Students clash with national guards during a protest against the government in San Cristobal January 14, 2015. Masked youths are once again blocking streets and burning tires in the Venezuelan city of San Cristobal, epicenter of last year’s massive anti-government protests. The groups are small and the unrest contained, but tensions are unmistakably rising in this scarcity-ravaged Andean city close to the Colombian border. Picture taken January 14, 2015.

Carlos Eduardo Ramirez/Reuters

Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and The Economist Group have announced the results from their Future of Mobile News Infographic challenge, hosted by Three designs, as well as a student entry, stood out among a number of strong submissions. See the featured infographics:

(Click here for larger size infographic). 

I only respect journalists who report the facts, not their opinions about the facts. Journalists who don’t put their own ‘spin’ on the news. Journalists who report on all politics equally, fairly and neutrally, regardless of their own feelings about them.  Journalists who tell me what happened, not what should have happened.

I don’t respect many journalists.

Hung Over

Just after 10:00 PM, I sat in front of my father’s flat screen Dell PC after a long day at school. I loved sinking into the cold leather of his hunter green work chair and letting it encase my body as I surfed the web. Disobeying the rules, I was on MySpace sneaking a status about latest dish of the 6th grade.

I soon learned that the petty secrets I kept were about to be outweighed. Right under my parents’ room, my ears strained to hear what was being discussed above me. I could make out a few words but then the conversation turned into a fire-fight of screams. Frozen, I let the chair hide my fear. The door suddenly swung open, hitting the wall and sending waves of defiant denial right at my face. Wobbling down the stairs was my father sporting a face I never knew he possessed. He was a stranger.

Bag in hand, coat and shoes sloppily thrown in the direction of placement, the stranger stumbled out of the house, slamming the door behind him.

A squeal of wheels, and then he was gone.

Without a sound my mother appeared, face stained with tears, and she looked at me with such apology my heart stifled a wail.

“Bianca,” she said. “Daddy has a problem. He’s an alcoholic.”

Putting the pieces together, I did not want to believe it. My dad was the one who taught me right from wrong, and now he was making a decision I was told never to give into.

I cried a lot that night. I cried the next day, and the day that followed that. I cried because I did not want to come to terms with my father not being invincible. I refused to let reality add to the nightmare.

With all my twelve year old innocence drained, I became one dimensional. I focused on not only being the voice of reason for my otherwise cowardice family, but I tried to define who I was after living with his disease.

I fought of his cure. I fought for his heart, his liver, and brain. I fought for all the years that I still wanted him to be around. I fought for my mother’s well being, my sister’s youth, and for my brother’s future.

Fighting the inevitable only took more away from who I was. I came to terms with surviving and not living.

The breaking point in my family’s battle against alcohol was on a contrastingly calm summer night. My mother rested in the room that started it all, her newfound safe haven from the monster downstairs. My sister and brother shared spots on the couch in the family room, adjacent to where the stranger sat.

“Dad?” My sister’s voice shook as if she knew the outlook was grim.

 “You know that play I was in last summer? Well, I was wondering if I could try out for the one this summer…”

“You want to do WHAT?” The stranger’s eyes met her’s and glared.

“You did horrible last year. You didn’t look like you cared about that stupid play, you just stood on stage and your acting was shit!”

I had built a thick skin to handle the weight of having an alcoholic parent, but that didn’t mean I would let my sister carry that burden too.

“Gianna, come upstairs with me. You do not deserve this.” I walked over to grab her hand has her head turned to hide her violent tears.

And then, the ticking time bomb in the stranger finally went off.

“Who do you think you are, challenging me? His bloodshot eyes tried to make me back down, but I stood stronger than I ever thought possible.

“Who am I?” Disgusted, I pushed forward.

“I am your daughter. So is she and I wish you could hear the way you are talking to her. It’s bizarre to think you are capable of doing this to your children and your family. You need help, dad. I don’t even know who you are anymore.”

