Showing posts with label journalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label journalism. Show all posts

Sunday, September 4, 2011

March of the Million: 14 Spectacular Photos from Israel's Biggest Ever Demonstration

Some say 400K, others count 430K and - as a matter of fact - the official title was actually 'March of the Million' but the exact figures are obviously minor by now. This way or another Israel saw its biggest ever cross-country demonstration yesterday night, demanding social justice and a lower cost of living. The largest demonstration took place in Tel Aviv, where approx. 300K took part. Additional 50,000 protested in Jerusalem, 40,000 marched in Haifa and many others in smaller protests in dozens of other towns and cities. The following are 14 of the most spectacular moments from yesterday's events.

Bird-Eye Views

The following bird-eye views were taken above Kikar Hamedina square in Tel Aviv from a police helicopter. More in the official Facebook album of the Israeli police.

And here are a couple above Iben Gavirol St. nearby the Kikar Rabin square:


Ground Views

The following faceshots were all published on Haaretz newspaper's Facebook page. More in this Facebook album.

Nearby Building Views

And here are 3 more of Kikar Hamedina, taken by Oren Ziv of ActiveStills.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lions Prefer Blondes: a Perfect Photojournalism Drama with a Happy End

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, we know that since 1953. But did you know 180kg lions also like them very much? Well, at least according to this Daily telegraph story that might just be the case. It is not everyday that death grabs one's soul and hands it back while the entire process gets captured on camera in a perfect photojournalism drama with a heart and a happy end. Yet, for British primary school headmistress Kate Drew that is more or less how things turned out when a 180kg cat pounced on from behind and dragged her to the ground, sinking its teeth into the back of her neck.

Those amazing photos are signed with the watermark "Austral" but it is not clear who is the cool headed person who should be thanked for them.

Working as a volunteer teacher in Tanzania, Drew (28) was spending a few weeks "traveling across Africa on a bus with other backpackers". During this tour the group visited a reserve in Zimbabwe where lions are bred to be released back into the wild and tourists can pay $50 to "walk with several of the big cats" which are "considered tame enough to be allowed contact with humans". Here is what happened in Kate Drew's words:

"We were just leaving and everything seemed to have gone well - until one jumped at me from behind. I was scared enough when he pinned me to the ground, but when I looked up and saw the other two, I thought I'd had it.''

It may have been a miracle or just a random coincidence. Though the wounds on Drew's head left her with 13 stitches (below) they missed her brain stem and she was rescued by the brave reserve wardens (above) who "rushed in with sticks and wrestled the animal away."

According to the Daily Telegraph the lion was not on his way for it's lunch when it grabbed poor Drew but was apparently just playing around a little bit after being "attracted by her mane-like long blonde hair". There goes at least one advantage of being a blonde, ha?

Unfortunately, Drew's story is not always how things end in this genre. According to, a website focusing on endangered large cats, only three out of every one thousand tigers will resort to attacking people, making their reputation as a man-eater "quite inaccurate". Yet, also according to this website, even this low number has been enough to make the tiger responsible for more human deaths than any other predator. Lions are cute but if you are still not sure they also kill people, here is a list of Mountain Lion Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada since 1986.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Concern in Jerusalem

Dennis Haysbert as David Palmer. convincing and promising

It was on November 6, 2001 when Fox Network launched their later to be Emmy and Golden Globe award-winner TV series 24 and the idea of an Afro-American president to the USA was still a futuristic "what if" Hollywood experiment. Dennis Haysbert looked convincing and promising as David Palmer, commander of the world's most powerful armed forces. But it was just a TV series.

Concern in Jerusalem: Obama Gets Closer to PresidencyIn just a few hours from now Air Force 1 will be landing in Ben Gurion airport and I wonder if it might has anything to do with the fact that today, six years and two months of George W Bush later, Israel's second popular daily newspaper Maariv had the front page of its print version covered with one of the most amazingly ridicules titles any Israeli daily ever came up with.

A scan is here on the left but as you probably can't read Hebrew I'll freely translate it. It says "Concern in Jerusalem: Obama Gets Closer to Presidency". Concern in Jerusalem??! I know for some, perhaps most, Israelis saying goodbye to George and his - how shall I put it - "approach" towards the Palestinian issue, Middle East and conflicts in general must be sad. I know Obama is Afro-American. I know he is a democrat. But concern? It sounds a bit dangerous when Israel is "concerned" over something, isn't it?

