Thirteen-year-old Maggie Thundu finally has a desk in her classroom and it's making her work even harder to achieve her dream. Aired on 12/02/19.
In this episode of "In The Loop With Christian Bryant," Christian gives you a rundown of what's trending today and what health experts think about sports returning, Newsy's "What's the Risk" talks to experts about the odds of spreading COVID-19 after recovering from it, and our documentary team looks into a debate over funding for a waste incinerator in Baltimore.
You can find "In The Loop" exclusively on Newsy's streaming apps for Roku, Fire TV and Vizio every Monday-Thursday starting at 7pm ET. Can't be there at 7? You can watch the show in full whenever you fire up your Newsy app, any time before 1 a.m. EST.
Connect with Christian on This is the story of one hospital and one community in the time of Covid-19. As Britain's death toll, one of the highest in the world, continues to rise, BBC News has been given unprecedented access to doctors and nurses serving in one of the most densely populated parts of London. As well as the devastation left behind by an invisible killer, humanity and kindness shines through in this unique documentary. As the coronavirus has caused TV channels to cut back on in-studio interviews, pundits and politicians - and the rest - have been left to their own devices on how best to frame themselves in their "natural environments".
Enter the bookshelf - seemingly the perfect solution. Not only does it texturise the background behind a talking head, but it gives off the impression that the person is full of bookish knowledge.
"A lot of people actually work in studies and have home studies - often they're situated in environments that actually are full of books," says Tamar Garb, professor of art history at University College London. "But at the same time, you can also see when a background has been really contrived."
After all, selecting your bookshelf backdrop is an exercise in self-branding - presenting selective aspects of yourself before you have said a word. "There are all kinds of pundits who want to signal their authority by displaying very big historical books," says Hussein Kesvani, a journalist who writes about online culture, adding that French economist Thomas Piketty's tome Capital and the Russian novel War and Peace are two intellectual heavyweights that he has frequently noticed in backgrounds.
Bookshelves as backgrounds - and as a marker of authority - date back to the late 19th century when European portrait artists started to paint their subjects engulfed by books, says Professor Garb. "This was the moment of the emergence of the writer and critic as an independent professional in the context of the growth of [the] publishing [industry]." In 1879, French impressionist Edgar Degas painted the critic Edmund Duranty completely engulfed by books and in 1868, Edouard Manet, another French painter, did a portrait of the writer Emile Zola sat beside a table piled with books.
Jim al-Khalili, British physics professor and broadcaster, has been doing all of his work from his home study and conducts his Zoom webinars and TV interviews in front of his bookshelf. Almost all of the books behind him are his own, which, he says, was unintentional. "These books behind me are the hidden away books in my study" as opposed to the library downstairs, al-Khalili said. "It just so happens that now that I'm doing interviews they're even more public than the ones downstairs so I've made a mistake there."
Whether contrived or not, intentional or unintentional, the proliferation of book-flaunting has led to a new genre of media critique: bookshelf analysis. As media guests let us into their personal spaces, audiences - many who have more time on their hands and need some light-hearted distraction - are weighing in.
Twitter accounts set up during lockdown have amassed thousands of followers and are wryly analysing bookshelves and their owners based on the mess, the organisation, the colour schemes and the books themselves. As Kesvani told us, "It's an immediately relatable concept and it's a concept that is quite fun, considering that the reasons we are currently all indoors is very grim."
The Listening Post's Flo Philips reports on how the bookshelf became the ideal backdrop, for producers, presenters and pundits alike.
Tamar Garb - professor of art history, UCL
Bernie Hogan - senior research fellow, Oxford Internet Institute
Hussein Kesvani - culture and technology journalist
Alex Christofi - editorial director, Transworld Books As Hong Kong moved from 2019 to COVID-19, streets once jammed with protesters suddenly lay empty. The pandemic could not have come at a better time for the Beijing and Hong Kong authorities.
Following months of mass demonstrations - which saw hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers demand independence from China - critics say both governments have been using COVID as a cover to crack down on dissent and push through laws that would further curb the city's freedoms.
"Beijing certainly wants to ensure that the protests, the likes of which we saw last year, cannot be allowed to happen again. So they may be pushing through some controversial legislation, including national security laws and we've also seen pro-democracy figures rounded up. To be having all of this happening with a backdrop of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures in place I think, is no coincidence", explains Tom Grundy, co-founder of the news outlet, Hong Kong Free Press.
One of the 15 prominent pro-democracy figures rounded up last month was a businessman called Jimmy Lai. Lai is a billionaire who owns the Apple Daily, Hong Kong's second-largest newspaper and the city's only openly pro-democracy mainstream outlet.
