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Posts tagged "journalism"

Oct 10, 2013
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For Journalists Who Seek Out Hidden Things, a More Visible Brand

The ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners designs a very newspaper blackout-like logo for The Center for Investigative Reporting:


  The idea for the campaign was suggested by “Broken Shield,” a series by California Watch that investigated problems at centers for the developmentally disabled. When reporters received documents they had requested from state officials, “the documents were entirely redacted,” Mr. Bronstein said, “not just the words but the margins.”
  
  “Rich took that redaction notion,” he added, “to deliver the message that we are the antidote to redaction.”
  
  The center’s new logo looks like a redacted document, with everything unreadable except for five words: “the,” “center for,” “investigative” and “reporting.” The logo will appear in numerous places like the center’s Web site, video clips and movie-style posters that promote the center’s reporting.
  
  …The logo is meant to symbolize that “you have to go beyond that blacked-out material to find the truth,” Mr. Silverstein said in a separate phone interview.


I don’t have a comment except, I named the book Steal Like An Artist, not Steal Like An Ad Agency.

(thx @misterdamrauer)

For Journalists Who Seek Out Hidden Things, a More Visible Brand

The ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners designs a very newspaper blackout-like logo for The Center for Investigative Reporting:

The idea for the campaign was suggested by “Broken Shield,” a series by California Watch that investigated problems at centers for the developmentally disabled. When reporters received documents they had requested from state officials, “the documents were entirely redacted,” Mr. Bronstein said, “not just the words but the margins.”

“Rich took that redaction notion,” he added, “to deliver the message that we are the antidote to redaction.”

The center’s new logo looks like a redacted document, with everything unreadable except for five words: “the,” “center for,” “investigative” and “reporting.” The logo will appear in numerous places like the center’s Web site, video clips and movie-style posters that promote the center’s reporting.

…The logo is meant to symbolize that “you have to go beyond that blacked-out material to find the truth,” Mr. Silverstein said in a separate phone interview.

I don’t have a comment except, I named the book Steal Like An Artist, not Steal Like An Ad Agency.

(thx @misterdamrauer)

Mar 15, 2013
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About those 2005 and 2013 photos of the crowds in St. Peter’s Square


  Post photojournalist Nick Kirkpatrick did a little digging and found that the lower photo… which features a sea of smartphones and tablets, was, indeed, taken during the announcement of Pope Francis’s election. But the top photo… which shows an audience with far fewer gadgets was taken during the funeral procession of Pope John Paul II — a very different mood and event type. There was no one addressing the crowd from the balcony, for example. So, the comparison isn’t quite accurate.


As Errol Morris says, to fake a photograph, you don’t need photoshop, all you have to do is change the caption.

But what’s sort of interesting is that the caption wasn’t totally misleading:


  todayshow: How the world has changed: St. Peter’s Square in 2005 and 2013


It’s really the juxtaposition of the two images together into one image that does the “talking.” (As @ayjay put it, “ Never let the facts get in the way of a powerful photo juxtaposition.”) In cases like this, it’s really the “truthiness” of the juxtaposition that makes it spread so fast — it seems true, so we like it. In this way, it’s more like an editorial cartoon…

About those 2005 and 2013 photos of the crowds in St. Peter’s Square

Post photojournalist Nick Kirkpatrick did a little digging and found that the lower photo… which features a sea of smartphones and tablets, was, indeed, taken during the announcement of Pope Francis’s election. But the top photo… which shows an audience with far fewer gadgets was taken during the funeral procession of Pope John Paul II — a very different mood and event type. There was no one addressing the crowd from the balcony, for example. So, the comparison isn’t quite accurate.

As Errol Morris says, to fake a photograph, you don’t need photoshop, all you have to do is change the caption.

