Worth a watch: Lynsey Addario on the Daily Show


It’s great to see Lynsey Addario getting so much press for her book, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War. Hot on the heels of her appearance on Fresh Air, last night Addario was interviewed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. You can watch the video embedded above or at Comedy Central’s website.

It’s a short interview, interspersed with Stewart’s usual acerbic wit, but it touches on many important topics including the value of frontline photojournalism, the dangers faced by conflict reporters, and Addario’s efforts to balance normal life with her work.

Not many photographers make it to the Daily Show interview chair, so it’s especially exciting to see this interview. The only other photojournalist to have been invited on to the show, that I’m aware of, is Benjamin Lowy back in 2011.

Speculation and fear-mongering: a short comparison of American and Canadian breaking news coverage

I’ve been listening to some Australian news coverage (← Australia’s ABC News livestream) of the just-finished hostage situation in downtown Sydney, Australia, this morning and was reminded of Al Jazeera’s short comparison of American and Canadian television reporting (embedded above) in the wake of the Parliament Hill shootings in Ottawa, Canada, earlier this year. The video is an eye-opening look at how much speculation and fear-mongering figure into American breaking news coverage.

On this subject, take a look at On The Media’s Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook. Here’s one of the program’s segments on why they made the handbook, and it’s well worth a listen. The handbook always seem to be right when you look back at breaking news coverage. Here are my three favorites, all of which applied in this case: “News outlets will get it wrong,” “There’s almost never a second shooter,” and “Don’t trust anonymous sources.”

Keeping that handbook in mind, my two favorite places to read breaking news are MetaFilter and Reddit (beware of Reddit detectives, by the way). In today’s case, both offered up-to-the-minute links to news reports and press conferences as they happened, as well as rumors getting passed around and debunking or critical analysis of the rumors. Reddit, also, usually has comments from people very close to the incident. Here’s the most active Reddit post (Here’s a comment that had news before most anywhere else; On The Media’s handbook applies. Here’s a comment that had information quickly with better source attribution. Here’s a comment from someone who was locked into a nearby library during the hostage situation.), a Reddit Live post (better than the active post for a distilled look at information as it becomes available), and the MetaFilter post (comments there are always at a higher level than anywhere else on the web). From those two sources, you can always find links to live streams from local news, by the way.

My other favorite source for breaking news, the New York Times’s Lede Blog, has ceased operation. The Times still periodically does live coverage of breaking news, though, often aggregating links to other news coverage of the event in question. In this case, I couldn’t find live coverage at the Times, though they did link to the Sydney Morning Herald’s live updates.

Trailer released for Wim Wender’s documentary on Sebastião Salgado

A tantalizing morsel of Wim Wenders‘ and Juliano Salgado’s documentary on Sebastião Salgado, The Salt of the Earth (IMDB), has been released. The Guardian has a review and some information about the making of the film.

Sure, half of the video (above) isn’t in English, and the trailer makes the movie look like a hagiographic camera advertisement, but I’ll still be interested to watch when it comes out. When it does come out, there likely will be a host of critiques of Salgado’s work, as ever. Most of this critique hinges on the beautification and aestheticizing of suffering. The standard response is that the photographer must make photos worth looking at if they are to drive attention to particular issues. More troubling are issues of representation in Salgado’s work as it approaches the noble savage depiction of indigenous peoples. I don’t think Salgado’s work reaches Jimmy Nelson levels of colonialist/orientalist anthropology, but it’s there, especially in the most recent Genesis work. This Huffington Post review approaches the topic a bit, and here’s the first page of an academic paper(← PDF) looking at objectification in Salgado’s work. More troubling still is that the Genesis project was largely funded by the Vale mining company, one of the worst human rights violators in some of the regions that Salgado’s work depicts. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see Salgado at work in this film.

Wim Wenders seems to have a particular interest in documentary photography, by the way. If you remember, he delivered a particularly moving speech when James Nachtwey was award the third annual Dresden Peace Prize.