Cyprus Divided

It has often been said that Cyprus never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

After three weeks of coverage of the economic crisis in Cyprus, a temporary financial resolution has been reached and the focus is slowly shifting back to the reunification of Cyprus.

It is important to first understand how the small Mediterranean republic became so fractured. It is a combination of territorial struggles and failed reconciliation efforts that makes each new campaign for reconciliation so much more painful.

Cyprus’s identity consists mostly of Greek influences and a Turkish influence due to its geographic proximity.  A former British colony, Cyprus has been an independent republic since 1960. However, turmoil between the two largest groups in Cyprus had bubbled long before the final cry for independence. During its extensive British occupation, it is believed that the British encouraged the separation of the Turkish and Greek communities to strengthen its own hold on the republic.

Today, Cyprus stands in a position it is unfortunately too familiar with — it is forced with the idea of reunification due to a major political or financial trigger. Cypriot problems can be split up into two major problems: one of diplomacy and unification, and another of debt and financial crisis that plagues the republic as a whole.

It is uncertain whether reconciliation will follow in this time of crisis and need. As was once wearily observed by David Hannay, a retired UK diplomat who came to specialise in the issue, no one ever lost money betting against successful negotiations in Cyprus. One can only learn from the triggers and consequences of past crises and see if there is anything new to be learned from the most recent financial meltdown.

The Direction of News

In seventh grade, distraught from my recent findings on MSNBC that lip gloss may cause cancer, I began my search for a new news source. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular–most of my life questions were fielded by Seventeen and Teen Vogue–but I was hoping for something that could convey huge amounts of information to someone with an impossibly short attention span.

Seventh grade was 2005 trickling into 2006. It wasn’t until 2007 when election coverage became serious and I finally found the only articles on the election that I could begin to understand–The New York Times graphs and multimedia articles. In 2008, when this interview with Steve Duenes, Graphics Director of the NYTimes came out, I first saw the future of news.

It was this email that Steve Duenes quoted in his interview that made this change so apparent to me:

From: Nicholas Kristof Subject: the power of art

in september i traveled with bill gates to africa to look at his work fighting aids there. while setting the trip up, it emerged that his initial interest in giving pots of money to fight disease had arisen after he and melinda read a two-part series of articles i did on third world disease in January 1997. until then, their plan had been to give money mainly to get countries wired and full of computers.

bill and melinda recently reread those pieces, and said that it was the second piece in the series, about bad water and diarrhea killing millions of kids a year, that really got them thinking of public health. Great! I was really proud of this impact that my worldwide reporting and 3,500-word article had had. But then bill confessed that actually it wasn’t the article itself that had grabbed him so much — it was the graphic. It was just a two column, inside graphic, very simple, listing third world health problems and how many people they kill. but he remembered it after all those years and said that it was the single thing that got him redirected toward public health.

No graphic in human history has saved so many lives in africa and asia. 

I’m sending you a copy of the story and graphic by interoffice mail. whoever did the graphic should take a bow.

nick kristof

The Elements of Journalism ends with a discussion on the purpose of journalism as a whole–something to be defined by its new constituents who are redefining news gathering and sharing. I don’t disagree with this conclusion. I also see the level of involvement of bloggers, tweeters and social media activists only growing in the upcoming decades, but I think the way in which we encapsulate our information is already rapidly changing. Visual communication skills should slowly be integrated into the current curriculum. Our 3,500 word articles will become a combination of a short video or handful of pictures taken with our phones, supplemented by clean visual representations that hopefully every grade school student can create just as easily as the heralded 5 paragraph essay.

Journalism is becoming more loosely defined with the rise of new outlets to share stories (and what is a “story”, exactly?), but I think the key will be in the ways in which we communicate. I don’t see news turning into a pure feed of microblogs and mobile uploads. I think it has a lot more to do with the tools and skills we are given that enable us to communicate more effectively with visual representations of our stories.


Assignment 1: Connie’s Media Diary

I decided to track my media intake by logging the number of articles or videos I view throughout the day. Breaking up my intake into four major categories, I kept a tally for each day and translated it to the graph above. I wanted to track the volume of my intake as well as the changing proportions of where my media came from.

The overall shape marks how many articles I finished while each vertical line is a day that had a varying breakdown of where I found my media. For example, February 7th was a busy day with not much reading — it roughly broke down to 3 flipboard articles, 1 paper article, 1.5 email articles and 1.5 facebook articles.

I am not incredibly surprised at this breakdown considering I have been building up a Flipboard addiction. However, I know this graph would’ve looked very different a handful of weeks ago — I am slowly weaning myself off of Reddit, which used to be my major source for all things cats or design.