Home/Tag: newsphobia


As an industry, the media specializes in the worldwide production of audiences. The artifacts of this industry have become our common culture, and this is why we worry about the effects of the media. Journalism is something different. It is a social practice essential to a democracy— and democracy is more than mere openness. What journalism produces is not an audience, but a public, and we should worry when journalism fails to have this effect on us.


What’s confusing is that both the media and journalism have an interest in news. But the media sees news as low-cost material— a cheap way to engage us in the moment. The purpose of journalism is to engage us, not in the moment, but in the present— especially the political present. Journalism falters when it loses its authority over the present, it’s ability to engage us in the public world as it presently stands.

Jay Rosen on journalism vs. the media.

This is the text of a lecture Rosen gave in 1993, of all things (the internet didn’t even exist in ’93!), but it remains startlingly and terrifyingly relevant.

2018-02-01T08:02:16+11:0019th July, 2018|Tags: culture, media, newsphobia|

Pivot to bullshit.

If I wanted to watch video I’d just turn on the freakin’ TV. As it is, if I can’t read online articles quietly on my phone in the toilet, then I ain’t interested.

2017-10-04T15:12:13+11:0015th March, 2018|Tags: newsphobia|

Powderkeg news.

Why Modern Journalism Is Terrible, Amazon-Recommended-Terrorism Edition.

My favorite quote:

The ‘common chemical compound’ in Channel 4’s report is potassium nitrate, an ingredient used in curing meat. If you go to Amazon’s page to order a half-kilo bag of the stuff, you’ll see the suggested items include sulfur and charcoal, the other two ingredients of gunpowder. (Unlike Channel 4, I am comfortable revealing the secrets of this 1000-year-old technology.)

2019-01-17T08:35:10+11:006th March, 2018|Tags: newsphobia, science|


If triple j wants to cover Charlottesville with a truly non-partisan approach, it could simply report on the facts: white nationalists armed themselves and rioted at UVA. Several counter-protestors who attempted to stem the flow of hate, and protect at-risk people of colour, were injured. A peacefully protesting woman was run down by a self-identified white supremacist. He has now been charged with murder. The rioters were armed with torches, guns and some wore swastikas. Some of them self-identified as Nazis.

This is the non-partisan approach to covering this news — not asking a white nationalist how he feels about being a white nationalist on the national broadcaster.

Matilda Dixon-Smith on shitty opinions.

Topically dated by the time this gets off the posting queue, but I still like this pull-quote nonetheless.

I think the “facts are the non-partisan approach” thing gets lost–intentionally lost–in a lot of “bothsiderist” journalism nowadays. “Balanced” news reporting is reporting objective facts; it is not regurgitating other people’s shitty opinions, simply because people have those opinions, and it’s certainly not allowing people with shitty opinions airtime to promote their shitty opinions.

2018-11-26T08:07:22+11:0024th December, 2017|Tags: culture, newsphobia|


I know it’s wild that a bunch of people just died and we’re all in our feelings, but let us never forget several essential items: 1. White men are the most common culprits of domestic terrorism in this country. Full stop. 2. People who murder in this way chose to murder in this way. This “incident” did not happen to them. They happened to other people. 3. People who choose to end their lives as a tool of mass violence do not get to have a public eulogy in which they are memorialized fondly for whatever the fuck they did before they decided to aim indiscriminately into the crowd.

Kim Selling is having none of your eulogizing.

2018-02-08T08:42:25+11:0010th October, 2017|Tags: culture, cw: mass shooting, newsphobia, usa|

Newsglut (also, HTTPS still sucks).

Back in the early days of the web, the Guardian ran a brilliant ad which asked “Ever wondered how every day there’s just enough news to fit in the newspaper?” It was advertising the Guardian website, and the fact there was more there than you’d find in the paper.

Now? There are a gazillion websites – but tons of them are simple copies, monetised by adverts from Google or whoever, which leach from the originating sites by copying their content. We’ve now established the limits of how much news is generated each day: it’s more than fits in newspapers, but less than fits on all the websites currently dedicated to “news”.

Charles Arthur on volume.

The whole post, which is kind of old now (I’m still going through my backlog of links… from 2015), is mainly talking about tracking and advertising online.

