Posts Tagged: Reporting!
6

How Do We Know Who People Are?

It seems worthwhile to revisit the idea of the universal reputation market, in light of Schrödinger's Satoshi Nakamoto. Is this man Satoshi, or isn't he? For now, he equally is and he definitely isn't the progenitor of Bitcoin. No one has yet elaborated a way to decide.

One way, of course, that we might discover if this person is Satoshi Nakamoto is through constant surveillance—both physical and digital. Would that be a good thing?

How do we know who people are? We have some definite if hackable systems, like social security numbers. Names are a problem; sometimes unique, often not. So people are who they say they are—except, more [...]

8

First They Fired The Nurses And Librarians, Then They Fired The Guidance Counselors

Photo of kids in Southwest Philadelphia in the last days of this summer before school, by Paul Sableman.

Last week, as the 2013 school year officially began, Philadelphia's schools faced a $304 million budget shortfall. Also: the teachers’ union contract has expired, 24 schools closed over the summer, and—to boot!—more than 2,100 school employees were laid off. And then it was time for approximately 134,000 students to go back to school.

Students at 115 of the district’s 212 public schools will not have access to a full-time guidance counselor this year. Many won’t have a full-time nurse. Some will have workbooks only if their teachers are [...]

60

What A Pack Of Cigarettes Costs Now, State By State

This list has been updated, as of August 2014. Click here!

Smokers, flee New York City and head to Kentucky, where a pack of Marlboro Reds will cost you practically a third of what you’re paying now. And while you’re on the road, steer clear of New Hampshire and Vermont, too: the price for a pack has jumped 35% and 25%, respectively, over the past year.

We called a gas station—and oftentimes, when we were turned away or simply misunderstood, we called several—in the most populous city of every state in the nation and Washington D.C. and asked the clerk for the price of a pack of Marlboro [...]

2

Rich Lady Blabs To Media, Everyone Scandalized (1886 Edition)

Sometimes young people get in trouble for talking to the trashy media, or for writing first-person essays. Then everyone gets all upset and exercised. So it is, so it has been for some time. Ask May Marcy McClellan, who scandalized Europe by talking smack about the Italians—and became the launching-off point for a Henry James novel.

4

Fact-Checking Beyond America

"When I interview a Russian person or a Turkish person and tell them that a fact checker is going to call on the phone and confirm everything, they can’t wrap their heads around it. Russians are eventually like, 'Oh OK, your paper really wants to avoid a lawsuit.' But Turkish people take it as a sign that I’m a junior person. They’re like, 'Oh, poor thing, your boss still doesn’t trust you. They still have to check up on you.'" —Elif Batuman.

94

With Ron Paul, Fighting for Minnesota

They are young—so young. Impossibly young for attendees of a political rally that does not happen on a street. The slowest moving of the thousand or so streaming into the Minneapolis Convention end up standing for Ron Paul's address on the eve of the Minnesota caucuses. But they're young enough to handle it.

A Ron Paul rally is an experience every cynical, bedraggled, politics-reporting cur should take in at least once in a career. Plus, in the GOP 2012 field, Ron Paul supporters easily hold the title of most bangable.

The event was set to begin at 7:00 p.m. The first "End the Fed!" chant started at 7:03 [...]

62

Shallow 'Rolling Stone' Hit Piece is Just What Michele Bachmann Needed

The backlash against the lashing out against presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has already begun. Following the Palin blueprint, Bachmann plans on fully leveraging the negative publicity with her base: they see leftist attacks as a point of pride and an indication of strength.

This outpouring of disgust is coming at the expense of the excellent local bloggers in Minnesota who have long tracked and fact-checked Bachmann. Their work will be the uncredited foundation of probably every Bachmann hit piece you'll read between now and 2012. It's begun with the self-destructive chewing-out that Matt Taibbi gave Bachmann in Rolling Stone.

"He did prove my point about [...]

2

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 [...]

30

TechCrunch: Journalists Or Startup Shills? You Decide

In late July, we ran a piece looking at a website called Elite Daily. Around the office, we'd been calling the story "Who Is Eddie Cuffin?" That's because one thing that had captivated our attention was the bylines of Elite Daily's writers, which, the more we looked, turned out not to be real people. So Eddie Cuffin is not "the most interesting man in the office," as per his Elite Daily bio, because he does not exist.

The more we looked, the more we disliked the site. We talked about this in the piece, and that whole fake writer thing, and that the site itself glamorized a grotesque version [...]

34

Why Are Reporters Constantly Misquoting People?

Los Angeles Times reporter Jasmine Elist interviewed the author known as "Marie Calloway." (That is a pen name; if you don't know her, you could start here.) The Times published the interview as a Q&A on Monday. Calloway's response? "I was misquoted a lot tbf." (Old people: "tbf" stands for "to be fair." I know, it's just so many letters, thank God.) "To be fair" is a weird construction there: to be fair to whom? I asked the reporter about it, baitingly.

@Choire :) No, I don't. But I do think she'll always have a bone to pick with the people who interview her

— Jasmine Elist [...]

0

How To Report

I tried uniformly applying a variety of “systems” — note cards, wall-sized outlines, all kinds of things. Color-coding and cross-referencing may or may not have been involved. I may or may not own a triple hole-punch. Ultimately, though, I felt I was spending more time playing reporter/writer than being reporter/writer—the systems search, I realized, was a form of procrastination. Here’s what I do now, and it’s very basic: Bring the scraps back to the nest, arrange them chronologically, develop a timeline that shows everything more clearly, and then build out from there, hewing to that backbone yet following each thread to its known end. That’s just an organizing principle, [...]

