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Graphic Journalism by Dan Archer



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Journalism Dies, Storytelling Lives and Arms Manufacturers Survive.

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Join the ongoing debate about the future of journalism in these technology-obsessed times, courtesy of authors Robert McChesney and John Nichols and their new book,  The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again. The authors argue for increased government subsidies (like in the Old World) to support the US media and encourage a free press to combat the growing spectre of coporate dominance of content providers, best exemplified by Comcast’s takeover bid for NBC. It’s currently being reviewed to see if it complies with anti-trust laws, though seeing as Comcast currently provides 24m homes with cable, 16m with internet and will suddenly be granted cable networks such as Telemundo, MSNBC and Bravo, TV shows such as Jay Leno’s, regional stations such as Washington’s WRC (Channel 4), and Universal movie studios, it’s clearly a step towards massive media consolidation. Not to mention posing a big threat to net neutrality. How do you feel about it? Leave a comment below.

In other news, the first ever Tea Party convention is currently taking place in Nashville, proving that the right can actually mobilise and protest with just as much (perhaps even more) vitriol than the left. For those outside the US bubble unfamiliar with the trend, it’s essentially a grass roots organization against what they perceive as Obama’s socialist agenda (forcing healthcare, tax hikes and increased state control on an unsuspecting populace). Personally, I think it’s great to see more people engaged in the political process, standing up for what they believe in. Unless, of course, they aren’t so sure why they have those beliefs in the first place – see this video of their march to the White House last year.

One reason, Dr David Runciman argues, that people can feel so passionately against measures that are designed to help them is that they have fallen for the narrative of a specific agenda, despite its lack of substantiating evidence. For more, read this article from the BBC on how interesting stories can speak to voters more than facts and figures, courtesy of Steve Bissette.
Yet further proof that we need to rethink the way news content and information is presented – comics journalism, anyone? Speaking of which, if you haven’t already, you need to check out legendary comics journalist Joe Sacco‘s latest graphic opus, Footnotes in Gaza – a devastating piece of comics journalism form on Israeli policy towards Palestinians in the occupied territories, as well as an investigation of historical truth.

And last but not least comes the news of a corruption scandal at the heart of the world’s second largest arm manufacturer (the UK’s own BAE), and the £300m it has been forced to pay out in compensation. Check out the Guardian and the Serious Fraud Office’s combined efforts to bring the company to justice over the past 30 years here. Remember my Jan 28th post about Attorney General Goldsmith from the Chilcot Inquiry? Turns out he was once again silenced by Tony Blair, this time when it came to investigating BAE’s £43bn al-Yamamah fighter plane sales to Saudi Arabia. Which was on a par with the sale of a hi-tech military radar system to poverty-stricken Tanzania. Naturally, both cases were of the utmost concern to the respective parties’ national security.

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