Friday Reading S06E01

Friday Reading is a weekly series of recommended reads from journalist and designer Martin Belam covering journalism, media and technology.

“People often say that online behavior would improve if every comment system forced people to use their real names. It sounds like it should be true – surely nobody would say mean things if they faced consequences for their actions? Yet the balance of experimental evidence over the past thirty years suggests that this is not the case. Not only would removing anonymity fail to consistently improve online community behavior – forcing real names in online communities could also increase discrimination and worsen harassment.”

The real name fallacy” – J.Nathan Matias, Coral Project


“We’re excited to announce the second year of the Google News Lab Fellowship UK, and the expansion of the program to offer placements for the first time in Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Across all six countries, we’ll be offering 28 placements with some of the most innovative and prestigious publishers and broadcasters in the region.”

Google News Lab Fellowship Expands in Europe


“Women in Journalism has announced its 3rd annual Georgina Henry Award for Innovation. Applicants are welcome from women at all stages of their career with a specific project they want to pursue. The prize of £4000 will be used to fund either the completion of that project for a senior journalist or to pay for living expenses during work experience at two or more major national news organisations, arranged by the organisers”

Georgina Henry Award for Innovation 2017

I still get something in my eye every year when I mention this – I miss working with Georgina so much.


The Telegraph are looking for student writers
. No information on whether you have to file endless copy moaning about snowflakes.

This is just one of the things I worry about with the state/tech capture of news distribution: “Apple Removes New York Times Apps From Its Store in China

Medium laying off a third of the company in search of a third way between crappy low-rent ad dollars or a subscription model.

I read loads of social media terms and conditions and it turns out we’ve all agreed to loads of weird stuff like letting Facebook know within 48 hours if we ever change our phone number.

Alex Hern is good here looking at Facebook Live and the implications of that live-streaming torture video.

Absolutely love this archive rant from a sub-editor. Gorgeous and pedantic and all the things I love about people who can edit better than I can write.

Apart from the bit at the end where it all goes a bit “It isn’t about gender, so all labels have to be of the male gender” – which also maybe shows how sub-editing has changed in the last 15 years. For the better.

Oh dear god no there but for the grace of god etc etc

“The newspaper editorial is dying — and yet I believe it can be saved with a fairly simple operation. It’s time for elite editorial writers to stop pretending they’re in a conversation with elite politicians who aren’t giving them the time of day. Instead of hectoring politicians, it’s time for newspaper editorial writers to think long and hard about how to empower the people, the only real force for positive social change that we have left.”

How to save the dying newspaper editorial” – Will Bunch

“This is a deeply dangerous choice of words when headlines are the primary way that news is conveyed—especially on social media, where it’s much faster to share than to actually read the article. In fact, according to a study from the Media Insight Project, ‘roughly six in 10 people acknowledge that they have done nothing more than read news headlines in the past week.'”

Information Literacy Is a Design Problem” – Lisa Maria Martin

I got to watch a screening of this documentary earlier in the week – “Radical Brownies: Berets, badges and social justice“. It’s absolutely brilliant – and thought-provoking – about a girl scouts type group in Oakland for the African-American and Latino community that is all about teaching 8-to-11 year old girls about empowerment, equality and social justice. Well worth a watch.

My friend Helena Horton is organising a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood and it is on January 19th and it looks good.

Also worth supporting: 10 Digital Ladies Awards in London in February.

Really interesting read about likely scenarios if Donald Trump decides he wants to push the button.

Absolutely f***ing annoying slideshow format, but delivers on the promise of “The Biggest Space Missions to Watch in 2017

This list of the 42 most anticipated video games of 2017 has made me vow to find more time to play video games in 2017

Old but gold as Mat Honan has the “Fever Dream of a Guilt-Ridden Gadget Reporter” at CES in 2012

I understand the science (and commercial) reasons for it, but godammit Dippy has been the dinosaur in the hall of the Natural History Museum all my life. Until now.

Good quick interview with Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire fame.

They are justified and they are ancient and they have put up a poster.

“Douglas Adams was the first Doctor Who writer to be a fan of the show. This was a significant moment. Doctor Who had subverted itself before, but Adams came from a comedy background and had absorbed the conventions of the show”

Nice piece on Douglas Adams being the first professional Doctor Who fan.