Saturday, August 31, 2002

This is the first complete weekly update. I'll be posting here the stuff that I used to post to the Website page. Notice all the links from the old page have been duplicated here on the left.

It's been a pretty easy progress, using Blogger. Starting up and updating is painless, but still helps to know HTML to customize your template. There were some moments of soul searching, as I debated the pros and cons: I like creating and updating my sites on my hard drive, not on the server (I've always done with both our newsroom Intranet and my personal site); It lets me preview and proofread before I post, and I usually do that a couple times before sending over. And, of course, the concern over whether the archives will always be available. I kept the old ones on my hard drive too, just in case, so want to figure out a way to store these.
I really like the clean simplicity of the new format, though. It was always a temptation with the website to try some new trick. I won't be doing that on the Blogger template nearly so much.

Next step: certainly to remove the ad banner. A couple of options, including a just-annouced Blogspot Plus option that includes Web hosting among the pluses: a chance to get rid of the separate website altogether, including 25 mb for $50/yr. A good deal, but not for me...yet.
So stay tuned for the changes.

This week's links include more Terrorism and Sept 11 links to add to the Terrorism links page:

Interesting Stories and Weblogs:




Public Records

  • Plain Dealer: Right to Know nice links to information about government and rights to public records and meetings. A very useful service to a newspaper's readers. Note Doug Clifton photo and letter.....


  • Questionable Doctors the database of disciplined doctors from Public Citizen. Florida now among states available; many more states yet to come.




  • Whatis?com find definitions of technology terms. Also here: a listing of "every file format in the world", pronunciation, lots of neat reference files like country codes, emoticons, phone numbers...
  • JAlbum free photo organizing software: create HTML albums of your photos. Recommended by Scout Report.


Friday, August 30, 2002

Fantastic sunset tonight in Cornwall, from Cornwallcam:

From today's Scout Report: Here's a site that might be a great resource for urban newspapers. In fact there's a big gang bust in Miami today, so maybe I'll dig around it a little research on gangs, especially Chicago-based gangs, from U.Ill, Chicago.

Here's another interesting blog (from J-log): Email from The Field In Search of Al Qaeda; dispatches from a PBS Frontline team en route to Afghanistan.

"There is a rule that most good journalists follow. It states that the simplest explanation for something is usually the correct one. Convoluted, conspiratorial, overly elaborate explanations are, on average, off the mark. Cloak and dagger intrigue is more often imagined than real. The trouble is that in a place like Peshawar it is often hard to decide which is the simplest explanation."

There's a blog following the World Summit in Johannesburg at, along with links to other news and summit sites.
>"Castro, Gaddafi, Mugabe and Blair - there goes the neighbourhood!" a billboard for a South African radio station's coverage of the Summit. ".

I have to credit this to Derek Willis, but I wanted to link to it anyway because I'm a Doug Clifton fan: his paper, The Plain Dealer, has launched a Right to Know page to help citizens find out about their local governments and their rights to public records and access to meetings. Great job, and something that every newspaper should be doing.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Hmmm. This story: Press upset about background checks, seems like tit for tat to me. In Florida, we try to background EVERY politician running for office, and it's easy to do with all the public records available to us; so I'd expect journalists here would not be so shocked if it happened to them. In Pennsylvania, it's not part of the culture, I guess.

Is there any particular reason why stories from/about Nigeria are always on the top of the list of NewsisFree's most popular stories (a list I get in my Amphetadesk RSS feeds)? Today it's the story about Nigeria and Bangladesh topping the Transparency International list of most corrupt nations, just released today.
I wonder if for some reason Nigerians are just big users of NewsisFree?

Cornwallcam had a delightful photo of this crooked cottage yesterday and I liked it so much I wanted to link it. But the Net connection disappeared halfway through (middle of the night in UK) so couldn't do it last night. It's still on the page today but will be moved to "Earlier on Cornwallcam" later, I imagine. At any rate, it (and a few more crooked houses) are there to enjoy right now.....

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

SatireWire | Feature: Interview with the Search Engine (from IDO3).

