Sunday, October 31, 2004

Special Project:
The Miami Herald's Debbie Cenziper and Jason Grotto report that convicted felons in Florida aren't getting rights restored for the most part.

A couple Halloween photos on the HighlandsCam blog...

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Weekend update: Other things found this week:
Happy Halloween! It's pretty appropriate that this holiday comes just a couple days before the scariest election I've ever seen...Most of the links are under the political category this week, as appropriate. Much more has been posted to The Infomaniac WeBlog on

More links....

  • Halloween Resources compiled by Poynter's Dave Shedden.
  • Ocean Portal from Unesco, a great directory of marine resources.
  • Saturday Night Live transcripts back to '75.
  • Knowledgeplex: resources on homeownership, housing, and community development.
  • Crime in the U.S. 2003: FBI's Uniform Crime Reports.
  • DHS-Customs Enforcement TRAC study of how they're doing.
  • In Harm's Way: Hurricanes, Population Trends, and Environmental Change, report from Population Reference Bureau.
  • Also new on PRB's Website: Country Population Profiles, great source for quick facts on a country. Here's Bahamas. Also:
  • U.S. Datafinder: quick source for demographics and health data at state level.
  • The Beige Book Just released, lastest edition from Federal Reserve.
  • Immigrant Gains and Native Losses study says recent job growth has gone to immigrants mostly. From Center for Immigration Studies.
  • Worldwide Press Freedom Index from Reporters without Borders.
  • CCJ study finds journalists not satisfied with campaign coverage
  • Weathering the Storm: OJR on how handled hurricanes.
    Governments, Politics:
  • Countdown to Election Day from American Press Institute: helpful files and coverage suggestions.
  • South Now: The Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life at UNC-Chapel Hill, directed by former N&O reporter (and J-prof) Ferrel Guillory; includes South Now Blog covers politics around the Southeast, including Florida. (via Daniel Ricker).
  • PolicyBot: from the Heartland Institute, a database of studies/reports from think tanks; by topic or search.
  • Team owners' campaign contributions: report by USA Today.
  • Fact Sheet: The Hispanic Electorate in Florida from Pew Hispanic Center.
  • Smokefree ordinances: find what cities have smokefree laws.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs
  • An Imperfect Equilibrium: blog by Chris Feola, AskSam CIO and former journalist.
  • Reportage: a blog by a writer/photojournalist in India.
  • Blogging the layoffs, by a Dallas Morning News employee. This is fascinating.

  • Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    New, useful, or fun:

  • NewsGator the RSS (Webfeed) reader which works in Outlook, now has a Web version for free.
  • Home Town Locator: get detailed info about any location in the U.S.
  • J-Lab has links to innovative journalism projects.
  • Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online: search the entire paper covering 1841-1902. From the Brooklyn Public Library.
  • A Journalist's Guide to Florida Voting from Poynter. Cool concept, but it doesn't work for me (on dialup). Does it for you?

  • Manolo Shoe Blog: not Blahnik (see disclaimer at bottom) but who cares? This is pretty entertaining, although I suspect it's just a very sneaky new way to sell shoes....This is getting linked everywhere.

  • Requiem for a Dreamer: Kurt Vonnegut's last interview with Kilgore Trout.

    More on the Herald blog.

  • John Peel died of a heart attack on a trip to Peru. He was the ultimate disk jockey, bringing great music to British radio listeners for years. (Even to listeners in Texas for a few years in the early 60s...) BBC tributes.

  • Sunday, October 24, 2004

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    As the campaign goes into its last throes, everyone's looking for lists of newspaper endorsements. There are a few choices:

    Neither of these lists has the one I read today: The Chattanooga Times, for Kerry (the Free Press, which still has a separate editorial page in the Sunday paper, endorsed Bush.) Guess this paper cancels itself out.

    In the Miami Herald today, a lovely story by Margaria Fichtner (everything she writes is lovely) about Havana, Florida. I've been intrigued by Havana (how did it ever get that name?) ever since I used to buy honey produced there. Drove through once but there wasn't much to see. Fichtner writes about life in a small town that managed to escape the storm damage that surrounded it.
    Susannah Nesmith covers violence in Haiti, with graphic photos by Peter Bosch.
    And Dan Chang writes about Dave Barry's semi-retirement.

    More links....

