Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
"What this means is fewer voices, fewer opinions presented in fewer ways, all of which has a tremendous impact on the public discourse in a very dangerous way," said Mary Boyle, a spokeswoman for Common Cause.
“How do they do investigative journalism and keep politicians and businesses honest?” he said. “Blogs can fill in some of the vacuum but do they have the resources to risk lawsuits for taking on the powerful?”
As newspaper staffs shrink, so might the ranks of those who dedicate their careers to the profession.
All of these are perfect points that explain why I'm still in newspapers and why I want to fight so hard to save them, or at least the main idea behind them. We aim to share the news and safeguard the people. As long as I am doing that, I am quite happy in any medium. But sometimes its hard to beat the design found on paper (even glossy magazine paper)
Take a look at the AM New York's cover for the story discussed about at Mario Garcia's blog about newspaper design. I send you there not only because the head is so well done and shows how to use both color and words to make your point in design, but also that Mario is quite informed about all things designed. A good resource if it has any interest for you folks.
And, for a laugh (because one really can't be in the newspaper business without a sense of humor, morbid or otherwise), the blogger over at News after Newspapers has an interesting list of predictions for 2009. The most amusing:
"A major motion picture or HBO series featuring a journalism theme (perhaps a blogger involved in saving the world from nefarious schemes) will generate renewed interest in journalism as a career."
And hey, this could mean a revival for journalism.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
As Timothy Egan writes in his guest column in the New York Times opinion section, "With a resume full of failure, he now thinks he can join the profession of Mark Twain, George Orwell and Joan Didion."
I love books. I hate people who write books that waste paper and money that others deserve.
Monday, December 8, 2008
As a sort of nontraditional employee here (I'm new to the newspaper business and in fact have no real stake in the Daily Press other than a biweekly paycheck that isn't worth that much) its odd that I suddenly have such strong opinions about Zell and his top minion (Chief Innovation Officer Lee Abrams). Even odder is that my instinct is to finally stick up for them. Timing seems to put Zell solely to blame for the apparent collapse of a respected media giant. But in truth, he was given the mess we're in now. It may be his drastic cuts and quick decision to try to sell-off such superfluous holdings as Careerbuilder and the Chicago Cubs (why a newspaper would need a baseball team is something I have not been able to understand) that are keeping us from actually having to go bankrupt.
So that said, all of those commenting on the situation are really not helping by attacking Zell and gleefully cackling about the downfall of his plan. All that does is make it harder for those of us actually affected by the company's failures to buckle-down and try to remake journalism.
For other comments on the Tribune check out Buzz Machine, Newspaper Deathwatch, Recovering Journalist, and Web 2.0h really?. These are all blogs and offer a range of comments about Zell's affect on the Tribune and the news industry. My favorite is the old rebuttal from Jeff Jarvis on the Buzz Machine which says that Zell can't be blamed for something that is the result of "decades of egotistical and willfully ignorant neglect by the owners, managers — and staff — at" newspapers.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
And so I scan: job banks, classifieds, journalismjobs.com, even media bistro's job bank (which holds relatively few newspaper jobs). Sadly it seems that these companies need a great deal of help, considering the sorry state of their ads. Case in point (errors idenified by italics):
DIGITAL CONTENT EDITOR
The ideal candidate will have Web content experience, including the development of podcasts and/or videocasts. This person will be expected to rap up projects quickly and should be proficient in all aspects of Web technology. This person should also have excellent document management and organizational skills. Video experience is a plus, as is an interest in the manufacturing industry. A Bachelor's degree in Journalism or Communications, or equivalent work expeirnce is required.
This position is responsbile for developing new eMedia projects, including e-newsletters, videocasts, web forums and other Internet realted programs. This position is also responsbile for editing content for style, grammar and spelling.
I'm gonna go with "help needed immediately". I am torn between wanting to work for them because they are so obviously in desperate need for editing assistance and not wanting to work for a company that has such a lack of editors that they couldn't take two minutes to scan their ad to correct such egregious errors. I mean really...it took me less than a minute to find these.
Friday, December 5, 2008
"Who Needs TV? I'm Watching on a Laptop"
Apparently I am an "urban myth." Who knew?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Ever heard of the Myers-briggs test? It's the one where you answer over a hundred questions which are analyzed and somehow turned into a series of letters that is supposed to mean something to us. This is often used by career counselors (especially in the college setting) to tell you who you are and what you are meant to do in life.
