A lot of Sri Lankan journalism is quite casually corrupt. You have ads next to advertorial content that looks like a real story. But it’s not. It’s just press release journalism, about as relevant as the classifed ads. This has higher value than no information, but it’s not especially good information. Media, especially new media, should be better.
Archive for the 'Media' Category
Iran’s Fars News Agency recently ran a report from the fake news site The Onion as real news. The Onion published a fake poll saying that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (the President of Iran) was more popular than Barack Obama. They apologized but then sorta doubled down on the mistake, saying “we do believe that if a free opinion poll is conducted in the US, a majority of Americans would prefer anyone outside the US political system to President Barack Obama and American statesmen”. Well, no. What’s more interesting is that they then proceed to list 15 other news fails in a BuzzFeed worthy post.
YAMU is featured in the Daily FT (newspaper) each week, which is cool, but I wonder if people read it. So here it is, you can read it. Our rough plan here is to produce awesome content online which gets syndicated to a wider audience through mainstream media which markets a brand that later provides services. I think we’ve got the awesome content part down, let’s see how the rest goes.
Editor Frederica Jansz has been fired from The Sunday Leader, she says for not agreeing with the new owner to “curb her style of writing and compromise her credibility” (BBC). I worked at the Leader for a while and what I hear is that the new owner, connected stock player Asanga Seneviratne, did ask her to run any personal criticism of the first family (the Rajapaksas) by him. Which could be innocuous but could be dodge, most likely the latter.
Minister Mervyn Silva is widely despised in Sri Lanka, what for his thuggery, crude language and general air of corruption. Malaka Silva, however, if possible, is despised even more. He has his father’s violent and anti-social tendencies without actually doing anything that even vaguely resembles work. Both, however, are a major boon to the Sri Lankan media. Any time the Silvas say or do anything, you can be guaranteed that papers will sell and TVs will be on.
My friend Raisa is doing some research on what makes a better newspaper. Her broad question seems to be whether it’s better to have interactive elements in a newspaper (ie, polls, email addresses), which is kinda a duh, but it’s research. She came over to ask my advice once and I gave her a bath packet full of ants, so I guess I still owe her a favor. Which I’m mucking up by cynicizing it. I’ll start again.
Groundviews is freaking out about an admittedly cartoon of Indian Prime Minister Manomohan Singh looking up Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalithaa’s sari. They’re calling for the paper, Lakbima News, to be reported to the Press Complaints Commission and seconding a tweet from someone calling for the cartoonist to be fired. I mean, really? The cartoon is tasteless and – worst of all – not funny. I don’t get it and it’s just unsavory. But to say this is out of the bounds of free expression is just wrong.
I’m no stickler for copyright. As a writer my goal is to be read, generally. However, there is a certain etiquette online. As in, you link, and you don’t copy everything. A lot of Sri Lankans don’t seem to get this. On Kottu, I get a lot of join requests from kids who are just copy-paste articles without attribution. I’ve also talked to print editors who seem to think “Source: Internet” is fine. Then there are site like the Colombo Telegraph, which are almost completely copy jobs now.
Thanks to the lovely Cassie and Marianne at the Daily FT, YAMU is doing a section in their Saturday paper. As you can see above, there’s a generous full page on living like Kollupitiya kings. This is a selection of assorted wandering around that hood, namely Savan’s piece on 25 Minutes In Kollupitiya Market (English / Sinhala) and his general piece on the market itself (English / Sinhala).
I was at my Achchi’s, eating all the pol sambol. They get the Island so I was reading that. Apparently the government line against The Sunday Leader is that the Editor, Frederica Jansz, was angry cause they didn’t make her a diplomat. This is one of the dumber excuses I’ve heard, ever. As a quick refresher, the government is angry because Frederica published the filth that the Defense Secretary actually said. As a further refresher, Frederica Jansz is no diplomat.