Monthly Archives: November 2008

Moscow fails Anna Politkovskaya

If you were want to blame someone for unleashing me onto the world of journalism, you can blame Anna Politkovskaya. This was a woman of fierce courage in the face of the oppressing political machine that is Russia, a true hero to the voiceless many of Chechnya who could not tell the world of the horrors of the wars under President Vladimir Putin. A noble mentor who showed what real journalism was about.

And then she was shot. Two years ago this brave anti-Kremlin woman was shot outside her Moscow flat. It is undeniable that this was a hired killing, come on, all the evidence points the way to Putin’s front door. The men that stand in the dock today are there to silent the people, escape goats, who for all her vocal condemnations was loved.

And yet even as the chechnyen brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makmudov and the former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov stand trial we know this is a farce. A closed court? Who are they trying to kid? These men will get off. They won’t hoodwink the justice system, because the justice system is in the Kremlin’s pockets.

Even at the start of the trial things were a bit off – the family lawyer Karinna Moskalenko had a narrow escape after being poisoned (does anyone hear Alexander Litvinenko stirring in his grave?) and could not be present at the start of the trial. Then to have the trial moved to a military court, where the family will have even less of a chance to be vindicated.

And now to adjourn the trial early because the jurors might feel unsettled about having journalists in the court room, not according to one juror who gave an interview afterwards, shame on you Judge Yevgeny Zubov.

Here lies a trial born out of farce and spitting on the ashes of what was once one of the truly honourable journalists left int he world.

Please read her books, Putin’s Russia will explain how much of a charade this trial will be, and A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya will really show you her journalistic prowess.

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Is the US media train ahead of the curve?

Good investigative journalism is hard to come by, more so for local and regional papers who do not have the time or resources to dig too far. And how many journalists know of local crooks out there but do not have the time, and sometimes the editorial backing, to just get the evidence?

A good piece of investigative journalism can make a career, look at David Leigh of The Guardian who uncovered the dirty dealings of British Arms giant BAE or Watergate’s Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward (a.k.a Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, hehe).

I only mention Watergate because I am about to cross the Atlanticand ask the perpetual question –

Is American media more savvy than the UK’s?

Or in other words are they ahead of the curve and breathing fresh air into the newspaper industry more than in this country? I only ask because I am truly curious that the websites and news that have really grabbed my eye these past few months have been American ones…so what’s going on?

Well, first all with investigative journalism, the best pieces in the UK are found in traditional media usually through broadsheets or specialist magazines like The Internationalist/New Scientist/the Economist.

In the US though, the Huffington Post, a fantastic on-line news site (big fan, needs to be RSSd) has announced plans to raise money for investigative journalism projects (according to Robert Macmillan’s blog). Where the money will go, who knows but only three months til further news is announced.

Then there is the emergence of purely investigative sites like sharesleuth.com, bailoutsleuth.com, who reports on financial wrongdoings, and propublica.org which really adds some spice to online news, even if the news is a tad bit over my head.

The emergence of news integration sites, like the Huffington Post and thedailybeast.com, where they combine news pieces with blogs, video, podcasts and visuals, is a news addicts dream.

In the UK, well I suppose The Telegraph has just announced a 5-minute political show on its website offering comment and debate, The Telegraph has always been ahead of the curve, it does have a lot of money, a lot of which was used for the redevelopment of their newsroom not even a year ago and for the hiring of online marketing people and journalists.

I must say though that the BBC are probably the only prudent company looking at the future, they have good political commentary, still fund investigative journalism, have innovative news analysis pieces and are overall reliable with the financial backing to be risk-takers.

Maybe that’s the problem, could we be relying on the BBC too much? Taking up the mantle and leading the way through this dark labyrinth that is techno-land? We should shout no more, we should hasten and create the environment where we too can be innovative with our news, after all if we always follow the BBC’s lead on online creativeness then it will be them who will get the glory and highest web traffic.

We could also have endless talks about the free newspaper wars all over the world, but I won’t.

To put the finishing touches in this polemic, I find the US media coming out ahead, it is not a question of is it bad or good, or should we be jealous and start a riot, rather this is just an observation.

We must now candidly question: Why is the USA coming out ahead of the curve in new media?

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Nature Boy’s story

…and so i have taken wordpress’ challenge to write a little bit of a novel every day, enjoy…

p.s. this should be read with Nat King Cole’s ‘nature boy’ playing in the background.

Like a violin his stringed heart bled all over the coffee table.

And so, from the beginning, before his heart hung helpless on that casket…

One night the fates conspired and brought two broken souls/together they danced and spoke in tongues and their heads were filled with hallucinogens.

So the mescaline-induced, twirling dreams and greatest love story starts/at its core two souls with broken hearts/those wounds healed with each massage/she gave a kiss and gave him her heart.

Her hair grew long, his eyes grew fond, she aged in love as her innocence grew.

Oh, the boy was sweet he carried her around, on his back, entwined he gave her his soul and she a kiss.

It continued for so long…

But, the night was drawing near/real world was creeping in/they twirled and she realised the dream, the love, the thing she wanted.

The truth dawned, it spread through her body, she slipped each finger through her own and she let go.

She knew what she must do, to live in a world like this, sacrifices were made, love was lost, her heart told her to run and be someone, not an apparition living in a halo of comfort and self but one that matters.

And in the quiet of the night she slipped away.

Placing a foot on the first of so many ice sheets, she drifted/no word of goodbye, no tears.

Continents apart the iceberg took her so she could be a one,a  single, an individual/walking in my sleep so you can’t have me.

He woke, and with her no longer there he searched high and low, in the cupboard he threw his chequered shirt aside and crept inside, the glimmer of light pierced through the slates of the doors, though the woods, snow between his toes.

He fell to the ground, beside himself, his heart in his mouth, red burst out of him and he sank to his knees, a voiceless cry of loss, the words of How Could You left to the wind.

But she called to him and sang to him. On her ice cap she sang a song and its note would float back to him/she was so lost she wished to the stars that she could be the one that she was before him/with him.

And so the poisonous thoughts they crept in through the pores, ate away at the love, at the idealisation.

Her heart froze and then it got smashed into a hundred flurrys of petals, hopes dashed/the last note was pulled from heart and it fell like a knife on his heart/dead this love which fate brought forth from broken souls.

The young soul too lost in his own self missed her last note, just a prick, that’s all that she finally meant to him, to him she was no more, gone and all he felt was one last prick.

In that haze he believed/he continued his life/vans and hallucinogens with whisky in a tumbler so he lived his days till that another note reached him.

Behind the red swing doors, a line of woeful song, a tango, oooh that tango with that sigh, a final note from the violin that would break his heart.

He fell over the chipped, brazen, empty coffee table.

The red of those two souls still stains that wooden floor.

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