Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Watergate again:
Those of you who know me are probably wondering what I have to say about the Mark Felt/Deep Throat revelations.
I'm linking on the story, with some comments, on my Herald blog.

Getting it Right
Seems like that's something that's terribly hard for supermarkets to do. I left an area where most of the stores were older and smaller and now live in a place where there's a great shiny chain store, but it's still not a satisfying food shopping experience. I'd rather shop in the large natural food chain stores like Whole Foods, Wild Oats, or Greenlife, but because there aren't any near here I get to do it rarely. So I'm pleased to see this article in Tech Central Station about Wegmans. I've never been a regular Wegmans shopper since I don't live anymore near Rochester, where it's headquartered, but it's the first place I go when I'm visiting. So this article about how DC-area shoppers are driving long distances past all the other chains to shop at Wegmans (the first store there opened last year) makes me happy. I love this store. Even the Wegmans Website is a regular bookmark of mine for the recipes and food descriptions.
If you live near a Wegmans: lucky you! Wish I did.

Joel does it again:
Leave it to Joel Achenbach to take a brief posting about participating in an online broadcast and distill the whole new media thing into utter simplicity:
    "Mostly we congratulated ourselves on being incredibly digital and bloggy and webby and podcasty. Although there is no evidence yet that anyone was listening, clearly this is the direction the media is going, and someday, maybe just a year or two from now, we'll reach the zenith of communications technology, which is standing on a milk crate on a streetcorner, haranguing pedestrians. [Memo to self: Purchase bullhorn.]"

And I like a reader's comment too: "What you should think about doing is a live blog, like sit in the window of the Post building on 15th with your computer and type. People could stand outside with signs and wave them, though I don't suppose it would do them any good."

Weekend update: Other things found this week:
Actually, that's last week, as the update is late due to holiday weekend. Next weekend I'll be going to Toronto for the Special Libraries Association annual conference, where I'll be contributing to a News Division continuing education course on blogging for news librarians and researchers. After Toronto, a family visit in upstate NY, so blogging may be intermittent after Thursday or so for a week.

The links....

  • Links to gasoline price data for American cities.
  • Salary Value Index from; has city comparisons. Best cities for getting value from your salary: New London, CT, Huntsville AL. Worst: SF and NY. (Miami is 102 of 188, just above Rochester NY)
  • Style & Substance: The Wall St. Journal's in-house staff memo.
  • Times Talk: the NYT's in-house newsletter.
  • aggregates news on hot political topics from a lot of sources including blogs.
  • High Wire Press, from Stanford, now has nearly a million free full-text articles available, mostly from medical journals, and millions of other PubMed article references.
  • Marquis Who's Who site has biographies of people in the news and people having birthdays. (They have a new 'Who's Who in American History' online product for subscription.)
    Governments, Politics:
  • How Freedom is Won: an analysis of 67 transitions from authoritarian rule since 1972.
  • Amnesty International report, 2005
    Public Records:
  • Washington Courts Online searches Superior court, civil and criminal.
  • Census housing stats: latest report with rankings/list by city and state.
  • New Internet use stats from Pew Internet.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs:
  • Blogging Baby is a well-researched blog (they call it a magazine). Poynter points to their postings on defective baby beds and calls it 'real journalism'.
    Some other interesting blogs from Weblogs, Inc: Autoblog and Gadling.
  • Vanishing Wetlands: great St. Pete Times series used satellite photos to find 85,000 lost acres in Florida.
  • The Grounded Man: fascinating story about the man who tried to teach Zacarias Moussaoui to fly.

  • Stereograph cards: great collection from Library of Congress, has 50 3-d stereo photo cards from Florida (from mid-19th to early 20th century) and one from Miami (an image of Seminole indians).
  • Public Radio feeds: a nice index. Download the feeds of Podcasts to your I-pod or just listen online.

