Digest – April 4 2010

Yo yo yos, you knows hows this goes etc…

– HOME

P O’Neill on the RTÉ News reporting of the IMF’s reaction to the Nama announcement.

Adrian Russell has memories of a fellow sports reporter who lived an interesting life. Also, John Riordan on Roy Keane press conferencing etiquette.

Mark Tighe on the head of the ambulance service who resigned recently.

What the HSE audit in the north west is alleged to have found is that, as well as normal travel claims, McClintock used his HSE “fuel card” to claim for €10,000 worth of petrol to which he was not entitled.

The HSE have now passed on its audit of fuel costs in its north west region to gardai.

Henry McDonald of The Guardian’s Northern Ireland staff on the future of Gerry Adams’s and Peter Robinson’s leadership.

Gav on The Last Word talking political reform

Conor McCabe has an interview with Sam Nolan who led marches for taxation reform in the 70s. Interesting as we’re seemingly about to enter another period of marches and protests.

Seriously, the apparently-consensus opinion that Lenihan is The Only Hope in a Government full of gobshites must be changing now. Also, here and, with a different angle, here.

Suzy on the changes to be made to the Civil Partnership bill

Waterford councillor, Mary Roche, doesn’t understanding the Anglo situation and isn’t ashamed to say it

Unlike 99.99% of politicians that I have heard in recent days, I will ADMIT that I don’t understand this whole Anglo Irish Bank debacle. Problem here is that, while I’m admitting it, none (I’m convinced) of the other 99.99% understand anything about it either. But that doesn’t stop them spouting off as if they had done their PhD’s on the very subject.

They are merely parroting what they have been told – each given a few standard lines to throw out when they are asked about it. These include: “it would cost more to wind it down”; and “it’s the lesser of two evils” and “it was the Lehmans collapse that caused all this not government policy”.

They are the very worst of sheep, following dutifully into the Dail chamber and supporting the Government, as the voting fodder they are while ignorantly not knowing or caring about the well that they have thrown our economy down.

– WORLD

Media mischeif on April fools’ day; a round-up on Journalism.co.uk.

Foreign Policy magazine says the computers in Africa are so virus-plagued they could take down the entire interwebz! OMFG! ROFL! Lulz! etc…

Nice visualisation of military budgets over on the Guardian’s Datablog.

Video from Sunlight about why public information should be online.

Yglesias; Companies use political clout to immunise themselves from legal accountability.

Kevin Marsh of the BBC College of Journalism rubbishes the idea that British newspapers are the best in the world, and the argument for paywalls.

Now, it’s true that our democracy needs journalists who aren’t intimidated by power. Who aren’t browbeaten. Who need to be, on occasion, rude, offensive, disrespectful and bloody-minded – but, you’d have thought, as a means to an end not an end in itself.

NewsCorp argues that good journalism has to be paid for – which is true. Of course, it might help their argument if more newspaper journalism were better than it is. Worth paying for.

But beware the chopped logic here. Well-funded journalism doesn’t unavoidably entail its readers paying to be let in through a turnstile to read it. Apart from anything else, readers have never been the major source of newspaper revenue. And as Alexander Lebedev has shown at the Evening Standard – and may well show with the Independent – you can give newspapers away free and still make a profit. Still fund good quality, original, investigative journalism.

What isn’t flourishing is journalism built to fit the old model and the old mindset. Bundles of readers buying bundles of news printed on bundles of ads.

And this is the thing to watch. The debate has changed and continues to change. If we want to understand that debate, the changed world and how journalism fits in, we should take care not to allow those whose interests paywalls serve – as well as outdated understandings of what journalism is – define its terms.

Michael Yon has a photojournalism piece on Afghan boys.

– OTHER

I was talking to Colette Browne on Twitter yesterday about political hiphop, the conversation reminded of this great piece of story-telling by Aesop Rock (called No Regrets, see below). It’s an amazing piece of poetry, not itself political but just… cool.

For political hiphop I recommend this older track by Sage Francis, a tirade at Bush-era America. My favourite line; ‘This ain’t a love-it-or-leave-it it’s a change-it-or-lose-it… I won’t sing the anthem of a nation that never faces the music’.

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