Longreads: The best long-form stories on the web

Longreads: The best long-form stories on the web

Longreads, founded in 2009, is dedicated to helping people find and share the best storytelling in the world, including both nonfiction and fiction.

Longreads are defined as anything over 1,500 words. They’re stories that are best enjoyed away from your desk — whether it’s on a daily commute, an airplane, a subway, or your couch.

Longreads features stories from hundreds of the best writers and publishers on the web, as well as exclusive stories never before published online.

Journalists at Sochi are live-tweeting their hilarious and gross hotel experiences

Journalists at Sochi are live-tweeting their hilarious and gross hotel experiences

Initial police investigation

I love Cyprus Mail dearly, and I do feel for the man in this report:

A CAR belonging to a 35-year-old man in Limassol was torched early yesterday morning, police said. The fire began at 2.30am while the car was parked outside the man’s house. Initial police investigations indicate it is a case of arson. The car was extensively damaged.

But you have to admit it that it’s not the best writing ever.  Once I read it out loud in the office, my co-workers helped out with a few other reports along the same lines.  For example:

A pedestrian was ran over by a car yesterday night in Nicosia.  The driver took off and is being looked for.  The early police report suggests it was a case of hit-and-run.

Or, this one:

A few masked man entered the branch of Hellenic Bank in Aradipou village yesterday.  They were armed with a rifle and a pistol and demanded to give them money.  A few minutes later they took off in what appeared to be a stolen vehicle, carrying over 50,000 EUR with them.  An early police report suggests it was a case of bank robbery.

Crime is not a laughing matter, but the reporting of one can sometimes bring a smile.

WordPress is absolutely a tool that can (and given…

WordPress is absolutely a tool that can (and given the state of the tools they were previously using, should) be used by Ye Olde Media Guarde. We’ve even made some steps toward supporting a basic editorial workflow with the Contributor role (which can submit posts for review, but not publish them). But using WordPress in that way is like using a computer to print a letter and then fax it to your recipient. It feels like an artificial restriction. We’ve empowered individuals to publish what they want to publish, when they want to publish. Reinstating the print media workflows of the last century very much feels like a step backwards. Writers got a taste of true publishing freedom. Readers got a taste of what it’s like to actually have a connection and conversation with a writer instead of just being delivered their words. We can’t pretend that didn’t happen.

Mark Jaquith

Warco – the news game

As someone who spends many hours in FPS games, I found the concept of an FPS game with no shooting – Warco – interesting and thought provoking.  As Ars Technica puts it:

Warco is a first-person game where players shoot footage instead of a gun. A work in progress at Brisbane-based studio Defiant Development, the game is a collaboration of sorts; Defiant is working with both a journalist and a filmmaker to create a game that puts you in the role of a journalist embedded in a warzone.

The game is still in production and it is not clear whether it will ever come out.  There is a trailer which gives a feel to how it might be.

Slashdot thread already picked up the argument of whether you will be able to choose between Canon and Nikon equipment for the missions in the game.

Update (September 28, 2011): Also check out this Newsy video that shares a few more opinions about the possible impact of the game.  That’s where I’ve heard the term ‘war porn‘ for the first time.

The Yale Globalist team visits Cyprus

The Yale Globalist is a magazine written, edited, and published by the students of Yale University.  The topics are chosen by the students as well, and often cover politics, economy, culture, science, technology, and more.  Every years, the team does a field trip to a particular country, where they meet with locals and get better understanding of the country and the people.

This year, the team is researching Turkey.  As part of that research, they are also visiting Cyprus.  They are arriving tonight and will spend a week on the island.  They are looking for people to talk to about the Cyprus problem, support and opposition of the unification plans, occupation and the aftermath of the military conflict, religious differences, and more.

If you are interested, have a look at their web site, as well as their Turkey travel blog.  They also have a page on Facebook.  If you have something to say, get in contact with the team and they will arrange for the time to meet with you.  You can email the Editor in Chief Sanjena Sathian directly at sanjena [dot] sathian [at] yale [dot] edu.

On citizen journalism

Cyprus Mail has an interesting article on the rising role and side effects of citizen journalism.

Throughout the social media – from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube – photos and film are posted every minute that breach codes of conduct, laws of copyright, personal privacy and government laws. From pornography to celebrity parties, from inside Guatanemo Bay to soldiers on the frontline telling it how it really is: images are escaping censorship and regulation.

I think that censorship is not an option anymore, at least in global scope.  Cameras are everywhere – cheap semi-professional equipment, camcorders, webcams built-in into every notebook, mobile phones, etc.  Also, free or cheap Internet access is pretty much everywhere.  And on top of that, technology got really simple – one doesn’t need a Computer Science degree and years of experience to capture a video, upload it to a social network and share it with the rest of the world.

And when the censorship option is gone, the only reasonable option that I can think of is education.  If governments, companies, parents, societies, etc. will start educating people, focusing on the “good” instead  of “bad”, if appreciating conducts, laws, and ethics will be encouraged, then we’ll see more of the “better” content.  Of course, nothing will prevent us from a few “bad apples”, but once the appropriate values will be set, a lot of people will follow.

In some sense, this issue is similar to tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption.   While there are certain legal issues – licensing, age limits, advertising, driving, etc – the major control over population’s behavior in regards to tobacco and alcohol is, IMHO, done via education.  It is when you show people over and over again what are consequences of tobacco smoking and alcohol abuse, when you educate them on the side effects, and so on and so forth, that’s when they start thinking and reacting in the way that you would want them to think and react.

Of course, legal consequences can be implemented to some degree.  For example, for showing the moment of death and such.  But those would be very difficult to enforce, due to the global nature of the Internet, digital media, and such.

The state of mass media

I really enjoyed this interview of Mike James, done by Terry Heaton.  Simple, direct, and to the point.  Some things discussed are obvious to anyone with a common sense.  Others are not so.   Here are a couple of quotes to get you started.

Television news (if you believe it is a form of journalism) has the ability…the responsibility…to capture and preserve the moments, the events, that pass through our daily lives. Instead, it has fallen back on trivial weepies and frothy feel-goods, on medical “studies” and video news releases, or political spin and opinionated shoutfests, hypothesis, rumor, and supposition. TV news is no longer in charge of itself. It deserves to be shot at sunrise.

Bloggers are banging at the door of reality. But there are too many of them. They are unfocused. Too wild-eyed. Too unconsidered. And they fade away with time. The internet is generations away from fulfilling its promise. Bloggers have found limited success only because mass media has failed so miserably.