Well now a Web site called Typealyzer has turned this test into a scanner that analyzes your blog and tells you who you are and what your blog is meant to do. Which I think is odd, but hey, it's always fun to have someone tell you how you are supposed to approach life based on a few arbitrary items. To Typealyzer, their analysis of my blog reveals that I am a:
ESFP (which still means nothing to me) - 'The Performers'
"The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don't like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves. The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions."
Not quite to a 't but close enough. I'd be interested to know exactly how they ascertain this, but it is smart to note that they themselves say "Note: writing style on a blog may have little or nothing to do with a person´s self-percieved personality." So have fun but don't take it seriously.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
For example, when Norfolk got a sister city, that city gave them a pagoda. Since then, the area has been refurbished into a beatiful garden (complete with zen-style waterfall and large bonsai trees) with a charming restaurant that offers asian american fare mixed with random dishes, such as a Moroccan inspired wrap and a Sicilian style meatloaf.
The Pagoda Garden, located on the waterfront near the USS Wisconsin/Nauticus, also offers some beautiful photography, as the entry hints at.
Nearby there is a view of the Elizabeth River, which offers its own opportunities for photography. I walked through the area as the sun was setting and the water was calm, but offered enough ripples to provide these beautiful shots:
It just shows you that even when its cold out, there are some wonderful opportunities for outdoor fun right next door.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
I mean, who would want to deal with the above? Can you see the tiny people waving from the very back of the store as they stand in line for hours? No, because they've passed out from the lack of air already...-__-
Thursday, November 27, 2008
...and huge lovable dogs.
Being able to see beautiful fall colors.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
One view that I have and cannot keep myself from having is that animals, especially our companion creatures, deserve all of the love and care that they unconditionally give to us. Unfortunately we cannot always afford to love our animals. There are also a lot of people who don't care enough to do so.
For those of you who would like to give back and offer a Happy and belly-filling Thanksgiving to our furry friends (or a belly-filling meal to those friends any time of the year), go to the Animal Rescue Site. Right on that site's front page there is a clickable button. For every click, their sponsors give money. The beautiful thing is that there aren't pop-ups or annoying ads that we have to wade through once clicking. So anyway, share a little love with our less fortunate four-legged friends.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I'll be the first to admit that it has taken me a ridiculously longtime to jump on the YouTube bandwagon, and to be honest I haven't 'jumped on' per se. Really I use it every once in awhile, but it's in those every once in a whiles that you are rewarded. Why? Well, sometimes I just need good guitar music to make me happy. Screw vocals and drums and everything else. I often just want to here that acoustic guitar taking on some of my favorite songs.
Here to my rescue is a web developer who also happens to make guitar compositions out of everythng from The Beatles to the Back to the Future theme song.
Take a second and enjoy Adrian Holovaty's strummings.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Anyway, it is this 'decisive moment' that has always been the basis of some of my favorite photographs of people. In my browsing of other sites, I came upon a BBC blog, in which the blogger speaks about a photographer who tells the story of him accidently capturing a decisive moment. The series of shots taken together is beautiful, and yet each shot on its own has an amazing 'decisive moment' quality. Take a look at this photographer's site for the full tale of a decisive moment for this couple:
Sunday, November 23, 2008
So there is a wonderful site for people like me (especially those of us who work in newspapers) to learn how to be even more of an ass as far as picking apart people's speech/writing goes. So, if you want to truly annoy the crap out of people by yelling at them for speaking incorrectly, please, visit this Web site: You Don't Say. It's created by a veteran copy editor and involves a good deal of humor as well, especially if you are the sort of person to snicker at other people.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
While he has many hilarious films (including one called College where he plays a hapless geek who can't quite by the athlete he wants to be to win the girl), there is one that stands above the rest for his subtle humor and beautiful vision.
For a wonderful review of the movie (since I haven't seen it in a few years), please see what Slate magazine's Gary Giddins has to say on The General, a spoof of a real historical event that occurred during the Civil War. The link also includes some sample clips of the movie, which has been rereleased in crystal clear quality (generally the only downside of silent comedies is that they are poor quality since they were made in the 1920s).
