Free Speech Week, Shameless Fabrication, and First Person POV: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

First Things First, Amendment

It’s Free Speech Week–– a week dedicated to the promotion and celebration of our first amendment rights. Get into it! The folks over at FSW have a ton of great ideas for joining the celebration. In journalism, we’re acutely aware of the importance of freedom of speech; use this week as a good excuse to start a habit of self-expression.

Whadda Pisa Work

Yeah, the Amanda Knox case is old news, but the documentary about it is new, and it’s fascinating. Cliffs notes: 20-year-old American Amanda Knox is convicted, along with her Italian boyfriend, of killing Amanda’s roommate in Italy. Turns out, neither were involved at all. But what’s really interesting is the way media spin actually affected lives for real, like, Italian prison-real. Nick Pisa, a journalist whose stories on the case were prolific, salacious, and actually just made up, says of his work: “it’s not as if I can say, right, hold on a minute, I just want to double check that myself in some other way, I mean, goodness knows how, and then I let my rival get in first before me, and then I’ve lost the scoop. It doesn’t work like that, not in the news game.” Actually Nick, that is how it’s supposed to work. Turns out, the Knox doc is an illustrative primer on journalistic integrity: a what-not-to-do.

First Person Shooter

Vox started running personal essays in it’s First Person section last year. Personal essays aren’t a new thing, but they’re new to Vox. When they ran an essay defending the ownership of AR-15’s recently, their typically left-leaning, left-accustomed audience reacted negatively. But Vox says it’s a way to balance their reporting. By running narrative essays, the publication offers a pivot to their news features–– real-life stories from real-life people. And if personal essayist Roxane Gay, whose comment is featured in the article above, finds Vox’s personal essays offensive, well. Maybe she should pitch a story about it for First Person.

No-bel Prize, Apparently

Last week Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and it felt like a big middle finger to American writers of all stripes. The odd choice has been subject to heavy speculation among the literary community, and reactions range from Anna North’s altruistic belief that the  Nobel committee surely didn’t intend to slight the entirety of the American lit crowd by handing the award over to a musician, to Kevin Drum’s theory that Dylan was chosen for that express purpose. Dylan’s reaction so far? Radio silence.

This also happened last week:

The in-all-ways outspoken Amy Schumer blasted Trump as part of her routine at a Tampa Bay show last weekend and received a chorus of boos and walk-outs. What’s not surprising is that Schumer had cutting commentary on the presidential candidate. What is surprising is that the comic has (or shall we said had) fans who are also Trump supporters. Fortunately, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is pushing for a post-election Trump TV option (hedging against his father-in-law? Probably smart business), so maybe Schumer will have a chance to win some fans back as a guest of the on the orange man’s show.