Picture: Bruno Martins


The smell is the first thing you remember. You just can’t help it.

Faeces and disinfectant. Once fighting hard against the other.

The smell of shit is winning comprehensively. I think I could have smashed a pane of glass out of the window, washed it, and took it home washed it again and it would still reek of shit.

Aged care, home care, disability care is a good job if you’re going to university. It’s flexible, they always need people, the pay isn’t terrible.

The work isn’t even that bad. There is a lot of poo. That might bother…

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The boxing gloves go in the bag for charity, they’re hardly worn and can be reused.

Same story for my swim goggles, the karate gi, and the bike lock.

I have two piles of books. One for storage and one for the second hand store. The storage books whittle down and down, the box set aside for them gets smaller.

My friend makes a face and holds up a book.

“Mastering pool?” she asks.

“Toss it.”

“Beginners guide to saxaphone?”

“Also goes.”

She gestures to a section of books.

“You’ve got a lot on maths and stuff, what do I…

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“All control, in essence, is about who controls the truth.” Joseph Rain

The idea of fake news is not new.

People have been manipulating facts, creating false narratives, and outright lying for as long as they have been communicating.

That being said one thing to come out of the American presidential election in 2016 was the idea of fake news being pressed firmly into the mainstream consciousness.

While it has been used as a tool by precisely those who seek to lie to the public it is nevertheless a timely reminder that new communication technologies have created a surge in…

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“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
Stephen R. Covey

This is part six of my series on how to spot fake news. Follow the links to read part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, and part seven.

The final test of a news story is the publication.

This isn’t something you can do in the moment. Rather it is learning over time if a story is trustworthy or not.

There are a number of different ways a publication or journalist…

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Like most Greens, I typically jump at opportunities to go on air. Pretty much any opportunity: BBC national radio, BBC TV, Channel 4, Sky — I’ve done them all over the years, for good or ill. Even when, as is not infrequently the case, the deck is somewhat stacked against me, or the timing inadequate for anything more than a soundbite, or the question up for debate less than ideal.

But this Wednesday, when I was rung up by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and asked to come on air to debate with a climate change denier, something in me broke, and…

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

“Culture has failed, almost entirely, in inculcating internal controls on actions that have their origin in authority. For this reason, the latter constitutes a far greater danger to human survival.” Stanley Milgram

This is part four of my series on how to spot fake news. Follow the links to read part one, part two, part three, part five, part six, and part seven.

We identify with, and connect with, people. In a news story, particularly one which has multimedia components like video or pictures, an individual is one of the strongest and most relatable part of the story.

They play…

“Reality is not a function of the event as event, but of the relationship of that event to past, and future, events.” Robert Penn Warren

This is part three of my series on how to spot fake news. Follow the links to read part one, part two, part four, part five, part six, and part seven.

It’s impossible to find someone who has worked in or around the media who hasn’t heard the complaint “what I said was taken out of context”.

Often this is a product of naiveté — your one hour interview will always be whittled down into…

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

In severe cases someone with black lung suffocates, unable to draw breath into organs left looking like a blackened sponge.

It is a terrible disease, long thought eradicated in modern countries.

But of course, that’s not even remotely true.

It is a reminder that the coal industry has always demanded a human price in exchange for the power it gives.

Too long coal has taken a hidden ransom from the workers and surrounding communities to keep what is the most dangerous, the dirtiest, and now one of the most expensive ways of generating power going.

That’s without mentioning that coal…

Picture: Mike MacKenzie

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that” — Kellyanne Conway.

“Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.” — Chuck Todd

This is part two of my series on how to spot fake news. Follow these links for part one, part three, part four, part five, part six, and part seven.

The second thing I will look at in a news story is what facts I am being asked to believe.

This comes after I consider what I am being encouraged to assume and where there are holes…

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not … if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems” — Barack Obama

This is part one of my series on how to spot fake news. Follow these links for part two, part three, part four, part five, part six, and part seven.

All of us consume news differently.

My history in journalism and current job in professional communications means I have a critical mindset when it comes to the things I read or hear. …

Simon Black

Ranting and writing about communication, the environment, politics, and life. Fiction pieces live at https://medium.com/@simon_10129

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