Five major scandals the media isn't obsessing about
Are these things more important than edits to talking points? Judge for yourself.
1. Carbon pollution reaches historic highs, threatening human existence
2. The devastating impact of sequestration on kids, cancer patients and first responders.
3. Massive cuts to food stamps for the most vulnerable.
4. 1,100 workers die in a Bangladesh factory collapse, and American retailers continue business as usual.
5. 4,150 gun deaths from gun violence since Newtown.
Mother Jones: "RIP Michael Hastings. Here's His Advice to Young Journalists"
Okay, here’s my advice to you (and young journalists in general):
1.) You basically have to be willing to devote your life to journalism if you want to break in. Treat it like it’s medical school or law school.
2.) When interviewing for a job, tell the editor how you love to report. How your passion is gathering information. Do not mention how you want to be a writer, use the word “prose,” or that deep down you have a sinking suspicion you are the next Norman Mailer.
3.) Be prepared to do a lot of things for free. This sucks, and it’s unfair, and it gives rich kids an edge. But it’s also the reality.
4.) When writing for a mass audience, put a fact in every sentence.
5.) Also, keep the stories simple and to the point, at least at first.
6.) You should have a blog and be following journalists you like on Twitter.
7.) If there’s a publication you want to work for or write for, cold call the editors and/or email them. This can work.
8.) By the second sentence of a pitch, the entirety of the story should be explained. (In other words, if you can’t come up with a rough headline for your story idea, it’s going to be a challenge to get it published.)
9.) Mainly you really have to love writing and reporting. Like it’s more important to you than anything else in your life—family, friends, social life, whatever.
10.) Learn to embrace rejection as part of the gig. Keep writing/pitching/reading.
Read more about Hastings and his incredible career over at Rolling Stone.
From Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in America” journals
“I have done at least nine ugly things in my life that I hope I will never have to do again, and I have spent at least half my waking hours for the past twenty years trying to do things that were known to be doomed and impossible from the start; and most of them worked well enough, or at least I survived them and emerged with my body and brain sufficiently intact to insist that they all served a purpose of some kind … but if anyone had warned me, twenty years ago, that long before I was forty years old I would wake up in the late hours of some frozen afternoon 8000 feet high in the Rockies to the sound of telephones screeching all over my half-built log house, and then to hear the voice of some Random House editor in New York telling me I had less than forty-eight hours to write a coherent ‘introduction’ to a book-length collection of ‘my work’ that would be on the shelves of every library in America before the year was out, my instant reaction to such a warning would have been to bet so heavily against it that I would eagerly have sought out a notary public and signed over both balls and even my thumbs as collateral.”
From an “aggressive” Trayvon to a “laid-back” Dzhokhar: how media still perpetuates racism, criminilizes black youth for marijuana usage
Aside from having regularly smoked marijuana, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Trayvon Martin share little in common. Tsarnaev, of course, is the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings and Martin was the unarmed black teenager shot to death in Florida in 2012 by a man who claims he felt threatened by him. But differences in the way the media have covered their cannabis use portend a major shift in public attitudes about the drug, as well as a troubling reminder of the racism that still largely prevents us from seeing drugs as a health issue.
This week, the judge in the Martin case said his accused killer, George Zimmerman, may not use evidence related to the victim’s past marijuana use in his defense. As the New York Times put it:
Mark O’Mara, Mr. Zimmerman’s lawyer, argued that Mr. Martin’s drug use could have made him aggressive and paranoid, which the defense said might have prompted him to attack Mr. Zimmerman, 29, a neighborhood-watch volunteer.
Such an argument is contradicted by medical evidence, which shows that marijuana tends to reduce aggression. Nonetheless, the fact that metabolites of the cannabis were found in Martin’s blood made national headlines when it was first made public. The blood test was generally seen as discrediting the victim. As his mother told the media at the time, “They’ve killed my son, and now they’re trying to kill his reputation.”
Indeed, while the marijuana-related evidence was only part of a huge trove of data released, it received most of the attention. From ABC News to TIME to Rush Limbaugh, the fact that Martin had smoked pot some time in the days or weeks before the killing was seen as potentially helpful to his killer’s case that his victim had been up to no good.
Now let’s consider the media’s take on the weed habit of the man suspected of carrying out the worst act of terrorism on American soil since 9/11. Here’s how a high school friend, widely quoted in the media, described him to the New Yorker’s David Remnick:
‘He was a cool guy,’ Ashraful Rahman said. ‘I never got any bad vibes from him. He wasn’t a star student, but he was smart… It’s so out of character. And you have to remember — he was a stoner. He was really into marijuana. And generally guys like that are very calm, cool.’
Here’s how the Times described him, in an article headlined, “The Dark Side, Carefully Masked”:
To even his closest friends, Mr. Tsarnaev was a smart, athletic 19-year-old with a barbed wit and a laid-back demeanor, fond of soccer and parties, all too fond of marijuana. They seldom, if ever, saw his second, almost watertight life: his disintegrating family, his overbearing brother, the gathering blackness in his most private moments.
Reading List: 21 Outstanding Stories from Women's Magazines and Websites
Are women’s magazines avoiding “serious journalism”? Guess it all depends on who’s deciding what’s serious.
The New Republic asks that question in a new article, and our biggest problem with this debate (and, to be honest, the term “longform journalism”) is that it can often run everything through a male-skewed filter of what counts as “serious journalism.” We’ve seen serious storytelling in both.
The other problem is that we’re still relying on National Magazine Awards and print-only publishers to reflect the zeitgeist. I’ve mentioned that 65% of all #longreads started out in print, but we also should spotlight the work of online publishers who are pursuing in-depth storytelling.
So, here’s a start: 21 stories from women’s magazines and sites that we’ve featured on Longreads. On Twitter, Rebecca Traister is curating some of her favorite serious work. And we’d love for you to add your favorite women’s magazine stories in the comments.
• The F Word, Jennifer Weiner
• The Big Business of Breast Cancer, Lea Goldman
• The Percentages: A Biography of Class, Sady Doyle
O, The Oprah Magazine
• ‘I Will Never Know Why’, Susan Klebold
• ‘We Thought the Sun Would Always Shine on Our Lives’, Paige Williams
• Promises of an Unwed Father, Ta-Nehisi Coates
• Is Ecstasy a Viable Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?, Jessica Winter
• Higher Learning, Staff
• How A Gun-loving West Texas Girl Learned to Fear Assault Weapons, Haley B. Elkins
• It Happened To Me: My Parents Adopted a Murderer, Amity Bitzel
• How I Lost $500,000 for Love, Aryn Kyle
• Notes on a Scandal: Jenny Sanford Vogue Interview, Rebecca Johnson
• Sheryl Sandberg: What She Saw at the Revolution, Kevin Conley
• Susan Rice: She’s Got Game, Jonathan Van Meter
• I’m For Sale, Genevieve Smith
• My Brother, My Mother, and a Call Girl, Mara Cohen Marks
• He’s So Unusual, Jane Marie
• A Goodbye to Ambien in Dubai, Amy Schumer
• The Evolution of Ape-Face Johnson, Carolita Johnson
• What Can a Civilian Possibly Say to a Wounded Soldier?, Chloe Angyal
Share your picks in the comments