Coming soon: “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
“…with great power there must also come—great responsibility!”
So reads the last panel of Amazing Fantasy #15, the 1962 Marvel Comics issue that would launch Spider-Man into the popular consciousness. While Peter Parker would generally make good on that statement with his powers as a human-spider-hybrid crime fighter, he would go on to fail miserably at doing the same with his powers as a member of the media.
Both Spider-man and Superman, formative and iconic characters in their genre, pay the bills and disguise their identities by working as journalists. You can understand why their creators chose that profession for them. Superheroism and reporting would seem to share a scrappy, do-gooding, vigilante spirit. Journalism, like a super power or magic spell, can be a shortcut to affecting change—a way to take down bad guys without weapons or armies or expensive courtroom wrangling. (Also, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman’s creators, both had backgrounds related to journalism—Siegel toiling on his student newspaper, The Torch, and Shuster delivering copies of the Toronto Daily Star.)
Read more. [Image: Columbia]
Just 2 percent of the British Library’s massive archive of print newspapers have been digitized.
That’s going to change.
The institution is completing a seven-year effort to upgrade its news archives, a $55 million (£33 million) project that’s aimed at expanding the library’s definition of “news.”
Most people by now will acknowledge that news is recorded in newspapers and on Facebook and on Twitter and on blogs, etc., etc., but McKernan told me he’s also thinking about “diaries, oral history, recordings, maps, posters, letters,” and so on.
McKernan wants to establish links between different kinds of resources, a strategy that’s becoming increasingly important as institutions like libraries rethink how their resources will fit into a larger network of interconnected data and information online.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
When the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications announced earlier this month that the late Hunter S. Thompson would be included among its 2014 inductees into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, journalists and bloggers reporting the story made a point to set Thompson apart from his fellow honorees. Thompson, a wayward Kentuckian, would be installed “along with six more traditional journalists,” noted his hometown Louisville Courier-Journal. “More traditional… Less inebriated… State it any way you want,” snickered Mediabistro’s FishbowlNY blog. “We double-checked,” a local radio station chimed in. “It’s not an April Fool’s joke.”
There’s no arguing that Thompson, who committed suicide in 2005, left behind an iconoclast’s legacy. In his middle and later career, the author of Hell’s Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas earned a reputation as a literary profligate and a mild fabulist, owing to his unconcealed fondness for recreational drugs, hyperbole, Wild Turkey, fictionalized dialogue, explosives, and Ominous Capitalization—all crucial components to what he termed “gonzo journalism.” But as Thompson and his Hall of Fame classmates are inducted this week, it’s worth remembering that well before he was a “gonzo journalist” or a “New Journalist” or an “outlaw journalist,” Hunter S. Thompson was simply a journalist, just another twenty-something freelancer who spent most of the 1960s hustling his way from paycheck to unglamorous paycheck.
Read more. [Image: Frank Martin/AP]
Our May issue is now online! Stay tuned for some of the articles from it throughout the rest of the week.
Earlier this week, journalism’s most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize for public serice, was given to two newspapers for their exposés of mass surveillance by the U.S. government. The award citation praised the Washington Post for “its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.” The Guardian was recognized for “aggressive reporting” that helped “to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”
Edward Snowden, who supplied the leaked documents that enabled the reporting, characterized the award as “a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government,” and praised “the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop.”
NSA apologists spoke out too.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Our April issue will be online next week, but here’s a sneak peek of what’s inside. Which story do you want to read first?