Committee Recommends: Week 5

Welcome back to Media Soc Recommends! We hope you’re riding the tide of fifth week blues and that this mixture of hard-hitting journalism and briefer news-bites nudges you onto the shore of sixth.

Our ‘Recommends’ series is a round-up of news articles, long reads and internet miscellany to keep you informed and entertained.

Illustration © Guardian Design

Illustration © Guardian Design

Welcome back to Recommends! We hope you’re riding the tide of fifth week blues and that this mixture of hard-hitting journalism and briefer news-bites nudges you onto the shore of sixth.

Long Reads

How the free press worldwide is under threat

‘It is easy to dismiss concerns about press freedom as relevant only to countries led by repressive, unelected regimes. But that would be a mistake.’

COVID-19 has caused us to engage with news media more than ever before. But at the same time, attacks on journalists and publishers have proved deadly to individuals and chilling to broader freedoms. In this article Gill Phillips looks at press freedom and the persecution of journalists across both Europe and the world.

Is Ronan Farrow too good to be true?

‘He delivers narratives that are irresistibly cinematic — with unmistakable heroes and villains — and often omits the complicating facts and inconvenient details that may make them less dramatic.’

This deep dive into the success of the internationally renowned New Yorker journalist Ronan Farrow has caused quite a stir. Farrow came to prominence after his work in exposing Harvey Weinstein, yet Ben Smith, media columnist at the New York Times, has challenged the legitimacy of many of Farrow’s claims. The article has been controversial, not least because of Smith’s own sometimes complicated relationship with the truth and the longstanding rivalry between the New Yorker and the Times. In any case, it is a fascinating insight into the world of investigative journalism, and the long and sometimes messy path a story must take before publication.

How triggering pro-anorexia content found a new home on TikTok

‘…TikTok has recently claimed the crown as the most downloaded app in the world, but with success comes responsibility’

This article looks at the newest, addictive social media platform TikTok, and how it’s ‘For You Page’ algorithms give you highly tailored content. It discusses the harmful cycle of how this can keep feeding vulnerable young people pro-anorexia content every time they look at the app.

The Death of George Floyd in context

‘The video of Floyd’s death is horrific but not surprising; terrible but not unusual’

The harrowing story of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis this week is yet another wake up to the ongoing racism and police brutality in the US. This article outlines the incident and serves as a reminder that such an occurrence is sadly not an anomaly.

In the News

J. K. Rowling’s The Ickabog

After years of anticipation, J. K. Rowling has finally brought out another children’s novel. Each week of lockdown she has been releasing chapters of the story that she had initially reserved for her children. Although the tale is aimed at 5-7 year olds, its reminiscence of the Harry Potter world we all know and love holds widespread appeal. And, to add to the magic, all royalties are going towards those affected by the coronavirus.

BBC Glastonbury Celebration

The 50th Glastonbury festival was due to take place this June. Instead, the BBC have mustered together some performance highlights from over the years including those of David Bowie, Beyonce and Billie Eilish. Keep your eyes peeled for these instalments over the next month.

A cure for Tsundoku? and To get us through, finding the wisdom of books written in isolation

While reflecting on ‘tsundoku’, the Japanese name for the phenomenon of a pile of unread books, Alexander Wooley also provides recommendations of lengthy tomes to match our new pace of life. On the other hand, Michael Dirda of the Washington Post turns to books written in isolation for his literary enjoyment. Give these articles a peruse to help bash the lockdown blues or simply add to your own ‘tsundoku’.

That’s all for this week. If you have any thoughts on this, or would like to write for us, please email Emily at [email protected].