Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


Olly with an excellent breakdown of the philosophy behind antifascism, one that also serves as a takedown of the naivety of certain journalistic quarters in the face of racist rhetoric and manipulation. #video


You Think You Want Media Literacy… Do You?

“Media literacy is imagined to be empowering, enabling individuals to have agency and giving them the tools to help create a democratic society. But fundamentally, it is a form of critical thinking that asks people to doubt what they see. And that makes me nervous.” I’m not sure I draw the same conclusion; healthy cynicism doesn’t mean doubting everything one sees. But media literacy, or critical thinking in general, should never be confined to the absolute binary of ‘true’ or ‘false’. Context is key, as are layers of meaning, particularly as propaganda gets more savvy and sophisticated. #link


WWE Announcers Don’t Think Pro Wrestling Journalism Exists

Which is weird, as there’s an awful lot of good journalism being done about wrestling. Mind you, it’s not really being done by the likes of Dave Meltzer. There’s another question beyond this piece: about wrestling dirtsheets as a branch of entertainment journalism, not sports, and their closer relation to the kind of access and relationships between writers and PR in music and film. But I’d say the same about wrestling as I’d say about issues of potential compromise and conflict of interest in mainstream entertainment: ‘access journalism’ only gets you so far. Look how much it’s ruined political journalism in the US, after all. #link


A short documentary about an incredible trove of letterpress blocks for movie advertisements dating from the early 1980s to before the Talkie era, happened upon by chance by two friends antiquing in Nebraska. It really makes stark what might be lost in the move from the tangible to the digital in media. [c/o Kottke.org] #video


When the Facebook Traffic Goes Away

The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that Facebook is a destructive, eroding force for banal evil in the world. The negatives outweigh the positives to an alarming degree. #link


A note on impartiality in reporting on the 8th Amendment

And a fair point, too. The 8th doesn't recognise a natural 'right'; it creates and enshrines recognition of a social construct, flying in the face of best medical practice. But in a country where only arseholes tend to be litigious (or can afford to be), RTÉ may not be particularly worried about offending people who can't or won't sue them. #link


24-hour Putin people: my week watching Kremlin ‘propaganda channel’ RT

“More than outright lies, RT deals in moral equivalency. Its defenders don’t deny bias; they deny the possibility of objectivity. They say western media is equally biased. They liken RT to state broadcasters such as the BBC, France 24 and al Jazeera. They say other news channels have been sanctioned by Ofcom. It’s a triumph of cynicism: we’re all just as bad as each other.” The difference is, those other channels don’t make disinformation, in bad faith, their raison d'être. Speaking of bad faith, The Atlantic was recently moved to do an explainer on a concept — lying, basically — that’s pretty self-evident. #link


Poynter: Burned once, publishers are wary of Medium’s new subscription offering

Sigh. ‘Pivoting’ is great for start-ups and VCs, who must believe it’s a virtue to be so nimble. It’s not so good for their employees or contractors, those who supply the necessary labour, who can’t possibly be expected to follow suit. And it’s all in the service of an ad market that doesn’t have a metric for (and therefore, doesn’t understand) the way advertising works now. [c/o Kottke.org] #link


The Guardian: How TV news failed to keep up in 2016

There’s no good reason why TV news producers can’t make better use of the web and social media as channels. They’re brands people can and do trust, but their absence from Facebook and the like only leaves a void to be filled by the fakes. #link


How a murdered woman became invisible in the coverage of her death

It’s something we’re still getting to grips with here, interpreting tragedy through an outmoded prism of what it means to be Irish, and particularly an Irish man: parishioner, sportsman, ‘pillar of the community’. We don’t much like self-reflection here; it’s reveals the lie of our theme-park culture. #link


Evidence-based vs. accusation-driven reporting

Accusation-driven reporting is typical tabloid journalism, though even tabloids often get to the truth beyond the sensationalist headlines and opening grafs. This shit’s just ethically dubious clickbait, the kind of stuff they used to call ‘yellow journalism’. #link


When Student Activists Refuse to Talk to Campus Newspapers

Naivety plus a propensity to compartmentalise the world into easily classifiable categories (intersectionality does not equal mutability, ding ding) is a dangerous equation. Let me put it another way: the media is not the monolith some perceive it to be. You want to be the change you want to see? You can do it through existing channels too, not solely via your own — indeed, the latter is arguably best avoided, because you’re probably blind to your own biases. #link


Don’t Trust Your CMS

It all boils down to this, from the final paragraph: "King’s editors had a responsibility to ensure that his accurate sourcing was reproduced when published, no matter the vagaries of their CMS. (King, too, should probably have been reading his articles once they were published.)" #link


After the quake

These photos of the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami tell a remarkable story. But maybe a more remarkable one is that of Japan’s resilience in the face of disaster. Even amid all the shocking imagery – roads split down the middle, cars and houses washed away and disintegrated in the surge – I’m not left with the same sense of hopelessness that followed the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The fact is, with an earthquake of that sheer magnitude (now thought to be 9.0), and as bad as things are right now, the situation could’ve been far worse. It’s a testament to good forward planning that they aren’t.

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