But what’s sort of interesting is that the caption wasn’t totally misleading:

todayshow: How the world has changed: St. Peter’s Square in 2005 and 2013

It’s really the juxtaposition of the two images together into one image that does the “talking.” (As @ayjay put it, “ Never let the facts get in the way of a powerful photo juxtaposition.”) In cases like this, it’s really the “truthiness” of the juxtaposition that makes it spread so fast — it seems true, so we like it. In this way, it’s more like an editorial cartoon…

Jan 17, 2013
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Jan 05, 2013
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The numbers say whatever you want them to say. (via @SteveCase)

The numbers say whatever you want them to say. (via @SteveCase)

Nov 25, 2012
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How Reddit Stole a Colorado Journalist’s Wizard of Oz Thunder

A hilarious newspaper clipping turns out to be a bummer of an attribution story:


  Friday was another bittersweet day for Rick Polito. Actor George Takei posted a screen grab on Facebook of the Boulder, CO freelance journalist’s hilarious bygone Wizard of Oz gag synopsis. However, because Takei sourced a Reddit user’s errant crop job, tens of thousands of people initially liked and shared an item that attributes the summary to the wrong guy: the late Lee Winfrey. (To Takei’s credit, this morning he added “Credit: Rick Polito.”)
  
  Jay Leno first quoted Polito’s 1998 synopsis on The Tonight Show a decade ago. When the talk show host revisited the same material for a “Headlines” segment in late October, a Reddit user launched the synopsis on its merry viral way. With Polito’s name as the source author cut out. (It was visible on Leno, although somewhat cryptically, the attribution reads: ‘Inquirer Television Writer Lee Winfrey and Rick Polito of Universal Press Syndicate contributed to this report.’)


Sucks, but it happens, right? Well, Polito, like a lot of ex-journalists, is having a hard time finding a new gig:


  Polito has been trying to set the record straight and turn the newfound popularity of his movie listings — Takei has posted a few others and he has more than 15,000 of them on his computer — into a paying gig.
  
  "It’s frustrating having my joke out there with someone else’s name on it," Polito said. "For every person who’s seen it with my name on it, 10 other people have seen it with someone else’s name."
  
  …”It’s a quest to get the proper attribution, which is in part to see if it can turn into income for a starving journalist,” Polito said. “I’m proud of that joke.”


Another example of how misattribution is usually a case of laziness and not malice.

See a few of Polito’s other log lines→

Filed under: attribution

How Reddit Stole a Colorado Journalist’s Wizard of Oz Thunder

A hilarious newspaper clipping turns out to be a bummer of an attribution story:

Friday was another bittersweet day for Rick Polito. Actor George Takei posted a screen grab on Facebook of the Boulder, CO freelance journalist’s hilarious bygone Wizard of Oz gag synopsis. However, because Takei sourced a Reddit user’s errant crop job, tens of thousands of people initially liked and shared an item that attributes the summary to the wrong guy: the late Lee Winfrey. (To Takei’s credit, this morning he added “Credit: Rick Polito.”)

Jay Leno first quoted Polito’s 1998 synopsis on The Tonight Show a decade ago. When the talk show host revisited the same material for a “Headlines” segment in late October, a Reddit user launched the synopsis on its merry viral way. With Polito’s name as the source author cut out. (It was visible on Leno, although somewhat cryptically, the attribution reads: ‘Inquirer Television Writer Lee Winfrey and Rick Polito of Universal Press Syndicate contributed to this report.’)

Sucks, but it happens, right? Well, Polito, like a lot of ex-journalists, is having a hard time finding a new gig:

Polito has been trying to set the record straight and turn the newfound popularity of his movie listings — Takei has posted a few others and he has more than 15,000 of them on his computer — into a paying gig.

"It’s frustrating having my joke out there with someone else’s name on it," Polito said. "For every person who’s seen it with my name on it, 10 other people have seen it with someone else’s name."

…”It’s a quest to get the proper attribution, which is in part to see if it can turn into income for a starving journalist,” Polito said. “I’m proud of that joke.”

Another example of how misattribution is usually a case of laziness and not malice.