Al's Morning Meeting has lots of fascinating topics today, from late mergers on the highways to moose and deer on the roads (Not to mention NASCA R fans and hunters causing fires). A particulary interesting item on a Lexington Herald-Leader story on polluted waterways links to a nationwide database of rivers, although I had trouble with the links. The Clickable map works, though....

Monday, August 26, 2002

From Marylaine's Neat New: Lawyer Express, a new site from the folks who did CEO Express and Journalist Express. Quick useful links for attorneys. (But may be useful for the rest of us, too.)

Jonathan Dube has links to a couple new and interesting terrorism research sources on his Poynter column today.One, called Terrorism Answers, from the Council on foreign relations, and another, a glossary from

One of the things I've been enjoying doing on the website is posting photos. I've been scanning some old photos (like the Hurricane Andrew photos and notes I posted last week.) But it took off when I got a good digital camera last winter. I often photograph various sights around Miami, or just beautiful flowers/foliage. Here's one of the recent ones, a profusion of various bromeliad blooms:

More photos

Sunday, August 25, 2002

This is a work in progress. I'll be experimenting in coming weeks with this, so expect changes. Now that it's started we'll see where it goes.

The posts below are from the latest update to my original weblog, Behind the News, at

I'm thinking this new weblog may replace the old one, retaining my personal files there.

So meanwhile, a transistion between the old and the new?

Yesderday was the actual anniversary of the arrival of Hurricane Andrew. It's been a week or so of remembering, since The Herald started running commemorative stories last Sunday. Nice packages in the St. Petersburg Times and Sun-Sentinel, also. Although the bulk of the storm hit south of us, we got some pretty terrifying winds at our house (about a mile south of the National Hurricane Center offices at the time, where the rooftop radar clocked something like 156 mph winds before blowing away). Our damage? 2 days without a Miami Herald, 7 days without mail, 11 days without electricity and drinking water, 42 days without a permanent phone connection, even longer without cable. I kept track. Amazing to think of it now.
Some Andrew links; and a couple new useful sites found this week: Coastal population and hurricanes: look up a county and find how population has increased and number, date and category of hurricane strikes. From NOAA. Also: History of Florida Hurricanes Powerpoint slides for a study done at Florida Institute of Technology; FLORIDA CASE STUDY: ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF BUSINESS CLOSURES IN HURRICANE PRONE COUNTIES : new report from Insurance Information Institute.

News Research News: Two good cases of news researchers' compilations being made available to a wider audience this week: In the first, Gary Price posted the West Nile Virus links which Tim Rozgonyi at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had sent to the newslib-l mailing list, on the Freepint server. And Jessica Baumgart posted September 11th Resources on the News Librarians' (SLA News Division) site. Many links are compiled from messages researchers sent to the listserv, a wonderful service from Jessica and collaborators. Thanks so much.

Since so many 9/11 links showed up this week, I'm posting them here, too, although these may very well also be on the SLA/news site, and/or already on my terror links page:

I was browsing the Virtual Gumshoe site this week, and clicked on the link explaining why they're no longer called Webgator. Seems someone hijacked their site by buying their domain name and now claims he's also bought all their links and that they're violating his copyright. What gall. Now I understand why I got that email from them a few months back requesting address change on the links. I changed one but discovered I still had a link to WebGator on one of the pages. If you've bookmarked it, change it. The folks at Virtual Gumshoe are the real deal, and it remains one of the best backgrounding/public records/people finding directories out there.

interesting articles/weblogs:

  • Ernest Hemingway at 100 from Kansas City Star.
  • Speculation: Segway isn't "IT"; story from ZDNet. (Ummm....maybe that's why they called it "Segway"...segue....?)
  • NC Congressional candidate's weblog: Probably the first weblog by a political candidate. What a great way to express opinions/take feedback. Note, however, Derek has some concerns about her candidacy.
  • New Pages a weblog about books and literature.
  • Interested in finding out about RSS news feeds? Here's a LLRX Review of Amphetadesk, a free news aggregator program.


  • "Nigerian letter" from....Dick Cheney? P>