Arguably the biggest news story of the week so far globally has been the passing of rock music legend David Bowie. Since the announcement of his death late Sunday night, traditional and social media have been awash with tributes and remembrances chiseled together in image, word and sound.
Particularly striking has been, and continues to be, the response on social media, where the death of the 69-year-old master of re-invention is still being remembered with a reverence few public figures have received since the proliferation of the communications form changed our relationship with news and how it’s shared a decade ago. More than 72 hours on Facebook and Twitter is an eternity, and naturally there’s already complaining with variations of “Enough Bowie already” beginning to pop up.
They’re easy enough to ignore, but given the nature of social media and how it feeds and even encourages the notion that all news is instantly “dated”, that’s not entirely surprising. SM can make everything repetitive very quickly; depending on who makes up your immediate networks, you can be inundated, overwhelmed and finally drowning in similar tweets, posts and images. Over the past few days I’ve watched and listened to enough versions of “Heroes” to last a lifetime.
But I’m not complaining. Choosing to spend a few days remembering an icon who cast a strong influence on millions of people, is the ultimate tribute. His accomplishments have certainly earned him more than a handful of fleeting tweets and Facebook posts.
Which is why I was delighted with this week’s Wednesday’s Headlines lead photo taken by Yuri Rasin [ website | Facebook ] in Montpelier, France, of the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which hit the streets on Wednesday.
With its cover paying tribute to Bowie, the man who helped redefine popular culture for more than four decades will be remembered and considered just a little bit longer, at least on the streets of France courtesy of its cafes, bars and newsstands. No tweet can manage that.
Welcome to Wednesday’s Headlines #2, a new weekly project which I hope will evolve into not only a representative survey of what’s transpiring on the globe on any given Wednesday, but also an insightful interpretation of the human relationships that still exist with newspapers in different parts of the world.
This week, 17 contributors answered the call with 22 images from 18 cities in 13 countries. Everyone is welcome to take part; please check out the few simple rules here. Please spread the word and enjoy.
In the U.S., the primary story was President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Time flies.
Above, the day’s Washington Post in a classic style vending machine on 14th & I in NW Washington DC captured by Amy Borgstrom. Below, the day’s New York Times in a Portland, Oregon, store via Kip Silverman and the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times covers from Chicago via Diane Duke [ blog | Facebook ].
Others chose not to focus primarily on Obama’s address. The Oregonian, again via Silverman [ website | Facebook ] reports on the ongoing “stand-off” between right-wing militants who continue their illegal occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near the rural town of Burns. The militancy of #VanillaIsis may be comical on social media, but it’s left many locals feeling very scared.
Central and South America
“Costa Rica is fascinated with the Chapo. A lot of rumors that he and his sons were in Costa Rica at times after his escape. The headline refers to how he was enamored with Kate del Castillo, which helped lead to his capture along with his quest for immortality on the silver screen (Sean Penn relationship).”
And below the virtual fold*, a story about how Cuban migrants stranded in the country were finally able to resume their journeys to the U.S. “Nicaragua put the brakes on two months ago and wouldn’t allow passage to the Cuban refugees resulting in a mid-level humanitarian crisis here the past two months.”
And from Punta Arenas, Chile one of the southernmost larger cities on the planet (where I spent 23 hours back in 2013), Alejandra Sanchez passes along the day’s edition of ‘La Prensa Austral’, one of the city’s oldest dailies. The main story is about an attack on a young woman.
Crossing the Atlantic to Europe, where we move north to south:
Eric Bellamy [Twitter] checks in from Dublin, Ireland where the Irish Independent led with a story on the Gardaí, or local police force, and an investigation into alleged ISIS terrorist threats.
On the continent, Belgian journalist and travel blogger Jempi Temmerman [ website | Facebook ] checks in from a train between Roeselare and Brussels where he was whiling away the time with the free daily, Metro. The main story? About the threat of a possible rail strike, which thankfully for him, was called off. Temmerman was on his way to Paris for a press trip.
The main stories in Dutch papers –from Pal Ujvarosi [ website | Twitter ] in Amsterdam– focused on Tuesday’s terrorist bombing in Istanbul and, oddly enough, the heritage of Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13, 2012, killing 33 passengers and crew.
