The writing on the web: What the M&G is reading

Check out what the M&G is reading this week. (AFP)

Check out what the M&G is reading this week. (AFP)

The Mail & Guardian writers and reporters have picked up some great pieces – long, short and in between – around the internet over the past few days. In this, a new weekly roundup, is a list of our favourites.

1. In The Horror before the Beheadings, Rukmini Callimachi delivers an intimate recounting in the New York Times on what Isis hostages went through during their detentions, including excellent reporting on what journalist James Foley endured before he was beheaded on video. 

Callimachi pieced together some of Foley’s experiences from the time he was abducted together with photojournalist James Cantlie near the Turkish border through conversations with relatives, colleagues, locals who witnessed his treatment, as well as former cellmates.

2. @qudsiya turned me onto a great long read by Penny Bailey on Mosaic, The Man with the Golden Blood, where the writer journeys through the global rare blood circuit made up of the donors themselves – one of whom has blood so rare that only 40 or so other people in the world can help him if he needed it, while his precious blood type can save countless lives – as well as the scientists and doctors who work with them.

3. From  @laurajgrant is The Labourers who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings out of your Facebook Feed – a disturbing look at the business of content moderation, from low-paid positions in Manilla where some of the moderators work to the psychological impacts which have them exposed rooting out porn, sexual body parts, images of minors, racism and torture.

4. @benedictkelly also picked up funky little read on Foreign Policy: The Dog Whisperer about a World War I British military man and his canines in combat. 

5. @shaundewaal really liked @sisonkemsimang’s latest column on The Daily Maverick, Poor-Bashing is the New Slut Shaming, which takes President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu to task for recent comments around “lazy” poor and blaming citizens for the state’s incompetence. 

6. M&G‘s graphic designer John McCann has been following fascinating a string of reports from the Greek Reporter, which is tracking the excavation of a Greek tomb at Amphipolis, which archeologists believe may be somehow related to Alexander the Great. 

7. And, in case you missed it, Tinyiko Maluleke wrote a beautiful analysis in the M&G about the prophet syndrome about Nigerian “prophet” TB Joshua, as well as our own Pretoria-based Lesego Daniel, who recently made headlines after videos of him having his followers drink petrol surfaced.

Also here are some essential media reads:

1. M&G editor @angelaquintal was reading David Carr’s piece in the New York Times about the friendly dog that is driving web traffic to our new sites – and how he might maul us in the process. Check out Facebook Offers Life Raft, but Publishers are Wary. 

2. Also on Facebook @laurajgrant recommends  How Facebook is Changing the way its Users Consume Journalism.

3. The ethics of the Guardian‘s Whisper bombshell, which Ryan Chittum wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review, explores why their recent piece about the social media app Whisper – whose representatives had come into their newsroom to sell their product to reporters and ended up being reported on because of what the reps told reporters – was entirely ethical.

4. Grub Street’s  Seven Tips for Slicing and Sicing Content for Bloggers is an essential, quick read with great suggestions for digital editors and reporters, which means everyone in a newsroom.

Tanya Pampalone

Tanya Pampalone

Tanya Pampalone is the executive editor of the Mail & Guardian, where she oversees print and digital enterprise and narrative journalism projects including eBooks and special editions, such as the popular end of year and annual religion issues. Tanya occasionally lectures on media ethics and editorial independence at the Sol Plaatjie Institute at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. In 2012, she won South Africa's top journalism award, the Sikuvile, for creative writing and was a finalist in the feature writing category. In 2013, Tanya was selected as the Menell Media Fellow at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy in the United States. Currently, she is on the editorial board of the Menell Media Xchange.Tanya has more than 20 years experience living and working as a writer, columnist and editor for magazines, newspapers and online publications in the United States, the Czech Republic and South Africa. She has a BA in journalism from San Diego State University and a master's in writing from the University of San Francisco. Her work has appeared in Chimurenga's Power Money Sex, Cityscapes, Empire, Food and Home, Los Angeles Reader, Mail & Guardian, Maverick, Newsweek, Prognosis, San Francisco Examiner and, among others. Read more from Tanya Pampalone

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