Almost Famous cast and creators reunite for 20th anniversary podcast series

Almost Famous (2000) is one of my favorite rock and roll movies of all time. Director and writer Cameron Crowe did a masterful job with his semi-autobiographical story of a young teen music journalist on his first assignment from Rolling Stone in the 1970s. It's a lovely, funny, and moving film that just feels real. Now, the killer cast, including Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand, Billy Crudup, Zooey Deschanel, Jimmy Fallon, Patrick Fugit, Jason Lee are joining Crowe, Nancy Wilson of Heart (Crowe's wife who wrote music for the film), technical consultant Peter Frampton, and others for a five-part podcast hosted by James Andrew Miller. The podcast series, Origins, is produced by Cadence13 and previous editions have focused on the birth of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex and the City, and Saturday Night Live. Here's the trailer for Origins: Almost Famous Turns Twenty, premiering July 8.

From Rolling Stone:

In addition, casting director Gail Levin, rock photographer Neal Preston and Pennie Trumbull — the real-life inspiration for Penny Lane — will also share their memories.

“Between his personable style, and the exhaustive research behind his wonderful questions, Jim Miller managed to summon all the spirit and emotion of Almost Famous with the original cast,” Crowe said in a statement. “It’s a little bit of a magic trick. He put the band back together.”

Read the rest

Bob Woodward has a new Trump book coming and the Prez was interviewed for it

In 2018, legendary Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward wrote Fear: Trump in the White House, a brutal look at the current administration. As we know, the story was just beginning. In September, we'll get the follow-up, now listed on Amazon without a title or cover but described as "Bob Woodward’s second work of nonfiction on the Trump presidency." From CNN:

In January, Trump announced in an interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham that he had sat down with Woodward for the upcoming book. Trump's admission came as a surprise after he was openly critical of "Fear," despite being offered an opportunity to be interviewed.

"I was interviewed by a very, very good writer, reporter," Trump said. "I can say Bob Woodward. He said he's doing something and this time I said, 'maybe I'll sit down.'"

image: detail of Fear book jacket Read the rest

List: 100+ times law enforcement violently assaulted journalists in US at George Floyd protests

A comprehensive list of at least one hundred separate incidents in the past week where law enforcement was violent with press at protests over the police killing of George Floyd.

Over the past few days, Nick Waters / @n_waters89 of Bellingcat has collected over 100 photos and videos showing American police violently attacking credentialed reporters.

More at Mediagazer. Here are excerpts from the thread.

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Watch the first ever online Pop-Up Magazine, tonight (5/27) at 6pm PT

Pop-Up Magazine is the beloved "live magazine" of eclectic spoken word pieces, storytelling, comedy, and musical performances that exists only on the stage. Tonight though, Pop-Up Magazine takes its show off the road and onto your screen with their first ever online event, "Spring Issue: At Home." It premieres tonight (May 27) at 6pm PT. Teaser above. Longtime Boing Boing pal and Pop-Up Magazine president/publisher Chas Edwards says, "Part of the fun (???) was figuring out how to produce a show when all of us -- contributors, band members, producers, et al -- are holed up in our respective homes. The end result is like a mashup of our live show with a graphic novel made for YouTube." Watch it on YouTube, for free. From the description:

In this issue, our storytellers and musicians perform from their homes across the country in an all-new lineup of true, never-before-told stories paired with an original score, art, animation, and film. It’s the Pop-Up Magazine you know and love, presented in a creative new split-screen experience (we like to think of it as a cross between a live performance, a video, and a graphic novel).

The stories are timely, surprising, and emotional — a medical student graduates early and becomes a doctor in the midst of the pandemic; a high school varsity mariachi band competes against 80 other teams to defend their elite title in South Texas; office comedy unfolds inside a giant corporate greeting-card company; legends of the stage and Instagram alike interpret social distancing in one minute of dance; and much more.

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U.S. president's message on #WorldPressFreedomDay seems a little off

Well, that's curious. Read the rest

Financial Times journalist Mark Di Stefano accused of accessing private Zoom meetings, then publishing the information

Mark Di Stefano of the Financial Times is accused by The Independent of accessing private Zoom meetings held by The Independent and The Evening Standard as journalists were learning how coronavirus restrictions would affect them. Read the rest

Pence won't let public health officials appear on CNN unless Trump's disinfo briefings run in full

CNN reports that Vice President Mike Pence's office says it will ban top health officials from appearing on CNN to discuss the novel coronavirus unless the network carries the White House's 2+ hour daily disinformation briefings in full. Read the rest

Like a baby, Trump launches into a tirade about asking questions he doesn't like

As the death toll mounts...

