Thursday, March 31, 2005

Light posting next couple days:
I'll be on my way to Chapel Hill for the Association of Health Care Journalists convention; speaking on news research Saturday afternoon.

On libraries:
A new story from the Carnegie Foundation, Do Libraries Still Matter?, says Yes:
    "’s conceivable that libraries someday will function more as secure archives, repositories of expertise and communal havens for Internet access rather than as physical dispensers of books and periodicals. And if that day comes, it means only that the library dream - of universal access to knowledge and information - has taken a giant leap toward becoming an every-day reality."

(Via Tish Wells.)

And, on the news:
(Added later:) Another Carnegie Foundation report, Abandoning the News, about the future of newspapers and the traditional news media:
    "Through Internet portal sites, handheld devices, blogs and instant messaging, we are accessing and processing information in ways that challenge the historic function of the news business and raise fundamental questions about the future of the news field."

(Via Dan Gillmor.)

Quick reaction:
The Miami Herald/ Guestbook for Terri Schiavo already has 47 pages of comments....

Still lots of problems with Blogger, at least half of the postings I attempt fail. Testing to make a template change....

Celebrating an anniversary
The Internet Public Library is 10 years old. Hard to believe it's been that long. Early 1995 must have been a tipping point for the Web; Yahoo! has been celebrating its 10th too. Seems like about that time I began keeping a links list on a public research PC in the newsroom library; eventually that became a newsroom Intranet that I still post to every day. The IPL remains a vital, useful guide to best Web sites by topic. What would we do without our intrepid Web guides, mostly librarians like these folks from U. Mich, and the Librarians' Index to the Internet at Berkeley....

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Tasini decision:
New York Observer reports that Freelance writers will be sharing an $18 million settlement from companies like LexisNexis, Dow Jones and the New York Times, for royalties owed when their stories are distributed on online databases.

Blogging is slow and delayed the last few days as Blogger seems to be working in fits and starts. Took me most of the day yesterday to get some postings on my Herald blog; let's see if this one works.....

Monday, March 28, 2005

She's back:
Nora Paul writes for the Online Journalism Review, on whether online news has reached its potential. Nice to see something from Nora, head of the New Media center at U. of Minn. and former Poynter (and Miami Herald) library director.

Newspaper highlights bloggers:
More local papers should do this: The Roanoke Times has a list and bios of local bloggers, including Fred First, who pointed it out.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Weekend update: Other things found this week:
It's been nothing but Terri Schiavo all week. For best resource lists:

And, an interesting article in CJR Daily on the difficulty of reporting the Schiavo case.
I've been posting links to blogs and more on my Herald blog.

More links....

  • The Unveiling of Britain: a collection of ancient maps from the British Library.
  • The Pocket Guide to Higher Education from Educause. Has stats, etc.
  • Inside Higher Ed: a new website for educators, includes current studies.
  • World oil market and oil price chronologies covering 1970-2004, from DoE.
    Governments, Politics:
  • TRACFed now allows browsing of its data without subscription. The free version of TRAC also gives you lots of data on performance of government agencies.
  • Impact of the erosion of retiree health benefits on workers and retirees, study from Employee Benefit Research Institute.
  • Opinion Source: a daily newsletter summarizing op-ed pieces (and some blogs) from around the world.
  • Survey of Mexican Migrants from Pew Hispanic Center.
  • State of the World Population 2004 from UN.
  • Yahoo!'s creative commons search finds content that is resuable for commercial use, or may be modified. Includes stories, photos, images, etc.
  • Media Coverage of the war in Iraq, survey results from American U. journalism school.
  • From Meet the Press to BE the Press: new column on how the government is 'decertifying journalism' from Jay Rosen.
  • FAA Aerospace Forecasts, covers economy, traffic, etc. thru 2016.
  • ZoomInfo: a new version of Eliyon Technologies' business people search engine. Finds people connected to companies by way of press releases, news stories, etc.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs:
  • National Conference of State Legislatures has a list of legislatures with RSS feeds, or legislators with blogs. In Florida: 0.
  • Ourmedia: the new site from JD Lasica, Marc Canter and others highlighting individuals' writings and performances. Includes MP3s, stories, and articles.
  • NowPublic is another new 'wemedia' collaboration, where bloggers can request a photo on a subject and photographers provide it.
  • The Media 100 most influential list from Media Post. Included: Wonkette's Ana Marie Cox.
  • Garlicster: a blog with recipes.
  • The Food Section: a blog with recipes and photos.
  • This is strange: Who's a Rat? calls itself 'the largest online database of informants and agents'. (Via Doc Searls.)

