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
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
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.
Read the rest
BLACK PEOPLE KNITby 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.
“I’m a nigger.”
What dumb-ass nigger says that at a white- people’s party?
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
Participatory journalism pioneer Dan Gillmor (previously) has just launched Co/Lab, a new project at Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism for "creating, testing, and promoting innovations that will help make the news ecosystem more robust and valuable for all participants." Read the rest
In July 2016, Andrew "bunnie" Huang and Edward Snowden presented their research on journalist-friendly mobile surveillance resistance at the first MIT Media Lab Forbidden Research conference; a little over a year later, they have published an extensive scholarly paper laying out the problems of detecting and interdicting malware in a mobile device, and presenting a gorgeously engineered hardware overlay that can be installed in an Iphone to physically monitor the networking components and report on their activity via a screen on a slim external case. Read the rest
"The best historians in L.A. are storytellers. They're gangsters in east L.A., they're ex-cons, they're guys who worked in their garage their whole life, they're guys who've worked at one business for forty years, people who've lived on one street for forty years... "
“All Night Menu” started with a question: What is a well-known photograph of William Faulkner not telling us about his time in Hollywood? Since then writer Sam Sweet has spent four years prowling LA for its most closely-held stories. The result is a lovingly-produced, meticulously-researched and gorgeously-written three volumes of the city’s secret history.
This is the third episode of Season 5. You can catch up on the whole series at the iTunes Store. While you're there, please take a second to leave the show a rating and review. And you can subscribe right here:
W Aaron Waychoff, creator of the Falsom Upside-Down ⊥ "Resist" campaign, was inspired by this 2016 post; he writes, "I've made a proof-of-concept encrypting digital camera based on the open source, widely adoped GnuPG. This project uses public key encryption to encrypt every photo the camera takes before writing the encrypted version to memory. Of particular note, there are absolutely no UI changes over what an ordinary point-and-shoot camera provides. No extra keyboards or touch screens are needed as no passwords need be entered." Read the rest
Jeff writes, "7 years after 'grassroots mapping' the BP spill when journalists were denied access, the open source community Public Lab is back with an even more accessible Do-It-Yourself way to take aerial photos: the Mini Balloon and Kite Mapping Kits." Read the rest
Dave Maass writes, "In the 1890s, a tobacco company included collectors cards featuring 'American Editors' in its cigarette packs. In all, they were 49 white dudes and one woman, and the only diversity was in their beards and mustaches." Read the rest