Isabelle Roughol – The J junkie

The tribulations of a young journalist and writer looking for work

Archive for the ‘(Pop) culture’ Category

Got questions for Placebo and other MTV Exit artists?

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On Saturday, I get to interview all the artists of the MTV Exit concert in Angkor Wat: that’s Placebo, The Click Five, Duncan Sheik, Kate Miller-Heidke and Pou Khlaing.

I like to get people’s input when preparing long-standing interviews, so if you have questions for those guys, let me know and I’ll work them in if they fit.

Note: I can think of plenty to ask Placebo, but I frankly don’t know the other guys so well. So do especially share if you’re familiar with Click Five, Duncan Sheik, Kate Miller-Heidke or Pou Khlaing.

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Written by Isabelle Roughol

Tuesday, 2 December, 2008 at 22:40

4.16% of Ph.Ds a haven do not make

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I spent 5 hours in the dark yesterday watching the POY judging and actually thought it was fun. David Rees struck up a conversation with me, the essence of which was that I should delay my graduation and stick around to take more photo classes (oh how I wish). I then found myself at Shakespeare’s taking some cool portraits of Sally Morrow (I might be a better photographer with a couple beers in me). I’ve had my camera in my bag all week and shot half a roll just on my way to work this morning, just because the light was nice.

I was told last night that I am one conversation with Rita Reed shy of induction into the photo department. Alright, Rita, let’s chat. Why shouldn’t I want to stick around for a photo master’s after all? Didn’t you hear? CoMo is the 11th smartest city in the U.S., and Lord knows I need to surround myself with smart people. You already knew we pride ourselves on having the highest per capita ratio of journalists, but now we also have published proof that we are smarter than the Silicon Valley.

Elinore Longobardi over at CJR has pointed out all the statistical pitfalls of this list, and I make it a habit not to poorly duplicate the good work of others, so I’ll just link. I have to disagree with one point she makes, though.

The business press likes lists. We don’t know why. But it does. List-making seems more a clerical than journalistic function, but that’s just us.

I know why! They grab the public’s attention on your cover better than a puppy hugging a baby (yes, the puppy’s doing the hugging). They usually consist of simply reformatting research done by someone else, giving you super high return of very little time investment. And, every town of significant size is bound to be in one at some point, setting off a flurry of local bloggers advertising your publication for free. Lists are great.

Funny Forbes should praise our smarts, when lack of intellectual simulation is the reason why I couldn’t see myself living much longer in Columbia. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of brilliant, talented people around these parts that put me to shame every day, with a high concentration in an area roughly delimited by College, Providence, Locust and Rollins. CoMo is a neat little town that is dear to my heart, but three years was time enough to walk through the one museum and realize I’ll never find a decent bakery. I don’t think 4.16 percent of residents having a Ph.D. makes a place “a haven for intellectual stimulation and scholarly achievement.”

But you all know what really pisses me off about this list is that somehow Lawrence, Kan., made the top 10 and we didn’t. We want recall.

Written by Isabelle Roughol

Saturday, 23 February, 2008 at 19:20

The best of “best of” lists

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I am like most readers; I love “Best of” lists. With the end of year coming, every newsroom almost has come up with theirs. Here are my favorite favorites’ lists, and since I don’t feel the need to make it a round number, it’s a top 7. 

7- New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2007: I haven’t read a single one, but it feels smart to know I know of them. A couple are on my to read list, especially “Imperial Life in the Emerald City.”  

6- Time’s 50 Top 10 lists: Get your craving satisfied. Among the noteworthy, the Top 10 Awkward Moments (hello, Britney), the Top 10 Man-Made Disasters (global warming, duh) and the Top 10 Green Ideas (Walmart and the U.S., really?). 

5- Ask.com’s Top 10 Search Words: MySpace is the top search (you’d think people could just type in myspace.com in the address field). Also the top 10 presidential candidate searches (Barack Obama at the top), 10 top TV show searches (Hannah Montana, seriously?) and the pregnant celeb watch, if that’s your thing. 

