Finnish photographer Alison Buttigieg loves cats. The Internet loves cats. But these days Buttigieg hates the Internet because it’s lying about one of her cat photos.
It all started Feb. 11. Someone who knows her work as a wildlife photographer recognized a cheetah picture of hers online. That wasn’t necessarily a surprise — Buttigieg published the “remarkable” photo on her blog, Facebook and Instagram last November after it won an international award. But the flood of messages that started pouring in from strangers that day stunned her.
An intellectual property thief had stolen her photo, invented a feel-good back-story for it, and engineered a viral sensation — one that wasn’t exactly flattering to Buttigieg. The tall tale portrayed the three cheetahs in the photo as heartless killers, their impala prey as a self-sacrificial mother and Buttigieg as a fragile soul who sank into depression after documenting a feline feast.
“In the beginning I thought it was absolutely hilarious, even the trolling,” she told me in an email interview six days after the hoax spread. “But then it was suddenly really overwhelming when I realized there wasn’t much I could do.”
Buttigieg is an information technology consultant whose passion for animals and for wild places inspired a foray into photography. She has carried a camera on wildlife journeys around the world for 13 years and started taking the photographic aspect of her observations more seriously about four years ago.
“I see my photos as a means to spread awareness about wildlife and the need to protect them and their habitat,” she said.
Buttigieg has shot pictures on three continents — Africa, Asia and South America. Her favorite places include Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana and South Africa, and the Massai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. In September 2013, she was near the latter location, at the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, when she saw a family of cheetahs trap a lone impala.
Cats of all kinds fascinate Buttigieg because of their beauty and expressive faces. Cheetahs stand out in the felidae species for their speed, quirks and sounds. The guides at the conservancy knew she loved cheetahs, and a mother and two adolescents were near the camp during her visit.
Read the rest of the story at Medium.
Filed under: Blogging and Human Interest and People and Photography and Social Media and Technology and Travel and Wildlife
The ignorance of the media when it comes to West Virginia never ceases to amaze those of us who are from the Mountain State. We’re impressed when journalists, especially those who cover sports, even know that West Virginia and Virginia are separate states or that Charleston is the name of our state capital, not just a coastal city in South Carolina.
This week, two members of the media (broadly speaking to include Hollywood) displayed their ignorance of West Virginia’s history on the same day, both of them in reference to the state’s birth during the Civil War. The culprits were:
With their commentaries in mind, now is a good time to revisit one of the most interesting statehood stories in American history. Consider this the CliffsNotes version of West Virginia history for the dummies in the media and entertainment complex.
In fairness to Bump, he was technically correct when he said “Congress consented to the creation of West Virginia as a new American state,” but he left out important context. The Congress that consented included a reconstituted Virginia delegation with a pro-West Virginia slant. The Virginia that existed before the Civil War joined the Confederacy and had no votes in Congress. Neither did any of the Southern states that presumably would have voted against West Virginia statehood.
The war, in other words, created a political and constitutional mess that tilted the balance of power in favor of West Virginia statehood.
Although ardent abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, R-Pa., voted to create West Virginia, he thought it was “a mockery” to say that splitting Virginia was constitutional. President Abraham Lincoln also had doubts. He thought the idea was “dreaded as a precedent” but also “made expedient by a war.” His answer to charges that the Union in effect endorsed secession in one case while going to war over it in another: In West Virginia’s case, it was “secession in favor of the Constitution.”
I understand why Bump didn’t include all of that information. His story was about the potential legality of secession in America today, and West Virginia’s path to statehood was only one aspect of that topic. But his shorthand account of the events could mislead people into thinking West Virginia’s secession from Virginia wasn’t controversial. It was. The Supreme Court didn’t settle the issue until a 6-3 ruling in 1870.
Ross’ gaffe was more egregious than Bump’s. In trying to dispel one myth that “the South was monolithic” during the Civil War, he repeated another one — that “the State of West Virginia broke off from the State of Virginia because they were not in agreement with the goals of the Confederacy.”
That simplistic analysis is similar to arguing that the Civil War was about states’ rights instead of slavery, one of the myths that Ross tackled. Southern rebellion was more of an expediency for western Virginians to accomplish a goal they had long desired than it was a rejection of the Confederacy.
