Coming to a conference near you: Eyeborg

31 01 2009

Meet Rob Spence, filmmaker, journalist and media conference attraction. Having lost an eye as a child, Rob is trying to put a microscopic video camera into his prosthetic eye. Why? According to a Canadian Press article, to raise public awareness of constant surveillance in society and to get people talking unself-consciously.

According to Rob’s bio blurb in a recent DNA conference newsletter, people “soon forget he is recording everything they do” because the camera is invisible. Sure. I wonder how ‘naturally’ people talk in Rob’s presence knowing he could be filming them. Step right up to see the bearded woman of journalism at DNA2009!

Journalism in times of moral panic

30 01 2009

What kind of journalism do we want in times of moral crises? For the majority of Flemish news media, no theory is too far-fetched, no source too irrelevant, no ethical concern too important. Yesterday, VTM news broadcast the voicemail message of the 20 year old nursery assailant. I cannot think of any journalistic context in which that would be appropriate.

In the days after the attack, several news media linked the attacker’s complexion to that of the Batman character The Joker, adding that the most recent actor to play the role, Heath Ledger, died exactly one year before the nursery killings took place and that the actor’s name is “an exact anagram” of the attacker’s surname.

Yes, the public has the right to know what took place on that fatal Friday morning in Dendermonde, but we do not need cameras covering the ceremony in honor of the three victims. That’s voyeurism, not journalism. I take my hat off to Piet Buyse, the history teacher/Dendermonde mayor who is taking every measure necessary to ban all newsmedia from these ceremonies.

De Morgen)

Piet Buyse, Dendermonde Mayor (photo credit: De Morgen)

Mr Dinkins, would you please be my mayor?
You’ll be doing us a really big favor

A Tribe Called Quest – Can I kick it (Jive, 1990)

Samuel Pepys was spot on in 1663

29 01 2009

I had the rare pleasure of tasting a First Growth a few days ago. Lured by the prospect of tasting a 2005 Sassicaia –  GP approved btw – I signed up for the weekly wine tasting session at Chai & Bar in Brussels. Little did I know that I was about to be swept off my feet by a 2001 Haut-Brion.

1998 Château Haut-Brion by waynemah (

1998 Château Haut-Brion by waynemah (

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From the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant

28 01 2009

Love the flow, like the video, dig the MJesque logo.Via Lefto.

Good on the crisis in print journalism

28 01 2009

Who’s (still) reading US newspapers wonders Good Magazine? Apparently, more people do on weekends than during the week. Based on (outdated) 2006 Audit Bureau of Circulations data, Good concludes that the majority of US newspapers with large circulations “are not reaching all the readers that they should be reaching”.

This reminds me of NY Times columnist Joe Nocera’s answer to the question ‘Does cutting staff cut the market value of newspapers?’ To him, it’s a chicken-or-egg question. If news quality is degraded by staff cuts, does that move feed on declining circulation numbers? Or, is the decline in circulation driving the need to cut staff?

Money As Debt by Paul Grignon

27 01 2009

Basic monetary theory in 47 minutes (via Paul Huybrechts). Loans do not come out of deposits and other lil’ nuggets of monetary insight, as animated by Paul Grignon. I’m bringing sexy back, alright.

Monday niceness: DJ Kwak’s Motown mix

26 01 2009

Back to niceness is the musical brainchild of DJ Kwak and 72 Soul, two cats from Brussels whose multilingual radioshow kicks off your Saturday evening on FM Brussels. This week, they’re celebrating Motown’s musical legacy of with a fine selection of soul classics. Aaahhhh, listen everybody…

Listen online or download here. Tracklist after the jump.

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In memory of Marita, Korneel and Leon

24 01 2009

Yusef Lateef – Like it is (Atlantic, 1968)
Download available at neverenoughrodes

We need more journalism like this

24 01 2009

A human tragedy of the worst kind unfolded yesterday in the Flemish town of Dendermonde. A 20 year old man went on a killing spree in a day care center. Two babies, 6 and 9 months old, and one adult were stabbed to death, 10 other toddlers and 2 adults were seriously injured in the attack. The assailant fled the scene by bike but was quickly arrested in a nearby town. He is now in custody but is uncooperative police say.

This horrific event has deeply shocked the country. What transpired in the Fabeltjesland nursery defies belief. Of all the media coverage, I was moved to tears by Valerie Droeven’s article in De Standaard: Verweesde mannen in pak (‘Forsaken men in suits’). This is the kind of journalism we need: authentic, transparent, involved. The first person style of reporting makes for an intimate, honest and emotional eyewitness report of absolute horror.

Mourning retires, Van Lierde does not

23 01 2009

Two of my favorite professional athletes are in the news. Alonzo Mourning, perrenial NBA warrior, has retired after 15 seasons in the league. As much as I wanted Zo to make another successful comeback, this was the right decision to make. In other news, Luc Van Lierde, IM Hawai course record holder and triathlon great, has squeezed out another sponsorship deal to add a farewell tour to his tri resume. Good luck, Luc! Picture by flickr member cxfan.