Things tagged media:

The Anarchist in the Woodshop

Daniel D. Clausen discusses Christopher Schwarz’s work at Lost Art Press:

[The Anarchist’s Design Book] explains, again in narrative form, how to make that kind of simple furniture. With more or less the same basic set of flea market tools in the Anarchist’s Tool Chest, along with a willingness to try, experiment, fail, and try again, Schwarz shows that most people can turn out simple, functional furniture. And it will be better made than what is available flat packed from local box stores, and at a fraction of the price of antiques or what handmade furniture costs. Since crafts people have to make a living building something like a chair a week, if they are quick, that sort of production will never be democratically available. It is cost prohibitive for all but the wealthy, and always will be. (This critique, also leveled at William Morris’s Arts and Crafts movement—that the laborers were making furniture for the rich and thus failing at the Marxist goal of revolution—has never struck me as very damning. There has to be some mechanism to get money from where the money currently is, and we ought to be forgiven if we prefer this one to violence.)

The larger political argument in these “anarchist” books is that in a society structured by late consumer capitalism, we’ve all sold our birthright to making things for the bowl of pottage that is IKEA bookshelves and meaninglessness. It’s an appealing argument for direct action, not just in politics, but in daily material life.

The surprise success of Schwartz’s books prompts some questions: What conditions is Lost Art Press responding to? And why has this response been so successful?

The conditions, obviously, are the same ones that suffuse our political moment. Sit down to actually read Karl Marx and it will be difficult not to grant that his analysis of the conditions of capitalism, if not his rather nebulous prescriptions, are prescient. His labor theory of value is appealing, especially to those who have skill in making things. The concentration of capital, high barriers to entry, and economies of scale with diminishing returns all work against the “petite bourgeois” craftsman.



Farewell - ETAOIN SHRDLU

A film created by Carl Schlesinger and David Loeb Weiss documenting the last day of hot metal typesetting at The New York Times.

“It’s inevitable that we’re going to go into computers, all the knowledge I’ve acquired over these 26 years is all locked up in a little box called a computer, and I think most jobs are going to end up the same way. [Do you think computers are a good idea in general?] There’s no doubt about it, they are going to benefit everybody eventually.”
–Journeyman Printer, 1978



Winners of the 2017 World Press Photo Contest

World Press Photo 2017, a must read as always.


General News, First Prize, Singles—Offensive On Mosul: Iraqi Special Operations Forces search houses of Gogjali, an eastern district of Mosul, looking for Daesh members, equipment, and evidence on November 2, 2016. The Iraqi Special Operations Forces, also known as the Golden Division, is the Iraqi unit that leads the fight against the Islamic State with the support of the airstrikes of the Coalition Forces. They were the first forces to enter the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in November of 2016.

Laurent Van der Stockt / Getty Reportage for Le Monde

And the series on Iran is great.



Access Denied

First half is boring, but hits some on the head in the second half:

John Herrman in the Awl:

This “conceptual space for neutrality” follows from the idea that publications and reporters have a responsibility not just to discover and contextualize new information but to distribute it in a transparent or somehow balanced way. People demanded fairness from their local paper because it may have been their only local paper; people were sensitive to bias in network news because it was one of a few options providing a relatively scarce type of information. Their audiences afforded them powers: to talk to the powerful, to dedicate resources to investigations, to collect and summarize the news. These powers created a sense of obligation which, of course, they were free to fail to meet.

Via NextDraft



Reuters bans submission of RAW photos

Reuters, the news and photography agency, has issued an outright ban on photographs captured and submitted in RAW format. Instead, freelance contributors must now only submit photos that were processed and stored as JPEG inside the camera.

I’d like to pass on a note of request to our freelance contributors due to a worldwide policy change. In future, please don’t send photos to Reuters that were processed from RAW or CR2 files. If you want to shoot raw images that’s fine, just take JPEGs at the same time. Only send us the photos that were originally JPEGs, with minimal processing (cropping, correcting levels, etc).



2015 ICP Infinity Awards Photojournalism: Tomas van Houtryve



The Hell You Say

The new battles over free speech are fierce, but who is censoring whom?

Kelefa Sanneh in The New Yorker:

A patron stepped into the d.j. booth to ask that the song be cut short—she later explained that she wanted to “create a safe space,” and that Thicke’s lyrics evoked threats of sexual violence. The d.j. rebuffed her, and in the days that followed she and her allies took to social media to voice their dissatisfaction, suggesting that the pub was promoting “rape culture.” Before long, Fitzgerald’s conceded defeat, apologizing to the patron on Facebook and promising that “Blurred Lines” would not be played there again and that the offending d.j. would never be invited back.

Via NextDraft



overshare: the links.net story

overshare: the links.net story is a documentary about fumbling to foster intimacy between strangers online. Through interviews, analysis and graphic animations, I share my motivations, my joys and my sorrows from pioneering personal sharing for the 21st century.


Via kottke.org



How I Gave Up Alternating Current

Rob Rhinehart lets the crazy out:

The walls are buzzing. I know this because I have a magnet implanted in my hand and whenever I reach near an outlet I can feel them.