36

How 25 National Magazine Award Nominations Went To 25 Male Writers

Last week, the American Society of Magazine Editors released its list of nominees for the 2012 National Magazine Award. In the so-called "brass ring" long-form categories—reporting, feature writing, profile writing, essays and criticism and columns and commentary—all 25 of the writers nominated were men.

For an organization that usually gets talked about exactly twice a year—once when it announces the nominations, and again when it declares the winners—suddenly people had a lot to say about ASME.

"Women can’t write, says ASME," went the Daily News headline. David Carr called it a "sausage-fest." Disdain for the organization manifested in the Twitter hashtag #ASSME.

It's easy to imagine the [...]

40

A Report from the Occupation of Wall Street

Zuccotti Park is a well-manicured, block-long park in the heart of New York City’s financial district that, for the past two days, has been home to a few hundred squatters, anarchists, activists, students, a few drug addicts, several undercover cops and one lone man in a suit. Alternately calling themselves Occupy Wall Street or Take Wall Street or the 99%, they have set up camp, spending the night on rolls of cardboard, yoga mats and bare concrete, as a protest against the abuses carried out by various financial institutions and banks against the people of this country.

The protest, loosely organized by Adbusters and the internet activist group [...]

8

La Toya Jackson's Book Party

On the roofdeck at 230 Fifth Avenue last night, a man was taking pictures of La Toya Jackson with an iPad. "I saw Spike Lee take Obama's pic with that thing!" said a photographer. Apart from press, the crowd tended towards rejected Real Housewives. (One partygoer named Cheri aspired toward both a singing career and a gay sidekick.)

"Is this the closest you've ever been to a Jackson?" someone asked.

"Well, my brother was in a hot tub with Michael in 1983, so that's got to count for something," someone else said.

La Toya entered her book party—she is the author, as of today, of Starting Over, a memoir [...]

7

Obamacare In The Club

John's large belly gave his Jimi Hendrix shirt a 3D-like quality. When I asked for his age he said, “Somewhere between birth and death, that's all you need to know.” I'd guess probably around 48. I spoke to him at a bar and music venue on Hollywood Boulevard called Loaded.

I don't know much about the Affordable Care Act—what even the newspapers now call Obamacare—but I need to have an opinion, so I went to some bars in Hollywood to ask people to explain it to me. Maybe someone at the bars had tried to sign up. There’s been a lot of talk about the failure of the websites [...]

15

Taking The Silver Cure

In 2002, RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan told a reporter from Blender about his post-9/11 health routine: drinking colloidal silver daily. "During the Black Plague, a lot of rich people didn't get sick… because of the metal intake—the silver in their bodies from their silverware and dishes," he said. Blender published the article under the excellent headline "IS THE RZA TURNING BLUE?" He has not, as far as we know.

Recently I sent an email to Silver List, a listserv of colloidal silver enthusiasts who share their experiences and advice about making and taking the liquid, asking for people who would talk to a journalist. I included a [...]

13

The Most Special Victim: Law and Order's Sneaky Attack on Christopher Meloni

Twitter greeted last week's "Law & Order: SVU" with mostly unbridled glee. "#SVU with the victim from New Canaan… REPRESENT!!" cheered @TotesMagotesMG3. "Law+order Svu episode about new Canaan kids yoloing and havin to go to rikers for pullin down their friends shirt made my night," confessed @BernbabyBern268. "Damn these rich little high school students from New Canaan CT are going to Rykers," observed @EyezWydeShut. Alas, sighed @bginns: "Not a good night for New Canaan."

New Canaan is my hometown. It’s where I went to high school, worked on the school paper with Merrill Garbus and ran cross country, terribly, until I realized girls were an [...]

13

Is Twitter Your Job? Is It Paying You? So What Are You Doing?

Rupert says he forgot meeting because it took place on his wife Wendi's boat rather than his own

— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) April 25, 2012

Who gamed a substantial number of professional news-gatherers into providing free content for Twitter?

Remember back when newspapers and other organizations doubled their employees' workload? (You should, it was only like a couple years ago.) And they were all, ha ha, now you have to blog too! Or you'll get fired like all those union guys who used to run the printing plant! So that worked out pretty well actually. Worked out real good for… some people. But everyone has taken this [...]

5

My Afterlife Is Going to Have So Much Polygamy….

“How dare he say that polygamy was horrible when it was what his ancestors believed? I believe you should honor your bloodline. I have convicts in my bloodline. I don’t reject them.” —Loving you, Romney-torturer Helen Radkey!

3

Why Can't Johnny Read? A Bunch of Men on How Janet Malcolm Is Awful

"I’ve never read Janet Malcom [sic], and I doubt I ever will." —That's journalism professor Matt Tullis, who follows this comment with 581 words on how awful she is. I guess he would know! GOOD FUN. So wouldn't you love to read a bunch of dudes writing really poorly and really very angrily about Janet Malcolm? One guy is incensed that she has taken "a grand run at my profession." (They are talking about a book that came out 21 years ago?) Anyway, sure you would! You could also read Tom Junod on the topic, who writes, in Esquire: "Janet's [sic] Malcolm's a self-hater whose work has [...]