2015-10-13 Recently Read

Down the Rabbit Hole
The rise, and rise, of literary annotation

Press Rewind
by Brendan Fitzgerald
What one journalist learned by vicariously sitting in on David Carr’s master class—with only his teacher’s reputation, extant syllabus, and students’ recollections to guide the way.

Press Play
David Carr’s journalism syllabus – “Making and distributing content in the present future we are living through.”

Margaret Atwood: we are double-plus unfree

How the Tiny Graywolf Press Became a Big Player in Book Publishing

The Trick to Acting Heroically

Why We Say ‘Car Accident,’ and Why We Need to Stop

More Titillated Than Thou: How the Amish conquered the evangelical romance market

Why you should never make your bed

YouTube ‘Dancing Baby’ Copyright Ruling Sets Fair Use Guideline

The Duke, The Landscape Architect And The World’s Most Ambitious Attempt To Bring The Cosmos To Earth

The Best Google Web Font Combinations

Continue Reading2015-10-13 Recently Read

Confusing Sex and Rape

The New York Times addresses a topic that feminists have been trying to illuminate for years – the use by journalists of the word ‘sex’ in descriptions of non-consensual criminal acts that more properly should be called “rape” instead, and the importance of correcting that error for our common understanding of what constitutes a crime involving rape.

Some readers, responding to The New York Times’s first reports on the case, strongly objected to wording in the articles that, in their view, either underplayed the details or wrongly applied the language of consensual sex to the narrative.

The objections focused on the most severe of the accusations against Mr. Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant coach. According to the grand jury report, he subjected a boy estimated to be 10 years old to “anal intercourse” in locker room showers at the university in 2002.
Jennifer Crichton, a reader from Manhattan, said The Times’s initial article on Nov. 5 missed the mark when it described the testimony of a Penn State graduate assistant about the incident. As The Times put it, he told the grand jury that he saw Mr. Sandusky “sexually assaulting a boy in the shower.”

“Why is this described as ‘sexual assault’ and not as ‘rape’ “? Ms. Crichton wrote.

The importance of course is that sex is a consensual act between two persons who have given informed consent. “When the facts warrant it, journalists should be as specific as possible, they should avoid using the language of consensual sex and, when appropriate, they should call a rape a rape.”

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Journalist under criminal charges for filming Katrina evacuees

A journalist and a TV producer working on a piece about Katrina refugees have been charged with the crime of videotaping a “critical national security structure” in Louisiana… Palast Charged with Journalism in the First Degree:

On August 22, for LinkTV and Democracy Now! we videotaped the thousands of Katrina evacuees still held behind a barbed wire in a trailer park encampment a hundred miles from New Orleans. It’s been a year since the hurricane and 73,000 POW’s (Prisoners of W) are still in this aluminum ghetto in the middle of nowhere. One resident, Pamela Lewis said, “It is a prison set-up” — except there are no home furloughs for these inmates because they no longer have homes.
To give a sense of the full flavor and smell of the place, we wanted to show that this human parking lot, with kids and elderly, is nearly adjacent to the Exxon Oil refinery, the nation’s second largest, a chemical-belching behemoth.
So we filmed it. Without Big Brother’s authorization. Uh, oh. Apparently, the broadcast of these stinking smokestacks tipped off Osama that, if his assassins pose as poor Black folk, they can get a cramped Airstream right next to a “critical infrastructure” asset.
So now Matt and I have a “criminal complaint” lodged against us with the feds.

Dectective Pananepinto, in justifying our impending bust, said, “If you remember, a lot of people were killed on 9/11.”
Yes, Detective, I remember that very well: my office was in the World Trade Center. Lucky for me, I was out of town that day. It was not a lucky day for 3,000 others.
Yes, I remember “a lot” of people were killed. So I have this suggestion, Detective — and you can pass it on to Mr. Bush: Go and find the people who killed them.

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Local News and Online Reporting

WTHR has this story on their website:

Study: Omega 3 can save lives
Experts say beefing up intake of Omega 3 fatty acids can save lives more than AED’s and implanted defibrillators. Omega 3 is found in foods like fish and nuts, and some experts believe they can lower the risk for heart attack because of their ability to reduce inflammation.
By using a computer simulation, experts measured how well AED’s, implanted heart defibrillators and Omega 3 nutrients prevented sudden death. They found raising the levels of Omega 3 fatty acids in people’s diets would prevent sudden death eight times more than widely distributing AED’s, and two times more than implanted defibrillators.

That’s fascinating, and I immediately wanted to know more. But you know what? I can’t find out any more than that from the WTHR, because the above is all the web page shows. The story is okay if they’re just reading it on the evening news (although they really should be identifying who the “experts” in the story are) but it’s not fine online, where they have plenty of space to round out the story with more information. They SHOULD link off to the study in question at the very least. Presumably they got the information somewhere. Tell us where it came from. I guess it’s a short trip to google to figure out more detail, but I shouldn’t have to do that.
I remember journalism classes from college where we had to take the same story and write it in 10 different ways – one to be broadcast on the news, one to be a front-page newspaper story, one to be a featured article in a magazine, etc. There were standard elements that had to appear in each format, and the stories had to be “trimmed” in different ways to fit the alloted column inches of space. I get the impression that journalists don’t do that anymore.

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September 11… The Image I Can’t Forget

What shocked and upset me most on September 11 and the days afterward was the photograph… everyone knows, probably, what one I’m talking about. The photograph of the falling man, the man who jumped to his death from the towers. It ran in the papers only once, and there was very brief video footage on one news channel that showed people jumping and falling from one of the towers. Watching that short film made me throw up; one of the few times I’ve ever vomited when I wasn’t sick or hung over. I immediately blocked the image from my mind. I was horrified that the picture was published in the paper.

Falling Man

Two years later, I can finally think about it. Those images made the tragedy real, and drove home the reality that it wasn’t just glass and steel but human bodies being destroyed. Human lives being lost. And at that time… It was unbearable to see.

Now I’m glad that that Richard Drew was able to take the photo of the falling man. Because it’s a record of what really happened. And it reminds me of what’s important and because it helps to honor his life, and honor the way he chose to die.

It’s also compelling that people are now, two years later, really able to examine the people who jumped from the towers, the one aspect of the tragedy that no one has really been able to face or talk about. Many people still won’t talk about them as “jumpers” but insist to themselves that they fell or were blown from the building. Because acknowledging that they jumped means to put oneself in their shoes, to imagine making that terrible choice. How horrible it must have been, whatever was happening up there, that they chose to die instead by jumping from a great height.

With all the lies the George Bush has told, with the way he has twisted the tragedy of September 11, 2001, used it to consolidate power and manipulate the world, seeing that image again reminded me of what’s true, what’s real, what’s important. It reminds me that these people, too, were Americans, the ones who jumped. And to them, we have some responsibility.

Continue ReadingSeptember 11… The Image I Can’t Forget