Posts Tagged: Journalism

A Conversation With Matt Taibbi and Molly Crabapple

On one side of The Divide—the gap in the justice system between the rich and the poor that provides the title for Matt Taibbi’s brilliant and enraging new book—financiers and other wealthy people commit egregious crimes, including laundering drug money, and rarely face jail time. Prosecutors worry about "collateral consequences" before filing charges.

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, by Matt Taibbi with illustrations by Molly Crabapple, will be published on Tuesday. You can order it now now now, wherever capitalism allows you to obtain books:

Spiegel & Grau / Random House

McNally Jackson

Amazon [...]


So Long As Adults Remain Willing To Buy Booze For Desperate Teens This Country Is Still Okay

Here is a hidden camera investigation focused on suburban New Jersey adults purchasing alcohol for actors posing as thirsty teenagers. It is hard-hitting exposes like this one that Edward R. Murrow had in mind when he invented broadcast journalism in 1948.


The Seven Millennial Varieties Of Modern Humanoids

If you’re anything like me—a neon-blooded selfie-taking party slug with an APPetite for Disruption and Media Diets—you’re probably flailing in an ever-spinning maelstrom of opening and closing tabs, like, all the goddamn time. (While also struggling to maintain the appearance of being human!) One oft-encountered problem we NetLords run into as the tabs careen into our fat faces with a squawking, Hitchcockian fury, is whether or not we fall into the wide chasm of the term “millennial.” It’s a classification as broad as fellow alien Metta World Peace’s shoulders—Certified Journalists have calculated the birth year of millennials to fall anywhere between 1980 and 2000. So where on this fabricated, [...]


The Way Middle-Aged White Men Work Now


Before he goes to sleep, between 11 and midnight, Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, typically checks in by e-mail with the same reporter: Mike Allen of Politico, who is also the first reporter Pfeiffer corresponds with after he wakes up at 4:20. A hyperactive former Eagle Scout, Allen will have been up for hours, if he ever went to bed. Whether or not he did is one of the many little mysteries that surround him. The abiding certainty about Allen is that sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m., seven days a week, he hits “send” on a mass e-mail newsletter that some of America’s most influential [...]


Sind Sie Bereit Für Ein "Schneefälle"?

It does occur to me again that if you are going to have a team of 29 people put together a monster piece of "multimedia journalism" for your newspaper website that perhaps you could add a 30th person whose duty it is to implement the piece in a variety of languages. These might include languages such as Mandarin, English, Spanish and Arabic, which would then allow you access to readers among 25% of the world's people, instead of just publishing in German, as Die Ziet has, which will you get you a total market cap of something like 1% of them. Or, in real if estimated numbers of total [...]


"Full Disclosure"

I'm an adviser to John McCain's campaign. 1 Siri calls me “Funk Deity.” 2 Aside from lessons in pole dancing——another fad workout sweeping Southern California——this may be the least macho exercise of all time. 3

I am not a cat person. 4 My mother was one for many years. 5 I am a professor of Shakespeare, among other subjects, at UCLA, and this has never happened to me. 6

I am a sucker for the man-befriends-nonhuman-creature genre of sitcoms. 7 I have no complaints about how much I make. 8

When the New America Foundation moves its offices in D.C., next week, Foreign Policy will become our tenants, but [...]


How To Get Your Readers To Write Your Newspaper For You

An old schoolhouse, two feed stores, an "84 Lumber" yard, the sheriff's substation and a western wear store were the notable tenants on the main street of Lakeside, California. It was just a half-hour's drive from the beaches of San Diego, but it had the dusty half-abandoned look of a Texas panhandle town. The "lake" was a pond in the small park at the end of the road. State Highway 67 ran parallel to the two-block-long downtown, and in a faded Old West-themed plywood strip mall, a lean middle-aged man in a brown corduroy sports coat was behind his desk with his typewriter and a coffee mug full of Bushmill's, [...]


Eleven Questions About Explainer Journalism

What is an “explainer”? There are a lot of things out there to read. Some of them are long. Many involve complex, nuanced ideas. That doesn’t have to be the case. When it is the case, it’s a failure of journalists to make news engaging and accessible. An explainer is an article that breaks down an important topic into just the things you care about and need to know. It's unlike all other kinds of articles in that way. If you still can’t understand it, that’s on us. That’s our bad.

How do I know what I care about and what I need to know? Explainers tell [...]


A Hard Snow's a-Gonna Fall

"Immersive Storytelling" would be a good name for an album by a terrible band.


Down Doubled

"There is a world in which what happened to Manley and Reid would serve as a cautionary tale to the staffers, operatives, and elected officials that feed Halperin and Heilemann their scoops. Indeed, one Congressional reporter tells me the incident caused Hill sources to freeze up as skittishness set in following Reid’s quote. You might think, too, that the focus and nature of Halperin and Heilemann’s projects would be its own disincentive to cooperate: Game Change, after all, made it clear that the authors consider everything—every private marital conversation, every petty squabble, every venal freak-out, every off-color remark, every otherwise forgotten scandal—in-bounds…. But that is not Halperin and Heilemann’s [...]


Six Lesser-Known "Golden Ages" of Media, 1991 – 2005

Do you hate it when your friends, co-workers and office enemies become successful? Then be careful where you work. What outfits like PostBourgie have done—it is now too late to stop the Grape Drink Mafia!—is gather together a super-smart (or sometimes just super-aggressive) group of people that will go on to success and perhaps even dominance in media. (You could say something similar about n+1, but they're all basically unemployed novelists, and there weren't that many of them anyway. What about The New Inquiry? Well, only time will tell. Check back in later 2013.)

