all posts tagged 'journalism'

Soon Will Come a Day That None of This Exists

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

This article is a few months old, lamenting the death of the historic Sports Illustrated brand.

I wanted to share it now because (a) yadda yadda instapaper backlog, and (b) I think it reveals a truth about the future of journalism to which it didn’t intend.

First, from the article:

We will muddle along in a new Dark Ages caused by the constant static of an overwhelming blitz of contradictory and false content that largely only serves the aims of the people and companies that create it, pulling us further and further from one another and our shared interests as a species that should seek the improvement of ever member of its kind. I know this is some pretty hyperbolic stuff to extrapolate from the death of a magazine that published photos of bikini babes, but that’s where I’m at. I wish I had better news. I wish I had a solution for you besides voting for the few political figures who don’t want this to happen and maybe wandering some car parks if that doesn’t work out.

Then, also from the article:

We’re going to try to keep this thing going no matter what happens in the future, and we’re not going to lie to you to serve some weird outside or nefarious interests.

That’s it. That’s the solution.

Journalism, in its modern implementation, is almost always subsidized by billionaires. There’s no profitable business model in telling stories, in speaking truth to power.

Yet we still feel compelled to do journalism. Telling stories, after all, is an integral part of the human experience.

Yes, it sucks that these historic brands are suffering terrible deaths. But that doesn’t mean citizen journalism is dead, and it doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to continue to support our best story tellers as they tell the necessary stories of our time.

I’m glad we are alive at a time where we have the internet which enables anybody to do good journalism. I proudly support my own community-run news organization called Racket, and I encourage everyone out there to support their own.

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Music Journalism Can't Afford A Hollowed-Out Pitchfork

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It is hard not to see this development as a true indicator that we're nearing the endpoint of robust, meaningful music criticism as a concept. The idea that music journalism has no value is one of the most pervasive thoughts circulating among the suits who control the industry. What those people continue to deprive us of is smart, varied music coverage produced by actual journalists, most of whom now find themselves being squeezed out of an industry that only rewards slavish devotion to the biggest pop stars, or a constant courting of drama, gossip, and violence that is only tangentially related to music.

If there's a better future for music journalism to come, it will perhaps spring from the re-emergence of small-batch music blogs and more localized coverage. But what we're left with now is a corporatized wasteland, and fewer publications than ever equipped to write about music with all the rigor and passion it deserves.

I’m glad Iz mentioned the optimistic part of the situation at the end.

I’m, of course, sad and frustrated by what mega corporations are doing to journalism as a whole (not just music journalism).

But what keeps my hope alive is continuing to support smaller writers who cover their beats with an infectious passion.

I don’t see a future where journalism suddenly becomes a six-figure kind of job, because capitalism is not a system where art (and nuanced, considered discussions of art) is valued enough to justify that sort of business investment.

I suppose that could be seen as bleak, but take it from someone who is currently grappling with the costs associated with doing the thing I love in exchange for a salary: it’s great for the pocket book, but damn near lethal for my soul.

And I suppose by trading my passions in for money, I can use that money to support artists who are out there making stuff that makes me happy.

On a similar note: how do y’all discover new music these days? Are there any good writers or blogs I should be following?

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CFO Of The Epoch Times Charged With Participating In Scheme To Launder At Least $67 Million In Fraud Proceeds

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As alleged, Bill Guan, the Chief Financial Officer of a global newspaper and media company, conspired with others to benefit himself, the media company, and its affiliates by laundering tens of millions of dollars in fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits and other crime proceeds.  When banks raised questions about the funds, Guan allegedly lied repeatedly and falsely claimed that the funds came from legitimate donations to the media company.

Since graduating with a journalism degree nearly 15 years ago, I’ve worked on honing my internal bias detector.

One thing I've come to accept is that there is no such thing as a completely neutral news outlet. Every publication is biased in some way because every media outlet is run by people.

