Thursday, March 24, 2011

Talking shop with Green Prophet

The Middle East environmental news site Green Prophet recently interviewed me about my "experiences as an expat environmentalist," including what challenges I've encountered in trying to maintain a "green" lifestyle abroad, the most serious environmental problems facing Turkey, and if there's any good news here on the eco front.

You can read it here: "INTERVIEW: Treehugger Blogger Jennifer Hattam Talks To Green Prophet About Turkey"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy birthday, Daily News

The Associated Press called up the Hürriyet Daily News in a panic earlier today, frantically trying to locate the "reports by the Associated Press that 20 Turks were killed in Kirkuk" that the paper had quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Selim Sarper as saying were unfounded. The person who answered the phone had to gently explain that Sarper had died in 1968 and that the "news" was actually from the date written on the front page: March, 15, 1961, the day the English-language Turkish newspaper was first published 50 years ago.

For the paper's anniversary, I was charged with reimagining that very first front page, slotting the stories into today's layout and news priorities, and rewriting (and often expanding) each article in our modern style. This package of articles, "The Daily News' First Day, Fifty Years Later," formed what we referred to as our "fake front page" today; the real one with 2011 news appeared on page 3. The online version has a nice juxtaposition of the 1961 and 2011 designs.

I also wrote an essay for today's op-ed page, "Fifty Years of Fighting Typos," about the observations I made during this process and the continuing challenges of editing an English-language newspaper in a foreign country.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Close encounters with the wrestling-camel kind

As soon as I got off the bus and saw the strange parade, I knew I was in the right place: A stray dog trotted down the street after three boys leading a small horse behind a pickup truck filled with musicians, one beating a large, flat drum nestled between his legs. In front of them all strode two lumbering camels frothing at the mouth, the bells lashed to their saddles clanking like particularly tuneless wind chimes.
People are believed to have been pitting camels against each other in wrestling matches since the days of nomadic caravans. Today, the tradition lives on in winter bouts along Turkey’s Aegean coast...

Read the rest of my article about
camel wrestling in the March 2011 issue of Time Out Istanbul: jpg | pdf.

UPDATE: Time Out Istanbul has finally put this story up on their website: "Close Encounters With the Wrestling-Camel-Kind."