After being asked a very important question about how his wild misstatements might impact his policy judgment, President Orange Julius ranted and raved. Read the rest

E. Jean Carroll fired from ELLE magazine after Trump rape allegation, readers call for #NoWayinElle boycott

E. Jean Carroll, who has written an advice column at ELLE magazine for three decades, and last year accused President Donald Trump of raping her in the mid-1990s, today said she was fired from her longtime editorial position as a direct result of Trump's public debasement of her character. Read the rest

Inspiring rules for journalists by PBS NewsHour's Jim Lehrer (RIP)

In the Aspen Institute's 1997 report on "Journalism and Society," PBS NewsHour co-founder Jim Lehrer, who died last week at 85-years-old, contributed the following wisdom:

I practice journalism in accordance with the following guidelines:

Do nothing I cannot defend. Do not distort, lie, slant, or hype. Do not falsify facts or make up quotes. Cover, write, and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me. Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story. Assume the viewer is as smart and caring and good a person as I am. Assume the same about all people on whom I report. Assume everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Assume personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate turn in the story mandates otherwise. Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories and clearly label them as such. Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions. No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously. Do not broadcast profanity or the end result of violence unless it is an integral and necessary part of the story and/or crucial to understanding the story. Acknowledge that objectivity may be impossible but fairness never is. Journalists who are reckless with facts and reputations should be disciplined by their employers. My viewers have a right to know what principles guide my work and the process I use in their practice. I am not in the entertainment business.

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Propublica offering diversity scholarships for students to attend 2020 journalism conferences

If you or someone you know is a US-based student interested in attending conferences such as Investigative Reporters and Editors, The National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, or National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists, then you should consider applying for Propublica's Diversity Scholarship program, which offers $750 bursaries "to students who would otherwise be unable to attend," especially "people of color, women, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities." Read the rest

VICTORY! New Free File rules ban tax-prep firms from hiding their offerings, allow IRS to compete with them (a love-letter to Propublica)

Six months ago, Propublica began beating the drum about "Free File," a bizarre, corrupt arrangement between the IRS and the country's largest tax-prep firms that ended up costing the poorest people in America millions and millions of dollars, every single year. Read the rest

Mass convictions of local warlords for 2009 massacre revive faith in Philippines' justice system

The election of the violent Philippine autocrat Rodrigo Duterte and the subsequent widespread extrajudicial killings, torture, and other crimes against humanity was a blow to the rule of law in the Philippines and the democracy advocates who have struggled to make a just society after centuries of colonial exploitation. Read the rest

Hundreds of journalists are sharing their salary information in a spreadsheet

I'm in a private Slack with some other media/journalist people, and someone brought up the idea of pay transparency. After all: if you don't know what your colleagues are being paid, it's hard to negotiate for a fair rate. We're all conditioned to believe that our financials should be private, but as far as salaries are concerned, that secrecy only ever tends to work in favor of your employer.

So this particular someone made a Google Form and a corresponding spreadsheet where journalists and other media professionals could anonymously add their salary information. And in barely 24 hours, it's spread to CJR and Bloomberg and even inspired Mike Cernovich to go off on some completely unsubstantiated rant to set off his army of loyal trolls because apparently all journalists are scum and also trustfund babies even though there isn't any proof of that (and I can personally assure you that my personal information is on that list and that my public school teacher mom and print salesman dad are not rolling in the dough).

As of this writing, more than 200 people have responded. On one hand, it is admittedly difficult to verify the claims contained within the data. On the other hand, there's still lots of eye-opening information to glean. Unsurprisingly, there are pay disparities across race and gender; but the same thing happens across geographic location, and work experience. Perhaps the most shocking revelation so far is just the absurd range of income of people working in news media. Read the rest

Northwestern journalism students wrote something dumb. The freakout around it is even dumber.

In a story that will surely captivate Fox News pundits for at least the next week, the student newspaper at Northwestern released a statement about their own reporting, following a visit to campus by Jeff Sessions.

It's…not great.

Essentially, the newspaper is apologizing for the way it covered the protest resulting from Sessions' presence. According to their statement, some students were upset that they were photographed, or contacted via the school directory, or texted for comments on the protest, mostly out of fear of retaliation by either the school administration, or the media at large, or really wrathful authority figures of any kind.

This, of course, comes on the heels of the recent debacle at Harvard, where reporters at the Harvard Crimson reached out to ICE for a comment after another protest, which is also a…fairly standard journalistic practice. While the concerns of these individual students might be valid, the entire field of news reporting should not be expected to compromise itself and over-cautiously cater to needs of every possible individual. This doesn't mean that journalists—student, or professional—should not try to approach situations with empathy and sensitivity, particularly when dealing with subjects who might be placed at risk by their reporting. In the case of the Daily Northwestern, the paper's backpedaling response may be a prime example of over-correcting for such sensitivities. Read the rest

The weak spots that let journalists expose the finances of looters, organized criminals and oligarchs

The trillions that the global looter class has stashed in offshore financial secrecy jurisdictions are protected by the joint tactics of absurd complexity and stultifying dullness, which have been created by a separate group of global looter-enablers, working for big accounting and audit firms, banks, law firms, even private schools. Read the rest

After a police raid, a Nicaraguan cartoonist has found sanctuary in the United States

Positive stories about Latin American immigrants and the United States are difficult to come by right now. But at least Pedro X. Molina and his family have found a happy ending.

Molina is an award-winning political cartoonist, whose scathing satire has been syndicated all across the world. Originally from Nicaragua, Molina was on staff at the Confidencial when their offices were raided and ransacked by police in December 2018. Like most dictatorial leaders, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was none-too-pleased with the Confidencial for doing such terrible things as, well, reporting the truth about his brutal and inhumane actions—you know, like ordering a violent police raid on journalists who dared to criticize him. Read the rest

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