The good media outlets are those that try to set up guardrails to counter the natural biases that reporters may bring into a story.

Those guardrails include things like publishing retractions to erroneous statements, checking the credentials of those who give statements, and avoiding the use of anonymous sources.

The bad media outlets do none of those things. They take up the mantle of the demagogue who constantly claims everything is “fake news”, and they publish anything which corroborates the demagogue's story rather than doing actual journalism work.

I'm not mad at people for getting suckered into reading The Epoch Times. I understand that when your worldview is built up around a narrative, you do whatever you can to validate it. Challenging your core identities is painful1; it's more comforting to find news that parrots back your beliefs, even if it's wrong.

So while I understand the human instincts at work, I'm furious at those who choose to exploit those instincts.

And of course The Epoch Times attracted the kind of person who would allegedly attempt a $63 million money laundering scheme2.

The internet enables all kinds of speech to propagate at incredible speed. We need to all be better about honing our internal bias detectors and find ways to help each other not get suckered in by those who would try to harm us with blatant lies.

  1. Just look at my last six months of posts if you wanna see how much it sucks to address the identities you have embraced your whole life that are no longer yours lol 

  2. Allegedly. Journalism training taught me to always preface these allegations with that phrase because we live in a country where you are innocent until proven guilty. 

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Lina Khan – FTC Chair on Amazon Antitrust Lawsuit & AI Oversight

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

I heard nothing but good things about Lina Khan when she was announced as the chair of the FTC, and I think she did a tremendous job during this interview with Jon Stewart.

Jon and Lina break down the various lawsuits that the FTC is currently engaged in, not just with big tech companies, but also pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies.

I found it interesting when Jon mentioned that he tried to have Lina on his podcast when he was with Apple TV+, but Apple told him no.

I get it, but also, why would you have hired Jon Stewart in the first place? You’ve seen his show, right? Of course he’s gonna call a spade a spade, one of the few reputable media personalities1 who will not hesitate to bite the hand that feeds.

It’s also interesting that the FTC is often outgunned by the legal representation of the companies against which they pursue litigation, sometimes at a ratio of 10:1.

  1. I thought about using the word “journalist” here instead, but I’m not sure if one can consider The Daily Show journalism. I mean, Tucker Carlson can’t call himself a journalist… is TDS that far off? 

Deciphering clues in a news article to understand how it was reported

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I’ve personally been bewildered by the story that’s been unfolding since Sam Altman was fired by the board of directors of the OpenAI non-profit last Friday. The single biggest question for me has been why—why did the board make this decision?

Before Altman’s Ouster, OpenAI’s Board Was Divided and Feuding by Cade Metz, Tripp Mickle and Mike Isaac for the New York Times is one of the first articles I’ve seen that felt like it gave me a glimmer of understanding.

It’s full of details that I hadn’t heard before, almost all of which came from anonymous sources.

But how trustworthy are these details? If you don’t know the names of the sources, how can you trust the information that they provide?

This is where it’s helpful to understand the language that journalists use to hint at how they gathered the information for the story.

Simon’s analysis here is quite astute.

I can confirm that my journalism school taught us a great deal about how to build trustworthy relationships with sources and how to protect them with anonymity.

They also taught us that it's important to try your hardest to not use anonymous sources in your reporting. Using anonymous sources requires a great deal of trust on behalf of your reader, which is hard to obtain in this day and age of "fake news."

Anyway, this article does a great job of breaking down the intent behind some of the jargon you see in news reports. It's worth a read if you are interested in increasing your media literacy (which everyone should be).

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The case of the accidental tweeter

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An older story but still a good lesson for 21st-century journalists.

I really like this quote:

The bigger issue that may or may not apply in this specific case (I can't decide): Over the past 25 years, being a sports fan somehow flipped from "I believe you" to "I don't believe you until you prove to me why I should believe you." We don't trust anyone any more.

I think you could substitute "sports fan" for many different groups of people these days, most obviously "constituents".

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