Nick ‘churnalism’ Davies in action

30 11 2008

I missed the debate on churnalism – a point of departure for my PhD – led by UK journalist Nick Davies in Brussels last July, but am pleased to have stumbled onto an article and videos of this event:


Strings and things: Nuyorican Soul

30 11 2008

Need some time to ease my mind after a hectic week that resulted in mental and physical fatigue. So I turn to a dancefloor evergreen that never fails to lift my spirits. It’s rare to find a cover version that packs more oomph than the (Salsoul Orchestra) original.

Legendary NY-based Latin DJ and production team NuYorican Soul is a two-man wrecking crew consisting of Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez and ‘Little’ Louie Vega who, on this occasion, teamed up with the former’s ex-wife, salsa singer India and Salsoul veterans Vincent Montana Jr. and Ronnie ‘The Hawk’ James. The result is a stunning hymn to 70s disco.

NuYorican Soul feat. India – Runaway (Talkin’ Loud, 1996)
Sample on or purchase on

“caught in the vortex of violence”

29 11 2008

The Guardian’s Randeep Ramesh vividly captures a sense of the horror at Mumbai’s Oberoi Hotel.

The 56-year-old was walking towards the Metro cinema when he felt his legs collapse – a bullet had been shot through his lower back. A hand then grasped his hair, pulled back his head and a blade slit his neck. He had been caught in the vortex of violence unleashed by people who wanted to murder, not just maim.

In Mumbai hospital, dying and maimed ask: Why me? The Guardian, 29 Nov. 2008

I’m spine: lessons in visceral osteopathy

29 11 2008

For the past few days now, I have been suffering from acute neck pain (left-hand side of my cervical vertebrae). I thought this was due to incorrect posture during sleep, but a visit to manual therapist Matthias Dewaele got to the heart of the problem: mental and physical stress combined with a dietary case history of carbo-loading.

Apparently, a carb-heavy diet has congested my pancreas. This congestion, in combination with work-related stress, has caused a blockage via the vagus and phrenicus nerves in my occiput-atlas-axis (OAA) complex at the left base of my skull. This condition is also common in horses (link in Dutch, insert joke here).

The (in)effectiveness of product-recalls

28 11 2008

Utrecht University’s Daniel Janssen kicked off the 2008-2009 DiO Interactive Workshop Series with an interesting research talk on the genre and framing of consumer product recalls. Daniël’s experimental research shows that image management strategies which minimize or maximize threats to consumers have little or no effect on the reader (as measured by reader response rates of fictitious, manipulated product recalls). In passing, Daniël made some insightful comments about the pros and cons of quantitative applied linguistic research.

A rational choice theory of journalism

26 11 2008

Lovely, interdisciplinary paper in the latest issue of Journalism. Arguing that “journalists have a high self-interest at stake when selecting, producing, and disseminating news” (p. 673), authors Susanne Fengler and Stephan Ruß-Mohl turn to rational choice theory to explain ongoing changes in journalism.

In recasting journalists as rational actors, the authors point to the importance of non-material rewards (e.g. clout) to journalists, external effects of media competition (from ‘media frenzies’ to ‘PR subsidies’) and asymmetries in source-media interaction.

One area in which the self-interest of journalists becomes particularly evident is during story meetings. Together with my trusted colleague and fellow blogger Ellen Van Praet, we’re currently analyzing transcripts of such story meetings to see how journalists negotiate authorship, objectivity, newsworthiness but also status, expertise and authority.

Fengler, Susanne and Russ-Mohl, Stephan (2008). Journalists and the information-attention markets: Towards an economic theory of journalism. Journalism 9 (6): 667-690. DOI: 10.1177/1464884908096240

Plug one, plug two: DiO 08-09 workshops

25 11 2008