NEWSWEEK - Most people think carefully before entering Syria, where one of the world’s deadliest conflicts rages. Many will not enter at all; some war correspondents refuse to work there because of the risk of kidnapping.
Richard van As was unconcerned. “I was excited to come,” he says. “I guess I was bored.” read more…
Two years ago this time us brothers were getting ready to shoot our indie nature documentary Seal of Saimaa. A year later it premiered at SINFF. Now it’s great to see it at Indieflix with 95% rating. And of course, it was first funded on Indiegogo in 2011.
Ever thought of making a movie and haven’t yet? Go do it.
It is everywhere in the news now. The curiosity-gap.
I saw this dreadful example on BGR.com today, and I decided to help them figure out how their headlines could be less shit; how they could be informative, instead of catering to our lowest instincts. Here’s a screenshot of their trending articles, with my suggestions (yes, I’m a zero-talent headline writer, but at least I’m pitching in).
Of course, a business that needs to make a profit – and that just happens to be in the news business – can’t be faulted for employing all tactics it can to get those users to click, click, click. I recently read the New York Times leaked digital strategy document (ironically, first covered by Buzzfeed and Mashable). They idolize Buzzfeed’s success. There is internal shaming in thinking the newsroom knows better what the audiences should be served. Whereas, like the report makes clear, it of course should be the audience demand driving content decisions if they are to survive.
Tough business: you either lose your soul, or your money, but if you don’t make up your mind quickly which one it is, you lose both.
What sinks my spirits is seeing this same behavior even in news organizations that do not need to make a profit. The two I follow closely are the BBC and YLE (Finland’s equivalent of BBC). The clickbaiting copywriting has been rampant especially in the latter – utterly pointless as they don’t even monetize pageviews. In the former, I’ve been confused to see them use Outbrain for content recommendations, which algorithmically decides what people should see. This is purely audience demand-driven content, not content served by journalistic insight, expertise and experience. I even took this up on Twitter with Outbrain. Nothing against Outbrain per se – to be honest, where I see Taboola it’s usually even worse.
I’ll miss journalism when it’s gone.
EU is making over 80 billion euros of funding available to SMEs over the seven years from 2014 to 2020. The first statistics are being tweeted out by @H2020SME. Follow that to learn more – here are some picks:
The 2010 Spanish World Cup win coincided with a miserable shrinking GDP as the country was recovering from the global financial crisis. WSJ speculated whether the win would actually boost the dragging economy: the IBEX 35 index had been performing worse than the Greek stock market. Some “shaky evidence” even speculated on a global economic boost.
Indeed, GDP growth picked up for the most of 2010, shrinking again in 2011. No World Cup that year, of course, though Barcelona did win 3-1 against Manchester United in the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final (granted, Catalonia is trying to get rid of Spain constantly).
Now, Spain is out of the games in Brazil, sent packing by Holland and Chile. As much as I like seeing Spain lose in football, as a European Unionist, this could be cause for concern. Spanish economy needs all the pick-me-ups it can get. If Spain fails, it is likely the Euro falls, too.
On a personal note, I need these kinds of narratives to be able to follow the kickball games.
Western discourse tells us the fighters opposing the government (or “regime” to sound even more sinister) are “rebels”. In Ukraine’s Donetsk, the separatists aligned with Russia are “insurgents”.
Of course, after we figured out there seems to be heavily Al-Qaeda influenced parties involved in Syria’s rebellion, the terminology changed. Or maybe conflict fatigue just set in. The fighting continues, though.
The headline-level news consumption, which is the natural counterpart to realtime short form news publishing, leads to a simplified discourse, while the world is increasingly complex.