New Journalism Startup Combines News, Comics
Symbolia’s a new magazine that tells the news through illustrations. Sources are drawn, and quotes get their own speech balloons.
Their first issue is available for free download now, covering the Zambian Psychadelic Rock, Iraqi Kurds, zoology in the Congo and California’s Salton Sea. They feel, in most cases, like longform reads.
It’s really meant for iPads, though you can download a PDF version. Future issues will be priced at $1.99, and Symbolia plans to publish six a year. Android fans will have to wait, Symbolia people said today, but they’ll begin publishing Ebooks in the Android Marketplace.
FJP: Others think that change is awesome.
One could, of course, do this across all sorts of media outlets.
For the educators though, an interesting media literacy exercise in how news outlets exist as brands and the messaging they hope to transmit.
Take screenshots across news organizations and decipher how word choice, positioning, heds and deks illustrate an organizational bias.
Image: Fox News Home Page, November 2. Taken and annotated by Ethan Gold. Select to embiggen.
things we should be teaching in schools #1: media literacy.
An essay about money, class, determination and whether journalism is becoming a glamor industry.
Via Random House (Canada):
To be a writer in this market requires not only money, but a concept of “work” that is most easily gained from privilege. It requires a sense of entitlement, the ability to network and self-promote without seeing yourself as an arrogant, schmoozing blowhard. And it requires you to think of working for free—at an internship, say, or on one of those gratis assignments that seem to be everywhere now—as an opportunity rather than an insult or a scam.
This is no longer an industry that rewards working-class values, in other words, and I underestimated how hard it would be to shuck them. It still seems strange to me that people work, unpaid, without a guaranteed job at the end. And I haven’t reconciled myself with the central irony here: that journalism, ostensibly a populist endeavour, is becoming a rarefied practice best suited, both financially and psychologically, to the well-off.
Alexandra Kimball, How to Succeed in Journalism when You Can’t Afford an Internship.
Small Town News
The Pew Research Center released a report today in partnership with the Knight Foundation that explores how US adults get local news by community type.
Fun facts from the report:
Urban residents: People who live in large cities rely on a wider combination of platforms for information than others and are more likely to get local news and information via a range of digital activities, including internet searches, Twitter, blogs and the websites of local TV stations and newspapers. Urbanites were also those least tied to their communities in terms of how long they lived in the community and how many people they know…
…Suburban residents: Those who live in suburban communities are more likely than others to rely on local radio as a platform (perhaps because of relatively longer commuting times); they are more interested than others in news and information about arts and cultural events; and they are particularly interested in local restaurants, traffic, and taxes. Like urbanites, they are heavy digital participators who comment and share the news…
…Small town residents: Along with rural residents, people who live in smaller towns are more likely to rely on traditional news platforms such as television and newspapers to get local news; newspapers are especially important to them for civic information. Small town Americans prefer the local newspaper for a long list of information—including local weather, crime, community events, schools, arts and culture, taxes, housing, zoning, local government and social services. Residents of smaller towns are also the most likely to worry about what would happen if the local newspaper no longer existed.
Rural residents: Those who live in rural communities generally are less interested in almost all local topics than those in other communities. The one exception is taxes. They are also more reliant on traditional platforms such as newspapers and TV for most of the topics we queried. And they are less likely than others to say it is easier now to keep up with local information.
Pew Research Center, How people get local news and information in different communities (PDF).
Via the Huffington Post:
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien did something which is extremely rare in television news these days: she actually did her job…
…The action took place Tuesday afternoon, as O’Brien was interviewing former New Hampshire governor and George W. Bush Chief of Staff John Sununu. With the actual documents in hand, O’Brien pointed out the striking similarities between the Medicare plans of Mitt Romney and his controversial vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan, who seeks to change the government guaranteed health care program into a voucher system.
“But it’s very different,” Sununu insisted. “For example, when Obama gutted Medicare by taking $717 billion out of it, the Romney plan does not do that. The Ryan plan mimicked part of the Obama package there, the Romney plan does not. That’s a big difference.”
O’Brien essentially accused him of lying:
“I understand that this is a Republican talking point because I’ve heard it repeated over and over again. These numbers have been debunked, as you know, by the Congressional Budget Office. … I can tell you what it says. It (Obama’s Medicare plan) cuts a reduction in the expected rate of growth, which you know, not cutting budgets to the elderly. Benefits will be improved.”
At this point Sununu, clearly agitated, became nasty and indignant, angered by O’Brien’s insistence on fact over fiction:
“Soledad, stop this!” Sununu replied, raising his voice. “All you’re doing is mimicking the stuff that comes out of the White House and gets repeated on the Democratic blog boards out there.”
O’Brien continued reading from the Romney and Obama plans verbatim, and cited Factcheck.org, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and CNN’s own independent analysis in refuting Sununu’s deceptive rhetoric.
Read through for the rest of the exchange. The video’s available as well.
The History of News in Five Minutes
We sat down with NYU Journalism and Mass Communication Prof. Mitchell Stephens to talk about the news — why we share it, how we’ve shared it, and what it is today.
We’ve come full circle, he says, from marketplace conversations being a main news source in agrarian and preliterate societies to today’s personal newsfeeds and amateur-led sharing. We relied on each other to share news before large organizations and reporters packaged it for us, and we are beginning to rely on each other again with the internet. We are freer now to make the news about our lives than ever before and that, he says, is mostly a good thing.
A really nice podcast from Sarah Marshall at Journalism.co.uk about using Tumblr.
FJP: Mark Coatney started Newsweek on Tumblr and was later hired by Tumblr itself, as their media outreach director.
In this podcast we hear from Coatney and we find out how NME, which launched a Tumblr blog a year ago, and The Times, which a month ago started an “experimental” Tumblr blog to showcase picks from its opinion columnists, are using Tumblr. Tumblr and the two titles share their seven tips for news outlets tempted to try a Tumblr blog.
Bonus: Some of FJP’s past posts about Tumblr.
Good Effing Grief
Via Andrew Sullivan:
This very connection prompted CNN to ask [David] Gergen to do some reporting on Bain. And - surprise! - Gergen simply ignores the key evidence on the table: Romney’s own sworn testimony that he kept involved in Bain activities and attended Bain company board meetings and remained CEO, sole owner and chairman of Bain all the way through till 2002. If you own a company, benefit from its profits, and are paid a salary, declaring that you had left it is an untrue SEC filing. Which is a felony.
Good effing grief, indeed.