My guess is that someone at Maariv came up with an idea to use this half-threat half-complaint and convince Americans they just have to make this minor adjustment to their constitution and have George elected for just four more years. Otherwise we'll all be far more concerned soon. We might all have a Palmer-Obama as our next commander of armed forces and he might just not like using them as much as we want him to.

That would be horrible. It might end up with a little peace in the Middle East.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Two-edged Media Sword: 10 Examples of Counteradvertising, Commerce Jamming and Propaganda Remixes

A plan to allow "domestic view" of data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can "see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers" has been recently approved by the USA government. For the good and bad of it, Information age enhances the ability of states to control citizens and of business corporations to enlarge leverage our privacy into profit: better security means more information in corporate hands and less privacy. Furthermore, Information age allows business corporations and states to deliver their message more efficiently than ever before. This means more products, more advertisements and less free public space. Yet, Information age also allows activist groups and their counter messages to be heard by millions. Following is a fresh collection of popular and particularly interesting strategies, case studies and resources demonstrating the two-edged sword face of new media - where counteradvertising, commerce jamming and propaganda remixes make a stand.

1. The Blackspot Sneaker: Cutting Through the Hype of Mediated Reality

The Blackspot Sneaker: Cutting Through the Hype of Mediated Reality

According to AdBusters Media Foundation, publishers of the most popular subvertising magazine in the world and a leading activist group based in Vancouver Canada, well made subvertisments need to efficiently "mimic the look and feel of the targeted ad, promoting the classic 'double-take' as viewers suddenly realize they have been duped". With a list successful media projects such as the TV Turnoff Week which was aired on CNN, the Buy Nothing Day videos of 2006 and 2007 and a series of viral TV subvertisments titled The Product Is You, AdBusters continue to demonstrate how TV commercial language can be altered and manipulated to "cut through the hype and glitz of our mediated reality" and reveal "a deeper truth within."

The Blackspot Sneaker: Cutting Through the Hype of Mediated Reality

The Blackspot sneaker, designed by John Fluevog, is Adbusters' recent Commerce Jamming project, a first Anti-Brand and your chance to "unswoosh Nike's tired old swoosh and own one of the most Earth-friendly shoes in the world": 100% organic hemp upper, recycled tire sole, made by Vegetarian Shoes in a European union shop including a hand drawn (!) logo plus.

2. Busting Phillip Morris: Why are you buying your food from a tobacco company?

In fact, some culture jamming ads carry indisputable facts about their targets making some disturbing unfamiliar truths to be a little more familiar to the public. "Why are you buying your food from a tobacco company?" showcased a list of popular food products owned by Phillip Morris, the world's largest cigarette company: "...Chances are that you've been helping to promote Marlboro cigarettes without even knowing it. You can withdraw that support by personally boycotting these products" the ad said. "It's like giving money to a health organization that is working to find a cure for cancer - but in this case you are taking money from a corporation that causes it. So next time you go buy food- try it. You'll like it."

3. The Reality of War: Vertigo vs. Australia's Department of Defence

In March 2003 Australia's Department of Defence has withdrawn advertising from all student media across the continent in response to a controversial full-page parody of Defence recruitment advertising published on Vertigo, a student newspaper at the University of Technology, Sydney. The spoof ad satirically portrayed the Department of Defence as "a political tool of an Australian government intent on participating in an unsanctioned invasion of Iraq" and was followed up and reprinted by other student publications.

This act of solidarity was like a golden medal to the Vertigo activists who saw the fact "students are no longer being inundated with inaccurate representations of the Defence Force" as a great victory. Vertigo spokesperson, Jano Gibson argued that "the 'exciting', 'inspiring' and 'feel good' Army ads that appear in uni diaries, on billboards and television differs extremely from the reality of participating in a war" and that Vertigo's parody "simply corrects the omissions of the Department of Defence." For a larger version download the pdf here.

4. Volkswagen vs. a Sick Joke: The Suicide Bomber Polo Driver

Sometimes facts are not the issue neither is the spoofer's opinion and the busted ad is made either "for" a non-existent product, or with a real one simply as parody of advertisements. Rarely, a familiar brand language is mimicked so well that the entire world is successfully fooled. In January 2005, managers at German car manufacturer Volkswagen found themselves in the center of a global row after a meme hack sick video joke featuring a Palestinian suicide bomber in a Polo car was virally distributed across the world via the internet.