I said every word with intentions of getting to the core of his beer soaked brain. I saw his defenses start to back off and his senses sharpened. As soon as his storm hit, it left. Just like two years prior, we were left to pick up the pieces.

To this day my father, my family, and I struggle with his alcohol addiction.

I will always remember every word, stare, grimace and tear with extreme clarity. My perspective on alcohol prevents me from ever being a stranger to the ones I love. Even though this separates me from the average high school student, in the end I am better off not experimenting with alcohol.

Having the addiction in my blood provides me with strength and determination to prove the odds wrong. I will never let myself down like the stranger did to me.

I just want you ALL to notice how the journalism world is cruel. I’ve read that interview and I know what that is about. 

Once again, the title of that post is misleading: if people are not interested in reading the article, all they get by reading the “title” of this interview is that he doesn’t really want to be a musician and doesn’t give a fuck about music. That’s not what he said. Just take a look inside the article and you’ll see that the title doesn’t match the content.

I don’t get why journalists tend to modify and twist what celebrities say, so that people only get mad at them for no actual reason!

Remember that interview named, “Justin Timberlake: I could have made it without *NSYNC”? Well, how many of you can honestly say that they’ve read it? Surely, not the ones who claim he’s an “asshole” for saying it, since he’s never said it!

PS: sometimes I wonder why I want to become a journalist.

Storytelling and Truth

On the This American Life blog, the post begins:

Ira writes:

I have difficult news. We’ve learned that Mike Daisey’s story about Apple in China - which we broadcast in January - contained significant fabrications. We’re retracting the story because we can’t vouch for its truth. This is not a story we commissioned. It was an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s acclaimed one-man show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” in which he talks about visiting a factory in China that makes iPhones and other Apple products…

I’m disappointed by the news, but reassured by TAL’s response.

Art that’s mostly fact-based walks a fine line. In his appearance on Up With Chris Hayes last Saturday (March 10), Mike Daisey spoke generally about how he views his creative license. He didn’t give specifics of how his current play uses tools of storytelling, however his expressed viewpoint is consistent with his remarks quoted in the NPR press release and his posted response. Of note: the playwright Katori Hall (“The Mountaintop) was also on the show. I’ve yet to read The New Yorker piece about the play, but I remember catching a negative review by Roma Torre on NY1, in which her criticism hinged, in part, on the lack of factual accuracy in Hall’s writing.

But, back to Mike Daisey’s work appearing on TAL. NPR, Ira Glass, and TAL’s response is completely appropriate. They are journalists, and their storytelling aims at truth, not emotional effect.

When it comes to Daisey and his theater, I have more questions than answers about his obligation to the truth. I don’t view theater as journalism, but how do I process stories that are —or are based on— true stories? Do I need a disclaimer about what really happened? Is it fair that the n-hexane poisoning was real, but something that Daisey ostensibly read about as opposed to witnessing firsthand? How much of the actual truth gets compromised when these details are revealed to be crafted? Have I lost trust in Mike Daisey’s art?

Most importantly: will the real story —the labor abuses at Foxconn and our role as consumers— be undermined by audience members’ sense of betrayal by Daisey? Will his message be lost if he’s known first as "the guy who lied to Ira Glass”? Will we, consciences clear, rush out to buy the latest iPad without a second thought?

I think one reason the territory occupied by this genre of theater is so fraught stems from our damaged culture of debate. When we can’t agree on basic facts, and our understanding of the “truth” depends more on tribal, political association than on knowledge and education, what are we to do?

I remain committed to thinking differently about how my electronics get made and examining my behaviors as a consumer. But will I continue to point others in the direction of Mike Daisey’s work as a foundation for my beliefs? Honestly, I’m not sure.

(h/t to Peter for the heads-up email)




Ukraine Burning

And remember, CNN supposedly reports “news” as well. Thank goodness VICE actually is out there, doing journalism.

