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Is Buzzfeed the most important news organisation in the world?

Quite possibly it is.

Of course mainstream journalists will scoff at Buzzfeed but it is undeniably successful in ways that the editors at Fairfax and the NZ Herald can only dream of.

Why is that?

Let’s look at the past paradigm…which ironically is still the current paradigm in the mainstream.

Like a great many such things, some of journalism’s most precious ideals were the happy result of geography and economics. That is, in any given geography, the dominant newspaper tended towards a natural monopoly for two reasons:

  • When it came to costs, the ownership of expensive printing presses and distribution channels made entrance difficult for potential competitors
  • As for revenue, broad-based advertising, at least in the pre-targeting era, naturally flowed to the channel with the greatest reach

The interaction of these two economic realities made newspapers fabulously profitable and veritable cash machines; the editorial side, meanwhile, freed from the responsibility to directly make money, could instead focus on things like far-flung bureaus, investigative journalism that in many cases took months to develop, and a clear separation between the business and editorial sides of a newspaper. The latter was important not just for the avoidance of blatant corruption, but also because it imbued the editorial side with a certain responsibility to focus on stories that deserved to be written because they mattered, not because they were sensationalistic.

This last point was best exemplified by The New York Times’ famous slogan, “All the news that’s fit to print” and by the paper’s legendary Page One meetings where editors would pitch stories for inclusion on the most valuable real estate in journalism. It’s important to appreciate that this was more than just a slogan and meeting; there are important assumptions underlying this conceit:

  • The first assumption is that there is a limited amount of space, which in the case of a physical product is quite obviously true. Sure, newspapers could and did change the length of their daily editions, but the line had to be drawn somewhere
  • The second assumption is that journalists, by choosing what to write about, are the arbiters of what is “news”
  • The third assumption is that the front page is an essential signal as to what news is important; more broadly, it’s an assumption that editors matter

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Face of the day

Today’s face of the day has had his life changed forever because of a drawing. A drawing that frankly looks like a child drew it.

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I am no art critic but even as a cartoon it doesn’t impress. The offence and push back in reaction to this drawing is obscene in its intensity and violence. Last Saturday an Islamic terrorist in Denmark almost succeeded in ending the artist’s life. Who is this man that now has to lives his life under constant threat of death because of a drawing?

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Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks has faced death threats for many years

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We shall fight on Facebook, we shall fight on Twitter; we shall never surrender

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The British army are tooling up against ISIS with computers and a social media account.

Rather than sending hundreds of troops around the world, the newest brigade is aimed at the social media war being waged by Islamic State and other terror organisations and their fight to radicalise young people.

The brigade is designed to ‘meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare’ by winning the hearts and minds of those in battle by both monitoring and engaging with digital and social media channels. Read more »

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Sledge of the Day – James Blunt

James Blunt has hit back at a Labour MP for criticising his upbringing and produces an awesome sledge.

James Blunt, the singer, has issued a robust response to an MP who criticised his privileged background, saying his “populist, envy-based, vote-hunting” ideas were making the country worse.

Blunt told Chris Bryant, the shadow culture minister, he was teaching the “politics of jealousy”, after the MP spoke out to condemn a lack of diversity in the arts.

Mr Bryant told the Guardian one of his priorities if he became a minister would be to encourage fairer funding, encouraging organisations to hire from a wider variety of backgrounds rather than just “arts graduates from Cambridge”.

“I am delighted that Eddie Redmayne won [a Golden Globe for best actor], but we can’t just have a culture dominated by Eddie Redmayne and James Blunt and their ilk,” he said.

Blunt, who was educated at Harrow, served in the Army and is known for his no-nonsense response to critics on Twitter, has now issued a public reply to the MP, saying he had to work as hard as anyone in the music industry to combat accusations he was “too posh”.

James Blunt’s letter in full:

[…]    Read more »

Let’s lift up the Burka and have a peek at Sharia law: Part One

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Example one: Pregnant young woman flogged in public

Example two: Gay men forced into hiding as law passed stating that anyone caught having gay sex  will be sentenced to 100 lashes.

Location: Indonesia

Example three: UPDATE removed as turned out to be fake.

Example four: Colorado School Requiring Girls To Wear Islam-Compliant Clothing During Trip To Mosque

Location: America

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Outrage! Offensive! ban the ads, boycott the firm!

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People these days are “outraged” and offended by the stupidest things.

In the UK the ads shown above have caused “outrage”.

A private taxi firm has sparked outrage over a ‘sexist’ advert that has attracted a wave of complaints.

The advert for Southampton-based West Quay Cars features a larger, middle-aged woman with the caption: “If I Start To Look Sexy – Book A Taxi.”

Members of Southampton University’s Feminist Society criticised the advert and called for students to boycott the firm.

“I was horrified to see a recent ad by West Quay Cars which featured a middle-aged, larger woman with the words ‘If I look sexy, book a taxi’ advising people not to drive drunk or make bad decisions after drinking,” wrote one campaigner, who did not want to be named.
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Deluded fatty complains about being called fatty

Plus Size Wedding Underwear by Moonrise Lingerie

This deluded fatty has complained about being called fatty by Lord Sugar

Lord Sugar has been accused of bullying after calling a young woman “fatty” on Twitter.

The Apprentice star was bombarded with complaints and branded “arrogant” and “sexist” after sending the message to size 16 beauty queen Elena Raouna.

The row began after Miss Raouna, 23, sent Lord Sugar a message that said: “Evening sugar ;-) can I call you that? Lol.”

The multi-milionnaire tycoon replied: “yes no problem as long as I can call you fatty.”

He later responded to another follower who waded into the row by asking whether there was “any need to reply in that manner” by saying: “get stuffed and mind your own business.”

The response sparked a backlash in which Lord Sugar was roundly criticised and called “a miserable old goat”.

Miss Raouna, who won Miss British Beauty Curve in 2013, has demanded an apology from the businessman, saying she was “absolutely fuming” about the “cruel” tweet.

She told the Mirror: “‘It was just a friendly tweet to say ‘hi’ but my face froze in shock with his reply and I had to check it was his official Twitter page because I couldn’t believe he would be so abusive.

“It’s cyber bullying.”

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Outraged? Come on first world problems people

Some people have nothing better to do other than be outraged.

This time is is over tweets from Dick Quax, especially one where he basically says Glen Innes is a crime suburb.

Auckland councillor Dick Quax has been causing a stir online with flippant comments about public transport and the regular presence of police in an Auckland suburb.

The Howick councillor and former Olympian, who describes himself as “pragmatic and moderate” on his Twitter page, sparked a lengthy debate on the social media site after several tweets to his 339 followers.

In one tweet on Friday, he appeared to suggest a nearby suburb was crime-ridden: “Police helicopter ‘Eagle’ now declared official bird of Glen Innes,” he said.

Some people responded with surprise, saying it was “unbelievable” and a “disgraceful” comment by an elected official.

Mr Quax defended his tweet yesterday, saying it was a personal observation which was accurate.

“In fact, the police helicopter was up there last night for another half-hour. It’s more common than anywhere else it appears.

“I don’t know if it’s got a high crime rate or not but it does seem the police helicopter does spend a lot of time there. You might want to check with police if it’s one of the areas they spend more time.”

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Not sure that the people are looking for humour from security services

Unless it’s in the movies…

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The Swedish Security Service has created an online buzz on social media networks with its sarcastic first tweet. The Säpo agency recommended Swedes to follow its Twitter account, as it is already “following” the nation’s citizens. Read more »

Can anyone spot the problem with this picture?

Only the Greens would promote this…in this way.

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