Richard Jackson

Long Reads: Covering Mass Murder, Vaccination, and Tony Abbott’s Shirtfront

Richard Jackson’s “Long Reads” dives headlong into the people who cover mass murder, the shady history of vaccines, and the mess of former Australian Prime Minister Abbott’s political house.


What It Feels Like to Cover Gun Violence in America – Jennifer Mascia (Vogue)

Long-term readers of this segment may have noticed my tendency to include articles focusing on mass shootings and gun violence in America, but this week I’m doing it differently in order to find an answer to the question—what is it like to write those articles? What is it like when mass shootings is considered “work”?

Here, Jennifer Mascia of The Trace discusses the formality of process that goes into putting together information for the public on gun violence: What to cover? What are the laws surrounding guns in that particular state? What is the history of the shooter?

The article then turns into a story on Mascia’s personal relationship with guns and violence, which, to her credit, she discusses openly and honestly.


Princesses, Slaves, and Explosives: The Scandalous Origin of Vaccines – Kiona Smith-Strickland (Gizmodo)

Eliminating smallpox is counted as one of the greatest achievements of humankind, it signalled our capacity to overcome nature’s miseries through logic and rigorous scientific testing.

Edward Jenner is usually credited with curing smallpox after discovering that milkmaids in Gloucestershire, England who had been exposed to cowpox had developed an immunity to the more dangerous smallpox variety. After testing his theory by exposing an eight-year-old boy to smallpox and self-publishing the results, he became the father of the vaccination process and earned a place in the history books.

What this article shows is the messy and weird history of disease and inoculation and that, in science, it doesn’t matter what you know, credit always goes to the person who proved it.


Shirtfronted: The story of the Abbott government – Peter Hartcher (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Tony Abbott’s prime ministership now seems like a distant memory, and while I think Malcolm Turnbull has made many smart centralizing moves and ultimately represents a return to the norm, I am pretty sure an Alsatian would have been an improvement on Abbott.

This series of articles scribed by Peter Hartcher dissects the power dynamic at play in the previous leadership, particular the bizarre relationship between Abbott and his Chief of Staff Peta Credlin. Hartcher showcases how this relationship aggravated his inner circle and ultimately contributed to his downfall.

Fantastic work.


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