The Power of Failure

Article: The Power of Failure

This episode starts on a low note. The grades are posted from the students’ first test – and almost everyone’s failed.

A moment later, Ellie says, “People said I was stupid… I started believing it. I started becoming it.”

In Episode One, almost every kid in the school said they didn’t study or that they didn’t care – in effect striving for failure… to be the person that they think everyone thinks they are.

They were reaffirming themselves as stereotypical dropouts. Ironic as Soledad O’Brien, their teacher this week, immediately digs into the question of, what do people assume about you when they look at you? And then she asks, “who are you really?” – and the answers are diametrically different from the previous ones.

Do books ever change anything? And a note on Palin's print problem

Article: Do books ever change anything? And a note on Palin's print problem

With the Brooklyn Book Festival now behind us and the NY Art Book Fair just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of the printed word and whether or not books matter as much now as they used to. I’m not talking about how we’re warming up to our e-readers and giving ink and paper the cold shoulder; I mean the relevancy and power of the content itself – no matter how you choose to access it.

Pictures by a Reuters photojournalist of a harrowing flight that nearly crashed

Article: Pictures by a Reuters photojournalist of a harrowing flight that nearly crashed

When the flight he was on with his wife and kids from Singapore to Jakarta experienced a scary malfunction that threatened to crash the plane, this Reuters photojournalist calmly documented the ordeal and shared the photos and experience on a Reuters blog. During my many years of assignments as a Reuters photojournalist, when flying I…

Bad journalism warning labels

Article: Bad journalism warning labels

Tom Scott, a two first name guy described by UK’s The Register as “sometime Internet funny man,” came up with a cheeky labeling system that would warn or alert readers of “sloppy journalism and other questionable content.” You can also print a PDF template of these labels. [Hat tip: Kaizar]

CRUDE Legal Defense Fundraiser at IFC Center: Tuesday, June 22 at 8pm

Article: CRUDE Legal Defense Fundraiser at IFC Center: Tuesday, June 22 at 8pm

CRUDE (Legal Defense Fundraiser) Tues, June 22 @ 8 pm IFC CENTER Q&A w/ director Joe Berlinger, attorney Maura Wogan, Morgan Spurlock, Michael Winship (WGA East) Tickets are $16 (all proceeds go to Berlinger’s legal defense fund) Tickets now on sale | More info To support Berlinger’s legal defense fund and shine additional light on…

Documentary filmmakers rally around CRUDE director

Article: Documentary filmmakers rally around CRUDE director

CRUDE director Joe Berlinger.

Earlier this month, when a judge ruled that documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger was to turn over all 600-plus hours of footage he shot for his film CRUDE to the oil giant Chevron, which is seeking the footage to help the company defend itself from the litigation efforts depicted in the film, several of Berlinger’s fellow directors immediately expressed dismay at the decision and support for their colleague.

“It makes me shudder to think that all that stuff would be turned over,” documentarian Ric Burns (who produced THE CIVIL WAR (1990) with his brother Ken Burns) told the New York Times, “not because of any secrets that are revealed, but because of the killer blow to the trust a filmmaker cultivated, deeply, over a very long period of time.”

Burns contended that the ruling, if upheld, could have long-term effects. “Next time, there won’t be a CRUDE. There won’t be a film,” he said. “That’ll be good for Chevron, I guess. Because the next time you go, you’re going to have a much leerier group of informants.”

Michael Moore (of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 and BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE) agreed. “The chilling effect of this is, someone like me, if something like this is upheld, the next whistle blower at the next corporation is going to think twice about showing me some documents if that information has to be turned over to the corporation that they’re working for,” Moore told the New York Times, suggesting that Berlinger resist turning over the footage “if he can.” He added, “I think that he’ll find that he’ll have the support of hundreds of filmmakers who will back him in this.”

While Moore has occasionally been accused of exaggerating for effect, in this case, his prediction proved to be spot-on.

Will CRUDE director be forced to surrender his footage?

Article: Will CRUDE director be forced to surrender his footage?

As the world struggles to absorb the devastating implications of the oil spill currently glugging untold barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, while the companies involved point fingers at each other and decline to fully admit their mistakes, another oil-related drama has been playing out in a federal court in New York.

Chevron, the oil giant at the center of Joe Berlinger’s documentary CRUDE, which opened at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009, has petitioned the court to allow it to subpoena more than 600 hours of footage shot for his film. The film tells the story of a group of Ecuadoreans who are suing the oil company, contending that it poisoned their people by dumping 18 billion gallons of toxic oil waste into their rivers and onto their land in what has become known as “Amazon Chernobyl.”

Chevron is seeking a dismissal of the suit, which has dragged on for years, and believes that the footage may help its case. But Berlinger’s attorneys have argued that the director should be offered the same privileges that all investigative journalists receive, allowing them to protect confidential sources and information. They insist that forcing him to turn over the footage would violate his rights under the First Amendment and constitute a breech of the confidentiality agreements he’d established with the people who appear in the film.

A little more than a week ago, the ruling came back.

Garry Trudeau on "journotwits"

Article: Garry Trudeau on "journotwits"

Mediabistro’s Webnewser blog has an exclusive interview with Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau about the media world’s obsession with Twitter. Trudeau, who generally thinks the microblogging service is a useless time-suck, devoted a recent series of strips to the Twitter experiments of the hapless journalist Roland Hedley. Here’s what Trudeau has to say about real-life tweeting…

THE GOOD FIGHT Website Launch

Article: THE GOOD FIGHT Website Launch

Simran Sethi, a rising star in journalism, has officially launched her web exclusive show, THE GOOD FIGHT []. Sundance Channel is proud to be working with Simran to bring you important environmental justice stories on the web. The official site is up and ready for you to check it out now. If you are interested…