The Listening Post's Johanna Hoes spoke with Mark Simon, an executive at Next Digital, the media conglomerate that owns the Apple Daily, and he made the point that: "Beijing was not gonna let a crisis go to waste. Lai and Apple Daily have been a thorn in the side of the Beijing-appointed government for as long as, basically, we've been around, since 1997. Arresting these people, that was a major move that they knew they could get away with just because of the coronavirus."
In a media landscape dominated by news outlets that are either under direct control of the Chinese Communist Party or in the hands of businesses with close ties to the mainland, Apple Daily's coverage of the protests was hugely popular among those on the streets.
But it was not the only outlet demonstrators turned to for news. For many nascent, digital media organisations, the democracy movement presented a news story - and even a financial opportunity - like no other.
"People really saw that the independent, newer outfits were the ones that were showing what was really happening on the front lines and they didn't feel that they were compromised in the same way that they perceived the mainstream media to be. So there was real support for these outlets", explains Yuen Chan, senior lecturer at City University in London.
One of the protesters' go-to new media outlets was Stand News. Its deputy assignment editor, Ronson Chan, explains his organisation's new-found popularity resulted in a huge financial boost. But as soon as the pandemic hit, those resources started to dry up.
"For Stand News, the entire movement presented such a change - we had a significant increase in donations and our team grew from 10 to 30. But the pandemic has affected the economy. A lot of our readers who previously sponsored us are newly unemployed. Plus, we have seen fewer demonstrations so we have fewer live broadcasts and people have less interest in our platform."
New protests this past week - albeit on a smaller scale - may be a sign that Hong Kongers are ready to return to the streets, despite the pandemic. The question is whether it is too late for outlets like Stand News.
Produced by: Johanna Hoes
Mark Simon - Executive, Apple Daily
Yuen Chan - Senior Lecturer, City University of London
Ronson Chan - Deputy Assignment Editor, Stand News
>>> NOW THAT WE’VE SURVIVED >>> NOW THAT WE’VE SURVIVED BLACK FRIDAY AND MADE IT THROUGH BLACK FRIDAY AND MADE IT THROUGH ANOTHER CYBER MONDAY, WE FIND ANOTHER CYBER MONDAY, WE FIND OURSELVES ONCE AGAIN ON THE EVE OURSELVES ONCE AGAIN ON THE EVE OF GIVING TUESDAY WHEN INSTEAD OF GIVING TUESDAY WHEN INSTEAD OF SHOPPING FOR CHRISTMAS GIFTS OF SHOPPING FOR CHRISTMAS GIFTS OR GRABBING SALE DISCOUNTS FOR OR GRABBING SALE DISCOUNTS FOR OURSELVES, WE PAUSE ALL OF THAT OURSELVES, WE PAUSE ALL OF THAT FOR A DAY TO CONSIDER GIVING TO FOR A DAY TO CONSIDER GIVING TO A GOOD CAUSE. A GOOD CAUSE. MSNBC IS THE SIGNATURE MEDIA MSNBC IS THE SIGNATURE MEDIA PARTNER OF GIVING TUESDAY FOR PARTNER OF GIVING TUESDAY FOR THE SIXTH YEAR IN A ROW. THE SIXTH YEAR IN A ROW. WE HERE AT THE LAST WORD ALWAYS WE HERE AT THE LAST WORD ALWAYS HAVE A SUGGEST FOR YOU ON HOW TO HAVE A SUGGEST FOR YOU ON HOW TO COMBINE YOUR GIFT SHOPPING WITH COMBINE YOUR GIFT SHOPPING WITH YOUR CHARITABLE GIVING ON GIVING YOUR CHARITABLE GIVING ON GIVING TUESDAY OR ANY OTHER DAY. TUESDAY OR ANY OTHER DAY. FAITHFUL VIEWERS OF THIS PROGRAM FAITHFUL VIEWERS OF THIS PROGRAM KNOW I’M TALKING ABOUT THE KIND KNOW I’M TALKING ABOUT THE KIND FUND, KIDS IN NEED OF DESKS. FUND, KIDS IN NEED OF DESKS. THE PARTNERSHIP THAT I CREATED