Friday Reading S13E17
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.
"The newly-released Diversity in Journalism report found that working-class people were heavily unrepresented in the news industry and that journalists were almost twice as likely as the general population to come from advantaged backgrounds. The data, which covered 2021, found that social class was the only factor surveyed where the UK news industry is getting increasingly unequal over time."
Yiannis Baboulias with a piece from earlier in the year about the increasing difficulties of being a journalist in Greece.
"Beugel, largely unaware of the blossoming scandal, was returning to her Athens home from the supermarket later that night, she told CJR, when someone threw a stone at her head. 'It didn’t quite hit me, but I didn’t stick around to see who it was. I ran back to my house.' Large parts of the Greek mainstream media set their sights on her. The biggest tabloid in the country, Proto Thema, published her address and details about her life. Others called her a spinster. High-profile journalists called Beugel 'anti-Greek'. The mayor of the island where she lives filed a lawsuit against her."
"In Greece, journalists feel the squeeze" – Columbia Journalism Review
My colleague Alex Hern has been posing a fascinating question:
"Question: you learn that John Smith, a spokesperson for MegaCorp, lied to you on the record. A few years later, John Smith is working for BigFirm and Jane Doe is at MegaCorp. You end up realising that one of them must be lying to you over a story. Who do you believe more?"
"Someone who lies when their boss makes them might tell the truth at a company with better ethics. But a company that makes its employees tell lies can't be trusted, whoever works for it."
Which is fair enough, and then provides this example of his hypothetical: DJI insisted drone-tracking AeroScope signals were encrypted — now it admits they aren’t
"To be clear, both DJI spokesperson Adam Lisberg and drone forensics expert David Kovar told us that these signals were encrypted. And when hacker Kevin Finisterre suggested to us that was wrong, we checked with DJI again. It was only after Finisterre repeatedly debunked the claim that DJI admitted to The Verge, almost a month later, that it wasn’t actually true."
You should read that piece – it's an absolute technology/lies mash-up which is potentially going to get people killed in Ukraine and elsewehere.
Also via Alex Hern, maybe I should sub-contract writing this, one of those mind-bending internet stories:
"The Tragic True Story Behind ‘WAGMI,’ Crypto's Most Positive Catchphrase" – Ekin Genç, Motherboard
"Lewis, a self-described 'Zyzz fanboy' who only goes by his first name, told Motherboard that when Shavershian said 'we're all going to make it bro, he was talking to all the RuneScape and WoW nerds,' like him who were “young, had no friends, no sports, no girls or muscles. He was telling us that he had made it—having started just like us—and that we could too,' Lewis told Motherboard. But how did the phrase travel from the niche online fitness subculture of young nerdy men to become the most relentlessly positive catchphrase in crypto?"
One thing that will never stop annoying me: people who take money to write their "Why I quit Twitter" column and then … just don't actually quit Twitter.
Ron wants to be sure that you didn’t miss this week’s Guardian Thursday quiz: Rescue dogs, stolen goods and kids crashing cars – take the Thursday quiz
“This precarity and scarcity mindset fosters horrible work habits — in so many types of jobs, but particularly amongst millennials and younger Gen-Xers working passion jobs, many of whom have endured small and not-so-small traumas attempting to find and keep employment during and after the Great Recession. Our primary coping mechanism for dealing with those traumas? Working all the time — even after an immediate threat to one’s job had passed.”
“The Librarians Are Not Okay” by Anne Helen Petersen, a transcript of a talk she gave which she says applies equally to nurses, teachers, journalists, clergy, social workers and so on.
Rob Palk in a nail/head situation: “When people do that tweet about how they’ve been informed the staff at (chain book shop) are making it hard for readers to find their controversial new book, why do they not die of shame mid-tweet.”
brb just marching into Rough Trade East to find out why my digital EP isn’t in the window, the cowards.
Superb spot from a locked Twitter account: “the absolute funniest bit of this is when you get to the end and see the title of the book the extract is taken from”.
You also need to reed this to the end as it gets increasingly unhinged and let’s be honest it started out in “News or Fall Song” territory.
Ooooh look retro black’n’white emoji designs from Google for those of us who miss our Nokia phones. Also I learned Google has a “Creative Director – Emoji & Expression”, what a job title.
Letter no.7 – a short story about love & self doubt by Haaniyah Angus
Nice diagrams in this: “Nasa tests new spacecraft to guard Earth against asteroid strikes”
“Everything is software. Even Crossrail.” says my former boss at the BBC Tom Loosemore about this article in New Civil Engineer that says “Crossrail-style ‘heroic’ leadership no longer fit for purpose”
“Scale matters. The larger and more complex a project, the less likely it is that it can be successfully led by a ‘warrior’ leader who can manage crises by force of will, or by a super-project manager who is focused overwhelmingly on process and deliverables.”
DOCTOR WHO CORNER: Lovely interview with Mandip Gill on her forthcoming Doctor Who exit and on taking a role in Danny Robins fab 2.22 play in the West End.
A great round-up of the mad and disparate and contradictory fates that have befallen the characters of Tegan Jovanka and Ace since leaving Doctor Who in the eighties and now promising to turn up the regeneration special later this year by Chris Farnell who also wrote this absolutely banging opening paragraph:
“So ‘Legend of the Sea Devils‘ was a serviceable, fairly by-the-numbers, classic-monster-meets-celebrity historical story that didn’t hit any truly spectacular highs or lows, but which will surely be hotly debated in the comments anyway.”
“‘I don’t know, Jeff,’ Kammy replies, bending double in hysterics. The highlights of the match have less than 600 views on YouTube. The Soccer Saturday clip has millions. It’s so good not just because of the timing – Stelling is a master – but of the wonderful pure honesty. So many would have tried to bluff or come up with an excuse. There is a strange desperation to always be right and never make a mistake, and certainly never to admit making one. But Kammy owns it with a warmth and charm that have been a constant throughout his 24 years at Sky.”
Really well executed warm and funny piece by Max Rushden on the legend that is Chris Kamara: “The secret of Kammy’s success? Warmth, charm and simply enjoying himself”
Amen to this as well:
“It’s always worth reminding yourself what a privilege it is to get paid to watch football and be given airtime or column space to say what you think about it.”
I never had one of these: ‘It was the poor man’s studio’: how Amiga computers reprogrammed modern music
There’s a prom this year dedicated to music from games and it includes bits of Kow Otani’s Shadow of the Colossus music. Swoon.
I have generally become a curmudgeon about Record Store Day – “NO!” YOU GASP. “MARTIN? A CURMUDGEON? SURELY NOT” etc etc – but this is a quite lovely piece about Mark Burgess who I used to work with at Reckless Records in the 1990s (and also was in a cover versions band with for a while) about what it means for Flashback Records, the shop chain he owns in north London.
“A good acid test is: ‘what was the first record you bought?’ Everyone has a story about the first record they bought. No one asks: ‘what was the first MP3 you downloaded’? No one cares”
“A groovy kind of love, vinyl is here to stay” – Islington Tribune
Yulia Horodnycha has written a post highlighting some of the contemporary electronic music coming from Ukraine.
It is truly one of the greatest and most distinctive records ever made and 1,057 years later Sparks still knocking This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us out the park live in Helsinki.
You know Heardle, the game that is essentially ‘name that tune’ but with snippets of introductions? Well that is great. But even better, somebody has made a version that only features songs by Sparks!
Oh also in big music news, absolutely delighted I am going to be doing the Guardian’s live blog coverage of Eurovision again this year. And there will be a quiz too!