Written by

Chris Gonzales


Jay Mantri

Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.

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Photo: Ryan Pfluger

Photo: Ryan Pfluger

The Man Who Shot Michael Brown »

Jake Halpern’s New Yorker profile of Darren Wilson — the police officer whose actions set off the tumultuous Ferguson, MO protests of 2014 — is everything journalism should be: Meticulous, brutally honest, unafraid to ask tough questions, and at times uncomfortable.

In Reverend Wilson’s view, the moment when Darren Wilson first spoke with Michael Brown was enormously consequential. “It frames the engagement and it sets a tone for the relationship,” he told me. But this moment couldn’t be isolated from all the mistakes that came before it. In places like Ferguson, police officers needed to spend more time in the schools, getting to know disadvantaged students, and they had to treat more residents as allies. He urged me to consider what might have happened if Wilson had known Brown, or Brown’s grandmother, and was able to say, “Does Miss Jenny know you’re out here?”

Halpern gave Wilson a surprisingly fair shot to humanize his origin story and perspective, but it only backfired in my eyes. I was taken aback by how little Wilson seems to care about what he did and why it matters.

Charles M. Blow of The New York Times seems to agree, according to his response piece:

Wilson’s interview doesn’t make him appear more human. It reaffirms the degree to which the American mind can seek to divest others of humanity, and it lays bare how historical illiteracy and incuriousness creates the comfortable distance on which pernicious structural racism relies.

Photo: Cory Staudacher

Photo: Cory Staudacher

Tips for Better Photos by Famous Instagrammers »

Remember that What It’s Like to Be a Professional Instagrammer piece I linked in last week’s Quality Linkage? The folks at Tech Insider asked those same people for a few of their tips on shooting better Instagram photos and gaining more followers:

[Cole] Rise sometimes puts his sunglasses over his iPhone camera to make a skyline look more dramatic or add cool light leaks. “It creates really awesome reflections with your phone,” he says.

I’ll have to try that one sometime. But most importantly:

“Go out and live an awesome life, and can tell a great story,” Rise says. “The photo will follow.”

“You can’t make it up. You gotta go live it.”

Photo: Jessica Zollman

Photo: Jessica Zollman

Hey, Internet: Stop Trying to Inspire Me »

Jamie Varon wishes more people would face reality:

Inspiration is cheap. It’s easy. It’s flowery. It’s drenched in promises no one can fulfill. […]

I want you to know that you don’t need to fix yourself if you’re not smiling every moment of the day. Sometimes you have very little to be grateful for and that’s okay. Sometimes it’s hard to muster up the energy to be happy with what you have when you want so much more from the world and yourself. That’s okay. It’s okay to be angry and to be kind of dark and weird and not a ball of positivity every moment. Sometimes it’s okay to be bored and to think that happiness is a bit boring because it kind of is.

Publishing Versus Performance: Our Struggle for the Soul of the Web »

There’s been a lot talk lately about performance in web publishing and what’s being done about it. This week, Jeffrey Zeldman threw his hat into the ring:

The web’s strength lies precisely in its unique position as the world’s first universal platform. […] It subsists in the principle that, developed rightly, content on the web is as accessible to the Nigerian farmer with a feature phone as it is to a wealthy American sporting this year’s device. […]

And yet, as a 20-year publisher of independent content (and an advertising professional before that), I am equally certain that content requires funding as much as it demands research, motivation, talent, and nurturing. Somebody has to pay our editors, writers, journalists, designers, developers, and all the other specialtists whose passion and tears go into every chunk of worthwhile web content.

One consistent theme throughout all these pieces is that there is no easy answer* to the issue of funding publications sans ads, but the day is fast approaching when organizations are likely going to have to figure out how to do exactly that.

* Well, actually there is, but it would require readers (yes, that means you) to voluntarily and monetarily support publications.

Photo: Beth McCarley

Photo: Beth McCarley

Winners of the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest »

The Atlantic put together this gallery of unsurprisingly awesome photos from the 27th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.

Winning first prize, Anuar Patjane Floriuk of Tehuacán, Mexico, will receive an eight-day photo expedition for two to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for a photograph of divers swimming near a humpback whale off the western coast of Mexico.

Photo: Anuar Patjane Floriuk

Photo: Anuar Patjane Floriuk


We Call This Home »

I’ll just steal Jason Kottke’s description here: Walter Chang saved up, quit his job, travelled around the world for three years, and made the video above.

Here’s Chang himself:

For nearly a year, I saved up money by moving out of my apartment and sleeping at friends’ places. At one point, I even discreetly moved into the building where I was working at the time and slept there. I sold much of what I owned and took on additional hours at work. On Sept 13th 2011, I got on a plane.


I always thought globetrotting was only possible for the rich and adventurous, but this isn’t true. Traveling around the world with nothing but a backpack can be done with less money than you think and becomes easier everyday through online traveling tools. But traveling for an extended period is mainly an option when we’re younger, with more energy and curiosity, and less obligations. We shouldn’t let this time go to waste.

I love everything about David’s story — the photos, the highs and lows, and even his honesty about how extended travel can fail to bring the grand epiphanies one might hope for (though it is still very worthwhile in other ways).

Illustrations: Evgeny Kazantsev

Illustrations: Evgeny Kazantsev

Wonders of the World »

Russian designer Evgeny Kazantsev created digital renderings of what ancient wonders of the world might have looked like had they remained intact up to our time. Included are the statue of Zeus at Olympia (pictured above, left), the Parthenon, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Temple of Artemis, the Tower of Babel, the Taqi ad-Din Observatory (above, right), and more.

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Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.