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Archive for the 'journalism' Category

Competitors: The Sports Experience (Book Review)

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Competitors: The Sports Experience

Several months ago we picked up a copy of Competitors: The Sports Experience: Australian Sporting Photographs 1950s to 1980s by Daniel O’Keefe and Ann Atkinson. The grand price of $1 at a local op-shop reveals how photographers interested in older work can slowly pull together a small photography library given a small budget and some boot leather.

Competitors: The Sports Experience contains an impressive body of Australian sports photojournalism from another time. I’d argue, a better time. A time when sports photojournalists seemed to be allowed into the thick of the game, race or melee. Rather than consigned to approved areas of the ground and restricted from behind-the-scenes photo-opportunities. And that level of access to the players and the heart of the game paid dividends in their work.

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The Incredible Technology of Writing

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Language may or may not be a technology. I’d fall on the side of arguing that language is a construct designed by humans as a tool to communicate, but we can disagree on that one. However, regardless of the way we answer that question, language is a profoundly useful way to capture ideas and transfer those ideas directly into the minds of other human beings. Language is vastly greater than the sum of a mere instinctual communally shared grunt. Something much deeper is happening.

Think of a word… I’ll run with the contentious CUNT (and defer to Germaine Greer’s discussion of cunt Part 1 and Part 2). If only because cunt is a memorable example.

When we say cunt as a monosyllabic phonetic statement there are shared and specific ideas being passed through the standard communication model from the sender encoding a message, the transmission of that message along a channel and the message being decoded by the receiver. Language offers us an elegant tool to wrap that message into a single block. The word. Cunt.

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Blink (Book Review)

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

In some ways I found Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking a little dry on the back of my tongue. In part, this fell back to having read earlier Gladwell articles and to be truthful Blink wasn’t a new concept for me entering at page one. That familiarity with the concept added to the discomfort I felt when it came to reading the book over a few short sittings. However, don’t take that as meaning Blink is unworthy in any way, ill-authored or vacuous. Entirely the opposite. Malcolm Gladwell, as always, has an elegant way of dancing around a group of sub-stories to build out a compelling case for the average person to rethink their world. That is his true value as a creative non-fiction author (slash journalist).

Thin slicing is something we all do and it’s probably what saved our ancestors when the barest glint of a shadow warned of an ambush by predators. Humans are hard-wired to make snap decisions about all manner of subjects from the barest of information. This is a part of what it means to be human. So when we meet someone at a dance and decide we want to know them we’re thin-slicing – what other option do we have? When the police see somebody acting shifty and stop them for questioning – again, thin slicing. There are huge numbers of these precarious moments in our daily lives when it’s appropriate to make thin-slicing two-second-judgements about complex situations.

In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell reveals a series of examples to show how this thin-slicing by the subconscious acts as a two-second-judge-and-jury. His fundamental idea behind Blink is to explore when thin-slicing is appropriate and leads to superior outcomes versus those situations where complex investigation and thought are critical to achieve success. Understanding the difference can play an important role in our human effort to overcome personal biases and discrimination.

Ultimately, you don’t want to let a stranger into your home when that thin-slice is hammering at you because of their negative micro-expressions… but you do want to be thoroughly sure about other things like picking the best person for a job. Malcolm Gladwell points a finger squarely at businesses who need to review their hiring processes and rethink established methodologies for assessing the people they advance into upper management. Why are the majority of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies tall? Why is there a glass ceiling? How is Human Resource Management being performed within our organisations?

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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