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

Call for papers 2nd Intl DiO Workshop

24 11 2008

2nd International Discourse in Organizations Workshop
Call for papers – Displaying competence
Ghent, Belgium, 16-18 Sept. 2009 |

In the wake of our successful 1st International Workshop on Discourse in Organizations (DiO, Antwerp/Knokke, September 2005), we hope to bring together a number of researchers from discourse analysis, linguistic pragmatics and text studies for our 2nd International Workshop on Discourse in Organizations, from Wednesday 16 to Friday 18 September 2009. The workshop offers a small-scale, all-plenary interactive forum with a limited number of participants and plenty of time for discussion. It will also include an International PhD colloquium to be organized in co-operation with the Association for Business Communication (ABC).

Read the rest of our call for papers and check out Ghent’s prettiest conference venue.

Meanwhile, the 2008-2009 DiO interactive workshop series will kick off with a workshop led by Daniel Janssen (Utrecht University) on crisis communication and product recalls. More information (in Dutch), here.

Danny Krivit amplifies Marvin’s genius

23 11 2008

Remixing the masters is the nec plus ultra of remix culture that only the most talented artists à la José James, Jazzanova and Mark Rapson get away with. As of today, I’m adding Danny Krivit to that list. Mr. K is a New York City DJ legend who managed to do the unthinkable – stretch the soul in Marvin Gaye’s What’s going on. Astonishing, tasteful and irresistible. I bow.


Marvin Gaye, 1976 (credit: jlezebre,

Marvin Gaye – What’s going on (Danny Krivit re-edit) (CDR, 2007)

Download on

The media life and times of CandyJunkie

22 11 2008

This blog post is a eulogy for Abraham K. Biggs, aka CandyJunkie and Feels like Ecstasy. It is in no way my intention to belittle, aggrandize, moralize nor aggravate the human drama that unfolded. Reader discretion is advised.

In his prospectus to his latest book project, media theorist Mark Deuze observes that

key areas of human existence have converged in and through our concurrent and continuous exposure to, use of, and immersion in media, information and communication technologies.

Abraham K. Biggs’ life in media is a tragic case in point. On Nov. 19, 2008, 19 year old Abraham created a thread in the miscellaneous forum category on, announcing his intention to overdose later that day. As an alledged forum ‘troll’, Abraham’s message was received with cynicism and disbelief. In response, Abraham copy/pasted a suicide note, logged on to video service and took the pills.

The ensuing events, as pieced together by forum member Davidthefat, defy belief:

* Nov 19, 2008 5:32-5:51 AM: User izaktj reports CandyJunkie is trying to sleep. Miscers play around with the thought of calling the cops, but ultimately shrug off the issue and thread. CandyJunkie’s webcam continues to roll as he lays motionless during the 6 hours the thread is ignored.

* Nov 19, 2008 12:04 PM: User baby_matty bumps thread, stating that CandyJunkie is “still laying there.” Posters begin to suspect that CandyJunkie is no longer breathing because of the lack of movement on his webcam, pertaining to the expanding of the ribcage during respiration.

* Nov 19, 2008 1:03 PM: After alerting forum moderators, user AlexNipples receives controversial response from moderator “Roxie” regarding taking action to save CandyJunkie’s life.

* Nov 19, 2008 1:05 PM: User IVEverLow posts thread linking to CandyJunkie’s phone number. A few minutes later, user Eshamed51 calls, is forwarded to voicemail and leaves infamous message “Do it faggot.” Posters begin to discuss CandyJunkie’s lack of movement as a sign of death or drug induced coma.

* Nov 19, 2008 1:53 PM: User Bulker reports CandyJunkie’s personal information, including name and number: Abraham Briggs; 954.918.1247. Suggests that they call cops. Posters discuss the legitimacy of the broadcast, considering the possibility that the video is a still image or on a loop.

* Nov 19, 2008 2:09 PM: Users take action. Bulker sends failed email to Miami police department, posts the Miami Police department contact information and urges other posters to contact.

* Nov 19, 2008 2:32 PM: Bulker calls Miami Police department 3 times with success, but fails to convey the urgency in his message.

* Nov 19, 2008 2:41 PM: User mophatthedamaja confirms CandyJunkie’s suicide note is indeed copypasta, while Normg002 posts link to CandyJunkie’s myspace page.

* Nov 19, 2008 2:55 PM: User jjlee138 announces successful communication with police; reports they are en route to CandyJunkie’s location.

* Nov 19, 2008 3:30 PM: Live on webcam, Broward County police break down CandyJunkie’s door and secures the area for an EMT to enter. A cop covers the webcam. The broadcast ends.