Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The typosphere in Polish

Robotranslated version of the story.

5 comments:

mpclemens said...

This is the NY Times piece, yes? I only read enough Polish to address our family Christmas cards, but "Cidoni" and "Brooklyn" and "Xavier" pop out at me on the original article.

Rob Bowker said...

Too kind, Richard. Being a non-Polish speaker, I'd imagined it was a verbatim reproduction of the NYT(?) article a month or so back. The translation's hilarious. Fun to see what survives, what's lost and what new diamonds are unearthed by translating pages back and forth a few times.

Strikethru said...

This is not the NYT piece, but it covers the same people (pretty much, as all the articles seem to). I was contacted by the author of the piece and gave her a quote, which appears in the article, whereas in the NYT article I was not quoted, and my blog was merely mentioned. (I can't say whether other parts of the article are the same as the NYT, but this part was not).

I've kind of learned something about the media from this cycle of stories that may seem obvious, but I never really thought about it before. A source reports something, and then subsequent sources refer to/repeat that story, kind of inflating it along the way, instead of returning to original research to write their own story (I don't think that is what happened with the story in the Polish paper, to be clear, just the overall phenomenon of stories about typewriters in general). A media story ends up getting told the same way multiple times, leaving out pertinent parts and cementing others, because reporters are reporting on reporting, and not returning to the facts for original material.

I first noticed this phenomenon a few years back in the story about the New York Police Department buying typewriters from Swintec (a misleading tabloid headline about it was picked up by countless other outlets as fact). It's so interesting that everyone wants to be mentioned in the media, knowing it functions this way.

Richard P said...

You're dead right, Strikethru.

This author based her piece on the NYT story (with permission, I presume), but did do some extra research. I get a whole paragraph here thanks to some questions she asked me. So I do give her credit, but primarily she is riding the coattails of Jessica Bruder, who wrote the Times piece.

Most journalism is slightly glamorized hearsay. How many stories have we now read that (a) lament the death of the typewriter or (b) tell us that the typewriter isn't dead after all because Swintec still makes them? All of these stories are originally based on press releases by Godrej and Swintec, but most of the journalists have never even glanced at those original press releases; they are just rewording what other journalists said. Nobody is bothering to research what other companies besides Swintec make electronic typewriters, or what companies make manual portables, even though in the supposed Information Age, this is not difficult research ...

mpclemens said...

Not to mention how often I see stories about the USB Typewriter product (real) or the use-your-typewriter-on-your-iPad device (fake) These pop up with regularity in my newsfeed, despite the latter being an April Fool's joke, and a pretty transparent one at that.

News appears to have taken on meme-like properties now. Just repeat, reduce, and reword to drive eyeballs to your site, never mind that the story may not be real...