Billionaire Pierre Omidyar "steps into the ring" in the long-running legal fight over privacy and journalistic freedom, fought lately between Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media. The intervention, on Gawker's side--Omidyar is himself a media man, now--came after it turned out billionaire Peter Thiel was secretly funding Hulk's suit.
Alternative subtitle: "No matter who wins, we news."
Cast it in the comments. I'm thinking Kenneth Branagh as Denton, Michael C. Hall as Thiel, Christopher Lambert as Omidyar, Hulk Hogan as Terry Bollea, and any random carnie as Hulk Hogan. Read the rest
The Daily Mail, a notable British tabloid, is suing Gawker after the latter posted "My Year Ripping Off the Web with the Daily Mail Online," an expose of the paper's sourcing habits.
In it he said: “Unlike at other publications for which I've worked, writers weren't tasked with finding their own stories or calling sources.
“We were simply given stories written by other publications and essentially told to rewrite them.
“And unlike at other publications where aggregation writers are encouraged to find a unique angle or to add some information missing from an original report, the way to make a story your own at the Mail is to pass off someone else's work as your own.”…
The Mail Online claims that its “reputation as an ethical, upstanding, and law-abiding company has been impugned”
We’re not surprised that the Daily Mail doesn’t like what James King had to say about his time working there, this baseless complaint doesn’t even attempt to refute the vast majority of the author’s detailed anecdotes about his experience as a Daily Mail writer
There seems little doubt how the Mail generates content: the "writethroughs," of day-old stories found elsewhere, are published for all to see. The expose seemed damning, and the Mail's response to it at the time was remarkably self-damning. But the devils are in the details, lawsuits are very expensive to fight, and Gawker is known to be getting tired of them, so here we are.
My favorite thing about The Daily Mail is its ludicrously incompetent photoshopping. Read the rest
"Such is the state of online video," reports Wired, profiling Jukin Media, a 100-employee "viral video" farm. Read the rest
Online "character quizzes," suddenly ultra-viral thanks to adroit Facebook-centric designs at sites like Zimbio, are all the rage. Are they fueled by narcissism? No, says Devon Maloney: it's fear
: "We crave the peace of mind that comes from believing the human condition is quantifiable
." Which is to say, of course, our own conditions. It's the Myers-Briggs sorting hat for a new generation, telling you what you just told it. Read the rest
Matthew Ingram talks to Reddit GM Erik Martin about the site's plans to build out crowdsourced reporting features—and how it will guard them against misuse and chaos.
Martin admitted the moderator system is flawed in some ways, or at least could be improved — by making it easier for users to switch from one sub-Reddit to another, for example — but he also argued that the democratic (some would anarchic) approach the site takes to virtually everything has positive impacts. Someone once asked who created a specific sub-Reddit, and Martin said he had to admit “I have no idea, someone just came along and did it… the fact that it even works at all, when you think about it, is just crazy. It shouldn’t work, but it does.”
Reddit's crowdsourced reporting threads are often the best places to find real-time aggregation of breaking news. But the screw-ups can't be dismissed glibly. If Reddit took a little more responsibility for the major subreddits (the ones that it promotes to the general public as central sections of the site, such as r/news) and applied a more policy-driven approach to how they're run, it would be much easier to communicate the implicit distinctions here between moderation and anarchy (i.e., journalism and histrionics). Read the rest
With "Obama's pot dealer beaten to death for farting in gay lover's face
", I think The Daily Mail
may reasonably claim to have created the second-best newspaper headline in human history. Read the rest
Last week, Caleb Hannan wrote an article about a clever new golf club and its inventor, Dr. Essay Vanderbilt. Starting out as a profile, it briefly covers the scientific claims behind the design and Dr. V's eccentricities and pretensions. We learn, ultimately, that Dr. V defrauded investors, though none of those quoted seem terribly bothered about it. We also learn that she was a trans person. Finally, at the end, we learn she killed herself, shortly after Hannan notified her of her imminent outing in the press.
Initially achieving some praise, Hannan's story was soon criticized. Critics noticed how anxiously and quietly V's suicide was footnoted away, and how Hannan weaved discussion of her trans status into discussion of her fraudulent business activity. Read the rest
Choire Sicha reports on Mediaite
managing editor Jon Nicosia, who turns out to be a con artist, Zachary Hildreth, with form.
. The fallout
. On the internet, no-one know you're a dog. But if they never see you because of "black ops", well, you'd think some suspicion would kick in... [The Awl, Mediaite, Gawker] Read the rest
Tom Scocca writes that ostentatious positivity, pitched as a noble response to the web's omnipresent snark, typically amounts only to the worse thing that snark itself cures: smarm.
What is smarm, exactly? Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves. Smarm would rather talk about anything other than smarm. Why, smarm asks, can't everyone just be nicer?
The most significant explicator of the niceness rule—the loudest Thumper of all, the true prophetic voice of anti-negativity—is neither the cartoon rabbit nor the publicists' group nor Julavits, nor even David Denby. It is The Believer's founder and impresario, Dave Eggers.
Smarm is another word for Serious Culture—"In smarm is power"—and you know what to do with that. Read the rest
A decade ago, the New York Times prepared the first, breaking story about warrantless domestic surveillance in America. But, at the Bush administration's urging, it delayed publication until after the next election. NYT public editor Margaret Sullivan reviews the ongoing sense of betrayal felt by its readers, and how it made the newspaper an unappealing port of call for whistleblowing sources such as Edward Snowden. Read the rest
Alex Naidus advises you on how to avoid the easy pitfalls of perceived arrogance, smugness and sanctimony
. I'm a frequent dropper of "I read this really interesting article…", sad to say! Read the rest
In the wake of the UK's "phone hacking" press misconduct scandal
, the Leveson Report
proposed statutory regulation of the media. The newspapers' own alternative, suggesting a special charter covering the press, was rejected this week, reports the BBC
. But the outcome also officially reopens the debate, writes Ross Hawkins, at a time when politicians will be more willing to "stave off open warfare with the press in the run up to an election." Read the rest
Teddy Wayne reports on a "postmodern art form"—the 160-character space that Twitter allow for biographies.
The standard bio is a staccato string of statuses and interests separated by commas or periods ... Beyond such clichés, the potential hazards of bios are well known to any social-media user: humble brags (“For some reason they put me in the movies”), unchecked self-promotion (“See my new movie, out this Christmas”) and the blandly literal (“I am a professional actor in a motion picture feature scheduled for wide release Dec. 25”).
After the jump, our Twitter bios for your psychoanalytical pleasure. (Whatever you do, don't follow me on twitter!)
Read the rest
Russ Buettner: "A New York City police officer who had arrested a photographer working for The New York Times has been indicted on three felony counts and five misdemeanors
accusing him of fabricating the reasons for the arrest." Read the rest