There’s also the obvious connection that both websites are for people learning Italian.
We have an online shop, too, mostly full of ebooks for people, um, learning Italian. Gradually we’ve been expanding into other languages, but more by osmosis than with any great venture-capital funded whoosh!
Basically the company is just me, plus a bunch of freelancers, including my wife and kids, various Italian teachers who need extra cash, our teaching manager – Lucia, and the odd Spanish, French or German teacher. Oh, and we have an accountant in London. That’s it, the whole kit and caboodle.
So it amuses me, depressing though it is, to find EasyItalianNews.com the target of ire from the more deranged elements of the American public, AND AT THE SAME TIME of complaints from what I reasonably assume to be Russian state-sponsored influencers.
Over at EasyItalianNews.com we peddle ‘fake news’, it seems. We have lost donors due to having dared to disseminate the lies the ‘lamestream media’ manufactures to undermine the brave efforts of that nice Mr Trump.
In response, I protested that they ran the same story in French, Spanish, Swedish and British newspapers (I know, because I read it there too), not just in the Italian press!
But of course, that just goes to show how deep the anti-truth conspiracy, of which I am a witting or unwitting part, goes.
Overnight EasyItalianNews.com received a sarcastic commment written in perfect Italian by some guy in Russia, someone I assume to be a professional, state-sponsored internet troll. There are many reasons, but the most obvious one is that no one else from Russia ever writes to me in perfect Italian, or sends the occasional attachment which I should please click on to see pictures of pretty girls.
Anyway, the gist of the comment was that everything we write about Russia is a lie, because we are paid agents of the west and so have to write lies, the proof of this being that the picture of the recent protests against Putin showed GREEN TREES. In Russia, in January.
Go take a look – green trees in January? Fake news, must be! I’m obviously getting paid by the CIA.
Actually no. First, the fact that the picture obviously shows a different protest, has no bearing whatsoever on the truth or otherwise of what we published. EasyItalianNews.com works by finding at least two sources for a story (newspapers, websites, broadcast media) and rewriting/summarising what they have written or said in a way we hope is suitable for learners of Italian.
We link to the original stories below each of our items so readers can read the source article if they choose to. That also helps keep our writers honest, as our editor can check they haven’t just copied/pasted their copy, which would be an unacceptable breach of copyright, as well as being unethical and unprofessional.
And the green trees?
EasyItalianNews.com has a shoestring budget, which doesn’t include anything for images. Not a single euro, pound or dollar. Consquently, one of my able, eldest daughter’s roles, apart from formatting each bulletin, is to trawl (not troll) the Internet hoping to find suitable pictures that aren’t copyright-protected. Which is a time-consuming and frustrating job that everyone hates, though they would hate paying for images more.
Which is why, whenever EasyItalianNews.com carries a story about a crime in Italy – some juicy murder or mass arrest of underworld figures – what you always get is a library photo of a police vehicle. A gruesome winter crime? Let’s illustrate that with an image of a parked old-model police car on a sunny summer’s day. Ditto, when there’s a tragic accident, we’ll reach for the usual photos of an ambulance or a fire engine.
N.b. Usually our source articles have pictures of the actual event, if you’re interested in the visuals (they have budgets). But no, it wouldn’t be acceptable for us to copy theirs, however much we’d like to.
I daresay poor Sofia couldn’t locate images of the recent protests (that our troll would say didn’t happen or were much exaggerated), but that is such a common situation as to be quite unremarkable.
We are, remember, a company that does material for LANGUAGE-LEARNERS. We’re not a front for the C.I.A., nor for a non-existent Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, or anything else for that mattter. Though I AM open to offers.
Inconsistencies at EasyItalianNews.com are not evidence of a conspiracy, but of amateurism and incompetence (we’re better teachers than we are news publishers). Our writers, as mentioned, are moonlighting Italian teachers – which makes their output suitable for learners but prone to factual error.
Just yesterday, actually, we had a story about an earthquake at The North Pole (there is no land mass to quake at The North Pole), along with an interesting article about the death penalty in a particular American state, which contained an egregious error regarding the number of people executed.
As the beneficiary of a British comprehensive school education, and long-time Economist reader, this type of blunder jumps right off the screen and prompts me to curse at our team, who hadn’t noticed the to-me-obvious inconsistency (did you?)
Ragazzi! There is no plot.
Or perhaps there is, but we’re not part of it.
What you read and listen to at EasyItalianNews.com is supposed to help you with your Italian, not get the Dems elected or free Navalny. If you doubt the facts as portrayed, go check the source articles (which are sometimes the source of the error – it’s not always my kids’ fault).
And the political bias, you ask? The joyous articles about the overdue legalisation of abortion in Argentina and other countries, the LGBTQ+ propaganda, the obvious disapproval of Trump, Putin, Brexit, and many other deserving targets?
Who’s paying for those, then? The short answer is that our donors are. See who, here.
But then there’s the fact that our team is made up almost entirely of YOUNG, EUROPEAN WOMEN. There’s a lone young, European male who writes articles, my son Tom who records each bulletin, and me (an ageing Brit) who pays the bills.
Left-wing? EasyItalianNews.com bulletins include whatever our writers choose to write about during the previous 36 hours or so, in the order that our editor chooses to arrange them.
Therefore, what you are reading/listening to at EasyItalianNews.com is, in my humble opinion, a reasonable reflection of what YOUNG, EUROPEAN WOMEN think.
If anyone needs me to spell out what that is, they tend to be in favour of ‘socialistic’ universal healthcare and the state restricting the availability of firearms (and so minimizing gun deaths), whilst they are against discrimination, in all its forms, or the state controlling women’s bodies.
Needlesss to say they are NOT keen on powerful elderly men who grope the women around them and promote obvious bimbos to elevated positions, nor are they big on politicians who lock up their political opponents.
And all of that is totally fine with me. Though I wish they would take a little more care with the details…
Don’t forget this week’s new ‘easy Italian reader’ ebook, which is part of our growing Literature Series.
The latest one is Boccaccio’s ‘Decameron‘, and for this first week our simplified, shortened ‘easy reader’ version is priced at just £5.99!
Iniziato nel 1348 all’indomani della peste, il Decameron è una raccolta di cento novelle, scritte con un linguaggio che fa del Boccaccio il vero iniziatore della prosa narrativa italiana. Le novelle sono di diversa lunghezza, narrano avventure straordinarie ma anche fatti quotidiani…
… and some of them made me laugh out loud! Picture an Italian ‘The Canterbury Tales’ and you’ll have a good idea what to expect. Our Italian-teacher writer has selected just eight of the tales for us, and rewritten them in modern Italian. Thirty pages of text and approximately forty minutes of online audio, which together offer an entertaining insight into fourteenth century Florence, and the origins of Italian literature.
- .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online)
- .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available on request at no extra charge – just add a note to the order form or email us
- 8 chapters to read and listen to
- Comprehension questions to check your understanding
- Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
- Suitable for students at intermediate level or above
- Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
How do I access my ebook?
When your order is ‘completed’, usually immediately after your payment clears, a download link will be automatically emailed to you. Open all of the emails you get from our online shop and look for it! The download link is valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place once you have downloaded your copy. Other versions of the ebook (.mobi/Kindle-compatible, .epub) cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them.