  • Friday, March 25, 2005

    A first:
    Now here's how online journalism SHOULD work. Sheila Lennon writes a story about a muscian. She writes it in an HTML editor so she can fill it with links. Not only that, she read it aloud in her first Podcast. Very cool. The story is behind registration, but link to it is in Sheila's blog column (along with her explanation of how it was done) if you want to read it. And for those who read it in paper only, Sheila says:
      The effect of the print story was, "look what you're missing." As a convention to indicate in print where there's more on the Web, bold link text might stick, if it's explained up front this way.

    Thursday, March 24, 2005

    How to become influential:
    Steve Rubel has some great advice for bloggers: get on the Oprah Winfrey show. And writes an open letter to Oprah asking her to bring bloggers on board (and to start her own blog).

    Tuesday, March 22, 2005

    Continuing the public records story:
    South Florida Business Journal again reports on Hank Asher and says the Autotrack/Accurint founder is now working on a new project that will 'end identity theft'.

    The radio:
    I think the radio interview went well. Thanks to host Joseph Cooper for great questions, and for some gracious callers including a dear friend. (Happy Birthday, Les, again!) It was nice to hear the positive response to the help a researcher can give to a story, and a fun combination of talking about the past and hearing from old friends and appreciative reporters.

    Monday, March 21, 2005

    On the radio
    Tomorrow, 1 pm, I'll be interviewed on Miami public radio's Topical Currents program, with Joseph Cooper, at

    Big new media news:
    Ourmedia: the new site from JD Lasica and others highlighting individuals' writings and performances. Includes MP3s, stories, and articles.

    More on this and on who's blogging the Terri Schiavo case on my Herald blog.

    Sunday, March 20, 2005

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    Still following the Choicepoint situation, now another provider is truncating SSN. Last week it was FlateRateInfo; this week it's Accurint. In some cases you may get one part of the SSN from one provider, and another part from another.

    More links....

  • From Mayberry to Metropolis: Defense Dept report on transformation of Guantanamo.
  • Domestic Airline Traffic Data, 2004 from BTS.
  • Reefs at risk in the Caribbean, report from World Resources Institute.
  • The Spreadsheet page from John Walkenbach of the J-Walk blog. If you like to play with Excel, this has great tips and plug-ins, etc.
  • A9 Special Searches: Amazon's search engine has lots of tricks, like searching popular blogs, jobs, photos, C-Span, NASA, CIA, Wikipedia, lots, lots more.
  • The State of the News Media 2005 from
  • Sunshine Week.
  • Sunshine Week resources from IRE.
  • Irish Immigrant ads database from Boston College, consists of ads in the Boston Pilot from people tring to find friends and family in the 1800s.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs:
  • Terry Ratzmann's home page, the Wisconsin church meeting killer; found by a Metafilter poster.
  • Peek: the blog of blogs from Alternet, news and views from the left side.

  • Friday, March 18, 2005

    Back in or on the way out?
    Michael Froomkin of has a real problem with the ledes in may news stories these days:
      "...I have three university degrees and even if I’m not all that smart, I have been reading newspapers regularly since I was eleven so I have some relevant experience. And even I can’t figure out where or when many of these stories happened."

    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    Organizing information:
    Tagging seems to be the next big thing. I've been seeing a lot about this but this E-Media Tidbits posting with links seems to explains it better than anything else I've seen so far. Flickr and are fascinating but something I haven't worked with yet. In the last few days Dave Winer has been trying out Flickr and pronounces it "amazing".

    Blogger moves on
    In another case of a blogger getting to find her dream job, Jade Walker of 'Blog of Death' and more has taken a job on the AP's Web site. She announces it on her E-Media tidbits posting but says part of the deal is she'll no longer contribute there. The death blog will continue. Congrats, Jade!

    On those women bloggers/oped writers:
    Romenesko had links to more commentary including the original Maureen Dowd column that started some of this, in yesterday's postings....