(It’s some odd blend of viral marketing and true insanity, and I love it.) Orginally at http://robrhinehart.com/?p=1331, but his site is now defunct, so link is to archive.is.



A Clinton Story Fraught With Inaccuracies: How It Happened and What Next?

NYT Public Editor:

The story certainly seemed like a blockbuster: A criminal investigation of Hillary Rodham Clinton by the Justice Department was being sought by two federal inspectors general over her email practices while secretary of state.

It’s hard to imagine a much more significant political story at this moment, given that she is the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president.

The story – a Times exclusive — appeared high on the home page and the mobile app late Thursday and on Friday and then was displayed with a three-column headline on the front page in Friday’s paper. The online headline read “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email,” very similar to the one in print.

But aspects of it began to unravel soon after it first went online.



Roughly 100 Fantastic Magazine Articles from 2014



A Swedish Ad Campaign, for Kalles Kaviar, Tests the World’s Gag Reflex


Cecilia Sajland, marketing manager for Kalles, said, “We wanted to show other nationalities’ incomprehension when it comes to very Swedish tastes like Kalles,” adding, “We wanted Swedes to feel unique and proud of the brand and the taste.”



The Web We Have to Save


Hossein Derakhshan:

Seven months ago, I sat down at the small table in the kitchen of my 1960s apartment, nestled on the top floor of a building in a vibrant central neighbourhood of Tehran, and I did something I had done thousands of times previously. I opened my laptop and posted to my new blog. This, though, was the first time in six years. And it nearly broke my heart.

You should really read that, powerful stuff.

For me, I feel like the solution is a re-emergence of the cultural elite on the web, as it was to a large degree in the late 90’s early 00’s. Then it was the whole web that was the elite, by definition. Now it will be self selected group(s), rejecting the draw of commercialism, and mass appeal, and returning to a smaller community of people who care about discourse. The good news is that this community will no longer be elite by virtue of privilege, but by choice and self selection. Bloggers who whine that only 800 people read their blog on the web, but get 40k impressions on FB? Ok, you are making a choice. People who chose to write to the 800 readers are joining a different community.



Vincent Musetto, 74, Dies; Wrote ‘Headless’ Headline of Ageless Fame

Margalit Fox at The New York Times:

Vincent Musetto, a retired editor at The New York Post who wrote the most anatomically evocative headline in the history of American journalism — HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR — died on Tuesday in the Bronx. He was 74.



The rise of the hashgag

Jason Porath:

If you’ve seen Big Hero Six, chances are that one of the things that stuck with you was Baymax’s “balalala” fist bump. You can see the exact moment in the YouTube clip above. Most people saw that and just laughed at the silliness of it.

Me, I set my watch.

Upon first seeing it, I guessed (correctly) that exact gag would be repeated 2-3 more times in the movie, depending on how well the test audiences had enjoyed it. They would be spaced out for maximum effect, at 20 minute intervals.  And that it would be seized upon by the marketing department, either in the trailers themselves, the TV ads, or a twitter campaign (it was, as you can tell by the above video). I even guessed that it was inserted fairly late in production (which, best I can tell from what my Disney friends have said, is also true). I would not be surprised if it was one of many such moments that were tested out.

But it feels so good! See also Ohrwurm, and animated movies are just the first to get it, it will be coming to all media soon.



The year in media errors and corrections 2014

Philadelphia Daily News:

In yesterday’s “Chillin’ Wit” column, a fond farewell to former Daily News editor Zack Stallberg as he heads west to New Mexico, Stallberg was misquoted as using the term “horse manure.” He responded: “I demand a correction. Does anyone really think I would use the word ‘manure’?” No. Stall berg actually said, “horse s—-.” And that’s no bull manure.



Damon Lindelof Promises You His New Show Won’t End Like ‘Lost’

Taffy Brodesser-Akner in the NYT Magazine:

It’s a compelling but tricky premise for a TV show, because the show’s central mystery may (or may not) be teased out indefinitely. Perrotta’s novel wrapped up its story after 355 pages, but a successful HBO series has to sustain several seasons of intrigue. And because it is Lindelof’s first TV project since he was a creator of “Lost,” the ABC show that famously drew out several mysteries for many seasons — only to end with resolutions that many people found, to put it mildly, unsatisfying — this may be a good time to remember how comfortable Lindelof is with the whole idea of mystery. The short answer: very, despite everything.



The great debate: Combating HFTs image

Absolutely amazing TV, William O’Brien of BATS gets into it with Brad Katsuyama of IEX live on the NYSE floor, traders stop trading, and start shouting at the TVs.

Backstory is here: The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street



The best and worst media errors and corrections in 2013

Apology of the Year

Runner-Up:

The Sun (U.K.):

In an article on Saturday headlined ‘Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ’, we stated “two flat silver discs” were seen “above the Church of Scientology HQ”. Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists.



The Most Quoted Man in News


“The Most Quoted Man in News” tells the story of Greg Packer, an average joe with an uncanny skill at making media appearances.