Stunt Journalism

How far would you go to write a story that gets read? Is it still journalism when you are the story? At what point is it a journal, like a diary or log, rather than a news story? How far will a stunt journalist go before the story is about the danger of performing your own, untrained and irresponsible stunts?

When did journalism get so physically degrading?

Immersive journalism is not new. In 1887, the reporter Nellie Bly feigned insanity in order to be committed to a New York City insane asylum. Her stay resulted in a landmark undercover account of appalling conditions at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum. Eighty-odd years later, Hunter S. Thompson wrote a manic first-person account of the 1970 Kentucky Derby, which more or less invented the genre now known as Gonzo journalism.

If the modern stunt essay has a film antecedent, it’s Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 hit documentary chronicling his own attempt to gorge on nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days. However jokey it seemed, the stunt served the public interest in clear ways: Spurlock drew national attention to the obesity epidemic, and McDonald’s discontinued its Super Size option shortly after the film premiered. Less journalistic value is accomplished by ingesting nothing but alcohol for a week. Duy Linh Tu, the journalism professor, wonders whether the term “stunt journalism” is a misnomer. “I don’t think all of this is journalism,” Tu says. “I’m not making a quality judgment. It’s all content…. [But] you won’t be able to build a long-term journalistic organization pulling these stunts.”

This is an old journalistic instinct—don’t look for a story, be the story—funneled through new media channels. It’s not the recklessness that’s new (war reporters have long put themselves at risk) but the desperation. Still, what the stunt piece and the personal essay have in common is that the best writing stems from horrible experiences—and that neither of them are going away soon. The stunt craze is liable to change how would-be journalists go about breaking into the industry. Or maybe it already has.

Source: Are We Living in a Golden Age of Stunt Journalism?

The Ultimate No-Bake Cupcake Challenge

No baking involved, unless you can’t resist trying. Create the cupcake of your dreams. The chocolate, vanilla, caramel or whatever flavour you like. The cake itself delicious, light and yet perfect. Then decorate it. There is the clash with reality. As much as I like looking at all that icing, the idea of eating it is a bit of a sugar shock. Still, there are no calories in any cupcake of my imagining. I found this one (image below) and it is pretty close to my ultimate cupcake. I can only assume it would taste as good as it looks.

Of course, the best thing about imagining a perfect cupcake is thinking of something else and changing your mind completely. Maybe a perfect chocolate cake instead… (see the other image below). Source: Chocolate Flower Cupcake – Cupcakes Gallery

ChocolateModelingDaisyCake_1 ChocolateModelingDaisyCake_2

 

Photos via thechocolateaddict.com

Unusual or Obsolete Occupations

What a great list. How many of these did you already know? I can pick out a few. Then there are several I can remember hearing or reading but might not have remembered without seeing the explanation from the list.

Something like this gets me wondering how many of these skills could we learn again should technology fail or we some how end up in a backwards/ old fashioned dystopia?

1. ackerman: a plowman or oxherder
2. alewife: a proprietor of a tavern
3. alnager: a wool inspector
4. arkwright: a carpenter specializing in wooden chests
5. bowyer: a bowmaker
6. brazier: a brass worker
7. catchpole: an official who pursues those with delinquent debts
8. caulker: someone who packs seams in ships or around windows
9. chandler: a candlemaker, or a retail supplier of specific equipment
10. chiffonier: a wigmaker
11. cobbler: a shoemaker
12. collier: a coal miner or a maker of charcoal (also, a ship that transports coal)
13. cooper: a maker or repairer of barrels, casks, and tubs
14. cordwainer: a shoemaker
15. costermonger: a fruit seller
16. crocker: a potter
17. currier: a leather tanner, or a horse groom
18. draper: a cloth dealer
19. drayman: a driver of a heavy freight cart
20. drummer: a traveling salesman
21. duffer: a peddler
22. eggler: an egg seller
23. factor: an agent or steward
24. farrier: someone who trims horse hooves and puts on horseshoes
25. fishmonger: a fish seller
26. fletcher: a maker of arrows
27. fuller: someone who shrinks and thickens wool cloth
28. glazier: a glassmaker or window maker
29. haberdasher: an owner of or worker in a store for men’s clothing or small items used for making clothes
30. hawker: a peddler
31. hayward: an official responsible for fences and hedges
32. higgler: a peddler of dairy products and small game (also, a haggler, or someone who negotiates for lower prices)
33. hobbler: a person who tows boats on a canal or river
34. hooper: a maker of hoops for barrels, casks, and tubs
35. hostler or ostler: one who cares for horses or mules, or moves or services locomotives (originally, an innkeeper, who also maintained stables)
36. huckster: a peddler (now refers to a con artist)
37. ice cutter: someone who saws blocks of ice for refrigeration
38. ironmonger: a seller of items made of iron
39. joiner: a carpenter who specializes in furniture and fittings
40. keeler: a crew member on a barge or a keelboat
41. knacker: one who buys animals or animal carcasses to use as animal food or as fertilizer (originally, a harness maker or saddle maker)
42. knocker-up: a professional waker, who literally knocks on doors or windows to rouse people from sleep
43. lamplighter: someone who lights, extinguishes, and refuels gas street lamps
44. lapidary: a jeweler
45. lector: someone who reads to factory workers for entertainment
46. log driver: someone who floats and guides logs downriver for transportation
47. milliner: a designer, maker, or seller of women’s hats
48. muleskinner: a wagon driver
49. peruker: a wigmaker
50. pinsetter: someone who sets bowling pins back up after each bowl
51. plowright: a maker of plows and other farm implements
52. plumber: originally, one who installed lead roofing or set lead frames for windows
53. porter: a doorkeeper or gatekeeper
54. puddler: a worker in wrought iron
55. quarryman: a stonecutter
56. raker: a street cleaner
57. resurrectionist: someone who digs up recently buried corpses for use as cadavers
58. ripper: a fish seller
59. roper: a maker of nets and ropes
60. sawyer: a carpenter
61. slater: a roofer
62. slopseller: a seller of ready-made clothing, as opposed to a tailor
63. stevedore: a dockworker
64. tanner: someone who cures animal hides to make leather
65. teamster: a wagon driver
66. thatcher: someone who makes thatched roofs
67. tinker: a repairer or seller of small metal goods such as pots and pans
68. turner: someone who uses a lathe to turn wood for balustrades and spindles
69. victualer: an innkeeper, or a merchant who provides food for ships or for the military
70. wainwright: a wagon maker
71. webster: a weaver
72. weirkeeper: a fish trapper
73. wharfinger: an owner or operator of a wharf
74. wheelwright: a maker of wheels for carriages and wagons
75. whitesmith: a worker of tin

