Channeling Grist, Jon Stewart

Before our next class, just for fun, let’s try writing our questions and comments in the style of According to its About page, grist “has been dishing out environmental news and commentary with a wry twist since 1999 — which, to be frank, was way before most people cared about such things.”

Here’s a bit more from the grist About page:

Laugh now — or the planet gets it.

You know how some people make lemonade out of lemons? At Grist, we’re making lemonade out of looming climate apocalypse.

It’s more fun than it sounds, trust us!”

So please loosen up a bit and pretend you’re critiquing news stories for It might be a good idea to spend some time browsing the site before you write.

And then, the following week, I’d like us to get even crazier. On Friday, Feb 24, I’d like the next pair of reading leaders to post questions in the style of Jon Stewart. Yes, many people think of Jon as just another late night comedian. But in fact he’s an incisive news critique. As Dan Gillmor, Knight Chair of Entrepreneurial Journalism at Arizona State University, says, “f you’re not a fan of The Daily Show’s media criticism, you’re just not paying attention.” Here’s more praise for Jon from Gillmor:

So naturally, I’d like everyone who posts a comment that week to do so in the style of Jon Stewart. I’m desperately hoping that some of you put a camera on a tripod, sit in front of it, and give us your critique as a videotaped monologue (no more than 200 words still). But if you’re too shy to do that, you can write out a script of your Stewart-esque critique. Because of spring break, this will be due on Tuesday March 6 at noon instead of Monday at noon, which will be our usual deadline. Check out the Daily Show’s homepage and youtube channel for inspiration.

Everyone please try to read or watch the critiques before Wednesday’s class each week. We’ll try to vote and discuss the results in class.

If you get a chance, please share this site with friends and family. It would be great if other people would join the discussion by posting their own comments.

Remember I’m out of email reach the week of Feb. 20th but available for consults during the week of the University of Michigan break — or any time after. Have a really wonderful time off!

Emilia Askari


About emiliaaskari

Journalist, teacher, news game designer. Promoting digital literacy and content creation in the public interest.

One Response to “Channeling Grist, Jon Stewart”

  1. “Experts delay call on releasing controversial H5N1 work”

    The bird flu virus, H5N1, has been the focus of recent research, the results of which are now being kept secret? Many are calling this a breach of academic freedom (not to mention a nail in the coffin for public health), but the World Health Organization says
    it doesn’t want bioterrorists getting the wrong idea.

    Am I the only one who feels this article is just a bit too deadpan for the subject matter? Maybe it doesn’t shock the BBC’s readers in England, but this virus kills 60% of people that get near it. 60 percent! It could just be that dry British humor, but someone should either be laughing or crying at what this means for public health. The research discussed in the article is essentially determining whether that movie ‘Contagion’ could become our reality. That’s scary stuff, but I don’t think I’m sufficiently scared from the author’s weak lede, does anybody feel the same?

    And I’m still looking for a nut graph, if you can find it, let me know. All this author does is summarize the events, with a subtle hint that this killer virus could become our next nightmare. Way too subtle for my taste, how would you improve it?

    Alex Leader

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