Tag Archives: media

Facts, and Opinions, that matter: from Zika to America’s “Arab Spring”

The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus “a Public Health Emergency of International Concern” today.

The WHO cited a suspected, though not yet scientifically proven, link between infection during pregnancy and microcephaly, the way the disease is spreading to vulnerable people, and the lack of vaccines and tests were also given as reasons.

Zika is spread by common mosquitoes, and is thought to have arrived in the Americas two years ago from areas of Africa where it’s endemic. It’s suspected to be the culprit behind  3,700 babies reportedly born with abnormally small heads —  microcephaly — in Brazil, the country hardest  hit in the Americas.

Said WHO, “A coordinated international response is needed to improve surveillance, the detection of infections, congenital malformations, and neurological complications, to intensify the control of mosquito populations, and to expedite the development of diagnostic tests and vaccines to protect people at risk, especially during pregnancy.

The first priority is control of mosquito populations and preventing mosquito bites in people at risk, especially pregnant women, said the organization.

Read three pieces on F&O that put the Zika emergency in context:

Did health agencies fumble Zika response? By Paulo Prada

It took months for Brazil’s health ministry to recognize the Zika virus had arrived. And so far, the World Health Organization’s hesitant response to the  outbreak –which has created the worst global health scare since Ebola –says much about the difficulties that the WHO and other health authorities face in combating unexpected public health threats. … go to the story

Love in the time of Zika

Where did Zika virus come from, and why is it in Brazil? By Amy Y Vittor

Urbanization, changing climate, air travel and transportation, and waxing and waning control efforts that are at the mercy of economic and political factors have led to these mosquitoes spreading to new areas and coming back in areas where they had previously been eradicated.  … go to the story.

Love in the time of Zika. By Beverley Paterson

Love, sex and babies are the foundation of human existence. Without them the human race ceases to exist. Zika, a virus that few people had heard of a month ago, has suddenly disrupted this normal course of events.  …go to the story.

F&O’s new works this week also include:

Dawn at the scientific base of Ny-Alesund, Svalbard, Norway October 14, 2015. A Norwegian chain of islands just 1,200 km (750 miles) from the North Pole is trying to promote new technologies, tourism and scientific research in a shift from high-polluting coal mining that has been a backbone of the remote economy for decades. Norway suspended most coal mining on the Svalbard archipelago last year because of the high costs, and is looking for alternative jobs for about 2,200 inhabitants on islands where polar bears roam. Part of the answer may be to boost science: in Ny-Alesund, the world's most northerly permanent non-military settlement, scientists from 11 nations including Norway, Germany, France, Britain, India and South Korea study issues such as climate change. The presence of Norway, a NATO member, also gives the alliance a strategic foothold in the far north, of increasing importance after neighbouring Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014. REUTERS/Anna FilipovaPICTURE 03 OF 19 - SEARCH "SVALBARD FILIPOVA" FOR ALL IMAGES


REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Snow, science, solitude: Ny-Alesund, Norway
ANNA FILIPOVA & ALISTER DOYLE Photo-Essay

The Islamic State is a mere shadow of the Assassins’ Caliphate
JONATHAN MANTHORPE, International Affairs Column

America’s ‘Arab Spring’
JIM MCNIVEN, Thoughtlines column

Newspapers their own worst enemy in battle to survive
TOM REGAN, Summoning Orenda Column

Visit  F&O’s Contents page for our recent works, published Saturdays.

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Posted in Current Affairs Also tagged , , , , |

The Bead Shop

By Deborah Jones

Launching Facts and Opinions made one thing clear: as well as a boutique media outlet, our collection of journalists now owns a digital startup. On some level we knew that from the get-go. But it really only hit me as, under crushing deadlines, we raced to courier necessary paper documents across continents, time zones and legal jurisdictions for a small, employee-owned business that lives solely on the Internet.

And F&O does now live, astride old and new worlds, and entering new territory. We began our second week having had the pleasure of meeting thousands of visitors to our free Open House. Thank you, to all who came by! Our paywall is now up, and our real test begins: will enough people value our work enough to pay a buck for a site Day Pass – or take out a longer subscription at an introductory price that costs less than a cup of coffee?

Largely, that will depend on the quality of our work. For a mere $1 day pass, come in and judge for yourself. New pieces this week include the Magazine feature Canada’s Mayor, in which writer Brian Brennan profiles Naheed Nenshi, “the self-styled brown guy” who is the political star of North America’s conservative, white-bread energy capital. In Commentary, international analyst Jonathan Manthorpe adds two new columns to an impressive roster of his original work: in one piece, he explains why China cannot avoid political reform; in the other, he examines the increasing isolation of Israel as icy relations warm between America and Iran. Author and journalist Chris Wood, who writes Facts and Opinions’ Natural Security column, explains his reasoning behind his headline: “Give disaster a chance.”

These pieces are only available behind our paywall because we journalists do, of course, wish to be compensated for hard work and, like everyone else, we need to make a living. But just as importantly, our paywall is crucial to our mission of providing journalism for people. That is a fundamentally different thing than providing journalism for advertisers – the familiar model of using stories as bait to attract people, then selling your attention to advertisers. Facts and Opinions does not rely for sustenance on advertising: we will live or die on our paywall, your patronage, and whether our copyright is upheld.

We also chose a collaborative model – each contributor is an independent, entrepreneurial partner who will reap the financial rewards of their work, after we pay site overhead expenses.

We set out to build Facts and Opinions after many years of thinking about, and watching, the old media models sink deeper into crisis mode throughout most of the Western world. Newsrooms have been cleared out, foreign and legislative bureaus have been shuttered, media companies have gone bankrupt, and many of the surviving outlets have consolidated under ownership by corporations or wealthy individuals, who may or may not have a stake in actual journalism. A few excellent outlets do persist, and do manage the tricky balance of providing journalism to citizens while serving their advertisers. But after 30+ years in this business, in which I’ve had the privilege of working for some of the best news outlets in the world, and shared with my editors and colleagues the extreme distress of watching them wane, I’m convinced that journalism would best be served if professional journalists control, and preferably own, the outlets for our work.

These days I’m an optimist again –  though I do know the challenges well: for a few years F&O partner Greg Locke and I ran a web site devoted to journalism issues that drew as many as 80,000 readers a month. Greg, a web developer as well as a world-class photojournalist, kept telling me journalism was dead, and said I should go open a “bead shop.” But journalism matters, a very great deal: evidence-based and inspired information is a public good, essential to human flourishing and to democratic citizenship. There’s cause for hope in the past year or so, as digital media seems finally to have evolved: the clamour for fake “free” material has subsided; prosecution has occurred for thefts of copyright digital work; subscription revenues at last exceeded advertising revenues at a few superb outlets with paywalls. And so we decided to launch a journalism storefront. It’s owned, of course, by our new company: Bead Shop Media.

Copyright © 2013 Deborah Jones

Deborah Jones can be reached at: editor@factsandopinions.com

Posted in All, Canadian Journalist, Current Affairs, Gyroscope Also tagged , , , , , |