Chicago journalists once opened a fake bar to document corruption

Forty years ago, investigative journalists in Chicago hatched an audacious plan to create a fake tavern packed with hidden microphones, cameras, and reporters everywhere working as bar staff and customers. Their goal was to document local corruption. Topic has a great oral history of the project. Read the rest

YouTube plans to spend $25 million fighting 'fake news.' Here's how.

YouTube just unveiled a plan to combat phony conspiracy videos intended to manipulate or defraud viewers. Read the rest

Capital Gazette publishes despite newsroom attack

Though five of its employees were shot dead yesterday, The Annapolis Capital-Gazette vowed to put out an issue this morning and did so.

An otherwise blank editorial page memorialized the victims.

The Guardian

In the aftermath of the shooting, the Gazette’s reporters were back out covering the tragedy that had been inflicted on their own colleagues.

By late on Thursday evening, the newspaper posted its front page on social media as it went to press – “5 shot dead at The Capital” and “Laurel man, the suspected gunman, in custody”, read the headline and subhead.

As evidence grew that the gun rampage had been committed by an individual who specifically targeted the newspaper and its editing team, the response of the surviving journalists on the title was one of resolute defiance.

Read the rest

Classic on-air fight between anchor and reporter

Jim Ryan vs. Dick Olive on Fox 5's Good Day New York, July 19, 2001. So great that the network itself uploaded this wonderful moment to YouTube. Of course Oliver was the inspiration for Bill Hader's "Herb Welch" character on Saturday Night Live.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Here's exactly how to make amends for past biased reporting on transgender people

Donna Minkowitz wrote one of the most important pieces about the murder of Brandon Teena, the transgender man depicted in the film Boys Don't Cry. A quarter century later, she does what few journalists have the courage to do: she acknowledged the botched the story with biased reporting. Read the rest

The Atlantic again concern-trolls: SHOULD CHILDREN HAVE SEX CHANGES?

How did Twitter addict Jesse Singal become the anti-transgender spokesgoblin of his generation? When a Child Says She's Trans continues his creepy fixation on gender-nonconforming minors. The "ex-trans" movement, similar to the discredited "ex-gay" movement, can always count on axe-grinding coverage that vastly over-represents their numbers and POV. Read the rest

Proposed solution for Trump propaganda: "truth sandwich" reporting

George Lakoff, a cognitive scientist and linguist that studies propaganda, says the way the media reports on Trump's lies actually helps Trump. “Trump needs the media, and the media help him by repeating what he says,” he told The Washington Post. He says stories can actually be constructed in a way to make Trump's lies work against him, not for him:

Unlike those who insist that what the president says is news and therefore must be reported, Lakoff proposes a radical reimagining of how the news media reports on Trump.

Instead of treating the president’s every tweet and utterance — true or false — as newsworthy (and then perhaps fact-checking it later), Lakoff urges the use of what he calls a “truth sandwich.”

First, he says, get as close to the overall, big-picture truth as possible right away. (Thus the gist of the Trump-in-Singapore story: Little of substance was accomplished in the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, despite the pageantry.) Then report what Trump is claiming about it: achievement of world peace. And then, in the same story or broadcast, fact-check his claims.

That’s the truth sandwich — reality, spin, reality — all in one tasty, democracy-nourishing meal.

Photo of wax museum dummy of Trump by Max Pixel, CC0 Public Domain Read the rest

Tom Wolfe, pioneering "New Journalist" and novelist, RIP

Tom Wolfe, the highly influential journalist at Rolling Stone and Esquire and author of such fantastic works as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, has died at age 88. From the New York Times:

In his use of novelistic techniques in his nonfiction, Mr. Wolfe, beginning in the 1960s, helped create the enormously influential hybrid known as the New Journalism...

His talent as a writer and caricaturist was evident from the start in his verbal pyrotechnics and perfect mimicry of speech patterns, his meticulous reporting, and his creative use of pop language and explosive punctuation.

“As a titlist of flamboyance he is without peer in the Western world,” Joseph Epstein wrote in the The New Republic. “His prose style is normally shotgun baroque, sometimes edging over into machine-gun rococo, as in his article on Las Vegas which begins by repeating the word ‘hernia’ 57 times.”

William F. Buckley Jr., writing in National Review, put it more simply: “He is probably the most skillful writer in America — I mean by that he can do more things with words than anyone else.”

Image: White House Photo by Susan Sterner Read the rest

Africa is littered with abandoned poorly-planned aid projects

What Went Wrong? is a citizen journalism project started in sub-Saharan Africa to document all the unsustainable aid projects started by Westerners who fail to follow through after their PR blitz. Journalist Peter DeCampo spoke with BRIGHT magazine about the project, where Africans can text reports on local fiascoes and boondoggles: Read the rest

JOHN WILCOCK: The East Village Other's Nasty Review of Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls

John Wilcock describes the circumstances behind his quitting The East Village Other over their review of Andy Warhol's 1966 film Chelsea Girls.

