Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Make a year-end gift to NHPR!

12.28.15: Instagram Journalism, Internet Fame, & How to Think About Exercise

Jason Howie via Flickr CC

More than 75 million people use Instagram each day. Sure, there are celebrity selfies and cute kitty pictures, but it's also an unprecedented glimpse into the lives of others on a global scale. On today’s show, a Dartmouth journalism professor considers Instagram as journalism -- documenting lives from the ground up. 

Also today, what's the point of being internet famous if you can't pay the bills? We’ll talk to a YouTube star about the sad economics of internet celebrity.

Listen to the full show. 

Instagram Journalism

Jeff Sharletwrites stories, in magazine and book form and teaches writing at Dartmouth has become an evangelist of sorts for original reporting on Instagram.

A week after the attacks, I took my six-year-old daughter, R., to a “concert for Paris” at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. She’d been frightened while I was gone. We wouldn’t have been able to keep things from her if we’d tried. She likes what she calls “beautiful music,” her term for choirs and symphonies. I wanted her to associate her sorrow with that beauty, to understand them as linked. Some one thousand filled the church on what was to date the coldest night of the year. We kept our coats on. The program began with the French ambassador, proceeded with a quick, sad piece by Ravel, a short piece by Gabriel Fauré, and then Fauré’s Requiem, which was about forty minutes long—short for a requiem but a long time for a six-year-old in a vast, dim, cold church after nine on a Friday evening. During the baritone’s first solo, R. popped out of her chair and let it screech across the stone floor. It screeched again a few minutes later. It was too sad, she’d say later. She called it “the darkness show.” We decided to tiptoe out after the sixth movement. But just as we reached the door the music turned—from the baritone to the sopranos, ascending, sparkling. Here, at last, was what she’d wanted: the shimmery sweetness R. adores from old Disney movies. A kindness of voices. Sentimental? Yes. Hope is sentimental, which is to say it’s imaginary. It’s imagination. “Do you want to stay?” I whispered. R. nodded. // Excerpted from my new essay on jokes and terror in Paris, “The Darkness Show,” just published by Bookforum. Link to full story in bio. // photo: a newsman prepares for a late night live shot in front of the Bataclan, #paris #parisattacks A photo posted by Jeff Sharlet (@jeffsharlet) on Nov 23, 2015 at 4:02pm PST

Instagram Journalism

The Low-Income Life of the Internet Famous

We live in the age of the "internet famous" - you tube channel hosts with millions of followers...Vine and Instagram stars who parlay viral moments into a steady cash flow.  But for every multi-million dollar web sensation there are countless artists stuck in a sort of fame-purgatory. As Gaby Dunn puts it,  "Too visible to have ‘real’ jobs, but too broke not to."

Gaby wrote the article "The Sad Economics of Being Famous on the Internet" for Fusion.

The Low-Income Life of the Internet Famous

Modern Cowboy

As the presidential candidates travel from state to state, shaking hands and kissing babies, a different kind of candidate is recovering from a similar cross country adventure. But instead of riding a campaign bus, he rides a horse, and he's not really campaigning for anything in particular. Jen Nathan has more.

You can listen to this segment again at

How to Think About Exercise

Damon Young is an honorary fellow in philosophy at the University of Melbourne – his latest book is called How To Think About Exerciseand is part of the “School Of Life” series. It won’t offer you tips for getting perfect abs or teach you how to run a five-minute mile – but it might just help your resolutions stick.

How to Think About Exercise

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.