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The value of questions that are hard to answer

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One of the problems that excites me most in journalism is what you do when you’re presented with a lack of information. It’s been the genesis of some of the most interesting projects I’ve worked on, including Ghost Boat (“how can you find people who disappeared?”) and the MITTR Covid Tracing Tracker (“who is doing what with digital contact tracing?”) So I was really interested by this Buzzfeed investigation that effectively asked “Where are China’s […]

The blindness of media

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There are many pieces about the problems of journalism, and of journalists, and Sarah Ditum has certainly written one of them. I hesitated to post it because at some points it felt tritely rosy about life in the trenches of journalism before the internet, and at others it’s stuck in a stage of pseudo-self-awareness as an example of the very thing that it regrets. The seemingly mandatory piece of thinly-veiled commentary on outrage culture didn’t […]

Week 33, 2020

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Books I read: Unintentionally, both my reads this week were about the ways in which men dominate women, and the ways in which rules can be made to damage people. First up was The Handmaid’s Tale, and it’s probably 20 years since I read it—I was struck by how vibrant and clear it felt, and of course how much more possible everything seems now than when I read it in the glow of turn-of-the-century optimism. […]

Pandemic parenting

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Anne Helen Petersen’s latest words resonated with me: I am not a parent. I am, however, a person who hears and sympathizes with so many of the struggles of managing to work and parent right now, and as Chloe Cooney put it all the way back in April, “the parents are not okay.” Not the parents who are essential workers. Not the parents who are taking care of infants, or toddlers, or elementary school age […]

Taking action

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They talk about living your values, of walking the walk. John Lewis did it, figuratively and literally. This morning I heard a Republican on the radio lauding Lewis for a life spent in service. The speaker noted, of course, Lewis’s leadership in civil rights, and specifically pointed out his dedication to non-violent protest and civil discourse. Given the moment, it was almost too easy to read between the lines, to catch a whiff of the […]

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“Why is it that the losers of the story always have to carry their loss on their backs when they didn’t choose it?” Louis often says. “Other people are responsible for the suffering of others.” Edouard Louis in ‘I Always Write With a Sense of Shame’, New York Times Magazine