Things tagged media:

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.

It’s Not Just Political Districts. Our News Is Gerrymandered, Too

David Carr in the NYT:

I read an interview this last week with someone who gets his news from a narrow band of information providers.

He reads The Wall Street Journal, a really good newspaper that tilts right on its editorial page and sometimes in its news coverage. He also reads The Washington Times, a more reflexively conservative publication, and listens to “the talk guys” on the radio during his commute to work. We know which ones, because liberals don’t do well on the radio.

Even though he lives in Washington and works in government, he dumped his subscription to The Washington Post. He explained: “It was the treatment of almost any conservative issue. It was slanted and often nasty. And, you know, why should I get upset every morning?” He added that The Post was “shrilly, shrilly liberal.”

Just another guy in Washington who can’t stand hearing anything that doesn’t comport with his worldview? Well, this one happens to work on the United States Supreme Court.

How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets

Peter Maass in the NYT:

Before long, Poitras received an encrypted message that outlined a number of secret surveillance programs run by the government. She had heard of one of them but not the others. After describing each program, the stranger wrote some version of the phrase, “This I can prove.”

Seconds after she decrypted and read the e-mail, Poitras disconnected from the Internet and removed the message from her computer. “I thought, O.K., if this is true, my life just changed,” she told me last month. “It was staggering, what he claimed to know and be able to provide. I just knew that I had to change everything.”

Syrian Rebels Attempt Shift From Guerrilla Tactics

Fantastic reporting:

C. J. Chivers in the NYT:

IBLIL, Syria — The airstrikes resumed at 7:30 a.m., beginning with a rolling series of explosions in the village of Zoghba. An extended roar shook the northern Hama Plain.

In nearby Iblil, rebel fighters listened knowingly. If the pattern held, shells and rockets would soon follow — and hundreds of opposition fighters in villages they had recently claimed would face another punishing day.

Roughly six weeks ago, as foreign governments were focused on whether chemical weapons had been used in Syria’s civil war, several rebel groups made a decision blending boldness and risk. Eager to break a painful near-stalemate that has settled over the war since late last summer, they opened a front here on the arid flatlands east of the Aleppo-Damascus highway.

The Transparency Grenade - Julian Oliver

Presented in the form of a Soviet F1 Hand Grenade, the Transparency Grenade is an iconic cure for these frustrations, making the process of leaking information from closed meetings as easy as pulling a pin.

Equipped with a tiny computer, microphone and powerful wireless antenna, the Transparency Grenade captures network traffic and audio at the site and securely and anonymously streams it to a dedicated server where it is mined for information. User names, hostnames, IP addresses, unencrypted email fragments, web pages, images and voice extracted from this data and then presented on an online, public map, shown at the location of the detonation.

Jailbreak the Patriarchy: my first Chrome extension

Danielle Sucher:

I just released my first Chrome extension! It’s called Jailbreak the Patriarchy, and if you’re running Chrome, you can head over here to install it.

What does it do?

Jailbreak the Patriarchy genderswaps the world for you. When it’s installed, everything you read in Chrome (except for gmail, so far) loads with pronouns and a reasonably thorough set of other gendered words swapped. For example: “he loved his mother very much” would read as “she loved her father very much”, “the patriarchy also hurts men” would read as “the matriarchy also hurts women”, that sort of thing.

Oracle Issues Statement

One of the strangest and funniest chain of PR I have seen:

Mr. Lynch then accused of Oracle of being ‘inaccurate’.   Either Mr. Lynch has a very poor memory or he’s lying.  ‘Some bank’ did not just happen to come to Oracle with Autonomy ‘on a list.’  The truth is that Mr. Lynch came to Oracle, along with his investment banker, Frank Quattrone, and met with Oracle’s head of M&A, Douglas Kehring and Oracle President Mark Hurd at 11 am on April 1, 2011.

Ball is in your court Oracle!

Strange Bloomberg Headlines

Headlines always try to cram a lot of information into a small number of words, but some Bloomberg headlines are in a class of their own.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Errol Morris:

During the last week of the Bush administration, I asked the head photo editors of these news services — Vincent Amalvy (AFP), Santiago Lyon (AP) and Jim Bourg (Reuters) — to pick the photographs of the president that they believe captured the character of the man and of his administration.

Via Daring Fireball.