The spoof TV advert showed an "oriental" looking man stepping into a Polo car wearing a keffiyeh scarf, known as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. After driving around the city for a while the driver stops near a resonant populated with lots of innocent civilians and detonates, yet leaving the car intact.

The video was punched-lined with the familiar style slogan announcing "Polo: small but tough". Check it out and see for yourself: Even though it is not very clear which "deeper truth" is actually being revealed here, this culture jammer was mimicking the familiar Volkswagen language so well it simply got people to believe it’s a real one.

5. Excuse me - Is that blood in your gas tank? Dave Ward vs. Hammer

"Please download the large version and pass it along to forums, websites and other people who might appreciate it. Spread the meme!" – Those were the words of Dave Ward, a professional photographer who in 2005 created two anti-Hummer spoof ad campaigns. Suggesting the real reason behind the ongoing blood shed in Iraq is to support America's oil demand fueled by manly Tofu hater ego-driven cars of the Hammer type, Ward's anti-war eco-friendly spoof ad became almost as popular as the originals and were massively and virally distributed on Internet.

In July 2006 the second Hummer ad titled "Excuse me - Is that blood in your gas tank?" showed up on Ads of the World, a commercial advertising archive for the best and most interesting creative work worldwide. I bet they didn't like this so much at Hammer's headquarters but in light of recent developments in America's approach to international global climate responsibility you might say this culture jamming attempt might have had some part in making a change.

6. The Madeleine Spoof: Extremely Hurtful and Not Funny

Not all ad spoofs are made with humanitarian causes in mind and some are made for profit or publicity and leave a very bad taste behind. An 'advertising' spoof published in a German satirical magazine named The Titanic included an allegedly double-spread ad for a supermarket, depicting a number of products promoted with the image and name of Madeleine McCann's. This poor-taste parody was later described by Madeleine's parent's spokesman as "extremely hurtful". Not much to say about this one. Perhaps just that it's a good example for a 'not very funny' spoof.

7. Doctors Ought to Care: I smoke for smell

Other spoofs can be very funny and can hardly defined as unjustified by anyone, that is unless you are a lung cancer tycoon. The idea to sabotage the interest of cigarette corporations using their own media weapons is far from being new and came up almost 30 years ago when the Doctors Ought to Care (DOC) organization was pioneered countered development and jamming tobacco ads. In a 1980 paper published in JAMA, DOC founder Alan Blum, MD, wrote that "humor can be an effective tool" in this war. Thus, in one of its poster series, the DOC parodies the classic I smoke for taste advertisement with a picture of a similarly defiant, macho character with a cigarette dangling from one nostril and the caption I smoke for smell.

8. Constitutions Matter: Billboard Liberation Campaign

Constitutions Matter: Billboard Liberation Campaign

A very popular form of adbusting, sometimes referred to as Billboard Modification or Billboard Liberation, takes the form of alternation of public space commercials and billboards to make a spoof or parody of the original corporate or political message. Usually it is the company that pays for the advertisement that is being under the attack. In some cases, however, the target can be the medium itself.

Constitutions Matter: Billboard Liberation Campaign

It was August 1, 2007, when the deadline for all billboards in the city of Tacoma, Washington to comply with a (ten years old) law requiring the removal of all (well defined) disruptive billboards. Three days later Pranks, a popular blog by Joey Skaggs dedicated to culture jamming and reality hacking published this follow up about hundreds of billboards in Tacoma which "have sprouted a scary blue and red message reading "Constitutions Matter". All adbusted billboards were left carrying the name "Clear Channel Outdoor", a company of Clear Channel Communications and one of the world's largest outdoor advertising corporations. Photos are taken by Pranks from a local city blog named

9. The Li Peng Story: Step Down to Appease the People’s Anger!

Politics, anti-war and freedom fighting were always of the most inviting countermessage battlefields for artists and writers. The story of the Li Peng poem is an extraordinary example of how mass media can be hacked to deliver political counter-messages even under extreme media control standards as practiced by Chinese government. In March of 1991 the overseas edition of the People’s Daily - China’s Communist Party newspaper - featured the following patriotic homesick poem, written by a graduate student from Los Angeles aliased Zhu Haihong. Apparently the poem was a brilliant "qianzi shi" also known as "inlaid-character" poem. Thus, when read diagonally from upper right to lower left the words "Li Peng must step down to appease the people’s anger!" could be interpreted. Li Peng, for those who don't know, was the Premier of China between 1987 and 1998 and the "chief architect" of the 1989 Tiananmen square massacre.

