World News This Week: Reported By Someone Who Wasn’t Paying Attention

This week many of us were too busy to really pay attention to current events and with Newsweek no longer in print, we at the Japan Subculture Research Center have taken fifteen minutes of this Sunday to bring you an up-to-date and highly inaccurate report on all major news stories that happened in the week that was: February 10th –February 17th 2013. 

North Korea launched a missile into space, early in the week, which caused a meteor to fall on Russia but diverted an asteroid from hitting Earth and saved the entire human race.  Later reports would reveal, North Korea’s missile hit the asteroid first,  knocking it off its collision course with earth, saving all human life, while the impact of the missile hitting the asteroid, resulted in an asteroid fragment falling towards Earth, eventually hitting Russia like a meteorite.

North Korea launched a missile which hit an asteroid knocking it off it's collision course with earth, saving all human life, while the impact resulted in an asteroid fragment hitting Russia as a meteor.
North Korea launched a missile which hit an asteroid knocking it off its collision course with earth, saving all human life, while the impact resulted in an asteroid fragment hitting Russia as a meteor. The whole world said a hearty thanks to the Hermit Kingdom.

 

Prime Minister Abe expressed deep thanks to the Supreme Leader, Little Kim ‘Illin in a hastily composed rap tribute.  Abenomics resulted in the Norway Kroner devaluation. The Pope resigned after revelations of physical abuse by the coach of The Vatican Judo Team. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) lied about something important. A double amputee and former Olympic Judo competitor was charged with a triple murder in South America. Trains were delayed in Tokyo because of accidents involving people and things. The cyber terrorist who made fools of Japanese law enforcement for several months was caught by a talking cat on the Senkaku islands, who gave crucial testimony to the joint police task force. Many people in the world were shocked to discover than Japanese cats are able to converse and speak clearly, and that they have short tails or no tails at all. Japanese stores stopped selling Mild Seven cigarettes and replaced them with something suspiciously similar named MEVIUS, possibly after Pope Mevius the 3rd.

 

The Journo Blues: A Song Inspired By Arianna Huffington

This month, I know two good journalists who lost their jobs when their prospective publications folded. Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily was one of them. It was making 6 million dollars a year but still not enough to stay in operation. In this same month, I got two requests to intern at the Japan Subculture Research Center. I’d love to have more writers but I have no budget to pay them. Well, maybe a cup of coffee or dinner. Whenever someone young (and I’m not young) asks me about pursuing a career in journalism, I don’t know what to say.

 The big lie that journalists and most young Americans are told today is that working for free will eventually net them a job. The unpaid intern has become a wonderful source of exploitable labor.  With people so desperate to get their foot in the door, many people are willing to work their ass off in the hope that someday they will actually get paid for their labor.  Recently, a federal  judge has dismissed that class action lawsuit filed last Spring by a group of unpaid bloggers suing the Huffington Post for pay, falling on the side of the Huffington Post. Of course, the class action suit was unlikely to succeed because the bloggers had all agreed to forfeit pay for “exposure.”

The annular solar eclipse over Tokyo, Monday, May 21, 2012. (Albert Siegel)
It’s hard to make a living in a dying industry.

This business model of using unpaid journos and ripping off stories from the mainstream press will probably work for a few more years, until there are no paid journalists left to do the actual reporting. It’s partially a myth that bloggers are parasites on the mainstream media, and blogs do handle stories the mainstream media shuns,  but if you look closely at the Huffington Post, a large amount of their material is still repackaging original reporting from the old established press. Citizen journalism is laudatory but investigative journalism is time consuming and expensive, and if no one pays for it–it will wither and die.

It’s enough to make a journalist a little depressed. However, it’s also inspirational material for retooling an old song, Smuggler’s Blues by Glenn Frey.

You may have to be a veteran journalist to appreciate this but I’d like to take a moment to dedicate this to those who remain.

The Journo Blues

By Jake Adeltein

(sung to the tune of Glenn Frey’s Smuggler’s Blues)

Dedicated to Arianna Huffington. Thanks for festering the dreams of a paying job as journalist

 

There’s trouble in journalism today,

I can feel it in my bones.

I had a premonition,

That I could not pay my college loan

I knew the future was not bright

But I didn’t think it would be so shrill

The newspapers exploded,

And the cash began to spill.

So baby, here’s your ticket,

Put the suitcase in your hand.

Time to quit the business,

Do it just the way we planned.

You join a wealthy PR firm

And we’ll both get twenty grand.

I’m sorry blogging doesn’t pay

And someone had to lose,

Forget investigative journalism,

It’s the journo’s blues.

Journo’s Blues

****

No photographers and editors,

no fact-checkers but pay walls

The pink-slips and the rip offs,

And the typos no one saw.

No matter if it’s Lady Gaga, non-news, or trash,

You’ve got to rush the story

Cause it generates some cash.

There’s lots of shady characters,

Lots of dirty deals.

Rupert Murdoch will fire your ass

If you dare to squeal.

It’s the lure of lousy money,

It’s gotta very small appeal.

Perhaps you’d understand it better

Standin’ in my shoes,

It’s the ultimate red ink,

It’s the journo’s blues,

Journo’s blues.

****

Stealing AP headlines,

You see it every day.

They say they’re gonna stop it,

But it doesn’t go away.

They move it through HuffPost, sell it in L.A.,

They hide it up in GoogleNews,

I mean it’s here to stay.

Blog for free they say

And eventually you’ll get a job

Intern all you want

You’ll just end up being robbed

It’s propping up the business for lazy media and you know who,

You ask any newspaper man,

He’ll say, there’s nothin’ we can do,

From the office of the NY Times,

Right down to me and you, me and you.

It’s a losing proposition,

But one you can’t refuse.

It’s the politics of free news

It’s the journo’s blues,

Journo’s blues.