You can choose compassion


A man (Elon Green [no relation]) writing on behalf of a female-dominated industry (publishing) went to extraordinary lengths to vilify a man with life-threatening mental illness. Green further leveled a classic right-wing disparagement (failing to monetize one’s intelligence) in an article that, one can only assume, enriched Green’s coffers very little.

When confronted with the structural issue of a female-dominated profession lambasting a male writer for his alleged sins against two women and, further, with the wanton cruelty of attacking an already-suicidal person, Green did what bullies do: He ran.

The social-justice warrior’s cries of sexism, as readily at hand as those of racism and about as well founded, do not justify worsening actual health or threatening human life.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.10.11 12:10. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/10/11/elongreen/

John Gruber: “I make a good living writing [Daring Fireball].” Yes – still about half a million a year, by my estimate, using published rate cards. (Gruber’s sponsorships are now double my previous estimate.)

Daring Fireball estimated revenue
Source Frequency Rate Total
RSS feed Weekly $9,500 $475,000 (assume Christmas off)
The Talk Show Near-weekly $3,750 gross $187,500 (ditto) ÷ 4-way split = $46,875
T-shirts 80 semiannually $11 net $1,760
Amazon affiliate links $75
Total $523,710

Of course I asked him about my estimate. “Would that not be a good living?” he replied.

Gruber has a business writing about the Macintosh and Apple while Macworld does not.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.10.10 07:24. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/10/10/gruberbucks/


The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.10.05 14:01. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/10/05/podcastroundup/


Karen K. Ho is the young Toronto hack who almost but not quite committed actionable defamation against me. Through no fault of her own, she got shitcanned by Torstar when it shut down its doomed-from-the-start Mississauga business “vertical.” We’ve never met, and she’s too much of a coward to take up my standing offer for haters. Reading her, I see nothing that would stop me from lumping her in with other downtown-progressive journalists who all know each other, agree on everything hence brook no dissent, and are fundamentally dishonest about their own feelings, which they can’t express even when you pay them to.

They’re also technically incompetent. As I explained in the context of the endless stream of compliant young female editrixen of J-Source, these hacks think Twitter is journalism. It isn’t.

A couple of days ago, Ho went on a tear on Twitter, which had all the effect on the world you would expect, about the structural or institutional failings of mainstream journalism and how those failings result in alienation of and simple refusal to hire young journalists.

  1. Can you find that “essay”? What is the permanent link for the entire article as a unit? If you located it today, could you locate it next week? How about in 2017? How about when Twitter shuts down? Twits have permalinks but are inimical to actual citation. (For a period of many months, individual Twits weren’t just inimical to citation but could not be cited because of an errant decision to use #! addressing. Can you tell me why that was a problem?)

  2. Kids like Ho don’t know what an ordered list is anyway, but, because Twits may not contain markup, Ho chose to manually number her missives – which then obligingly appeared in reverse chronological order. Twitter journalists literally cannot count.

    Once you find the permanent link to Ho’s essay, then, can you read it in actual narrative sequence?

  3. Do you need somebody to come along and save this sequence of Twits in a third-party microservice that will be shut down someday too, which doesn’t use real HTML, and which itself cannot untangle top-posting and does not use canonical permalinks? (If you’re a former compliant editrix of J-Source, you get a promotion and go to work for one of those microservices. Scribd and CoverItLive aren’t journalism, either.) Or do you need someone like me to come along and untangle your words for posterity? If so, does what you wrote exist in any real way?

If Ho wanted to make a credible, long-lasting point, if she wanted her words to have longevity, she would have put up a Web page somewhere (anywhere) containing her essay. She runs a WordPress blog that is a good place to start, unless and until WordPress decides to simply delete her blog or it goes out of business. She didn’t. Even with a stable platform available to her, Ho chose an evanescent medium as the graveyard for her thoughts.

Online journalists, irrespective of age, need a range of technical skills that are an absolute minimum and which none of them have. Hacks don’t use text editors (king of downtown-progressive journos Ivor Tossell writes everything in MS Word); simply do not understand how to create characters not imprinted on their keyboards, hence also do not know what character encoding is and why it matters; and are unable to produce even the simplest page of HTML, of the sort one would need for a journalistic article.

In that last case, hacks are unable to wrap their minds around a tiny subset of HTML elements (not “tags”), let alone produce them. Typical articles need nothing more than h1 through at most h3, p, ol/ul li, blockquote, img with alternate text, a, and some kind of emphasis. If you can’t produce those from scratch, then, pace Capote, you aren’t writing, you’re typing. (But of course you wouldn’t truly “produce those from scratch”; your text editor, which obviously would be BBEdit, would give you templates and keyboard macros to automate the process.) Given a printout of the post you are now reading, there is not a single promising young journalist in Toronto who could type it out and mark it up properly. They couldn’t mark up this paragraph.

Youth and enthusiasm and a claim to be a digital native are null and void when that claim is undone by technical incompetence. Since I’m sure you won’t accept the word of a technically competent journalist because I’m not your kind of people and you’d prefer to just keep making mistakes than take my advice, take Derek Willis’s advice instead.

[T]oo many journalism students and journalists are native users rather than actual natives. The difference is enormous, and has real implications. Actual natives can build in addition to use digital tools, giving themselves many more opportunities to make better journalism. Users can only work within the constraints that other people set.

When I’m teaching classes or looking at r[é]sum[é]s of journalism students, I see a lot of this kind of thing, usually on a hosted WordPress install:

Skills: WordPress, Microsoft Office, social media

Those are useful skills, to a point, but if you’re coming out of journalism school and those are your big technical skills, congratulations: you’ve just joined nearly all of your peers in almost every discipline. You can use TweetDeck? Great. Did you hand-code at least part of your “professional vanity site”? Do you actually know how the Internet works? [...]

Maybe the worst moment I’ve had as a journalism teacher is when a graduate student asked me, in the middle of class: “How are we expected to learn if you don’t teach us?” My first thought, which I safely kept unspoken, was: “How did you make it this far?”

8

Ho probably forgot that I pointed out the observations of an actually credible Asian-American journalist, Jennifer 8 Lee, on the topic of Chinese superstition about the luckiness of the number 8. (I say Asian-American because Ho brags of having joined the Asian American Journalists[’] Association despite not obviously being both of those.) As immune to irony as millennials tend to be, in her Twitter epistle she went on to decry an ancient Chinese tradition that had to die in order for modernity to progress. Now, try to find the where she did that. Hard-hitting stuff, this Twitter journalism.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.09.25 11:58. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/09/25/hotwits/

Richard Berkowitz and Michael Callen’s 1983 pamphlet How to Have Sex in an Epidemic: One Approach:

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.09.23 13:19. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/09/23/sexinanepidemic/

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