  • Friday, May 27, 2005

    Journalists find Furl:
    Tom Johnson posts to Newslib, and to the Analytic Journalism blog about how Furl can be used by journalists to manage projects; it'll also be demoed at IRE next week. Here's a place where researchers could do a better job of promoting useful tools like this: we heard about FURL long ago but I didn't see much mention of it except in places like Library Stuff and Shifted Librarian.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    Making public records really public:
    I looked at this last week and didn't want to point to it, but now The Washington Post has done an article on Virginia public records activist B J Ostergren who has been combing local courts and other public records sites looking for personal information. She's found a lot on several prominent people, including Jeb Bush and some other Florida officials, and is posting links to records that contain their Social Security numbers on her Virginia Watchdog Website.
    I can't help finding the messenger more offensive than the message (and I don't mean The Post, although there's some negative reaction to their running the story, too: see this, for example) so I'm not linking here, either. (Via Memeorandum.)
    I understand the worries about public records but still feel the advantage of having them easily available outweighs the disadvantages for the most part.

    On this topic: is keeping a chronology of Public records providers' privacy breaches: it also includes incidents of lost company data.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2005

    Newspaper feeds:
    I don't know how long they've been there, but I just noticed little 'XML' buttons on Miami Herald story categories. Click on Books, for example , and you'll see the XML button at top of page. Click to get a feed of all the latest stories into your newsreader. There's one for all news, one for Florida news, etc. I never noticed an announcement, but do see that on the front page under 'Services', there's an RSS category.

    Web casualty:
    An Email from Facster says:
      As of June 1, 2005, will no longer be on the internet. Hopefully this will be a temporary situation, but we have been unable to generate money needed to keep the site running and continue to make improvements and add content.

    Facster is a unique attempt to make statistics, mostly from the U.S. Statistical Abstract, more useful and usable. It's a shame to see something like this end before it had a good chance to find a niche. Let's hope a source for funds can be found.

    Saturday, May 21, 2005

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    I should note that, as I posted last week, I spent time reading and reviewing the Knightfall book reviewed in yesterday's post because I was sent a review copy by the publisher. It's becoming more common for publishers to contact bloggers for review, and a good move, I think. So I thought it important that I take the time to discuss the book. (Not to mention it was one I wanted to read, anyway. Now I need to find The Vanishing Newspaper...)

    The links....

  • Links to women's resources: good links from American Library Assn.
  • National Hurricane Outlook, 2005 from NOAA.
  • The 30 Years War: chronology of the anti-gay rights movement from Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • Dropout rates in the South from the Civil Rights Project at Harvard, shows alarmingly high rates, especially among black men, and Florida's rates some of the lowest.
  • Here's someone who's designed a database of cheap gas stations on Google Maps.
  • Histories of Mediterranean Foods from food historian Clifford A. Wright.
  • Familiar Birds: life histories of famillar North American birds.
  • France en Amerique: Library of Congress exhibit on French influence/history in the U.S.
  • Archipedia
    An interactive architectual encyclopedia.
  • ECHO , at George Mason U., is a guide to history collections online as well as a source for history tools. Also includes a science research news center.
  • 75 years of supermarkets: a timeline.
  • 100 major housing markets in 2005: from Money. Miami/Ft Lauderdale -- right up there.
  • Hurricane and Windstorm Deductibles: state-by-state comparisons from Insurance Information Institute.
  • NAM Blog: this is sort of fascinating, a blog from the National Assn of Manufacturers.
  • Search engine Gigablast now has 2 billion sites indexed. They also have a cool Web Directory with good relevant results. Here's Maps.
  • Links to Airport Monitor Sites: check to find a site that has visual illustration of airport traffic. Boca Raton and St. Pete airports are the only ones in FL.
  • J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Journalism. has examples of good interactive projects and blogs, awards The Batten Awards for innovations in journalism.
  • BioMedCentral has news of new research and journal articles.
  • Urban Florida: links and resources on high-rise buildings and living.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs:
  • Blogdigger Local new service will find blogs by geographic location.

  • Thursday, May 19, 2005

    A sad newspaper tale:
    (Warning, this is the longest post I've ever put online. I thought reviewing this book was worth a bit of copy, though....)