  • State of the birds, 2004 from Audubon. Many in 'significant decline'. Here's one on two lists, most endangered and smallest range: Florida Scrub Jay.
  • Most/least stolen cars
  • The online archive of California with digital historical documents and images online.
  • Marine protected areas of the United States.
  • ChemIDPlus: a database of chemicals from Natl Library of Medicine.
  • Looking for books online? Searchenginewatch blog has links to several places you can search from, including Digital Book Index.
  • Postmaster Finder from USPS. Find by place, name, ZIP, etc. Has discontinued post offices, too.
  • Google as reference book: article from SLA on how to use Google for basic reference questions.
  • 2003 state and county estimates maps from Census.
  • Wealth of Hispanics in the U.S.: report from Pew Hispanic Center.
  • a blog about newspapers' corrections.
    Governments, Politics:
  • has information about ballot initiatives nationwide, with links to Secretaries of States' Websites.
  • Blogs and Politics: a timeline about what effect blogs have had, a wiki from Dave Sifry (Technorati).
  • Facts on the 2004 Election from Census.
  • Filling the gaps in homeland security: a checklist from Harvard's Kennedy School on what needs to be done (only a few of these steps so far have been).
  • The Boys on the Broken Bus: how coverage of Campaign 2004 is going, from CJR.
  • The Regular: a new politics blog where readers post/discuss news, like Slashdot.
  • Who represents America's top corporations, report from
  • Sears Archives: history of Sears & Roebuck, including old catalogs, store histories, Sears homes, art, etc.
    People, News, Florida, Public Records: no links this week.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs
  • Is the U.S. prohibiting Iraqi farmers from planting seed they've saved so they have to buy imported seed from big corporations? This report says so. (via Sheila Lennon).
  • How much has Congress appropriated for beach renourishment? report from Coastal Coalition.
  • Speech to APME editors by Alan Nelson of Command Post, on importance of blogs as news sources.
  • Why the towers failed: latest findings from NIST.
  • Is My Blog Burning?: a new blog tracking food blogs.
  •, blog from a This Modern World contributor.

  • Wednesday, October 20, 2004

    A new newsresearch portal:
    Via email from Wim Wylin at a Belgian address, notice of this new search portal: A large collection of research resources, including RSS readers and feed searches.

    Saturday, October 16, 2004

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    Lots of this week's links found their way to The Herald blog this week, so this list shorter than usual. Now that you don't have to register to read it, and it loads much faster than the old Herald blog, I don't need to duplicate here.

    More links....

  • Flu vaccine shortage infor from CDC.
  • Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture: Slowly the states get these online. I know of Georgia, Texas, NC, now Tenn. Where's Florida?
  • The Foliage Network: see what's changing where.
  • New at The Center for Public Integrity: Abu Ghraib supplementary documents showing it's even worse than reported earlier; and Anatomy of a Marketing Blitz, explaining why you can't choose what cable/satellite channels to subscribe to.
  • Terrorism Knowledge Base: giant database of terrorism information.
  • Biologia Centrali-America huge collection of books/documents on ecology of Central America, put online in digital image format by Smithsonian.
  • Google Desktop Search: download to search your own files (including Web pages you've looked at) using Google.
  • One Look Reverse Dictionary.
  • The Bill O'Reilly phone-sex/sexual harassment lawsuit, online at Smoking Gun.
  • Unemployed without Federal benefits: a record number.
  • Fishing for Trouble: mercury pollution in U.S. waterways from PIRG.
  • World Development Report 2005 from the World Bank.
  • APME survey on blogs and newspaper readers.
    Governments, Politics:
  • The Civil Rights Record of the GW Bush administration, report from Commission on Civil Rights.
  • State elections laws and administration issues, a guide from NASS.
  • New York Times Photo Archive, searchable.
    Florida, Business, Public Records: no links this week.

  • Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    Why, Indeed?
    Wonderful comment by Christopher Lydon in The Blogging of the President on Farnaz Fassihi's letter to friends on the situation in Baghdad for journalists. Lydon says:
      "Isn't the Farnaz Fassihi story a perfect little parable of the "transformation" we've been talking about for a year now."

