When words fail, so many words

by David Alm April 26, 2013

What is it about tragedy that inspires us to write? I was in Boston two Mondays ago for the Boston Marathon, a race I attend every year. I’ve run it six times since 2006, but I decided to take a break from marathons in 2013. For the first time ever, I went simply to watch. […]

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The ironic death of postmodernism

by David Alm October 11, 2012

I am currently teaching a class at Hunter College titled Journalism & Society, which analyzes the impact of journalism on culture and vice versa. We discuss corporate consolidation, the so-called “independent media,” the real import of “fake” news, and the ultimately limited ability of any news organization to tell us everything we need to know. […]

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Is the Atlantic making itself go viral?

by David Alm September 24, 2012

About six years ago, I mentioned to someone that I’d just read an interesting article in the Atlantic that concerned whatever it was we were talking about at the time. She was a bit older than me, in her 40s, and visibly taken aback. “What are you doing reading the Atlantic?” she asked, as though […]

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Alienated content: the new model for “journalism”

by David Alm July 2, 2012

Ryan Smith has a degree in journalism and more than a dozen years’ experience writing for bona fide newspapers. That didn’t spare him his job, though, and like many of us with resumes replete with publications, advanced degrees, and the willingness to work for very little money, he recently found himself scrounging for editorial work. […]

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When books begin to annoy

by David Alm February 23, 2012

Something strange is happening to me. When I read books now, I find myself getting annoyed with them about halfway through. This is an entirely unscientific observation, anecdotal at best, and sporadic in actual occurrences. But it’s happened a few notable times in the past year, and I’ve come to a conclusion that seems to […]

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A student’s death, mediated

by David Alm November 15, 2011

On Friday, I woke up early, around 5:15 a.m. and checked my email. There, amid the junk mail, was a subject line that left me stunned. It informed me that a student I’d had for two courses at Hunter College, in 2007 and 2008, had been killed. Walking down a road on Long Island last […]

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Knox is free, thanks (or no thanks?) to the media

by David Alm October 4, 2011

In early 2008, I read a disturbing story of young lust and murderous rage, fueled by alcohol one late night, that left a 21-year-old woman dead in Perugia, Italy. I read about the murderers: an attractive couple in their early 20s, who looked like any clean-cut college students you’d see on any campus in the […]

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Media, Sensationalism and Media Sensationalism

by Jeff McMahon May 10, 2011

Lauren Berlant speaking on media sensationalism? I couldn’ t miss that. So I found my way to the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center to have a listen. Only to find out I’d overlooked the comma between media and sensationalism. Lauren Berlant is an English professor at the University of Chicago, but that title can’t contain […]

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Journalism, exquisite torment

by Jeff McMahon March 25, 2011
Publicity still from the movie

I left the daily life of journalism at the turn of the Century, just before the daily life of journalism collapsed. That left me feeling a bit like Charlie Chaplin, who sold all his stocks in 1928. Since then I’ve maintained journalism as a practice more cyclically, and less cynically, focusing more on reporting and […]

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