What we’re reading 5 March 2010

blogsIn the BMJ editorial office, we often come across interesting articles, blogs, and web pages. We thought we would share these with you. Some are medical, some techie, and some just general.

David Payne, editor bmj.com:
I finally finished the autobiography of former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/sep/13/my-paper-chase-harold-evans and loved every bit of it, particularly the final chapter, where he talks about the future of print publications as the Internet tightens its grip.

It’s topical for us here as we start planning for some design changes to bmj.com. Evans wonder if we agonise over the wrong issue. Does it matter how readers access their daily news, as long as the content they read is engaging, entertaining and of high quality. I might steal a sentence or two for a presentation we have to do next week about informal content (blogs, polls etc) on the site.

I now have a month to read Heinrich Boll’s The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Honour_of_Katharina_Blum for my book group, but have taken a chic lit detour to read a freebie in The Times: Julie and Julia http://www.mahalo.com/julie-and-julia. It’s based on Julie Powell’s blog about cooking every dish in Julia Child’s 1960s cookbook, My Life in France. I saw the film, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, on a recent plane journey.

Otherwise I’ve been watching talks from TED, the conference I attended in California last month. My favourites are legal activist Philip K Howard on Four Ways to Fix a broken legal system http://www.ted.com/talks/philip_howard.html. I hope to interview him later month for the BMJ.

Birte Twisselmann, deputy editor, bmj.com:
Reflecting on two recent books on the subject, journalist Jim Pollard traces back what has happened in the “battle of the sexes” and concludes that women are still as economically disadvantaged as ever: ” Isn’t that what feminists should be talking about? http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/02/why-feminism-favours-men/

Kent Anderson reflects on Google’s vastness, ubiquitousness, and business model – and much in between: “As long as Google is able to deliver more for (apparently) less, its gravity of assumptions and preconditions will continue to hold sway over the information solar system.” http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2010/03/04/orbiting-the-google-a-gravitational-pull-that-affects-our-lives-and-thinking/

Juliet Walker, assistant web editor, bmj.com:
This article from the Student BMJ is an interesting read about the impact that celebrity endorsement has on aid appeals.

Trish Groves, deputy editor, BMJ
I was surprised but glad to see the Evening Standard campaigning on poverty and inequalities in health, in what seems a complete contrast to the paper’s former focus on London’s white middle class. This interview with Sam Everington, a GP in Tower Hamlets, about malnutrition and TB was particularly powerful  (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23811532-the-dispossessed-i-see-undernourished-children-with-bloated-stomachs-and-8201-like-in-africa.do).

David Isaacson, doc2doc community manager
I have been reading in horror this week as unelected officials talk about net neutrality and how they would like to block sites like youtube .