“We don’t read newspapers because the journalism is so boring”

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English filmmaker, Adam Curtis.
English filmmaker, Adam Curtis.

“Newspapers might come back if they could do some good journalism. I mean the reason we don’t read newspapers these days is because the journalism is so boring.” – Adam Curtis in an interview with The New Statesman. Curtis is the producer of the BBC documentaries The Power of Nightmares and The Century of the Self.

The New Statesman on Adam Curtis: “Adam Curtis remains at the forefront of documentary filmmaking. He began in the early 80s, but his first major breakthrough came in 1992 with Pandora’s Box, a film which warned of the dangers technocratic politics and saw him pick up his first of six career BAFTAs.”

Adam Curtis’ blog at the BBC.

All things Adam Curtis at The Guardian.

Adam Curtis at ThoughtMaybe – a website designed to provoke thought on globalisation; technology; advertising and why we’re here.

Why the case against Al-Jazeera is about journalism not the network

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Azad Ezza writes about why Al-Jazeera is only one part of a puzzle of the growing restrictions on the freedom of expression of ordinary Egyptians.


Al-Jazeera journalist and author, Azad Essa.
Al-Jazeera journalist and author, Azad Essa.

“Egypt has traditionally been a difficult country to operate as a journalist. Under Hosni Mubarak, the country’s president for almost three decades, the media were forced to exist under the shadow of harassment and imprisonment.

Editors were often charged with “insulting the president” or “insulting public institutions”. The evidence however suggests conditions were never as bad as they currently are. One Egyptian colleague who has been advised not to return home in fear of being arrested told me that “this is Egypt’s worst period for freedom of speech and expression since Abdel Nasser’s era in the 1950s”.

Al-Jazeera is only one part of a puzzle of the acute political polarisation and mob violence restricting the freedom of expression of ordinary Egyptians daily.

And though thousands of journalists from Nairobi, London and New York taped their mouths and held up placards with the #FreeAJStaff over the past few weeks in a bid to raise more awareness of our plight in the country, we are certainly not the story here.”

Read the full story in Mail & Guardian.

Follow Azad Essa on Twitter: @azadessa

Do you know why Ukraine is in Crisis?

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Thanks to the Washington Post here’s the answers to 9 questions about Ukraine you were too embarrassed to ask. Along with the primer there’s a two minute video that explains why Ukrainians have been protesting in Kiev since November; and what the bigger picture is all about.

More from The Washington Post – These maps show the chaotic history of Kiev’s protests.

Read more: Mother Jones explains Why Kiev is Burning.

The Evolution of The New York Times Homepage, in 1 GIF

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Gif courtesy The Atlantic

Say hello to a new-look New York Times, which the news brand promises will be a sleeker, faster, more intuitive and enhanced experience for readers. “A more immersive reading experience? We’re glad you asked. We’ve streamlined our article pages and created a more responsive interface with faster load times. So navigating between stories is easier and finding more content that appeals to you is just a click, swipe or tap away,” NYT says in a slick sales pitch.

Read Jim Romenesko’s blog about the redesign.


Flappy bird think pieces

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Flappy-Bird“Because this is what journalism has come to. People writing thousands of words on a game that took 72 hours to make. Our goal is not to celebrate the writing, but to cry for the brain cells wasted on the many, many analytical articles written about a silly game.” Flappy Bird Think Pieces – Read it and weep people, read it and weep.

Social media tips from The Wall Street Journal

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5858249526_2298a25375_b1. Images, images, images
2. Post to engage a mobile audience
3. Design posts to be shared
4. The human touch matters
5. Be a Facebook ‘scientist’

Some great insights on how journalists can successfully ‘do’ social media in the interview Wall Street Journal’s Liz Heron. The WSJ’s Twitter account peaked at four million million at the beginning of February 2014. Its Facebook page is close on two million fans. Read the whole story here at

Snapbird, a journalist’s resource for scouring Twitter

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filter-tweetsA search tool used to hunt through Twitter, recommends that journalists use Snapbird to to make finding information on the micro-blogging site easy.

“How is it of use to journalists? If you’ve ever tried to track down an old tweet either in your own timeline or someone else’s, you’ll know it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Here’s where Snapbird can make your life a lot easier. This free tool allows you to search by keyword for a particular tweet in your timeline, as well as favourites and mentions. You can also search these categories in other people’s tweets, while searching for direct messages is of course limited to your own account only.

As well as helping journalists find mentions of a particular topic by a certain person, the platform could also be used to track down an elusive tweet you spotted earlier but forgot to ‘favourite’ or email to yourself.” Read the full story at