Source: 75 Names of Unusual or Obsolete Occupations

Terms of Death

We’ve all heard them – in fact, we’ve probably used them – those sometimes obscure references to death. The terms may be considered euphemistic, polite, even rather humorous slang, but they all indicate one thing – you’re “pushing up daisies.”

Source: A Grave Interest: Twelve Terms of Death

Can you come up with something new? “Pushing up daisies” is my favourite from the list by Joy Neighbors. She didn’t add “dust in the wind”, which may not be used often but is still descriptive and has a touch of the natural. Of course, so does “worm food” but not everyone wants to think about that one.

How about…

  • Gone to the greener grass
  • Meeting the ancestors
  • Arguing with god
  • Fatally absent
  • Only in pictures
  • Haunting, less haunted
  • Permanently offline

I know some of those in my list aren’t my own original idea but one or two are (as far as I know).

Could you be a Food Editor?

This is a real job posting, originally from Buzzfeed online. Do you have what it takes to be a food editor?

BuzzFeed is looking for an ambitious, internet- and social-media-savvy editor with a huge passion for cooking to lead its popular food section. This is a full-time job based in New York City.

Responsibilities:
Write posts about food in the shareable BuzzFeed style and tone.
Come up with smart ideas for food posts to assign to the food team.
Edit staff posts and generate effective, clever headlines aimed at sharing.
Drive, coordinate, and oversee the production of cooking tutorial photo and video shoots in the BuzzFeed Test Kitchen.
Grow, diversify, and innovate the food section’s presence on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels.
Outline and execute a vision for growing and expanding the section to reach new, diverse audiences.
Line edit original recipes for clarity and accuracy.
Establish and maintain relationships with chefs, food writers, and other food-world authorities to bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the section.
Obsessively track viral trends on Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr and create content around those trends.

Requirements:
Two to four years of website, magazine, or blogging/vlogging experience — or similar experience in the food industry.
Experience editing and managing writers.
Proven understanding of the kinds of food and cooking that generate engagement on social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, and the ability to articulate those qualities.
Self-starter and hard worker with tons of smart ideas.
Obsession with and passion for cooking plus a strong interest in and knowledge of professional cooking techniques.
Flexibility, an open mind, and enthusiasm about experimenting with unconventional ideas.
A sense of humor.
Ability to take the perspective of others.
The technical cooking expertise to create new image­-based cooking tutorials and write posts full of authoritative tips is a plus.

Writing Prompts for Food Bloggers

Check the link to read the full list. The list included your foodie history, diets, ingredients, kitchen gadgets, where you would have dinner if you could choose from anywhere in the world and what makes a memorable meal. Of course, food loves and hates make the list too.

I liked the prompt about ingredients you’ve been afraid to try. There are so many interesting, exotic and unusual ingredients these days. I can remember when my Grandmother was afraid to cook corn on the cob. She had never seen it before (in the UK) and ended up leaving it to rot before she worked up the courage to cook it. I always thought that was silly when I was a kid. But, corn was pretty commonplace to me. I’ve since had a few things expire in my own fridge.

How do you feel about the word foodie?

Write down 10 of your favourite food words, and then make a sentence for each word. Turn each sentence into a blog post idea.

via 16 Writing Prompts for Food Bloggers | Food Bloggers of Canada.

 

I think it’s a great list. Many of the prompts could be adapted for other topics if you put some creativity into it.

Telemarketers on Twitter

Do not do this!

I’ve been noticing a trend in Twitter following. Not the usual types who want to grow the amount of Twitter followers by following anything for no reason. But, businesses with Twitter accounts who then follow people as a way of introducing/ marketing/ spamming their business or service.

