Friday, 31 August 2012

My Interesting Reads (weekly bookmarks)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Mocking up photos, and mocking readers

These are some the points commenters found objectionable about about The Sun's Naked Intern photoshoot

She was female
She was an intern
She was asked to make an impossible choice
The Sun did not ask a Page 3 girl to do it (Seriously. I guess Page 3 girls must just wander around the editorial floor at all times, filing their News in Briefs)
The subsequent statement about 'no cover up'
The paper then printed the actual photo

Most of these are good points. But, personally, the element I found most objectionable wasn't that the question had been asked, it's the fact that the whole tawdry affair - made, no doubt, with sniggers and self-congratulatory noises - puts fresh tarnish on the profession of Journalism.

Every time Fleet Street Muppets pull a stunt that shows they view their readers as fools - 'hand over your money, folks, we've been having a high old time getting our staff to take their clothes off' - it erodes what we're supposed to be about. 

You might think the customers being mocked are Sun readers and so don't count. I'm not interested in news brand snobbery; I'm interested in the editorial decision.
And it's not about high-mindedness or having an over-inflated view of a newspaper's role; I am very aware that an incorrect fact in the splash might merit a complaint, but printing yesterday's Crossword is an Unforgivable Blunder for which the editor should be sacked.

But - and the Leveson Inquiry underlined this for me - the Press is a collective, as far as the public consciousness goes. 

The repercussions of phone hacking outrages perpetrated by national tabloid journalists are still being felt at a local level; after all, most people will judge us all by the standards of conduct they saw displayed on the BBC's Leveson reports month after month

Photos of a prince displaying his innate good breeding to the world aside, I wish Thursday's The Sun front page had been a banner headline of a link to the story. It would have made the point a lot more eloquently. 

As it was, it just reinforced the idea that, for newspapers, the joke's on the reader. 
The Sun published the Harry photo today - for me, any moral stance in that decision was eclipsed by the earlier lack of judgement.
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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Brevity is the soul of... any story

(Photo credit: ciboulette)
While reading this article on the importance of story-telling, and why people need to avoid the trap of thinking Facebook is about link-pimping, the last paragraph caught my attention:

'"The best stories represent a simplicity of purpose and tap into the audience’s imagination so that they willingly go along for the journey. And the shortest ones can sometimes be the best. Ernest Hemingway famously wrote the six-word story: For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”  

I hadn't come across that line before and I was quite floored by Papa's brilliance... until the internet disabused me. 
Abashed by the fact I'd never heard of something he'd 'famously' written I googled the line. 
Alas, it is thought to be an apocryphal story, without basis in fact - the origins are discussed here.  
Still, if there's a more compelling argument for cutting out the verbiage in a 600 word article, I've yet to come across it. 
On a not-unrelated note, I think Hemingway would have liked Twitter. 

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