This is evident in the number of West Virginians who fought for the Confederacy — 18,000 of them compared with 32,000 for the Union. The one thing that even those who are ignorant of West Virginia associate with the state is the Hatfield-McCoy feud. What many of them don’t know, or have forgotten, is that the feud has its roots in the Civil War and that “Devil Anse” Hatfield of West Virginia fought for the Confederacy.
The division of the country over slavery in general, and Virginia’s decision to side with the South in particular, just created an atmosphere for a rebellion within the rebellion. West Virginians always were and always will be different from Virginians, and the war gave our ancestors the political clout they needed to create a geographical split that had existed along economical, ancestral and cultural lines for generations. Ross’ myth-busting video for The Huffington Post distorted that reality.
The mistakes that Bump and Ross made weren’t as superficial as getting the name of West Virginia wrong or forgetting about its capital city. But coming as they did only seven days after West Virginia Day, they were worth noting.
Maybe in the future journalists who care enough to research West Virginia history before they write or talk about it will find this blog post and get some much-needed education.
Filed under: Blogging and History and Media and People and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment
I actually gave the question some thought before I changed my picture — a first for me and thus not something I do lightly — and again after he asked the question, so I thought I’d share my explanation here in addition to on his Facebook wall.
For me, a profile picture with the French colors superimposed on it makes a multifaceted statement:
• One of empathy with the people of France. I was in Washington on 9/11, within walking distance of the White House, one of the presumed potential targets of the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. I remember what it was like walking to the Metro at the end of that workday, the capital city all but empty except for military vehicles and armed soldiers. The terror was palpable.
• One of solidarity with the French government. However you decide to pursue and punish ISIS for this evil, I am behind you. (Hours ago, the French bombed some ISIS targets in Syria.)
• One of purpose for our president, lawmakers and military leaders. I want them to stop saying terror is “contained” and start committing the money and people necessary to do it.
• One of importance to my Facebook friends. As I mentioned, the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks on France mark the first time I’ve been motivated to change my Facebook profile picture for a cause. That has been intentional. Many things matter to me. I write about some of them on Facebook and on this blog. This particular historical event matters enough to also merit a simple, symbolic gesture that won’t change anything but will let people know the attacks have changed me.
Filed under: Blogging and Family and Government and Military and News & Politics and Social Media
Comments: 1 Comment
I went there for about three weeks in May/June 2004 to visit the preacher our congregation supported in Nizhny Novgorod and to meet the brethren there. We also spent a few days site-seeing in Moscow. It was one of the most enlightening experiences of life.
I initially laughed like every other spoiled American at the gripes from journalists as they arrived in Russia last month to cover the Olympics. But an article about the #SochiProblems later reminded me that, sadly, they were reporting realities that Russians face every day.
Here are two telling excerpts from the blog PolicyMic:
Filed under: Blogging and Culture and Human Interest and News & Politics and Photography and Travel
Comments: 2 Comments
You know what I think would be a great idea? Mitt Romney granting an interview to “The Enlightened Redneck.” Gov. Romney will be two blocks from our house Saturday afternoon, and he needs the enlightened redneck vote. What better way to get it than to visit the home of The Other Danny Glover?
If anyone on the Romney campaign team is reading this blog post, please know that it is a legitimate invitation. I have two decades of experience as a journalist covering politics and policy and thus am qualified to interview a presidential candidate. See my credentials on LinkedIn. I also know many conservative bloggers and tweeters who would appreciate that you granted an interview to one of their own.
The interview doesn’t have to be all meat and potatoes. I’d certainly ask you some substantive questions. The journalist in me wouldn’t have it any other way. But this is a lighthearted blog, and I love dessert, too. After your rally down the road, swing by our house for a chat. It will be fun for me and a potentially great PR opportunity for you.
Filed under: Blogging and Media and News & Politics and People and Rednecks
When you attend the annual Milblog Conference, you can expect to hear defense hawks and the bloggers they love sniping at the media. But this year’s conference, hosted by Military.com for the first time and held over the weekend in Arlington, Va., featured a bonus — journalists sniping at each other.