    Wednesday, March 16, 2005

    Women and blogs:
    There's lots of blather going around about why women don't blog more, or write more op-ed pieces. Please. Women do blog. Men just don't pay attention.
    Anyway, I like what Joel Achenbach has to say about it all. Actually, I like just about everything Joel has to say.
    (What's that, you say, about 'blather'?) (A word I used because it was in Joel's blog today): Well, look at what Jeff Jarvis is talking about recently. And Dave Winer.
    (And where are those blogging women?) Well, here. And here. And I could link to lots of individuals, as well....

    Monday, March 14, 2005

    Earth to Newspapers:
    Doc Searls nails it on the question of free vs. pay news sites and archives. I especially like this:
      "You have writing, not "content.""

    The word 'content' applied to news stories has always made my skin crawl....

    Sunshine Week:
    I'm seeing lots of type being devoted to this celebration of open records, and now the AP has created a site where you can find all the coverage: AP and Freedom of Information.
    Also: FOI Day, including A summary of recent open records changes (Federal and state) from the First Amendment Center.
    (Via Joe Adams.)

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    Still following the public records search companies and wondering what's going to happen there. Some discussion on the Electronic Privacy Information Center site, which also breaks down the privacy news by company: here's Choicepoint news; and on the Public Domain Progress blog. Also see When your identity is their commodity in the Washington Post. Then, of course, there's 'Patriot Act-Diebold-Choicepoint', from Daily Kos.

    More links....

  • New York Public Library's Digital Gallery: thousands of images scanned and searchable.
  • College accreditation search from Dept. of Ed.
  • Report Card on America's Infrastructure, from Am. Soc. of Engineers.
  • New weather search: Go to Google and search 'weather' + place (eg: weather 33132 or weather fort lauderdale.
  • Ethical Journalism: A Handbook of Values and Practices for the News and Editorial Departments, of the New York Times. 57-page PDF.
  • Romenesko in RSS!
  • SPJ on blogging: report in Quill.
  • Many Languages, One America: report on languages spoken in U.S. from US English Foundation. Get data by state, county, metro area, or by language.
  • Watching America compiles news from around the world about the U.S.
    Governments, Politics:
  • 2006 U.S. Budget analysis by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, finds latest Bush budget would increase the deficit considerably.
  • The Insurance Storm, Florida Today/Gannett special report on insurance companies profiting from hurricanes; includes database of insurance insiders' campaign contributions.
  • Devil Rays: What Went Wrong, special report in St. Pete Times covering 10 years.
  • Miami-Dade County Schools' Office of Strategic Planning, has lots of data about schools.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs:
  • Blogger Buzz.

  • Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Another public records security breach:
    Now, it turns out, hackers have gotten in to Accurint and stolen private data. If this story is right, it's even scarier than the Choicepoint situation (which just involved someone getting a subscription under false premises). The Accurint database now belongs to LexisNexis, which bought parent company Seisint last fall. That's $775 million that Nexis would probably prefer to have right now, instead of the headache.....

    Knight Ridder gets hammered:
    In a new book, according to Herald columnist Joan Fleischman. According to Fleischman, the book is Knightfall: Knight Ridder and How the Erosion of Newspaper Journalism Is Putting Democracy at Risk. Author is Davis ''Buzz'' Merritt, 68, The Wichita Eagle's former editor and a 42-year veteran of the chain.
    (The item is several days old but I missed it when it came out and haven't seen anything else on this book yet....)

    Learn journalism online!
    Online Journalism Review has started a series of Wikis on journalism, including tutorials on such topics as ethics, reporting, and writing (so far). According to editor Robert Niles, they did this: help "grassroots" journalists, bloggers, students and other Web publishers without formal journalism training to write more accurate and informative content.
      ...By offering these lessons as wikis, with discussion areas attached, we hope to provide a forum for our readers to discover some consensus about these skills, from which we can all engage in thoughtful debate.

    (Via JD Lasica.)

    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    Veterans package:
    Not to be missed, Knight Ridder's Discharged and Dishonored; Shortchanging America's Veterans:
      Tens of thousands of veterans find winning the disability payments they're owed is often doomed by lengthy delays, hurt by inconsistent rulings and failed by the veterans reps who try to help them.
      ...The Knight Ridder investigation into the performance of the Department of Veterans Affairs is based in part on documents and databases that the agency released only after Knight Ridder sued the VA in federal court. Included are documents that reveal the agency's limited efforts to oversee nonprofit veterans service organizations, as well as databases that show how VA regional offices award disability checks at different rates.