4- Wired’s Top 10 Startups Worth Watching in 2008: It makes me feel smart that I actually know (and use) three out of 10. 

3- OJR’s Top 5 Lessons for Online Journalism: Learn the 5 things to do with your news site right now, including “4) Ask readers for information, not articles.” Amen. 

2- Editor and Publisher’s Top 10 Newspaper Industry Stories of 2007: Of course, Murdoch and WSJ had to top the list. 

1- Foreign Policy’s Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2007: Scary to think I follow the news closely daily and I hadn’t heard of a single one of those major developments. The epidemic of dengue fever is one of the more worrisome ones: my brother got dengue when we lived in the Caribbean islands, and it’s not pleasant.  

Written by Isabelle Roughol

Tuesday, 25 December, 2007 at 19:02

Free rice reinvents down time on the copy desk

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Not so long ago, on my mandatory semester on the Missourian copy desk, I got addicted to Text Twist when copy was slow coming in. Next semester’s copy editors will have a chance to play a word game that will pass the news eds’ scrutiny AND make a difference.

NPR’s Foreign Dispatch podcast has turned me on to Free Rice, a word game from the United Nations World Food Program. It’s simple: you match words to their synonym and advertisers donate 20 grains of rice for every word you get right. It doesn’t seem like much, but with the game’s growing popularity among SAT takers, English Language Learners and procrastinators worldwide, the spokeswoman on NPR said they’d already gathered enough to feed 350,000 people. And the game’s only been around for a few weeks. Not too shabby.

The game has 50 levels of increasing difficulty, but they say people hardly ever get past level 48. We’ll see about that.

Free rice

Written by Isabelle Roughol

Sunday, 23 December, 2007 at 05:58

Posted in (Pop) culture

Early reviews of the Deathly Hallows spoil the fun, but news people can’t be blamed

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As I was listening this morning, like every morning, to my Front Page podcast from the New York Times, I was shocked to hear a brief review of the book I have most awaited in my life, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Do NOT press this link, which I’ve only copied and not read, if you don’t want your Saturday reading day spoiled.) I didn’t even get a warning. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Isabelle Roughol

Thursday, 19 July, 2007 at 15:52

Posted in (Pop) culture, Ethics

Early reviews of the Deathly Hallows spoil the fun, but news people can’t be blamed

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As I was listening this morning, like every morning, to my Front Page podcast from the New York Times, I was shocked to hear a brief review of the book I have most awaited in my life, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Do NOT press this link, which I’ve only copied and not read, if you don’t want your Saturday reading day spoiled.) I didn’t even get a warning. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Isabelle Roughol

Thursday, 19 July, 2007 at 15:52

Superman and other flying considerations that barely relate to journalism

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My apologies for the hiatus. It took me three days to journey from California to France, via an array of exotic locations, and another day of non-stop sleeping to regain enough brain power to write these lines. Uneventful travels as usual. I was treated to five take-off/landing combos in 48 hours, which, when you have a sinus cold like me, feels like somebody trying to flip your facial bones inside out. My cell phone went missing around gate A21 at STL Lambert International. As I was about to board my Chicago-Philadelphia flight, the toilet started spurting jets of questionable water at unsuspecting passengers and flooded the cockpit. I was rerouted to Frankfurt (what’s seven time zones between friends?) with such a short layover time that I missed my connection to Brussels. I must have “American” etched on my forehead because no one seemed to trust my German in the Frankfurt airport. Even when I asked a question in German, I got a response in English. I don’t know if I should be happy that my English sounds so native, or disappointed that my German clearly doesn’t.

But enough with the commiserating. Here’s a post to put us all in a better mood since Murdoch got its claws into Dow Jones. … Funny, I just naturally used “its” when referring to Murdoch. Lapsus calami.

So speaking of flying and of poor journalistic ethics, I found these when scouring the Internets for design ideas for the new site. You have to appreciate the high standards at the Daily Planet. Here’s misrepresenting yourself to get a story. (Note the great headline writing skills.)

Superman - Impersonating
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Written by Isabelle Roughol

Tuesday, 17 July, 2007 at 16:31