Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.
Leslie Jones and Twitter’s troll economics (7/23/16, New Yorker): This article is the latest in a weekly James Surowiecki column called “The Week in Business”.
That title sounds beyond boring.
Surowiecki’s work is anything but.
He covers three topics in this column, the title one dealing with how Twitter polices its members. It’s a multi-layered discussion, especially for those of us who use Twitter on a regular basis. The crux of his column? This paragraph:
The fight underscored the peculiar nature of Twitter as a quasi-public space, and the challenges that this presents to the company as it tries to grow its stagnant user base. Twitter isn’t, after all, a coffee shop, and much of its appeal stems from its free-for-all nature. Tough speech codes run the risk of alienating users who relish the possibilities presented by the service’s relative lack of oversight. At the same time, many, perhaps even most, Twitter users have grown alienated by the disproportionate toxicity that a minority of users can spread, and in particular by the kind of pack harassment that is often directed at “controversial” figures, many of whom are visible minorities or women. (That’s largely why the site also produces a steady flow of articles about, or by, people who have quit Twitter.)
They promised us jet packs. They promised the bosses profits. (7/24/16, New York Times): Speaking of massive tech companies, how about the one formerly known as Google?
Now operating as Alphabet, the conglomerate has developed its X research lab, which takes the seemingly longest of long-shot ideas (jet packs, for example) and attempts to turn them into reality.
Sounds great, right? Sounds amazing, even!
Except how does it make money?
That’s a question Alphabet’s investors regularly ask, as illustrated in this article by Conor Dougherty. And that’s fascinating.
Dougherty outlines the situation while nodding to its compelling nature. He also delves into the concept of “failure bonuses”, which could be the subject of its own article.
Young artists make it to the Met (7/24/16, New York Times): Finally, here is a seemingly simple video that breaks a bunch of the “rules” of visual storytelling.
But it gets the job done.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently hosting a set of paintings and art pieces by New York City public school students. The New York Times responded with a video piece that feels like candy; it features descriptions of the work from the children themselves, complete with the requisite smiles of pride that accompany the kids’ comments.
I love the way videographers Yousur Al-Hlou and John Woo keep things light and airy, from the music to the jump-cuts to the various other techniques most news editors are trained not to use. In most cases, I believe in following those rules. In cases like this, I don’t mind when storytellers break them.
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