22 May 2020

Smith v Farrow, and the COVID-climate change connection: What we're reading this week

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A social media stoush breaks out between reporters at the New York Times and The New Yorker. The fight to keep regional news alive. The tangled web of politics and debt behind India's cafe mogul.

These are some of the stories that caught our attention this week.


The Covid and climate crises are connected

The Economist

"The Covid-19 pause is not inherently climate-friendly. Countries must make it so. Their aim should be to show by 2021, when they gather to take stock of progress made since the Paris agreement and commit themselves to raising their game, that the pandemic has been a catalyst for a breakthrough on the environment."


Is Ronan Farrow too good to be true?

The New York Times / Ben Smith

In his debut column after moving to The New York Times, Ben Smith took aim at his own publication. This week he called out 'weaknesses' in the reporting of Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow. The resulting stoush lit up Twitter.


Crises are no time for political unity

The Atlantic / Helen Lewis

From Donald Trump to Emmanuel Macron, "leaders can make full use of their bully pulpit, but their opponents struggle to be heard at all." In The UK, Labour's Keir Starmer is trying to break through and he appears to be having some success.


Filling the void: the new wave fighting to keep regional media alive

Crikey / Kishor Napier-Raman and Georgia Wilkins

Veteran journalist Carol Altmann is also trying to fill the gap left by cuts to her local newspaper in Warrnambool. Her website, The Terrier, investigates local government and community issues.

“Local councils aren’t the tin pot things they used to be,” she said. “There’s millions of dollars being spent on projects, development … if no one is watching that, all sorts of things can go on.”


Death of the coffee king: power and money in corporate India

Nikkei Asian Review / Henny Sender

"With coffee plantations, slick cafe outlets and eco-resorts, V.G. Siddhartha was the picture of a successful entrepreneur — until his sudden death in 2019 revealed a tangled web of politics and debt."