The Year in Media Errors and Corrections

Regret the Error does their annual round up of best corrections:

Best Recipe Error
A report from Reuters:

Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson has apologized after accidentally recommending a potentially deadly plant in organic salads.
The chef and TV presenter said in a magazine article that the weed henbane, also known as stinking nightshade, made an excellent addition to summertime meals…
Henbane, or Hyoscyamus niger, is toxic and can cause hallucinations, convulsions, vomiting and in extreme cases death.
Worrall Thompson, who was discussing his passion for organic foods, had confused the plant with another of a similar name.
The magazine “Healthy & Organic Living” printed an urgent warning: “Henbane is a very toxic plant and should never be eaten. As always, check with an expert when foraging or collecting wild plants.”
Henbane, a close relative of deadly nightshade, was used by Dr Crippen to kill his wife in 1910, and is thought to have been the main ingredient in the poison Romeo took in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.”
The chef had intended to refer to fat hen, a weed rich in vitamin C, that is edible, media reports said…
Worrall Thompson was reported in the media as saying the confusion had been “a bit embarrassing.”


Heavyweight physics prof weighs into climate/energy scrap

Lewis Page in The Register:

Professor David J C MacKay of the Cambridge University Department of Physics holds a PhD in computation from Cal Tech and a starred first in Physics, so we can take it that he knows his numbers. And, as he points out, numbers are typically lacking in current discussion around carbon emissions and energy use.

MacKay tells The Reg that he was first drawn into this field by the constant suggestion — from the Beeb, parts of the government etc — that we can seriously impact our personal energy consumption by doing such things as turning our TVs off standby or unplugging our mobile-phone chargers.

Anyone with even a slight grasp of energy units should know that this is madness. Skipping one bath saves a much energy as leaving your TV off standby for over six months. People who wash regularly, wear clean clothes, consume hot food or drink, use powered transport of any kind and live in warm houses have no need to worry about the energy they use to power their electronics; it’s insignificant compared to the other things.

The article goes on to summarize some of the solution scenarios MacKay worked out for the UK, and as you would expect nuclear is the only one that is close to achievable.

Via Arts & Letters Daily.

Gin, Television, and Social Surplus

Clay Shirky:

Starting with the Second World War a whole series of things happened--rising GDP per capita, rising educational attainment, rising life expectancy and, critically, a rising number of people who were working five-day work weeks. For the first time, society forced onto an enormous number of its citizens the requirement to manage something they had never had to manage before--free time.

And what did we do with that free time? Well, mostly we spent it watching TV

Transcript here, video here.

Via Daring Fireball and Warren Ellis.

Digital technology is transforming photojournalism

Andrew Blum in Hard Focus (Print Mag) reproduced on his site:

Gone are the days when photojournalists lugged a chunky Rolleiflex TLR into the field and sent film home on planes. Digital technology has streamlined the process—while adding a few of its own complications. To find out more about how technology is changing photojournalism, I tracked down a few of the conflict photographers who travel around the world from hot spot to hot spot

Via cityofsound.

What is up with election coverage?

Posted to bramcohen.

The coverage of the current US primaries is mindbogglingly wrongheaded. Recent coverage has focused on who would ‘win’ New Hampshire among the democrats, and Huckabee’s ‘lead’ among republicans. The actual numbers can be found here. New Hampshire is not a winner-take-all state for democrats, and both Clinton and Obama got exactly nine delegates from there, making the declaration of a ‘winner’ extremely misleading, if not outright revealing of the declarer having dubious mental capacity. Among republicans, Mitt Romney now has the most delegates, with Huckabee in second, and the media is currently speculating that Romney will drop out because he’s so far ‘behind’.

Seriously, what is wrong with journalists? Are they not able to do basic arithmetic? Ideally I’d like to have meta-coverage discussing why some states are winner take all and others aren’t, and what on earth ‘super-delegates’ are, but I’d settle for even an accurate portrayal of what’s happening in the race as it unfolds.

But thank you CNN for putting up a nice site which gives accurate up-to-date information. Please expand it in the future with more explanation of what ‘super delegates’ are, and what happens to a candidate’s delegates if they drop out of the race.

Interview with Jay Rosen, questions from Readers of Slashdot

I've been following this NewAssignment.Net thing, but Jay writes too damn much to point to any one piece he does on it for someone else to read (not that I read it all). This interview with /. goes all over the place, its not just about, and talks about some pretty interesting things in reporting (and is fairly readable because he is talking down to /., not to his academia buddies).

Create more writers and suddenly you may need more editors. “The conversation feeds journalism, journalism feeds the conversation” is a powerful idea, but we are several steps away from knowing how it works to create a live, intelligent filter in the newsroom.

The normal tensions with the press were driven deeper: keep them back, keep them out, tell them nothing, tear them down. If someone does break a story from inside you immediately punish and isolate anyone who spoke to the reporter. You make them disown their words. You make them repent.

This is the story Woodward missed because he got inside it, so to speak. Ron Suskind, one of the few in Washington who did not miss that story, called it "the retreat from empiricism." To me, it's the big narrative yet to come out about the Bush White House. Attack Without a Plan was too crazy to be credible to Woodward. So he wrote Plan of Attack instead.

Read more at PressThink.