This is my friend Roei. I met him during my South Island ride. He’s near the end of a 64,000km round-the-world adventure.

He’s seen some amazing things and met some very interesting people along the way, to be expected when travelling through six continents and 39 countries on a bicycle.

You can follow his journey on his blog and read my story in The Aucklander here.

Roei is riding the length of New Zealand with his friend Etamar. They arrived in Auckland last week and stayed a couple of nights at mine before making their way up to Cape Reinga.

To talk to them about their home – Israel – is to have an eye-opening insight into how complex Middle Eastern tensions are. These two young men show a wisdom and understanding (although they say they’re no experts on the politics) beyond their age. Speaking to them made me realise how lucky we are to live in the relative peace of New Zealand. I think this is easy to take for granted.

Roei and Etamar seem resigned (perhaps realistic is a better word?) but certainly not cynical that there will be a World War III in their lifetimes and that their country will be involved. Although quite possible, the idea still scares me. Roei recalled an interesting saying that I’ve never heard before:

“We don’t know what weapons will be used in World War III, but we do know World War IV will be fought with sticks.”

Journalism warning labels

August 24, 2010

Tom Scott is bang on the money. I need some of these for the pages I don’t work on at work. Although, in saying that, often I have no choice but to leave stories be.

It seems a bit strange to me that the media carefully warn about and label any content that involves sex, violence or strong language — but there’s no similar labelling system for, say, sloppy journalism and other questionable content. I figured it was time to fix that, so I made some stickers. I’ve been putting them on copies of the free papers that I find on the London Underground. You might want to as well.

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I’m not sure which is my favourite but I know my friend Jeremy will love ‘Medical claims in this article have not been confirmed by peer-reviewed research’. Believe it or not I’ve actually subbed a story with a paragraph beginning with: ‘According to Wikipedia…’. This is no lie. Every week I encounter recycled press releases which are a real drag. A couple of weeks ago I wrote the headline ‘Verbatim press release’ on a motoring story about a new Land Rover. It obviously didn’t go to print, but it highlights how frustrating it is having to write a headline for a raw press release. It’s an illusion that we’re headlining such a story as there’s only one real headline for each of these. The result is you feel like you’ve done what the PR behind the release wants you to do. It sucks. Even more so when whoever penned the release is a bad writer.

Anyways, check out the rest of the labels on Tom Scott’s site, they’re a good laugh.