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Archive for January 26th, 2007

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Feeding Africa

Friday, January 26th, 2007

I don’t have to tell anyone who knows me that I have a strong desire to go to Africa. I fully intend, sometime in the next decade or so, to make it there. It’s on my top 10 things to accomplish in life list. I see so much potential for change and so much need. There are so many people and children living in Africa, all over the continent, who could genuinely use my help. For whom, my help could be the difference between life and death.

I want to go there and help, in whatever way I, as an insignificant person wandering through a relatively privileged life, can do. Probably not as a reporter, though if my job in the media is what brings me there, so much the better. There are stories, millions of them, there that need to be told. I had entertained the Peace Corps, and still want to do that when I am at a more secure place in my career. (I actually applied and began the interview/paperwork process, but halted it to gain more practical experience in a job first.)

Given all of that, seeing the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Feeding Africa, which I came across randomly in a post here, was refreshing.

Ironically, in the multimedia presentation laid out by the SLPD, it was the written essays that were the most poignant for me. Why? They effectively painted pictures of the people, their customs and the different pace of life. I also really enjoyed the first set of audio slideshows and the minimalism of the design. Some stories are powerful enough to stand on their own without bells and whistles and all sorts of snazzy Web 2.0 embellishments. Knowing when to tell the difference is somewhat of an art form most news organizations haven’t learned to command just yet.

This story is one of those millions that needs to be told, and given the number of newspapers abandoning foreign bureaus in favor of letting the AP handle the bigger picture stories that don’t fall between New York and California, it’s nice to see that there are places not afraid to take the time, money and resources and throw them into telling these stories.**

**(This of course doesn’t mean anything against the hyperlocal stories most papers are focusing on. By all means, this is, should and will only become more so our bread and butter. I’m simply saying that there are also larger stories beyond our radar worth telling also.)

How dumb are we?

Friday, January 26th, 2007

I don’t even remember the series of clicks that brought me to this video on YouTube, but I wanted to yell “Are you kidding me?!” at some of these people: Chasers war on everything — Americans

A few highlights

Guy: “I’m a lil mixed up over the Palestinians and Israelis. Which one is throwing the rocks?”

Name a country that begins with “U”: Utah, Yugoslavia… (Note: Nobody thinks of United States of America. lol.)

What is the religion of Israel? Answers vary from “Muslim” to “Probably Catholic.”

Apparently, Americans don’t know where Australia is on a map. Or any other country for that matter. He asks them to pin point which country we should invade next and put a toothpick on it. As a hitch, however, he puts the words “France,” “Iran,” “North Korea,” “Sri Lanka” etc. on Australia. The people don’t bat an eyelash or seem at all baffled that Iran is floating off in the ocean by itself. lol.

It reminds me of that show Street Smarts that used to be on UPN. Contestents had to pick which of the three random people interviewed would get the answer to common sense questions right or wrong. It was always hilarious. I still wonder where they find these people.

QOTD: The man who writes about himself

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Justification for all the personal bloggers out there?

“The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time.”
— George Bernard Shaw

The award for best use of podcast goes to…

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Romenesko tipped me off to the new “Correct Me if I’m Wrong” podcast at the SF Chronicle.

Hilarious. And I normally hate podcasts (they’re one of those things I just think are a distraction from where we should concentrate our multimedia efforts, but that’s my opinion.).

Basically, what they’re doing is posting the angry callers who phone in to complain about ridiculous things. In the first posting, it’s about the use of the phrase “pilotless drone,” which even if redundant is far from destroying the English language… Unless you asked this caller who went on a 2-minute tirade about “don’t you do your job?” “don’t you supervise the sub editors?” etc.

Having been on the receiving end of far too many complaints such as this one where I could only retell my colleagues the ridiculous story later, I wish I’d thought of this.