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    The buzz among librarians, researchers, and investigative journalists this week was the Choicepoint situation. Latest: Choicepoint has truncated more data and will be asking all users to complete new user profiles. Not to mention: Choicepoint under investigation, story in Atlanta Biz Journal.

    More links....

  • Beach renourishment funding in the federal budget, beach-by-beach; from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Assn.
  • State Education Profiles from Natl Center for Education Stats.
  • Guide to International Refugee Resources on the Web.
  • North American Native Fish Assn has a fish guide.
  • Create your own AP ticker with RSS feeds from Associated Press.
  • The Most Useful Websites for Reporters: a quick list from Mark Schaver. All (well, most) of these are on Newsnet but you might find this list easier to use.
    Public Records:
  • Not All Criminal Records Checks Are Created Equal; a good article explaning why there isn't a comprehensive national criminal records search.
  • Hot Wheels: most stolen vehicles, 2003, from NICB.
  • English Accents and Dialects: a collection of recordings from the British Library.
  • 1861 UK Census now online along with vital (births, deaths, marriages) and World War records at
  • Nooked is a directory of RSS feeds from corporations.
  • Fire-safe hotels list from FEMA.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs:
  • Observer Blog from 'the world's first Sunday newspaper'.
  • Taming of the Band-Aid, a new gardening blog from Naples, FL. Nice photos of insects, butterflies, etc. with identifications, as well as info on birds and plants.
  • it's a blog about blogs...and very enlightening.

  • Yahoo!s birthday celebration continues with a Netrospective of the last 10 years on the Web. First news story published on Yahoo's front page: the death of Jerry Garcia.

  • Friday, March 04, 2005

    Just in case you missed this on all the other journalism blogs:
    Mr. Sun's Citizen Journalist Starter Pack.

    And, a potentially useful tool:
    How to use your Gmail account as a 1GB file server, from Engadget.

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    History in Paradise
    I missed this in the Miami Herald Sunday, so thanks to Tara Calashain for highlighting it in ResearchBuzz: Mile Markers is an interactive (Flash) collection of hundreds of historical photos put together by the Monroe County Library. Wonderful stuff. You can take a 'Road Trip' down the Keys, or search for photos. Also linked here: the Gazetteer of Keys names that the library put online a year or so back. The Herald story has wonderful stories of how the photos are used:
      "The level of discernible detail in some of the pictures, once they are blown up, is extraordinary. A website feature allows users to magnify the images to such a degree that it is possible in some to make out the names of the Miami horses on which Key West gamblers were placing their money on a balmy, 1940s afternoon.
      ...'My students were most fascinated with what we are calling The Dead Fish pictures,'' said Lynne Bentley-Kemp...
      'So many of them have lived down here so long and have been connected with the fishing industry. They have their own fish stories, and it kind of interweaves the whole history of the place with the present,' she said."

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    Related to the previous posting:
    I hadn't been to the Florida Press Club Website recently, but notice now that it has gotten much newsier, almost like a blog. Some good reading here on journalism.

    Worth your time:
    From an email from the Florida Press Club:
      Power Reporting Through Public Records
      Records coaching with Joe Adams
      Author of The Florida Public Records Handbook and host of the Web site
      Sponsored by the Florida Press Club, South Florida Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and The Palm Beach Post

      Saturday, March 26, 2005. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Palm Beach Post, 2751 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach.
      * Learn how to find, generate and improve stories using public records.
      * Discover the most useful records at the courthouse, city hall, state agencies and online.
      * Boost your ability to background people, businesses and licensed professionals.
      * Find out how to help scoop-proof your beat using public records.
      * Learn Joe's exclusive method for researching any story.
      * Find the records public officials don't want you to see.
      * Learn key rules for using Florida's public records laws for success.
      * Take home dozens of records examples plus tip sheets!
      See why membership in the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists is important for you.
      Adams has spent more than a decade researching and writing about public records in Florida. Join him for a special day of tips, insights, handouts and surprises designed to help you energize your stories (and career) NOW.
      Free for employees/members of sponsoring groups, $20 for other journalists. $10 for college students with valid ID.

    I did this seminar a couple years ago. It's worth every minute of the time.