Friday Reading S06E07
Friday Reading is a weekly series of recommended reads from the Guardian’s Social and New Formats Editor Martin Belam covering journalism, media and technology. It is also available as an email newsletter and sometimes comes out on Saturday by mistake – sign up here.
A fantastic double-whammy of reporting and comment on that viral video of the woman cyclist smashing a van’s wing-mirror after being cat-called.
Firstly, some wonderfully precise and sceptical reporting from Elena Cresci – “Why a viral video of a cyclist’s revenge on catcallers may not be all it seems” – which included this brilliant paragraph:
“Jungle Creations then outlined its fees to feature the video on the Guardian website – £400 for an in-house player and £150 for its social media channels. When the Guardian asked to see an unblurred, not-for-publication, version of the video to do its own verification, or even speak to the person who filmed it, Jungle Creations did not respond.”
Jasper Jackson followed it up the next day. Even when it was exposed as a set-up, loads of papers left it up on their Facebook pages or other social channels with no indication that the story had moved on: “If newspapers won’t check viral stories, who will listen to them about fake news?“
My former colleague Sophie Warnes has written this about the concept of ‘tabloid data journalism’ and her experiences of trying to do it when we worked together for the Mirror at Ampp3d.
She also has a newsletter about interesting data journalism stories called Fair Warning which you should sign up for.
We are trying to raise funds to help set up a community theatre and arts space in Walthamstow – please help.
Neo-Nazi toad Richard Spencer reckons that Depeche Mode are the official band of the extremist far right, and I’m not having that, so I took angrily to the comment pages of the Guardian to forcibly make my case and some feeble jokes based on Depeche Mode lyrics: “No Richard Spencer, Depeche Mode are not ‘the official band of the alt-right’“
Come for the headline. Stay for the mesmerising gif. “I Ignored Trump News for a Week. Here’s What I Learned.”
Interview with Matt Kelly about pop-up newspaper The New European. Interesting to compare its fortunes and strategy to that of The New Day.
“It’s not that Mark Zuckerberg set out to dismantle the news business when he founded Facebook 13 years ago. Yet news organizations are perhaps the biggest casualty of the world Zuckerberg built.”
Not sure I entirely buy this whole argument – “The Mark Zuckerberg Manifesto Is a Blueprint for Destroying Journalism” – it’s not just Facebook, it is a whole shift to a programmatic ad environment and constant chronic over-production and over-supply of inventory that are causing the pinch too. And just wait til we start being able to automate journalism more…
“Many hearings, such as bail applications, will be resolved via video or telephone conferencing, allowing justice to be delivered more swiftly.”
A look at how to avoid setting up perverse incentives at work, which also includes a brilliant apocryphal anecdote about dangerous snakes in colonial India.
Old but good on the curve of adding too many features during product development – Less is more:
“The first is the act of creating wish lists: organisations when looking to select a new product ask too many stakeholders about what they might like to see in a product, and therefore the list gets as long as your arm. Heavily specified products will win out, but over-specified from the outset, the selected product will struggle under the weight and complexity of its functionality to gain any sort of adoption.”
Made me pull the thinking emoji face about chatbots.
“When Pat Mills created 2000AD in 1977 no one guessed it would still be going when its masthead represented a year before some of its readers were born, rather than some unknowable point in the distant future.”
“This was a serious feat, a real bar-raising of thing-losing, not only because in general it is difficult to lose a truck but also because the truck in question was enormous. The friend to whom it belonged once worked as an ambulance driver; oversized vehicles do not faze her. It had tires that came up to my midriff, an extended cab, and a bed big enough to haul cetaceans. Yet I’d somehow managed to misplace it in downtown Portland—a city, incidentally, that I know as well as any other on the planet.”
“When Things Go Missing – Reflections on two seasons of loss” – Kathryn Schulz
This take-down made me laugh: “The Worst Mission Statement Of All Time”
Andy Votel mixtape of Can gems. Expires in a couple of days.
Oh this is marvellous. A road-race game where you get punished by pop-up ads.