    I'm a junkie for newspaper books. I have a stack of them on my bookshelves, and have probably read and returned or given away several more, books about the histories of great newspapers and newspaper people. So I was not disappointed by Knightfall, Knight Ridder and how the Erosion of Newspaper Journalism is Putting Democracy at Risk.

    It's a wonderful tale of how two newspaper companies (Knight and Ridder) came together to form one of America's largest media companies, and how the joining of two very different news philosophies formed the current company. (This chapter, Chapter 3, Building Toward Merger is online.)

    Unfortunately for author Davis (Buzz) Merritt and other former Knight editors, the merger didn't have the happiest ending. According to Merritt, Knight's philosophy favored the news over profits, and Ridder's papers were money machines first. It'll be fine, said the Knight folks; as one of them, Jim Batten, told Merritt soon after the merger in 1975, he had given up editing to work in corporate because "somebody has to watch the bad guys". Batten became CEO of the company, but died of a brain tumor in 1995.

    For Merritt, the bad guys won. There were no Knight heirs or other Knight-trained leaders to take over, the Ridder family was large, and P. Anthony Ridder became CEO and chairman upon Batten's death.

    How did this affect journalism at the papers? Merritt gives lists of Pulitzer Prizes won by KR papers as proof that it was negative: in the 1970s, KR papers won 32 Pulitzers, while the big 5 (NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Wall St. Journal, and AP) won 35. In the 1980s, it was 12 for KR papers, 52 for the bigs. From 2000-2004, KR papers have won only 4.

    As well, KR papers lost a slew of top editors in the 1990s. In my experience, it was shocking: at the Miami Herald, we lost: Publisher David Lawrence, who stated publicly that he could not face any more budget cuts. Editor and long-time KR exec. Doug Clifton, who considered retirement but went to the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, where he said ownership had an entirely different attitude: "They didn't do budgets". His successor Marty Baron, who left after a year (and a Pulitzer) for the Boston Globe.

    They weren't all. San Jose Mercury News publisher Jay Harris left in a highly publicized move after being told in a memo from the new KR VP for news, Steve Rossi, that the newsroom 'had a sense of entitlement'.
    That sense of entitlement is explored from the other side, too, in the pressure for excellence despite dwindling resources that has forced reporters at one paper after another to make mistakes leading to erosion of the public trust.

    Merritt, editor of KR's Wichita Eagle for many years, felt the budget pressure, finally learning that 'Tony (Ridder) is no great fan of yours'. After taking a leave to write a book, Public Journalism and Public Life: Why Telling the News is Not Enough he decided to retire when faced with even more cuts.

    There's more to this book than just the sad story of a newspaper company gone wrong, though. Merritt, an advocate of public journalism, laments the effect that the dumbing down of newspapers has on the public's awareness of important issues. He cites Phil Meyer in The Vanishing Newspaper who says that 'harvesting' of newspaper companies for the short term profit to stockholders can result in newspapers too weak to be saved for the future. There's a long discussion of the question of whether publicly-traded media companies can endure. Should newspapers be owned by foundations? Can they endure otherwise?

    John S. Knight said ' not sacrifice either principles or quality on the altar of the countinghouse.' Too bad this philosophy has been overtaken by Wall Street's demands in too many big media companies today.

    Merritt mentions blogs in the book. He calls them a 'challenge - to the news-and-opinion franchise', but favors the 'everybody needs an editor' side of the blog question, saying 'The blog world may be journalism's first meritocracy...but it is also a ready platform for fools and knaves...unencumbered by...accuracy, fairness and accountability.' He admits, though, that they 'are part of the public conversation that often has immediacy and authenticity.'

    It's interesting that much of the discussion about newspapers these days predicates that newspapers remain printed sheets of paper, the format we all grew up with. I love those printed sheets myself. (Or as Garrison Keillor said yesterday in the announcement that he'll be doing a column for Tribune Media Services, "I am an everyday newspaper reader. I would walk a mile to get one. I would no sooner get my news from TV than I would buy bread at a gas station. As for radio, it has its merits, but you can't swat a fly with a radio.")

