Posts tagged journalism

Alternative lives on different tracks

If you live in the U.S., you’ll find my article on living a nomadic life in today’s Wall Street Journal. Or everyone can read it online. To be honest, I was a bit surprised when they asked me to write it—I didn’t think our lives would be of much interest to WSJ readers. But judging by the comments, tweets and emails I’ve already started getting, it’s resonated with quite a lot of people. I think it’s because a lot of people dream of escape, whatever that means to them. They think about the other… Read More

Ten years ago: A Call for Peace

When Terry Rockefeller heard that the World Trade Center had collapsed, she had no idea her younger sister Laura was inside. All she knew was that Laura was working in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday before coming to visit her in Boston on Thursday. As a freelance conference hostess, Laura could have been assigned to any hotel or restaurant in New York. Rockefeller had been leaving angry messages on her sister’s answering machine all day, wanting to find out where Laura was and if her travel plans would be affected. Then a little before 5 p.m., she got the call. Laura had been working at Windows on the World, on the top floor of the north tower.

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What were you doing ten years ago?

It’s exactly ten years ago that I took the first serious step towards my dream of becoming a writer. I’d written before that, of course – a few short stories, a chapter or two of a novel. But I didn’t really believe that I could be a writer, and so everything was half-done, squeezed in between the other events of my life, a hobby more than a way of life. Ten years ago, I decided to get serious. I quit the high-paid, high-status corporate banking job that had always made… Read More

Media hoaxes and churnalism

Greg Watts just linked to an interesting article in the Financial Times about the recent spate of media hoaxes, like a boy supposedly trapped in a balloon and a fake US Chamber of Commerce press conference on climate change, and the wider questions of media credibility. For me, the hoaxes are definitely a symptom of something wider, and not as worrying as the use of reheated press releases. One of the most revealing exercises we did at journalism school was reading The New York Times from cover to cover and… Read More

Why the London Evening Standard is dying

A few weeks ago, I walked past an Evening Standard vendor, and glanced at the headline: “WORLD’S FIRST AIDS VACCINE”. This was big news – a massive scientific breakthrough that could save millions of lives. My response was to shake my head and keep walking. People think the Standard’s circulation is plummeting because of the internet, or the freesheets. It’s not true. The paper is dying because of crimes against journalism, committed over many, many years. As it turns out, that AIDS headline was true – there had been a… Read More

The Vocabulary of Protest

Some day I’m going to compile a list of all the adjectives used by journalists writing about protesters. Sometimes protesters are irresponsible, obstructive or stubborn, other times they are aggressive or violent, and usually the word anarchist crops up sooner or later. What’s interesting about these adjectives is that they are never chosen by the protesters themselves. Rule number one of journalism – represent all sides fairly – goes out of the window when people have the temerity to express their opinions outside the officially sanctioned method of putting an… Read More