    He says the email was sent to a New York Times editor, who, instead of publishing it on the op-ed page, forwarded it to his personal email list. ..."but in the corrupted Orwellian journalism of our time, power and truth did not make it "fit to print" in our most important paper."
    Yes. Of all the things that belong on an op-ed page.....
    More wonderful things on the blog include a comment about how women have much more influence on the Net than people think, as they tend to be the emailers and listserv supporters, spreading the stories that need to be spread. An 'underground' information service.
    And, don't miss the 1960s anti-draft poster. I remember that one....
    (I didn't have much luck with permalinks, so if they don't work, scroll back through yesterday's and today's posts, you'll find all these.)

    Monday, October 11, 2004

    Interesting today:
  • Matt Welch on newspapers' duty to investigate the Swift Boat Veterans' claims; says it's not bloggers' job.
  • links to great stories in many papers nationwide, including the New Times chain.
  • A new, cool blog at the Mercury News: Backstage with Marian.
  • The New York Times' Dexter Filkins on living as a journalist in Baghdad.
  • Good links on oil prices today on Al's Morning Meeting.

  • Saturday, October 09, 2004

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    The Herald blog is moving. Knight Ridder is getting seriously into blogging and is putting blogs on Blogspot. I've resisted moving for awhile because I like having the blog on, where it's searchable (at least for 7 days), but as the KR blogs are growing and getting better, it's time.
    The new Infomaniac WeBlog is at, and will be linked from and other KR sites. The advantages include: easier quicker blogging, permanent permalinks, comments (if I can activate them), no registration to read the blog, and best of all: RSS Webfeed.
    This Behind the News blog, however, is staying exactly where it is and will remain a blog for news researchers and journalists (and anyone else who wants links to research resources).

    This week, it seems, many of the links have come from Resourceshelf and Docuticker. Thanks again to Gary Price and his team of librarians, who help keep all of us informed.

    More links....

    Reference :
  • America's creative brain drain: a new report from Richard Florida.
  • Voters' Guide to Affordable Health Insurance
  • Breast Cancer and the environment: a connection? from the Breast Cancer Fund.
  • 2005 Fuel Economy Guide from EPA.
  • The latest report on Iraq's WMD, from CIA. (Also: search the report, via Clusty.)
  • Children of Immigrant Familes, a study from Packard Foundation.
  • NOAA U.S. winter outlook.
  • HOV Facilities Inventory from DoT. Find where HOV lanes exist or are planned.
  • National Fire Department Database from FEMA.
  • What if Roe Fell?, a state-by-state study from Center for Reproductive Rights.
  • A Counterintelligence Reader: history from Federation of American Scientists.
  • Feedster TV: get Webfeeds just from electronic media. Includes Podcasting information.
  • ZIPdecode: designed by an MIT student, enter a ZIP and it shows up on the map. (Hold Shift and backspace to replace the number.)
  • Multimap has added a dual political map/aerial photo function (just move cursor over this section of London to see how it works). Via Metafilter.
  • Civil War Soldiers & Sailors: The National Park Service has completed the database of everyone who fought in the Civil War.soners (just Andersonville and Fort McHenry, so far).
  • State of the World's Cities, 2004-5 from UN Human Settlements Programme.
  • Worker Health Chartbook, 2004 from OSHA.
  • CAR in Canada: a new Computer-Assisted Reporting Website. Includes a lot of downloadable Canadian government databases.
    Governments, Politics:
  • Dereliction 2004: covering the campaign coverage from Cursor.
  • Debate Phrase Tracker: a blogger wrote script to count phrases in the transcripts.
  • States at Risk and Failed States: Report from Carnegie Endownment.
  • Search Debate audio, from C-Span.
  • Nexis is counting what words journalists search in the presidential campaign.
  • A journalist's guide to covering Florida voting from Poynter.
    Business, News, Public Records: no links this week.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs
  • Ann Louise Bardach talks to E. Howard Hunt in Slate.
  • Political Jihad and the American Blog by Jay Rosen.
  • Spring Broke: Website for a book of amazing photos of spring break in Florida.
  • 30 days, 2,368 attacks. Amazing graphic on Iraq insurgent attacks in the NYT.

  • Aid to Artisans includes profiles of artisans around the world, including several in Haiti. There's also a book on Haitian artists.
  • BLM's Historical Photographs: photos go back a century and document America's westward migration.
  • Former Herald director of photography Maggie Steber has a photo spread in Natl Geographic on American Indians.