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Ever since the world heard the news that Obama would be the America's new president, Bush has been treated like the unpopular kid at school. It makes you feel sorry for the man who did help the U.S. through the second biggest attack on our soil (9/11).
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Mosques are the Muslim faith in 3-D. Minarets stretching to the sky for joy and to call others to them to rejoice as well.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Well it flurried here early this morning. So now I think it's safe to officially say farewell to Autumn, unfortunately. And as a send-off to a wonderfully joyfull and colorful season, I made an apple spice cake. DELICIOUS. That's all I have to say about that.
Monday, November 17, 2008
First rule of reporting that I learned: If you are interveiwing someone named John Smith, ask that person to spell their name. Why? Because of the Jon Smythe (or many other variations) that you will indefinitely run into in this business. And if this rule applies to the John Smiths (and Jon Symthes) of the world, why wouldn't you check a name so complicated that it consists of 30 letters, 10 syllables and one dash (if spelled and said correctly)?
Though it does give me great pleasure when I am the one who catches such mistakes. It makes this not-always-ideal job worth it.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
My 'Encore Azalea'
Saturday, November 15, 2008
One of my favorites foods from my time in Morocco was bastilla, seen above in the unique single-portion (food in Morocco is traditionally served platter style, from which everyone grabs handfuls - not fork/spoonfuls - and chows down). Bastilla is basically chicken (traditionally pigeon), eggs, almonds, ginger, cinnamon, pepper and cilantro wrapped in layers of buttery phyllo dough and fried. Powdered sugar and more cinnamon is sprinkled on top. It is an example of the sweet yet savory dishes that the U.S. has largely abandoned. And it is the most amazing food you will ever eat.
Because I have yet to actually make this dish, I will send you to a recipe from FabulousFoods.com. Try it and let me know how it goes. I'll do the same if I ever get brave enough (and nostalgic enough) to try this dish.
Friday, November 14, 2008
It's rare to find something extraordinary on television. Most of that is mindless drivel that could use a good dose of books to really be interesting. One show that has a similar soul as some of my favorite movies and books is called "Pushing Daisies."
Set in a technicolor fantasy land, a pie-maker named Ned can bring the dead back to life. He runs into an enterprising private detective who decides to black-mail the hapless Ned into helping him solve murder cases. Ned can only bring the dead back to life for a minute, after that a nearby life-form of similar size will drop dead. And if he were to touch that living being a second time, they would be dead again, this time permanently. With his strange gift, Ned brings his murdered childhood love back to life, and he refuses to send her back to death. Adventures ensue and wonderful characters that you absolutely fall in love with flit across your screen.
It's usually these shows that are also put to an early death because not enough people will give such oddities a chance. Such is the case with my beloved show, or so the rumor mill would have me believe. Oddly enough, the plot would finish out for it's followers whether it is cancelled or not. Writers say they will create a comic book to finish the story, so unlike fans of shows like Firefly, 'Daisies'-lovers will not be so unfulfilled.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
While I don't mind a month-long Christmas station, such things weren't supposed to happen until Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). So to hear it this early just drives home the consumerism and obsession that this country has begun having with the holiday that was originially a harvest/winter solstice festival celebrated in the name of Saturn (Jesus' birth was not on Dec. 25, but is placed on that date to avoid rebellion by Romans who valued their holiday. The Roman Catholic church had a habit of doing so in order to attract converts...nothing wrong with it, I'm just saying that's what they did). But that's a whole other post...
...this one is about the meaninglessness that the so-called 'spirit of christmas' has taken as time has gone on. I for one, will not listen to that station until at earliest, a week before x-mas (if even then). And I am also feeling more stressed than ever about whether I wil get christmas shopping done this year.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
On the journey you learn from Bryson all of the legends of Shakespeare, mostly false, cooked up by a populace that needed to know more about the man that shaped so much in theatre and literature. It is written in his trademark humorous style and with an audience that is clearly not an expert on the subject. And yet, his use of language is so strong that you can almost hear him speaking in your mind (or I can, at least). Oddly enough, my head makes the 57-year-old American sound like David Attenborough (the British naturalist responsible for such BBC specials as "The Living Planet"). Maybe I've been watching these shows too much recently.
