On writing/reading in 2016


The day after Brexit, and the day after the US election, I found myself wandering along the slow and dark waters of two rivers I have at heart: the Thames and the Po.

In both cases, and at the end of two, long, sleepless nights, I genuinely felt adrift. It seemed like journalists (me included) were going astray, that we became unable to focus on what really matters. Sure, we are the first to comment on Donald Trump’s latest tweet; of course, we’ll pour tons of ink on Vladimir Putin’s dog; and yes, we’ll swiftly sell our mothers for a profile on Nigel Farage.

Our obsession with these characters – who look a lot like the cast of some bizarre medieval play – distracted us from reporting on what’s important: real life, and the struggle to understand a world that is spinning too fast.

We didn’t see the Rust Belt region; we misinterpreted voter intentions in England and Wales and, above all, we failed to understand people, what they’re asking for, their aspirations, and their needs.  The year made me think of the kind of journalism I’d like to do, the topics and the issues I’d like to focus on. Less golden palaces, more loud suburbs.

A selection of what I wrote:

The Mystery of the Stolen Klimt

Brexit, what happens next?

Corbyn, explained

The secret lives of the Mafia hunters

A selection of what I read:

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Harari

PostCapitalism: A Guide to our Future, Paul Mason

Racconti Romani, Alberto Moravia

Pereira Maintains, Antonio Tabucchi

The perfect soundtrack for 2016:

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