10. The Propaganda Remix Project: YOU Back The Attack! WE'LL Bomb Who We Want!

Lastly, and with no intentions of getting into any blue-red American politics, here is another great example for political counter messages targeting war propaganda: Micah Ian Wright is an American author who works in film and television and also the person behind YOU Back The Attack! WE'LL Bomb Who We Want!, a compilation of his Remixed War Propaganda with introductions by Howard Zinn and Kurt Vonnegut.

Other books from Wright include If You’re Not a Terrorist... Then Stop Asking Questions! and Surveillance Means Security! and hundreds of posters are available on his site The Propaganda Remix Project. When you are there, make sure you don't miss Wright's amazing collection of Hate Mail. All typos, errors, odd word choices, logic leaps, ad hominem attacks, homophobia, and delusions are claimed to be "quoted verbatim". I've found myself spending some time reading there. It's nice to see some folks know how to take some criticism :-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Shot or Not? New Bhutto's Assassination Video released on Channel 4

New Bhutto's Assassination Video released on Channel 4

Slate magazine says "Bloggers are turning into ballistics experts" after the British Channel 4 released a new footage of Benazir Bhutto's last moments. The new video, according to Slate, is now compared to the Zapruder JFK assassination film and "further calls into question the Pakistani government's assertion that Bhutto died from hitting her head on the sunroof handle" as it clearly shows Ms. Bhutto was shot. Watch Channel 4's new Bhutto's assassination footage.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Roadside Bomb Attacks: 6 Naked Reflections of Reality Taken by Soldiers

Roadside bombs, also known as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are a powerful notorious weapon used by guerrilla fighters and terrorists against both organized armies and civilians. The war in Iraq, however, made roadside bombs more "popular" than they have ever been. Even though a huge effort is constantly being made to improve protection, according to Wikipedia, since 2003 and until today IEDs have been responsible for at least 40% of coalition deaths in Iraq. While many of the attacks are filmed by the attackers themselves some of them are captured live on camera by the soldiers, sometimes broadcasted on mainstream media channels and sometimes remaining rare citizen journalism documents reflecting the naked horror of reality. Following are 6 of the more unbelievable roadside attack videos taken by soldiers. This is how war looks like when its naked.

Underground Impact

This 10 seconds video taken in the vicinity of Baiji in Iraq has been recently distributed anonymously via email in Israel. It shows an unsuccessful roadside attack so there are no hard sights here but the impact is shown in a way I personally never saw before.


Downtown Ramadi

One of the horrible sides of war in the New Media age is that, at least in some psychological aspects, it makes all of us a part of it. Yet, this also has some good sides. Hiding the truth became almost impossible. We can actually see how things look from the point of view of those who do it which may help us forming out opinion on the given subject. With this one for example, taken in the Iraqi downtown of Ramadi, you can almost feel the punch.


Camera keeps on rolling

Uploaded last year this 40 seconds clip documents a roadside bomb detonates nearby a convoy of British soldiers. The camera is inside the car when it gets hit and continue rolling.


Camera keeps on rolling. Tough driver continues driving.

Some roadside blasts are followed by a secondary attack. Thus, when you get hit and are able to continue driving it is probably the wise thing to do. Taken from a somewhat unusual angle with the camera installed on the engine hood, the fellow who was behind the wheel here must have been of the toughest as he somehow managed to keep on driving even after the blast, which probably saved a lot of grief for quit a few mothers.


Not just armed vehicles

While most roadside attacks target armed vehicles some are used directly against soldiers when they are on the move or even if just standing, as shown on this shot broadcasted on CNN


Minimal vehicular protection

Lastly, in spite of their very minimal vehicular protection this group of US marines was lucky enough to survived an IED attack described as "small". Watch this and your definition for small might be altered.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

A poor editorial decision or a brilliant context satire?

Context hidden messages have always been of the most powerful journalistic weapons against most kinds of censorship. Israel has an active by-law military censorship since it was founded and Israeli journalists have been practicing this strategy since that very same day. Whether the nature of the restriction is political, military or commercial, the context in which a certain information item is delivered can have a tremendous impact or even change completely the way a message is interpreted by the recipient.