Over the last twenty years, a handful of scenes emerged that seem [...]


James Agee’s 'Cotton Tenants'—And Why We’re Only Reading It Now

In the early 80s, William F. Buckley, Jr. offered David Brooks a job at The National Review on the strength of Brooks' parody of Buckley in the undergraduate newspaper at the University of Chicago. ("Buckley spent most of his infancy working on his memoirs," etc.) Some five decades earlier, James Agee found himself in a parallel, if far less ideologically stable, arrangement.

As a serious undergraduate poet at Harvard, Agee helmed an ambitious and withering satire of Henry's Luce's Time in an issue of the Harvard Advocate that went comparatively viral. Like any mogul, Luce knew that it’s better to have someone in the building throwing bricks [...]


Killer Cops And Newspaper Wars On The California Coast

"America's largest open-air mental hospital," that's how Oceanside police spokesman Bob George described this run-down coastal city between Camp Pendleton and the surfer towns of North San Diego County. I called it the Slum by the Sea. Despite the miles of beach and the beautiful old Spanish mission and the Southern California weather, Oceanside was a honky tonk Marine Corps town on the west side of Interstate 5 and a sprawling mess of trailer parks and starter-home suburbs to the east.

I spent a lot of time at Bob's desk in the back of the OPD headquarters. Sometimes it was as a police beat reporter, sometimes it was as the [...]


We Should Have Killed These Internet Pioneers Back In the 1990s

From time to time, The Awl offers its space to everyday citizens with something to say.

I am a newspaperman. Before my freelancing days, my business card had the name of my paper, and under that it said my own name, and then: "Staff Writer." These days, I'm barely getting by as a freelancer, and my business card has a little graphic of a quill by my name.

I often think about how different the media landscape would be if newspapers had invested in killing off the "Web content" people once they became a clear danger to journalism.

Assassination is a nasty business, and I am against it. Still, you [...]


Who Will Pay For The Falling Snow?

You can call it a "revolution in multimedia storytelling that has swept through digital publishing the past year" or you can call it "an indiscriminate assemblage of tech gimmickry in search of a purpose" or, for the sake of concision, you can call it "Snowfall," but the question remains, how are these dazzling displays of "immersive" journalism to be paid for, particularly when you consider that the only people who really pay attention to them are other folks working in media already? Nobody knows yet!


Inside Balochistan With Willem Marx

Signed copies of Balochistan at a Crossroads, by Willem Marx and Marc Wattrelot, are available directly from the authors via Paypal. You can get plain old unsigned ones via Amazon in the U.S.

"I was supposed to fly to Afghanistan today but my body armor didn't arrive in time," was something Willem Marx said to me one of the first times we met. He says things like this on a not infrequent basis. Marx currently works at Bloomberg TV and has reported from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uzbekistan, the Arctic Circle, and other less trodden parts of the world.

In 2009, he spent time [...]


What It's Like To Interview Lorde

People are always saying things on the Internet all the time. But they are such teases. We like details. So we have to ask.

Interviewing @lordemusic over dinner, I suggested sharing truffle pizza. Her reply: "Then you'll write about it like Lynn Hirschberg!"

— Jonah Weiner (@jonahweiner) October 11, 2013

Jonah! So what happened here?

Rolling Stone asked me to write a short profile of Lorde, a young musician from New Zealand whose single “Royals” has been the number-one song in America for three weeks now. This was just the other week. She was in Los Angeles to tape a performance of “Royals” for Ellen, [...]


War Reporting For Bloody Dummies

Recently I saw the journalist Clare Morgana Gillis, and asked her about her war reporting. "If you want to know a bunch of stuff about my background and whatever you can Google it," she said. She is tall and intimidating, was wearing wraparound sunglasses at the time, and seemed to be doing her best to look everywhere but at me. As it happened, I had some clue about her background; a few people had pointed her out to me, saying, quietly, that she had undergone something unusual.

Just a couple years ago, Gillis made her first trips to combat zones. Already in her mid-30s, she held a doctorate in early [...]


Everyone Secretly Hates "Snow Fall"

Cody Brown, of Scrollkit, made a replica of the ballyhooed New York Times "Snow Fall" story—in about an hour. Naturally, the Times made a copyright complaint: he was, after all, using their images and whatnot! So he removed it. Then they insisted that he "remove any reference to the New York Times" from his website. Heh.

He writes: The backlash to “Snow Fall” is that it’s an indulgence only the Times can afford. It took them six months and a powerful multi-person dev team to hand-code it. Most news orgs don’t have anywhere near these kinds of resources, and this is why we’ve spent the past year [...]


Interviews With The Survivors

A couple of years ago, I took the train out to Long Island to interview the last person pulled alive from the wreckage of the Twin Towers. Genelle Guzman-McMillan had been in her early 30s on September 11, 2001, and employed by the Port Authority, which had an office on the 64th story of the World Trade Center. She and her coworkers had managed to make it out into the stairwell and all the way down to the 13th floor before the second plane hit, after which the entire building collapsed and Guzman-McMillan was buried under several thousand tons of debris and dust. She lay there for 27 hours, a [...]