Incidentally, as an aside, one of the things I almost never see mentioned in any lament on the rise and rise of online surveillance is the contribution from the parallel rise of HTTPS.

Yeah, you heard me.

Here’s the thing. Back in Ye Oldene Dayes of the internet, you didn’t need to follow everyone around the internet to find out where they were coming from to reach your site. You knew, because whenever they hit up one of your pages1 their browser used to send along a little thing saying where they visited from, a.k.a. the referrer.

The thing about HTTPS, is that one of the “privacy”2 features it offers is that it does not send the referrer when you move between pages. If you’ve run any kind of traditional tracking software on your website, e.g. Mint or Piwiki or Jetpack, and have done so for a while, you’ll notice that they get less and less useful data every year. Referrers from blogs? Gone. Social media? Forget about it. Even most URL shorteners work by obfuscating the true source, meaning you might know someone came to your site from Twitter (, but to find the actual originating Tweet you’re going to need to do a manual search or scrape and API.

See, back in Ye Oldene Dayes, individual webmasters used to be able to assemble reasonably good profiles of their website’s users; who was linking them, who were the repeat visitors, and so on. It went both ways, too; bloggers and website owners got to know each other and built their communities around the referrer log. Nowadays, if you want that information? You’re going to have to buy it from one of the Internet Surveillance Megacorps (and it’ll cost you). In other words, the web has moved from “small town/nosy neighbor surveillance” to the capitalist Big Brother variety. Various social media sites will pretend to give some of this community back to their users–think things like Tumblr reblogs–with the key emphasis being on keeping the community on their platform (and, thus, marketable to their advertisers).

Ranting about things like this is one of the hallmarks that makes me old, I know.

  1. Actually, any resource. So if they embedded one of your images on someone else’s site? You could tell. Which is a related-but-different-story altogether… []
  2. Don’t get me started… []
2017-07-17T11:40:49+10:0016th November, 2016|Tags: advertising, https, internet, newsphobia, privacy|

The language of US imperialism.

What the media really means when they talk about

2019-01-17T08:35:15+11:007th November, 2016|Tags: newsphobia, politics|

The lie.

The lie is this: writing is not work, it is not fundamental, it is a freedom in which you would partake anyway, and here some chucklefuck would say, haw haw haw, you blog at your blog and nobody pays you, you post updates on Twitter and nobody pays you, you speak words into the mighty air and you do it for free, free, free. And Huffington Post floats overhead in their bloated dirigible and they yell down at you, WE BROADCAST TO MILLIONS and DON’T YOU WANT TO REACH MILLIONS WITH YOUR MEAGER VOICE and THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU.

But it is an opportunity for them, not for you.

Chuck Wendig on money.

Wendig is particularly talking about the HuffPo kerfuffle a while back, but, let’s face it; pretty much the entire publishing industry works like this (you have to work your way up tot getting paid in the fiction writing business, too). So, yanno. About that…

2016-11-01T08:21:03+11:0012th October, 2016|Tags: newsphobia, publishing, writing|


People ruin their lives, reporting and writing and covering the news. They lose friends, they lose sleep, they lose nights and weekends and uninterrupted vacations and unblemished memories and sometimes they lose more than that.

People die, reporting the news. Because reporting the news is more important to them than their lives.

Those people deserve better than “tronc.” They deserve better than 20 years of corporate flailing at every online trend, from the paywall to the hyperlocal to the longform back to the paywall again. They deserve better than hearing, over and over and over, that what they are is not what they think they are but “content curators” and “monetization engines” and they deserve better than hearing that it’s nobody’s fault when they know whose fault it is.

What has happened to newspaper companies in the past two decades is not about “industry shifts” and it’s not about “digital paradigms” and it sure as hell isn’t about Kids Today not reading.

Allison Hantschel on the value of journalism.

You remember the days when “journalist” was considered such a noble career that Superman though he could use it as his day job to do just as much good in the world as when he put on the cape? Man. That sure was a different age.

2016-10-02T08:36:37+11:005th October, 2016|Tags: newsphobia|

Re-examining Monica.

As well as Marcia, Tonya, and Anita. Also known as, “Media Vilification of Vulnerable Women 101″.

Anyone who grew up in the 90s, and thus grew up with these narratives? This one’s for you.

2017-11-16T11:32:28+11:0018th September, 2016|Tags: culture, newsphobia|