The pointed but brief rhetorical clash between defense reporters Austin Wright of Politico and Greg Jaffe of The Washington Post occurred as the two pondered the changing media landscape. It got personal when Wright framed the discussion in the context of the rise of Politico and corresponding fall of the Post (as seen most recently in another round of buyouts and an 8 percent drop in revenue).
He credited Politico’s success in part to its mastery of “niche journalism.” “Politico specializes in politics, and if advertisers want to reach people in politics, they advertise in Politico. If people want to advertise to people who watch sports, they advertise in ESPN,” Wright said. “And it’s harder to figure out what the audience is for The Washington Post because it’s such a broad [audience]. I think it’s a really big problem.”
Jaffe’s journalistic hackles raised at that last comment:
Filed under: Blogging and Business and Media and People
Comments: 1 Comment
This firing of a young journalist even before he started his first day at the Wilmington News Journal in Delaware was predictable:
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending for a greenhorn who, although naive about the norms of business behavior, clearly has the creativity to succeed as a writer:
Kristopher Brooks shouldn’t have published his job announcement before clearing the idea with his new employer, and he definitely shouldn’t have used the company’s logo without permission. But the News Journal overreacted by rescinding the job offer. Now it won’t benefit from Brooks’ “narrative storytelling and your natural curiosity.” His new employer will.
Filed under: Blogging and Business and Media and People
Pinterest is the latest social media craze, and as someone who makes his living in the digital marketing world, I’ve been meaning to try it for awhile. I requested an invite to join Pinterest a few days ago and received it this morning. That’s when the inspiration hit me to create a “Redneck Humor” board.
But first a bit about Pinterest: As the name implies, the site is a place where you “pin” pictures of the people, places and things that “interest” you. But this virtual pinboard also has a social aspect to it. After you pin photos to your topical boards, other people can “like” them, “repin” them to their own Pinterest boards or comment on the photos.
The network is especially popular with women, who use it to create collections of recipes, clothes and other items. But as I poked around the site today, I realized that it’s a great forum for creating photo essays and themed albums on topics that interest me, too — sports, politics, West Virginia and, of course, rednecks.
I decided to make my trial run on Pinterest a fun one by pinning photos from past “Redneck Humor” entries on this blog. (One potential benefit is new readers.) I also scoured the Internet for other photographic displays of redneck humor and pinned several of them to my board.
This photo album is a win-win for both you and for me. It makes it easier for rednecks who love to laugh at and with their kinfolk (in spirit, if not reality) to find “snapshots of happily uncultured American life” in one place. And It’s much easier and quicker for me to pin multiple photos to Pinterest than to blog about each photo individually.
When it comes to redneck humor, pictures tell the story far better than my words anyway.
So if you have not done so yet, click on over to my new Pinterest board and get your fill of redneck laughs. And if you’re so inclined, request your own invite to Pinterest and repin or like the photos that make you laugh the most.
Filed under: Blogging and Human Interest and Just For Laughs and Photography and Redneck Humor and Social Media
I’m covering the flip side of Twitter on a second Tumblr, the Twitter Hall of Shame. The “fame” blog recognizes previously unknown people who found their proverbial 15 minutes of fame through Twitter, and the “shame” blog is a memorial to famous folks — celebrities, politicians, athletes and more — who tweet before they think.
Feel free to recommend stories past, present and future for both blogs. Email your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filed under: Blogging and Business and Social Media and Video
Back in the late 1990s, I briefly joined the National Conference of Editorial Writers while I was working at an e-zine called IntellectualCapital.com, which we liked to think of as the op-ed page on the Web. At the time, many NCEW members held the freewheeling Internet masses in contempt. I was among the few who didn’t and had some rather pointed debates over the issue with my skeptical colleagues.
I had forgotten that I wrote an article about the issue for the NCEW magazine, The Masthead, back in 1999. I just rediscovered that article online. It’s as relevant in today’s era of blogging and social media, where the power of editorial gatekeepers is greatly diminished, as it was more than a decade ago, so I’m going to reprint the article. Here it is:
Filed under: Blogging and Media and Social Media and Technology
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