Journalist charged with Criminal Harassment for attempting to set up an interview

Two of the largest parts of a journalist's job are waiting and making phone calls. When you're waiting, it's likely for someone to return a call. When you're making a phone call, it's likely to set up an interview, or interview someone over the phone, Skype or whatever.

Antoine Trépanier is a reporter for Radio-Canada: it's the French language farm of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation. Think PBS, only Beyond the Wall. Recently Trépanier was covering a story about a manager from a high-profile NPO falsely representing herself as a lawyer. Just another day in the dry-as-a-popcorn-fart world of public broadcasting. He called this individual, Yvonne Dubé, the executive director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter in Gatineau, Quebec, to see if she'd be interested in sitting for an interview. She was down with the idea, or so it seemed. She cancelled the interview at the last moment. Trépanier emailed her, explaining that Radio Canada was going to run the story on his investigation. He wanted her to have the opportunity to comment on the allegations being leveled against her.

The next day, the Gatineau police dropped by to arrest Trépanier for criminal harassment.

According to the CBC, The Crown (our Queen-loving version of a district attorney) hasn't decided whether the charges will make it into court. The story of Trépanier's arrest touches on the topic of where the right of a journalist to contact a source ends and the rights of a source begin. It's an important issue: How much does the public's right to know about a topic that could effect their lives matter versus an individual's right to privacy? Read the rest

Midori Traveler’s Notebook, an invaluable tool from Japan

I traveled to Japan to buy a notebook.

As a tech journalist and hardware reviewer, my primary function is to tell you whether or not the products you may be thinking of buying are, in a word, shit. It’s not typically a job that requires I leave my home. Hardware companies or my employers have products shipped out to me. I play with them for a few weeks, or less. Then, most of the time, I ship the stuff back to make room for more stuff. Occasionally, I’m offered the opportunity to travel for work: a cellphone company might be showing off a new version of something they released last year. Sometimes, a well known company wants to give me a peek behind the curtain to see how they build the things that I'll wind up calling shit somewhere down the road. Such an instance happened this past August. I was asked by a well-known peddler of audio equipment if I’d be willing to travel to Japan to take a look at something new they’d been cooking up. I agreed, but warned that if they didn’t show me anything compelling while I visited their manufacturing facility, I wouldn’t be writing a story. They agreed to the terms.

A few weeks and a long flight in coach later, I was in Japan. I’d been sent an itinerary a week before I was due to fly. It detailed a stacked week of factory tours, site seeing and cultural events. In the middle of all of the goings on, was a single day where I could do whatever I damn well pleased while I was in Tokyo. Read the rest

Oneita Jackson's "Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome"

Oneita Jackson is a national treasure. You should read Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome, her amazing collection of short stories!

A few years ago I took a trip to Michigan, selling ads for Boing Boing. While there a friend arranged a tour of revival Detroit; this was the first I'd met Oneita Jackson.

Oneita is a magical tour-guide, a fantastic journalist, and the best damn cab driver you'll ever meet. She knows absolutely everyone in Detroit worth knowing, and was so incredibly enthusiastic that I will never forget the experience.

When Oneita sent me a copy of Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome I knew I had to read it that very day. This collection chronicles the experiences of a highly educated black woman as she moves about the many circles in American culture. Her stories will make you laugh, and you will facepalm, and most of all you will THINK.

The following story is a wonderful introduction to Oneita's work. I think these are as much poetry as short story.

BLACK PEOPLE KNIT

by Oneita Jackson

I said I was a knitter, but that’s not what she heard.

We were at a loud party at my friend’s house in West Village and I was the only One.

It didn’t matter that we were having a polite and interesting conversation, one of those getting-to- know-you, how-do-you-know-so-and-so (read: Why are YOU here?) conversations, where my announcement would have been inappropriate, moreover, inappropriate, moreover, awkward, o -topic, out of context, strange.

Arresting.

“I’m a nigger.”

What dumb-ass nigger says that at a white- people’s party?

Read the rest

Glenn Payette, CBC News, St. Jooooooooooooooohns

Glenn Payette is a TV news reporter for CBC in Newfoundland and Labrador. Over the years, his pronunciation of the name of the province's capital has undergone an amazing transformation.

Previously: Gustavo Almadovar Read the rest

Citizen journalist enthusiastically reports local house fire

Rhoda Young turned in a series of high-energy live reports after being first journalist on the scene of a house fire in Norfolk, Virginia. It's got everything local news should have: vertical video, swearing, interfering with authorities. Read the rest

How to investigate and report on modern slavery

Thalia Holmes summarizes the "Exposing Human Trafficking and Forced Labor" panel at the 10th Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Johannesburg, where veteran reporters who've broken major modern slavery stories discussed their methods and offered advice for others pursuing similar stories. Read the rest

JOHN WILCOCK: The History of The EAST VILLAGE OTHER

A history of The East Village Other, and its impact on New Journalism, Activism, and the Underground Press. From John Wilcock, New York Years.

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