You Instead - Interview with Natalia Tena and Luke Treadaway

Natalia Tena and Luke Teadaway have impressive CV’s. Natalia starred in the Harry Potter movies, and currently in HBO’s/Sky Atlantic’s Game of Thrones, and Luke starred in the recent hit film from Joe Cornish, Attack The Block.


Natalia described their new film You Instead,


Its about a festival T in the park, and there’s these 2 lead singers of 2 groups who have nothing to do with each other in fact they pretty much hate each other..they get handcuffed together and have to deal with being handcuffed for 48 hours and all that comes with it.”

The idea of being permanently handcuffed to someone during a festival is more than challenging especially when you are making a film, Luke said


“We were occasionally uncuffed during the day but there was so little time between each scene as we had to make the whole film in 4 and half days at the festival ..we were pretty much on camera for 18 hours a day.”


However neither was put off by the concept, in fact the total opposite was true, Natalia immediately felt,


“Mine mine I want it!”


and Luke said


“When I first met David he said that this was an experiment to see if we could make a film in 4 and a half days and I wanted to be a part of that experience and get to play the front man of a massive American rock band and play the NME stage at T in the Park!”

Natalia is no stranger to festivals as she regularly performs with her band Molotov Jukebox  and returned to T In The Park this year to perform with the band.

To hear the full interview with Natalia and Luke go to

Idleness might not be so idle

The quirky title of Bertrand Russell’s essay, ‘In Praise of Idleness’, sets the tone quite accurately. To be ‘idle’ is to be inactive or more simply, to be doing nothing and is almost always used in a negative or even insulting context.  However as usual, Bertrand is defying societal values, questioning the bedrock of daily life and provoking our every thought.

Whilst Russell is perhaps better known for his philosophical ventures into the depths of logic and epistemology or articulating political pacifism, in this distinctive piece he laments on the importance of leisure. Most resonantly, Russell plucks at the idea of having a four hour working day and with such an attractive proposition, his readers may find it difficult to argue with him. The philosophical genius even claims that redesigning the working schedule will solve unemployment issues and maximise the happiness of the individual and thus of society as a whole. Russell’s questioning of why the bulk of the population should be deprived of such an activity and dissecting of why we insist on working in excessive quantities is at times, mesmerising.

Of course, critics have rendered his argument invalid when taken to its logical conclusions. The popular complaints are that a four hour working day would see major cuts in wages, it would be in fact impossible to facilitate leisure with such little input into the economy and that it would be simply impossible to convince business owners to agree to such terms. Though, it seems that these views simply miss the point.

Russell, having studied at Cambridge and being equipped with a brain that is both complex and impenetrable, was probably aware of the likely issues with his idea. It is therefore logical to conclude that his essay serves as more of a thought experiment; a provocative piece.  At its simplest, Bertrand is simply displaying that a world where work is not paramount seems to be a happier one. At its most intrusive, the essay forces its readers to contemplate the purpose of their own life.

Irrespective of how deeply the consumer reads into ‘In Praise of Idleness’, one cannot help but wonder whether modern society is advancing or stifling. Education can often reject the creativity and spontaneity of youth in favour of getting the masses to comply with a set of accepted standards. Corporations can subtract personal responses in a bid to generate the greatest profit and individuals frequently find themselves shunning what they enjoy in order to be deemed ‘successful.’

Perhaps reducing working hours and putting idleness on a pedestal is not the solution and perhaps that is not what Russell is even proposing. Maybe all we need to do is renovate our view on ‘idleness’ slightly – instead of branding it as something completely useless, we should see it as preserving the human spirit. 

Online aggregate of Data concerning conflict in Afghanistan [LINK]

“The most-documented war in history with detailed records of each incident involving coalition forces. As the data was structured we have mapped it here - and you can download it to compare casualties by civilians, coalition forces, Afghan forces and the Taliban and where they happened.

We have also used the data to map every IED attack. There’s aninteractive version too here. They show how the south - where British and Canadian troops have been based - was the focus for attacks on Western forces. ”