But don't stop there. I myself am moving on to "A Short History of Nearly Everything." I've actually already begun reading it and have laughed out loud several times (making me look like a crazy person to my roommates). And so begins a new obsession, with a man with arguably as much wit and command of language as his subject himself had.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
The Web site is called Wordle. I've known about it for a long time, as have many others. I figure its about time to share this really cool little diversion (especially since I'm getting a little tired from 10 days straight of in-depth blogging).
Here's the deal: Wordle is an application that creates world clouds from either a group of words that you paste into a window...OR by accessing a blog that you provide the address to. It basically searches throught all of the words on the blog/group of words you give the site. Then it ranks the words by most repeated and then displays however many words you want displayed, making words you repeat more often bigger than words that you repeat less often. You can change the # of words, color scheme, font, whether the words are capitalized and whether they are displayed horizontally or vertically. It then becomes a very personalized picture of a group of words.
There's nothing cooler than mixing visualizations with words. And in this instance...'a picture is made up of a thousand words' (well maybe not a thousand...but definitely at least 100!).
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Like the one above. When I saw it I instantly thought of my time in London with my father. There was something about the interplay of rain and English ivy that had those good times returning to my mind in an instant. Whenever I glance a the photo I can do nothing but smile, usually inwardly and with a touch of sadness. But it's my memory, and I love it to death, just like this photo.
It's the fact that I know I can always look to this photo to jog those particular memories that gives me a sort of peace.
I hope you enjoy it too.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Unfortunately, I've also be unhappily shocked by some of the reactions of people. Those who just completely shut down and say they must move elsewhere - and are actually serious about it. Why? Because the president-elect is black? Because he's brought hope to a dark country? There are people who have good reasons: they fear the 'give to the poor' attitude, and they have a right to that feeling. But what I feel most people are missing is that Obama seems to want to listen to them, too. He's the first leader that I've ever seen who I can't make a cynical joke about, because I cannot believe in my own cynicism enough to apply it to him.
I'm not stupid. I know he'll make mistakes, probably big ones, but I think he'll own up to them, and better yet actually fix them.
What is the most important quality I see in all of this, and you notice if you knew me, is that these are not my normal, everyday cynical, pessimistic comments. I am not that person. In fact I make fun of that person all the time. But these days, I can't.
And that is all I'm gonna say about that.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Here's the site if you'd like to take a look: Election Word Train.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
In "The Media Equation: Mourning old Media's Decline" by The New York Times' David Carr, the business reporter addresses just this subject. But far from mourning old media's decline, we should be celebrating the arrival of a whole new day for journalism, a day for us to continue our pursuit of news without compromising the passion that so many of us newspeople feel for newsprint.
Also, I think this election season has proved the need for newspapers. My own paper sold out of their Nov. 5 edition and then later sold out of the Nov. 6 edition, which carried a 'commemorative poster.' I think this could be proof positive that in certain situations, tangible paper trumps the intangible Internet.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Nov. 4, 4:00 p.m.: The motto for our Election section is "The Nation Chooses." It'll be the pagetopper on every page and comes complete with a pretty flag/star graphic. This is more involved and crazy then I thought. Stay tuned!
Nov. 5, 12:20: And our first edition is out. I can't tell if I'm shaking because of adrenaline from rimming (editing) a front page story with less than 8 minutes before deadline or if it's because of the giant thermos of coffee that I finished seconds before I started rimming said story. This was an amazing experience, from the entire newsrooms crowded around several TVs to hear McCain's concession speech to the Editor in Chief of our paper crouched over an thesaurus trying to come up with a 'sizzling' hed to mark this momentous milestone. It was all incredible to be this keyed in to our democracy and my paper.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
~barrack (verb): 1. To shout in support: to cheer. 2. To shout against: to jeer [from a Northern Ireland word for 'to brag']
~obambulate (verb): To walk about [from Latin word for 'to walk']
~meeken (verb): To make or become meek or submissive. [from an Old Norse word meaning 'meek, soft']
~bidentate (adjective): Having two teeth or toothlike parts [from Latin - 'two' and 'teeth']
~palinode (noun): A poem in which the author retracts something said in an earlier poem [from the Greek words for 'again' and 'song']