Friday Reading S13E15

Friday Reading is a weekly series of recommended reads from the Guardian’s Martin Belam, covering journalism, media and technology, and other interesting nerdy things he found on the internet this week. It is now in its thirteenth season. Sign up here.

Matthew Leake, Marina Adami, Federica Cherubini, Eduardo Suárez and Caithlin Mercer report back for the Reuters Institute of Journalism on what they found at the Perugia International Journalism Festival. This stuck out:

"In many places journalism is becoming a profession that only a privileged few can pursue, warned Emily Bell. 'Kids who want to be journalists but come from economic insecurity just don't want to enter the profession because it's unstable for them. It's becoming a luxury career and that's a real problem.'"

International Journalism Festival 2022: what we learnt in Perugia about the future of news

@lupinia wrote "This is a perfect caricature of the modern web, and every web developer should be ashamed of the resemblance":

Ron wants to be sure that you didn't miss this week's Guardian Thursday quiz: Pirate queens, heavenly twins and a curious talking horse – take the Thursday quiz

"This question reminds me of a story my partner tells about his grandad’s reaction to video games in 1983: 'it’s all just pushing buttons, innit?' (This was the partial inspiration for the name of this newsletter, incidentally.) I mean, he’s not wrong, in a way, but also, that’s like saying that reading books is just turning pages. When you don’t understand something well, what you see from the outside is just a series of baffling actions. If you don’t care about tennis then it’s just two people hitting a ball at each other; if you do care about it, and especially if you have any knowledge of it, it’s a battle of wills, a dramatic tactical dance."

I very much enjoy Keza MacDonald's weekly games newsletter, even if it is just looking at letters on a screen etc etc…

"Pushing Buttons: Why there is still a bizarre social stigma to playing games"

Talking of which: Another incredible browser-based Friday afternoon time-sink from Matt Round's @VOLEwtf side.

"Guide your circle to smash smaller circles while dodging any that are larger than you"

"It can’t be overstated how many development studios, publishing houses, tiny indie games to triple-A blockbusters and much more go into a plan exactly like this one with the best intentions in the world. Sacrifice X so Y can be better, quicker, and everyone will be happy. In my experience, Y never comes fast enough and X ends up languishing longer than anyone would like."

"Overwatch devs on a difficult couple of years at Blizzard"

Rob Manuel is turning Fesshole into a book which he describes as "an ideal gift for someone horrible in your family who only laughs at others’ misfortune"

Milo Edwards nails Twitter: this website is basically a lottery you can only lose - endless people with 200 followers, posting daily for 3 faves and then finally accidentally pushing the right button and getting ratio’d into oblivion for 24h by people they’ve never met and who’ll never think of them again.


openDemocracy are looking for a news and politics reporter.

Marie Le Conte has been living her best life in Venice and has written her guide to it if you are visiting soon.

Helena Celle has written a little 15kb game that has no instructions but uses WASD for the movement and I don’t understand it but I found it compelling nevertheless. Play Zener

I kind of love there are sufficient numbers of people in the goth scene to have competing and – to be honest – feuding event promoters doing a wide range of “No, *THIS* is the *OFFICIAL* Goth Whitby Weekend Jamboree” and a hex on you if you go to the others. The Blogging Goth spells it out.

DOCTOR WHO CORNER: I reviewed the Legend of the Sea Devils special for the Guardian and gave it 3/5.

“It was easier to warm to this episode from the second act onwards, once they had boarded the ships. The opening sequence in the village seemed very disjointed. It was raining in the village, but not on the beach, and there didn’t seem to be any set-up for the part with the Tardis crew trapping the Sea Devil in a net, Scooby-Doo style. It was as if five minutes of the episode was missing.”

I also got to write down a list of my own terrible ideas about what Russell T Davies should do to revive the show’s fortunes, an exercise I described in the comments as “800 words which demonstrates why I will never be put in charge of any TV show, let alone Doctor Who”. However I stand by this:

“Aim it unashamedly at 12-year-olds – The curse of a long-lived fantasy franchise is that you end up with grown-up fans demanding increasingly grown-up stories, forgetting that they fell in love with the idea of the show as a child. Russell T Davies could build the fanbase for the next 60 years”

The overnight ratings for Legend of the Sea Devils were the worst ever in the show’s long, long history I believe. I struggle to see that “We bought the old showrunner back” is immediately going to stick an extra three or four million on to them. I do fear we might get a couple of RTD series and then a hiatus…

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Mother Fighter by Nadine Shah

I make 80s-sounding electronic music about ghosts as m-orchestra, and you can find it on Bandcamp, Spotify, and all good electronic streaming services.

I’ve got a new 7-track 21 minute mini-LP out now called Care/Harm. There’s a song about a magic candle made of human fat, and one about a spirit waiting to drown you. There’s one about a werewulfe, and one about a man who has slipped back in time, and there’s even *gasp* a bit of me singing on it …

I recently played some of the songs from it live on Facebook – you can watch that here.