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.

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!

Do you Remember NeoPets?

I was reading online and came across a post about NeoPets. It was an old post so I’m not linking to it. But, I remember NeoPets. I used to play it with my nephew when he was a little boy.  I had to go back and take a look. I wondered if it would still be an active site, it is.

I found my account – remembered what my user name had been and then reset the password. I’d long forgotten what my pets looked like, or how the site worked. But, I poked around, found where I had stashed my inventory (not in the actual inventory). I had a lot of neopoints to spend in my bank. I spent some on books for my pets to read, food for them too so they aren’t listed as dying. But, the books seemed more important and more interesting for me.

Not a lot has changed on the site in the years since Nickelodeon bought it. A shame because there was always masses of new stuff before when the English people ran it. Anyway, still a fun site and still kid friendly.

Here are my NeoPets: Bewildery and Merrizilla.

bewilderyneopet

merrizillaneopet

Guides for NeoPet Players:

JellyNeo
SunnyNeo
The Daily NeoPets

Attacking Animals

I’m watching a TV show (on National Geographic) about animals who have attacked people. Most of the people are tourists who want to camp or swim in areas where there are known predators. So, they are choosing to take a risk. The TV show is making it all look so shocking, as if these animals were daring to attack humans.

The problem is that the animals are trying to survive. Hunting meat is what they do.

I wish someone would make a TV show which would document more animal killings. Show how humans kill the predatory animals and how little room they have left to exist versus the space which humans take over. Not even counting areas which are long domesticated and urbanized. Just looking at the areas where predators like wolves, bears and such still have and notice how little space it really is when you discount areas where people are farming, have some sort of dwelling or use for tourist activities.

How is it we make so much drama about animals killing people and yet we hardly blink when it comes to how people are killing animals. Not only in the way we kill them for sport or as food but in the way we are gradually giving them no space left to exist on the planet.

Will it end up one day that we have no animals living in the wild at all? When they take the last of the wild areas to grow food for the over population of humans will the last of the animals be pampered pets, feral pets and animals in captivity, like zoos?

Don’t misunderstand, I do feel sad for the people killed by animals. I just see it blown out of proportion. If you think about the numbers, the humans are far more likely to be the killer than the one being killed.

If you were writing a story (non-fiction or fiction) about an animal attack would you be writing about an animal attack on the side of the animal or the human? Would you have some understanding of the animal or just be disgusted that an animal would attack a human?