitcom Three’s Company.”

“The Somers commentary is appalling. But that’s not our concern.

 The issue is that a distinguished news organization has risked its reputation by calling this the work of an expert. With the publication of this piece, the Journal is a little less distinguished than it was the day before.”

“Wall Street Journal features the actress Suzanne Somers as an “expert” on health care,” -Paul Raeburn, Knight Science Journalism Tracker (MIT)

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