THE PARTNERSHIP THAT I CREATED WITH UNICEF AND MSNBC TO DELIVER WITH UNICEF AND MSNBC TO DELIVER DESKS TO SCHOOLS IN MALAWI WHERE DESKS TO SCHOOLS IN MALAWI WHERE SOME KIDS HAVE NEVER SEEN DESKS. SOME KIDS HAVE NEVER SEEN DESKS. HERE’S MEGAY THIS WORKSUN, 13 YE HERE’S MEGAY THIS WORKSUN, 13 YE SHE NEVER SAW A DESK IN HER SHE NEVER SAW A DESK IN HER CLASSROOM UNTIL WE DELIVERED CLASSROOM UNTIL WE DELIVERED DESKS TO HER SCHOOL THANKS TO DESKS TO HER SCHOOL THANKS TO YOUR GENERATION GIVING TO THE YOUR GENERATION GIVING TO THE KIND FUND. KIND FUND. WHEN MEGGY AND HER CLASSMATES WHEN MEGGY AND HER CLASSMATES SIT DOWN AT THEIR DESKS FOR THE SIT DOWN AT THEIR DESKS FOR THE FIRST TIME, THEY DID WHAT THE FIRST TIME, THEY DID WHAT THE KIDS DO, WITHOUT ANYONE KIDS DO, WITHOUT ANYONE DIRECTING THEM, THEY BURST INTO DIRECTING THEM, THEY BURST INTO SONG, SONG OF CELEBRATION AND SONG, SONG OF CELEBRATION AND GRATITUDE. GRATITUDE. ♪ ♪ >> LATER SHE TOLD US FINALLY >> LATER SHE TOLD US FINALLY HAVING DESKS IN HER SCHOOL HAS HAVING DESKS IN HER SCHOOL HAS RELIEVED HER OF THE PAIN IN HER RELIEVED HER OF THE PAIN IN HER BACK THAT SHE ALWAYS FELT AFTER BACK THAT SHE ALWAYS FELT AFTER HOURS OF SITTING ON THE FLOOR HOURS OF SITTING ON THE FLOOR AND THAT WRITING ON THE DESK AND THAT WRITING ON THE DESK INSTEAD OF THE FLOOR HAS GREATLY INSTEAD OF THE FLOOR HAS GREATLY IMPROVED HER HANDWRITING. IMPROVED HER HANDWRITING. YOU CAN GO TO LAST WORD YOU CAN GO TO LAST WORD DESKS.MSNBC.COM AND UNICEF WILL DESKS.MSNBC.COM AND UNICEF WILL SEND THE NOTIFICATION OF THE SEND THE NOTIFICATION OF THE GIFT GIVEN IN THEIR NAME. GIFT GIVEN IN THEIR NAME. YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT TOWARD THE PURCHASE OF A DESK. TOWARD THE PURCHASE OF A DESK. NO CONTRIBUTION IS TOO SMALL. NO CONTRIBUTION IS TOO SMALL. OR YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO A OR YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO A SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR GIRLS IN SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR GIRLS IN MALAWI WHERE PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL MALAWI WHERE PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL IS NOT FREE AND MOST FAMILIES IS NOT FREE AND MOST FAMILIES CANNOT AFFORD THE TUITION. CANNOT AFFORD THE TUITION. WHEN A FAMILY CAN’T AFFORD TO WHEN A FAMILY CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY HIGH SCHOOL TUITION, THEY PAY HIGH SCHOOL TUITION, THEY ARE LIKELY TO SEND A SON INSTEAD ARE LIKELY TO SEND A SON INSTEAD OF A DAUGHTER. OF A DAUGHTER. SO THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION SO THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATE FOR GIRLS IN MALAWI IS JUST RATE FOR GIRLS IN MALAWI IS JUST HALF THE GRADUATION RATE FOR HALF THE GRADUATION RATE FOR BOYS, AND THAT’S WHY OUR BOYS, AND THAT’S WHY OUR SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM IS FOCUSED SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM IS FOCUSED ON GIRLS’ EDUCATION. ON GIRLS’ EDUCATION. IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO GIVE THIS IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO GIVE THIS YEAR, PLEASE CONSIDER HELPING YEAR, PLEASE CONSIDER HELPING PASS THE WORD ABOUT THE KIND PASS THE WORD ABOUT THE KIND FUND ON SOCIAL MEDIA. FUND ON SOCIAL MEDIA. MEGAY TOLD US HER NEW DESK MEGAY TOLD US HER NEW DESK INSPIRED HER TO WORK EVEN HARDER INSPIRED HER TO WORK EVEN HARDER ON HER DREAM OF BECOMING A ON HER DREAM OF BECOMING A NURSE. NURSE. TOMORROW ON GIVING TUESDAY, IF TOMORROW ON GIVING TUESDAY, IF YOU GIVE A DESK OR SCHOLARSHIP,