  • Friday, October 08, 2004

    Backgrounding with public records:
    The Dallas Morning News (in a story co-bylined by researcher Darlean Spangenberger) writes that Texas statewide criminal records are incompete, with as many as 4000 Dallas County records missing information. According to the story, ""Anyone who depends on the state database for a full and accurate check is foolish," said John Bradley, Williamson County district attorney. "
    This just reinforces what I try to emphasize in public records/backgrounding training: always back up your research by using county court databases, when available. They will contain details not available in the statewide record, if not records that aren't there.
    For review, Genie Tyburski did a great primer on backgrounding last April: To Catch a Thief.

    Tuesday, October 05, 2004

    Big Blogger news:
    Evan Williams is leaving Blogger, the company he founded. Since Google bought Blogger there've been impressive improvements to the product. It seems to be in good hands.

    Monday, October 04, 2004

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    Sorry the update didn't get done over the weekend, but I was busy...

    More links....

    Reference :
  • Avibase, the world bird database.
  • The World's Healthiest Foods nice profiles of lots of different foods, and lots of background info.
  • How volcanos work, just in case.
  • Mount St. Helens observations
  • Flu Shot database: find where and when to get them anywhere. Also, lots more flu info from American Lung Assn.
  • Herbal Safety: a guide to herbal medicines from UT.
  • WikiQuote is an outgrowth of Wikipedia, a collaborative collection.
  • Clusty, new search engine from Vivisimo. This looks really good, also has News and Images searches as well as shopping, encyclopedia, and gossip.
  • this attempts to link journalists and experts who blog. How it works. From J-prof Andrew Cline.
  • Bush's military records online at USA Today.
  • Letter from Baghdad depressing story of life under the gun from a Wall St. Journal correspondent.
  • Meet Ayad Allawi: Ken Layne on the background.
  • Studs Terkel's Conversations with America audio now archived by Chicago Historical Society.
  • Population by Race and Hispanic or Latino Origin for the United States: 1990 and 2000: new Census analysis.
  • CIA World Factbook has been updated with 2003 figures.
  • North American Transportation Statistics database: stats on transportation between Canada-US-Mexico.
  • 2004 Report Card on American Education has rankings by state.
  • The economic downturn and changes in health insurance coverage, 2000-2003": report from Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • White Evangelical Protestants by state: report from Annenberg Public Policy Center shows they are 23% of Florida voters. In Tennessee it's 51%.
  • Every Four Years Journalism: essay by Jay Rosen.
    Governments, Politics:
  • Religion and the campaign: analysis from
  • This is getting emailed a lot: E.L.Doctorow on "The Unfeeling President" in the Easthampton Star.
  • Michael Moore on the Bush 'flip flops'.
  • Outsourcing the Pentagon: Center for Public Integrity report on civilian contractors.
  • There's a new Florida Politics blog, which seems to have hijacked the old one. Lots of interesting comments....Some of the story here.
    Business, News, Public Records: no links this week.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs
  • Art News blog.
  • George Soros is starting a blog.
  • BlogSlot: Bill Walsh's blog.
  • Sports Designer Blog
  • Doug Clifton gives up blogging in E&P; it's been obvious since June.
  • What She Said has a list of female progressive bloggers.
  • A list of Spanish speaking bloggers blogging in English, from Jose Luis Orijuela. (There's also a blogroll here of lots of Spanish blogs.) One here that looks good: Latino Pundit.
  • "Rathergate" is now a website and/or blog.

  • Friday, October 01, 2004

    Modern marvels:
    Here's a wonderful example of how the joined efforts of bloggers in various forums can get word of obscure but important news items out:
    Daily Kos tells the story. The Democratic Senate leadership runs a Website with a News Tracker blog. They followed up on a Washington Post story that said President Bush was getting daily security reports on the situation in Iraq from Kroll Associates, which showed the situation was worse than the Administration was willing to admit. Soon after, the White House told Congress the reports were canceled. But the Senate democrats report the reports are still online on Kroll's Website, including the latest which says there's no way the election can be held on schedule in January. According to Kos,
      As far as I can see, the media know nothing of these reports. They don't know (or aren't reporting) that the President's own advisers think he's going to postpone the Iraq election as soon as he secures a second term. I'll do what I can to get the word out. Can you Kos'ers help?

    Interesting. I hadn't looked at Daily Kos today yet, but saw the link on MyDD, another political blog I read for the first time today, after seeing it mentioned in debate reaction stories and the New York Times magazine story on political bloggers, Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail.
    Who says bloggers aren't having an influence?