See below for an example. I blocked out names because it seemed the right thing to do. I’m sure you can find them if you really want to, but, why would you want to?

twitter spamvertising

I don’t often check who has followed me. There are always new followers and no one seems to say whey they followed me. (I often send a note when I decide to follow someone – because I actually do have an interest in them).

Why did this company, selling food products from the US, choose to follow me? No reason other than marketing themselves. They don’t know anything about me, what I like, where I am located and if I like gluten-free processed food products. This is no different from telemarketing which still plagues home phones no matter how long you have been on the Do Not Call list.

Just like telemarketing, this Twitter spamvertising is annoying, aimless and meaningless.

Aimless because they target Twitter, no filtering for location or anything else. Meaningless because this does not build goodwill even if it does randomly get their product attention – it’s not good attention and it will not bring good intentions.

Of course, I do not follow them back. Within a few days or weeks they will unfollow me so they have room on their account to follow another batch of a thousand or more Twitter accounts.

Maybe they make a sale from all of this. Which is why they do it. Someone will be followed and actually be local and interested in their product. This person may assume the business deliberately found them and chose to follow them in particular.

However, even if they do get one sale, is this technique worth the animosity it causes and the precedent it sets for others to use the same scheme? I think not. Why? Because the very people who use this sort of telemarketing/ spamvertising are the very people who pitch a fit about spam in their own personal (or business) accounts on Twitter, email and the old home phone too. If they don’t like it why do they feel justified in causing it?

Where Did “Piss Poor” Come From?

Where did “piss poor” come from?

If you’re young and hip, this is still interesting.

NOW THIS IS A REAL EDUCATION

Us older people need to learn something new every day…

Just to keep the grey matter tuned up.

Where did “Piss Poor” come from? Interesting history.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot.

And then once it was full it was taken and sold to the tannery…

If you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor”. But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot…

They “didn’t have a pot to piss in” and were the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the 1500′s

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.

The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water,

Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children.

Last of all the babies.

By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.

Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath.

It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.

When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.

This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed.

Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection.

That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.

Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery In the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing..

As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren’t you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.

Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers In the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.

Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while.

Hence the rhyme:

“Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.

When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off.

It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon.”

They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter.

Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death.

This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status..

Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle,

And guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky.

The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days..

Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.

They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.

Hence the custom; “holding a wake.”

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people.

So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave.

When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.

Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, “saved by the bell” or was “considered a dead ringer.”

And that’s the truth.

Now, whoever said history was boring!!!

So get out there and educate someone!

Share these facts with a friend.

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering,

“What the heck happened?”

We’ll be friends until we are old and senile.

Then we’ll be new friends.

via Where Did “Piss Poor” Come From? | Green Living History.

Canada Press is looking for Foodies

Found on Craiglist (Toronto). No pay for the work, but if you ever wanted to be a restaurant reviewer this would be start or a chance to try it out.

Canada Press is looking for Foodies to review restaurants (Toronto)

The Canada Press “Best of Toronto” awards are being compiled for a spring review of all the top restaurants in each respective cuisine category in Toronto.
Eat at Over 100+ of Toronto’s finest restaurants free of charge, and meet some of Toronto’s executive chefs.

Canadapress.org Food & Drink section is seeking people who:

– Are passionate about food.
– Well articulated and friendly.
– Wine + Beer knowledge a big plus.
– Live downtown or can get downtown with ease.
– Skilled writing required.
– Ability to interview owners/chefs a must.
We will have to issue you a press pass and get you the necessary documentation to record scores on food, service, atmosphere, etc.
Location: Toronto

Logan’s Run Should be Continued

What would your life be like if you had never gotten to be 30 years of age, or older? Maybe you are not yet 30. Do you look ahead and cringe at the very idea of “being old”?

The story behind Logan’s Run is all about human population, available resources and getting rid of people before they get old – old age being 29 in this case. Of course, there is a secret resistance. A sanctuary which no one has ever returned to talk about, but enough people believe in (or hope for) it’s existence that there are runaways/ runners who try to escape their fate. Logan, the hero of the book, is one of the Sandmen/ trackers who capture these runaways before they get far.

Logan also asks questions, which is his downfall. As Logan gets too close to finding out more than he should, his own light comes on and he is now a target for death (an event where people fly in the air as if they were dancing in a spiral around a Carousel, until they suddenly get zapped to death) – but Logan isn’t old enough yet!

Logan runs – he escapes the city and discovers the reality of the ice world, the world of frozen food which has come a little off track. Logan runs farther and does find more, but not really a sanctuary. Instead he finds an old man in an old world which no one in the city of young people knows anything about.

The story is a little sad, Logan’s Sandman friend becomes his tracker, his enemy and things don’t go well between them. Logan finds befriends Jessica along the way, she takes up the run with him and helps him introduce the old and the young worlds to each other eventually.

I wish there were another book with the after story. So much potential for me. I’ve tried not to give too much away of the story – I hope you will read the book, or watch the movie. It’s been a favourite of mine long before I was 30!