See a few of Polito’s other log lines→

Filed under: attribution

Jul 23, 2012
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Writer’s Blocks

jndevereux:

This weekend my friend Austin and I were talking about writing, and I remembered an interview with Lawrence Weschler in The New New Journalism in which he talks about building with wooden blocks while he’s thinking about the structure of his articles or books. Here’s the passage, after he’s talked about his idea-gathering and information collecting:

Are there any activities that help at this point?
Two things. One is that I read a lot of novels. Writers like Larry McMurtry and Walter Mosley are especially good. I’m sort of like a bicyclist riding behind a truck: I want to get into the slipstream of that other narrator’s narrative. To get the feel of narrative, to be on the road, to remember what it feels like to tell a story.
The second thing I do is play with blocks. I have a very large collection of wooden blocks. Some of them are my own invention, and some of them are just rectangular.

These blocks belong to your daughter?
No, my daughter is not allowed to play with these blocks. They are mine.

And what do you do with these blocks?
Well, my wife, who is an important human rights monitor, and my daughter, who has been off at school, will come home and see the elaborate cathedral I’ve built on the kitchen table. And they’ll say, “We see you’ve been busy today.” And I have! Because although I’m not thinking about the material at all, I am thinking about structure and rhythm….

And how do these block structures get translated into writing?
I’ll be playing with my blocks and find myself thinking, “Hmm, I suppose if I put this part of the story in front of that rather than after it … That might be interesting.” And gradually I start to find formal issues of sequencing. Then I start to notice rhymes that I hadn’t noticed before.
For instance, when I was writing about Breytenbach there was a key moment in his story when he is being arrested at the airport and passes by a window in which he sees himself. I thought about what it might have been like to see himself at that moment. And then I remembered that in one of his poems he had a line about “South Africa is like the mirror at midnight when you looked in it and a train whistle blew in the distance, and your face was frozen there for all eternity, a horrible face but one’s own.” And I thought, hmm, if I put that quote next to that scene …
Now this gets really interesting. This is fun. And at a certain point everything flips around: I’m suddenly magnetized north rather than south, and everything else in the universe except the blank paper before me is north. I’m at my desk, and wouldn’t even notice if the house was burning down around me. And yet, I’m not interested in the material, I’m interested in the form. And the thing that is totally mind-blowing is that elements I put side by side for purely formal reasons turn out to be true about the real world. And this is because beauty is truth, and truth is beauty. It is the same kind of satisfaction that a mathematician gets out of an elegant proof.

Although the process sounds somewhat mysterious, and I’m not sure I would find it helpful in my writing, the important idea—that structuring writing is easier when you turn it into a physical activity—is undoubtedly true for me. I usually use index cards and shuffle them around, but using building blocks or Lego or even drawing a picture would probably work, too. The key is to get things out of your head and into your hands.

(All the interviews in that book are good, by the way, very focused on craft and would be of interest to any writer, not just journalists new new or old.)

Jul 22, 2012
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Every narrative voice—but especially every nonfiction voice—is itself a fiction, and the world of writing and reading is divided between those who know this and those who either don’t or else deny it. Human beings have glands and secrete all sorts of things. But the human mind secretes stories. We live narratives. That is the only way we know how to experience anything, and it is our glory.
— Lawrence Weschler, in the prospectus for his course, “The Fiction of Nonfiction,” quoted in The New New Journalism

Jun 23, 2012
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Journalism is chores. Journalism is bondage unless you can see yourself as a private eye inquiring into the mysteries of a new phenomenon.
— Norman Mailer, The Faith of Graffiti

Mar 18, 2012
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Real life is messy. And as a general rule, the more theatrical the story you hear, and the more it divides the world into goodies vs baddies, the less reliable that story is going to be. […] One of the central problems with narrative nonfiction is that the best narratives aren’t messy and complicated, while nonfiction nearly always is.
Felix Salmon. Says Mark, “I was so glad to see this article this afternoon. I just created my life is messy tag last night.” (via)

Feb 21, 2012
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At the end of the day, this job is only really fun if you discover what no one else already knows.
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