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On Writing: Stealth Journalism In The Digital Era

On Writing:
Stealth Journalism In The Digital Era

This is for you – us – out here in the trenches, freelance writers in the post-journalism era, forced to pander to the whims of the masses and their clicks – the all-important clicks we are paid for. Pop culture is king, and we all know it. But, even with that narrow agenda, it’s still possible to slip some real journalism – or at least something that feels much more like it – into even the most sensationalistic listicle, I swear
Beyond the SEO optimized headline and that first keyword-rich paragraph, there are ways to insert facts, science, knowledge, and context into your pieces. Maybe even ideas – but let’s not get crazy.

Caveat – Let’s be realistic. I fully understand, as we all do, that in order to ensure a steady income, these tactics won’t be feasible all the time, and that you will inevitably have to write something about someone with large breasts, and/or not a lot of clothes, on a regular basis. You will never change that, only slide in a little truth once in a while.

Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Twist that Trend

We are all slaves to the SEO gods these days, but there may be ways and means of subverting the inherent negativity on some occasions. For example, you may find that Muslim or Islam, or some combination of those terms, is trending. A cleverly worded piece could end up talking about the diversity of the Muslim world beyond extremism and fundamentalist Arabic cultures. You could call it, 10 COUNTRIES WITH THE HOTTEST MUSLIM BABES! And, you’d also cash in on the pervs searching for “hottest Muslim babes” you SEO genius you.

Ask Why

Remember, behind your lurid clickbait headline, there is an actual story waiting to be told. You will still have to call it something like, 10 REASONS WHY THE AMERICAN SOUTH IS RATCHET AF! But, you can actually turn it into a factual look at the reasons and causes behind poverty and other social ills. I was actually able to slip in a sly plug for diversion programs in lieu of criminal charges for juvenile offenders into a pop culture listicle. True story!

Don’t Pick on the Disadvantaged

Your task may be to find 8 PICS THAT PROVE RUSSIANS ARE AS CRAZY AF! But, you can still have principles, dammit. By all means, pick on consenting adults, but leave out anyone with clear mental health issues, poor street people, or someone who just “looks funny” – there are more than enough violent drunken fights and crazy drivers caught on dashcams to satisfy your needs.

Humanize the Breasts

If you are writing for that coveted 18 to 34 male demographic – and it seems like we all are – then you will have to write girlie stories. And, while you will have to look for the best pictures to include, knowing most people won’t go much beyond them to read your words, you can still take the time to find the girl inside the girlie story. There are actual people behind the glamour, glossy lips, and spandex. They probably do interesting things, or maybe they are into worthy causes. Or both. There will be ways to turn them into a real person; you just need to try.

Elevate the Discussion

Most of the time, you will be looking for THE 25 HOTTEST PRINCESS LEIA COSPLAYS! but there may be times that you can take a subject and push the envelope. How about 12 EXAMPLES OF FASCISM IN THE JEDI CODE? I mean, those bastards run around playing mind games on people with questionable and secretive motives. Who made them space cops? It would be a surefire hit among internet nerd-dom with the right social media connections, and you may just awaken a few nerds and geeks to certain connections with current political realities in the process.

Those are just a few ideas. Journalism may be dead, but if we join together, we can elucidate, clarify, and provide context to these mofos whether they like it or not.


What Else Is Hot This Week?

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Polina Semionova to Appear as Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre

From a media release:


New York - Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with Berlin State Opera Ballet, will debut as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre for the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season, it was announced January 14, 2011 by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. With ABT, Semionova will perform Kitri in Don Quixote at the matinee on Saturday, May 21, opposite David Hallberg as Basilio, and the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Saturday evening, July 2, opposite Hallberg as Prince Siegfried.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her repertoire with Berlin State Opera Ballet includes Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Marie in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixo…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

Blues/Rock: The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now? (Independent / 24 July 2020)

The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now?
(Independent / 24 July 2020) Buy the CD Big vocals and infectious grooves make up this release from The Cole Patenaude Band. It's modern blues with a classic sensibility, anchored by solid musicianship and upbeat songwriting. 
Keyboard player Dean Thiessen and Patenaude on guitar trade off solos and melodic lines to keep it interesting through a range of bluesy style, incorporating rock and country, with a pop song sheen on songs like For the Money. Would You Be Mine is more Elvis-esque rockabilly, while How To Love is an acoustic song with folky storytelling lyrics and feel. 
Compromise is a standout track, with a snarly guitar line and a churchy organ swelling underneath a nice bluesy beat. Horns aren't credited in the notes, but I swear I heard some on this and a couple of the other tracks. 
As a husband, father, and full-time mechanic based in Langley, British Columbia, finding the time to make his music was a challenge…