Of course the main problem with subtext messages, which is also their main source of strength, is that the better they are the less people actually manage to decode them. While some hidden context messages are exposed publicly most of them remain unknown. That is why the above frozen TV moment from Sky News caught my eye today on the DHD Multimedia gallery as, other than being very funny, it is also unclear if it was done deliberately or by mistake. What do you think? A poor editorial decision or a brilliant post-Hurricane-Katrina context satire on the account of the world's most powerful politician?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Amazon Kindle: read on the go with a wireless high-res e-paper display

Amazon made a big move today with the official release of Kindle - a new wireless portable reader that downloads books, blogs, magazines and newspapers to a high-resolution electronic paper display. Claiming to look and read like real paper even in bright sunlight, this new gadget from the largest book shop on earth is available starting today for $399.

Even though you couldn't get any Kindle shipped during last weekend's Black Friday or otherwise get an overnight shipment of your piece. Yet, Amazon still managed to generate a powerful buzz utilizing some journalists who got to play with the Kindle before the holiday. published this nice list of opinions regarding the new gadget.

To me the most amazing aspect of this major move is how the folks from Amazon appear to be well tuned to the growing public interest in Internet blogs. Apparently, more than 250 top blogs from the worlds of business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics are constantly updated wirelessly on Kindle devices throughout the day. This is a very interesting feature in my opinion as it emphasizes what every print publisher knows by now - public attention is shifting as more people become familiar with digital life.

Amazon Kindle includes a 6" diagonal E-Ink® electronic paper display and offers 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 4-level gray scale.
More technical info about Kindle on this pres release

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mediasnackers age: an unsnacked observation


"It’s time to acknowledge that in a truly multimedia environment of 2025, most Americans don’t need to understand more than a hundred or so words at a time, and certainly will never read anything approaching the length of an old-fashioned book. We need a frank reassessment of where long-form literacy itself lies in the spectrum of skills that a modern nation requires of its workers." (from What is the worth of words? By Michael Rogers Columnist Special to MSNBC Sept. 21, 2006)

I've been tagged by Neil Perkin on the MediaSnacking meme. According to Jeremiah Owyang, who started this meme, Mediasnackers are people who "consume small bits of information, data or entertainment when, where, and how they want." Thus, those who provide the media snack feed need to respect that and learn how to speck its language.

Triggered by the above (90 second, what else?) clip from MediaSnackers, Owyang Mediasnackers meme explores the ways modern bloggers cope with the new requirements. Owyang, a famed Web Strategist from San Francisco, argues that business people of actually any age are "also busy, get information from multiple sources, and need filters" and should therefore fit into this category. I couldn't agree more Mr. Owyang. Allow me to add that I think it's not only business people but also, to some extent, everyone on the Internet.

Movie buffs, for example, seem to prefer the short review format offered by hot movie review killer start-up Criticker as well as being semi-automatically matched with friends by computers. The bloggers themselves are very much of that type. Aren't we all enjoying the jumping from one interesting blogger page to another using the snacky presentation of our favorite blogging community platforms? Isn't being snacky and digested the basic point of successful StumbleUpon blogging? Everything from how to squeeze every cent of profit from your Pay-Per-Click marketing to how to defeat brain drain is being dressed with what I call the new "tips and lists" style.


Lastly, to answer Owyang's question about how I cope with the Mediasnackers age: As you can see I am not doing very well. My problem has always been enjoying the suffering of writing and having just a bit too much to say about everything. Took me years and graduating journalism school to even make me sentences shorter. I also think that in the bottom line, one just has to read. Unless we want to stay stupid as we go out from high-school there is just no way around it.


Oh yes, other than failing in making my posts shorter, I also respect my Mediasnackers readers with the best "kind of" relevant visuals or movie clips I can find such as the above one of Swatch from Neil Perkin @ Only Dead Fish - the nitty witty advertising and media blogger who tagged me for this subject in the first place. You can always find something interesting in Neil's joint. This was also the place that introduced me to some of my favorite marketing and advertising webspots. Some of what I do just has to be right as I make great new friends. Also my Technorati ranking and Google PR are generally trending up. for what it counts.

Thanks for reading.