Great lies of our time: “journalists and coders should sit together to create amazing stuff” (updated)

The Overspill: when there's more that I want to say


The Thomson Reuters newsroom. Note papers stacked all over the place. No idea if journalists and developers “sit together” here – but I’d bet they don’t. Photo by Targuman on Flickr.

I keep seeing people saying “you know how journalism and the internet can work better? Have the news org’s journalists and coders sit beside each other. Wonderful things will happen.”

Postscript, but at the top: this post generated a lot of reaction – so be sure to read the followup, which pulls together the many people saying that it can and does work./Postscript.

Let me tell you: when someone spins you this line, it’s pure unadulterated 100% bullshit. Anyone who says this has never looked at what happens when you do this, or considered the differences in work patterns between the two. (It pains me to point out that Wolfgang Blau is only the latest to suggest…

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Taking My Time: Randon Billings Noble on The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits

Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies

Randon Billings Noble author photo

Randon Billings Noble is an essayist. Her work has appeared in the Modern Love column of The New York Times; Brain, Child; The Georgia Review; Shenandoah; The Rumpus; Brevity; Fourth Genre and elsewhere.  She is a nonfiction editor at r.kv.r.y quarterly, Reviews Editor at PANK, and a reviewer for The A.V. Club.  You can read more of her work at www.randonbillingsnoble.com.


30 April

Today I read to page 32 in The Folded Clock and loved it so much I started writing a letter to a friend – a real letter, not an email or message or text – to tell her about it.  This friend and I used to live in the same city, but now we don’t, so we write letters to each other maybe once a month or so.

I like to write letters. I like addressing the envelope, picking out a stamp that fits the…

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My daughter, Caitlyn Jenner, and Laverne Cox

gendermom

As the mother of a young transgender child, my response to Caitlyn Jenner’s headline-grabbing announcement is a visceral one. Yes, I’m kind of put off by the hype. No, I’m not a big fan of celebrity culture or reality television. But when I look at the cover of Vanity Fair, and read the news articles that respectfully use Jenner’s new name and female pronouns, I’m overwhelmed by this new state of affairs, and by a world that might just be ready to accept my daughter. And that knocks me off my feet with awe and gratitude.

I called my friend Alice, a member of our support group whose trans daughter is a few years older than mine. “Did you see it?” I said. She knew what I was talking about.

“Of course,” she said. I could hear her shaking her head over the phone, as overcome as I was…

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Eat Memory: Tiffin, by Rukmini Srinivas

The Growlery

During one of my parents’ many moves, tragedy struck our household. Of the 80-odd boxes that left their home to trundle across the country to their new home, one box didn’t make it. According to the checklist, it was a box with “papers” in it, but that was something of an understatement. Among those “papers” were two tattered exercise books from a bygone era. In them were recipes. One was filled with my grandmother’s perfect, calligraphic handwriting. She’d written them out for my mother so that my mother would stop pestering her for them. Another one was more of a scrapbook, of recipes my mother had gathered over the years — from Woman’s Weekly, strangers on trains, restaurants, all sorts of places.

There are few moments when I’ve seen my mother allow herself something as wilty as tears of sadness. Losing those two notebooks was is one of those rare…

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Going Rogue

undercoverBAT's Blog

playground

They’re not my kids anymore, but they’ll always be mine.

True, I don’t see them day in, day out like I did the year that they were in my classroom. But there are still snatches of time during the day where we can reconnect–a quick conversation as we pass each other in the hall, first thing in the morning when my classroom has more former students than current students.

In my mind, they’re just slightly taller versions of the child I saw every day for ten months, maybe with a few more teeth and a different hairstyle. But then I’m reminded that they’ve been thrown into a whole new existence.

The testing world.

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The Internet of First Responder Things (IoFRT)

the Chief Seattle Geek blog

IoT-toasterThe “Internet of Things” or IoT is a common buzzword in the technology community these days.  It refers to the increasingly prevalent distribution of sensors throughout the natural world, and the connection of those sensors – as well as other machines – to the Internet.

The running joke is that IoT is about putting your home refrigerator, thermostat, washer, dryer, microwave, range, TVs, computers, smart phones and even toasters on the Internet, or at least connecting them so they can talk to each other.  Now what a toaster would say to a TV, or what the conversations between a washer and a dryer might include, could certainly make for a lot of talk show jokes and lists on a David Letterman show (should he return).

But clearly creating such an “Internet of Household Things” or IoHT would be quite useful.  Take, for example, the urgent water crisis in California and…

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If my words are worth nothing, why are you stealing them?

days like crazy paving

A few days ago, I noticed that people were sharing around my blog post “Muslim, queer, feminist: it’s as complicated as it sounds” without including my Twitter username. Not a huge deal – they were linking back to my blog, so I was still getting clicks and page views out of it – but it was a little disconcerting (not bad, just disconcerting) to realise that my work was being shared around by people who didn’t even know me and therefore couldn’t directly credit me as the creator.

People keep telling me this is a consequence of “fame” (I wasn’t even aware that I was famous!) – that people will share your work without letting you know about it. I suppose I can live with that, as long as people aren’t just copy-pasting words of mine without any kind of course or attribution…

…which is exactly what happened to me…

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Guest blog post: Hands like these, by Beverly Rycroft

Anthony Wilson

Bev Rycroft

This is the first in a series of guest blog posts by writers I admire.

Having enjoyed speaking and reading with her at The Aldeburgh Poetry Festival last year, I am especially pleased to have Beverly Rycroft as my first guest blogger.  Full details of Beverly’s recent work can be found at the end of this blog post.

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In the winter of 1984 I lived in London.  Homesick, cold and tired, I glanced up in the Tube one day and read these lines:

Days I have held,
days I have lost,

days that outgrow, like daughters,
my harbouring arms.

The rush of heimwee (Afrikaans: homesickness/nostalgia) that I felt on reading Derek Walcott’s Midsummer, Tobago was triggered not only by missing my family in South Africa, from longing to be a daughter protected by parents again.  The first stanza of the poem, describing the “white heat” and “scorched yellow palms”…

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