Meanwhile, roving sports journalist Olaf Brockmann [ Facebook ] checks in from Budapest during tea time.
Here in Ljubljana, the daily Delo gave art center stage with a story on Parisienne, or Parižanka by noted Slovenian painter Ivana Kobilca. The work, which the artist described as her favorite, will finally receive a home in Slovenia’s recently renovated National Gallery in Ljubljana after having been “lost” for several years in Budapest.
We move South to Croatia where Australian blogger Michele Legge [ Blog | Facebook ] checks in from Split on the Dalmatian coast with a snap of the free national daily, 24 Hours. Typical of similar tabloids, its front page focused on a love story that ended in murder.
Legge and husband Ron are on a round the world journey which began two years ago last week. They’ve so far covered 72,000 kilometers and passed through 28 countries. “Absolutely no regrets,” she said of the journey thus far. Continued good luck and safe travels to you both.
Middle East & Asia
Blood was also shed in the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Beit Jala. That was the main (and quite common) story in the Arabic Palestinian daily Al-Quds, contributed by Diala Isid [ website | Facebook ], after three Palestinians were killed and another seven injured after clashes with Israeli soldiers.
Meanwhile in Taipei City, Taiwan, the main story in the Business Times –sent by Yifang Wu [ Facebook ] –focuses on efforts by a supermarket chain to offer locally produced and sourced organic produce.
To close, we return to the Pacific coast of North America, more specifically Los Angeles, where Brad Nixon [ blog ] and Marcy Vincent pieced together this brief vignette describing how sectors of the newspaper trade that many don’t usually consider look these days in the second largest city in the U.S.
They begin with an apology (of sorts) then weave an interesting tale.
We’re stretching the rules a bit here, as I’ll explain.
We are located just a mile uphill from the mammoth Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach, which, combined, are the busiest container port in the U.S. The surrounding cities, the “Harbor Cities,” including San Pedro are administratively part of the City of Los Angeles, although 25 miles from downtown L.A.
The area is a mix of massive port industry and transportation and rather beaten-down waterfronts. There’s a long history of labor contention from the Longshore and other unions, and the area is always striving to be given its due by City Hall. The local newspaper dedicated to this area is a biweekly, “Random Lengths” (a pun on a nautical term). Photo of exterior of the office in San Pedro, attached.
Random Lengths runs a combination of local interest stories and left-leaning political position pieces, as indicated by the cover story on the most recent edition, apparently a front page endorsement of U.S. presidential candidate, the “moderate socialist,” Bernie Sanders. Photo of most recent edition attached. That’s dated January 7. The paper publishes on alternate Thursdays, so there’ll never be a “Wednesday headline.” Still, with 35 years of local publication, RL is a good example of entrepreneurial journalism.
Also attached is a display ad in the newspaper office front window featuring the American novelist and poet, Charles Bukowski, who lived for many years in San Pedro, and endorsed the paper.
In addition to his writing, Bukowski was notorious for hard living and his love of horse racing, as evidenced in the ad.
Therefore, the next photo shows the currently available edition of The Racing Form, published daily, which is the bible of those heading to the track on any given day. It’s actually dated January 14, because it contains the information for tomorrow’s races at tracks including Santa Anita and Los Alamitos, here in LA. The January 13 edition is already gone, headed to the track. Paired with the Racing Form is today’s edition of the Long Beach Press Telegram, the large city on the other side of the port.
As this paper went to press, the news of the day included President Obama’s annual State of the Union address, the capture of American sailors by Iran and other major world events, but, as you can see, the only news that mattered here was the announcement that the professional (U.S.) football team, the Rams, are relocating to Los Angeles.
If that doesn’t seem like big news, the final shot shows today’s Los Angeles Times, the major newspaper of the city, reflecting the same news: The Rams.
This is a rather convoluted tale, but the pieces fell together to show a variety of journalism available in one city, and how they’re connected to lives of people who live here.
Thanks again to everyone who participated. To join in next week, and subsequent weeks after that, check out the details here. Please spread the word.
* Screencaps will no longer be accepted. I let it slide this week because the rule wasn’t specified and because Drew is one of my oldest friends. 🙂