TIME NextDraft

Reflecting on Media Coverage of Robin Williams and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 13, 2014

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1. Death (Coverage) Be Not Proud

The stories about Robin Williams are still plastered across every news site. When a lot of us are interested in a story, news organizations aggressively compete to be the brand that feeds that interest. For a very stark glimpse of what that competition can look like, check out this internal memo from a deputy managing editor of the NY Daily News to the site’s web editors. The use of “buzzy words” like death, dead, and suicide are encouraged.

+ In case you thought such eyeball-grabbing strategies were limited to web editors, check out the newspaper’s offline front page.

+ While much of the Williams coverage has been over the top, most of the tributes seem genuine. And, if nothing else, the coverage got people talking about the issues surrounding depression. If you missed it, I touched upon a few of those in yesterday’s edition.

2. Same Old Wrong

The shooting. The anger. The protests. If the scenes playing out in Ferguson seem like a sequel, it’s because its basic elements seem to be on an endless loop. From Jelani Cobb in The New Yorker: “The story that witnesses tell is disturbing not only in its details but in the ways in which those details blur into a longer narrative. It’s one we’re all familiar with if we have paid even passive attention, and yet, despite its redundancy, we have yet to grasp its moral.”

+ Another night of unrest led to another shooting and a police request that demonstrators refrain from protesting after dark. Meanwhile, the name of the officer involved in the shooting has not been released.

+ When you look at these numbers related to the racial divide in this extremely segregated city, it all starts to add up.

3. Boots Closer to the Ground

President Obama is considering using American aircraft and personnel to rescue the refugees displaced by ISIS in Iraq.

+ Vice News journalist and filmmaker Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks filming alone inside the self-proclaimed caliphate of the Islamic State.

+ The Pentagon has a new advisor. And he works at Uber.

4. Interview with a Vagabond

“He is a uniquely postmodern breed of whistle-blower. Physically, very few people have seen him since he disappeared into Moscow’s airport complex last June. But he has nevertheless maintained a presence on the world stage — not only as a man without a country but as a man without a body.” Wired’s James Bamford spends some time with Edward Snowden, the most wanted man in the world. (Among other things, Snowden tells the story of the time the NSA accidentally shut of Internet access across all of Syria.)

5. Retraining Camp

“I heard that these people were coming to get me. I ran, so they put cuffs on me and put me in the car. I was crying my eyes out. I almost had a panic attack. This place is hell … I didn’t do that many bad things that I should get sent away to a place like this.” The Atlantic’s Sulome Anderson: When wilderness boot camps take tough love too far. When I was a kid, my parents had to cuff me just to get me to go to regular camp.

+ Global parenting habits that haven’t caught on in America.

+ “When your daughter walks up to you and points to her mouth, which is filled with tiny rocks, she’s not acting out to get your attention. She’s championing a paradigm shift in how gravel is conceptualized.” Lean in, for toddlers

+ Surprise, hand sanitizers in schools don’t make your kid less likely to get sick. (Maybe now my kids will finally stop complaining about having to wear the hazmat suits.)

6. You Can’t Stop the Beat

You’re not imagining that constant, pounding bass line that seems to follow you from place to place. It turns out that, while much of the music industry is struggling, Electronic dance music (EDM) is booming. And booming. And booming. (Sometimes I crank death metal just to escape it all.)

7. The Last One

“My son tells me, ‘Do you realize you are the last one? The last person who was an eyewitness to the golden age?’ Young people, even in Hollywood, ask me, ‘Were you really married to Humphrey Bogart?’ ‘Well, yes, I think I was,’ I reply.” Lauren Bacall passed away at the age of 89. Here’s a look back at a 2011 Vanity Fair profile: To have and have not.

+ Slate: The perfect career of Lauren Bacall in five films.

+ All 16 icons name-dropped in Madonna’s Vogue are now gone.

8. Math Like a Girl

Syndicated from Kottke: The Fields Medal is viewed as the greatest honor in mathematics; the Nobel of math. Today, Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman (and Iranian) to win a Fields Medal.

9. Eating is Believing

You’re more likely to buy it if you get to see it first. Enter, the see-through package.

+ “Sugar is our great shortcut. To calories, to corporate profits, to immediate satisfaction.” The Globe and Mail on the evolution of a forbidden fruit.

+ The world’s ten most dangerous foods people actually eat. (If you can avoid African Bullfrog, you’re probably good…)

10. The Bottom of the News

Thanks to some recent court cases, the NCAA’s draconian financial grip on the lives of college athletes is showing signs of loosening. For a glimpse of what college sports might look like without all the rules and supervision, you might want to check out bass fishing. (That’s my first time typing that phrase…)

+ Have we reached peak sleep hack? Remove one foot from under your covers and let’s call this thing…

+ Human selfies are out. Statue selfies are in.

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