    Wouldn't it be something if those lamenting the financial difficulties and circulation losses of newspapers would think about an alternative? There are millions of possible readers out there that don't think spending time every day reading large pieces of folded paper is a worthwhile use of their time, but will spend hours reading blogs and news sites. When will journalists concede that the Web version of their paper is just as important to their future employment as the paper it's printed on? Will they see that important investigative and community news work can be done for other media? Stay tuned. The past is fascinating, but the future is very different. Let's hope that the highest ideals of journalism can be saved, whether or not newspapers are.

    (A coda: after all this, it's interesting that Knight Ridder papers are doggedly progressing in the blog world, with the new fulltime blogger at the Philadelphia Inquirer doing Blinq, the new Good Morning Silicon Valley blog, and more to come, I think, on a Type Pad platform. Maybe a company that is known for cost cutting (and which took some heat about their Blogspot blogs a while back) can find a way to use them to progress their journalism.)

    New and interesting:
    I was thinking I'd posted this yesterday, but with three blogs and a newsroom intranet to post to, I can't always keep track of what I've posted where.
    At any rate, this is something worth looking at:, a database of reported crimes in Chicago, updated daily, sortable, with RSS feeds and links to the incident site on Google maps. The data comes from an official CPD database.What a service; something newspapers should be doing. The proprieter wanted to remain anonymous and says only that he is a 'web developer with a background in journalism and databases, but today he's been outed on E-Media Tidbits: he's Adrian Holovaty, and creator of the web design site (where he outs himself), as well as the Web genius behind Lawrence (Kansas).com who also worked with Cox and other newspapers. Note also linked on his site: a combination of Google Maps with Chicago Transit maps.

    Also cool:
  • keeps track of what your senator or congressperson is doing; daily updated lists of bills and legislation, and an RSS feed.
  • Buzztracker shows you where in the world the most news is coming from. Top news when I first looked yesterday: Baghdad and Teheran (Washington DC 4th on the list); no news at all from Miami but Regina, Saskatchewan is on the top 10 list -- because the Queen is visiting.
  • SAFER: truck industry databases let you put in the DOT number of a truck and get safety, ownership records (under 'company profile'), or find info on a trucking company. There is a $20 fee. (Via Al Tompkin's Morning Meeting.)

  • Monday, May 16, 2005

    It's worth reading this column by Marvin Dunn, part of The Miami Herald's commemoration of the 1980 riots following the acquittal of police accused of beating Arthur McDuffie to death several months earlier. Dunn, a college professor and community leader, was there during the riots and saw two men barbarously attacked, helped save people from the mob, and tried to get help from the police. It's a shocking tale and one that is hard to believe happened here. Mob's rage erupted into a killing frenzy. I arrived in Miami later that year and read all the coverage of the riots over the years as I went through the clippings in The Herald's library, as well as Prof. Dunn's book on the riots. But I never read such a chilling account.

    Blog movement:
    Dan Gillmor's blog has moved to a new community news Website startup called Bayosphere. Dan's blog's new address is

    Knight Ridder newspapers are continuing to show signs of creating new blogs on Type Pad: here's Blinq from the Philadelphia Inquirer's Daniel Rubin.

    Sunday, May 15, 2005

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    I've finished Buzz Merritt's book, Nightfall, about Knight Ridder and the failure of modern journalism. Fascinating book, especially to someone like me who watched the events in KR as an employee for nearly 24 years. Merritt had an inside edge since he was a KR editor (of the Wichita Eagle) for the entire period of KR's corporate changes, from the 1975 merger of the Knight and Ridder newspaper chains to the ascendance of Tony Ridder in 1989 and beyond, and before that worked at other Knight papers and the Washington bureau.
    Merritt is especially disturbed over the loss of Jim Batten, who as Knight Ridder CEO, assured that the standard of journalistic excellence over profits, inherited from the Knights, would remain the modus operandi in the merged company. Batten's untimely death in 1995 from a brain tumor destroyed that and was the end of the Knight influence on the company, populated by many more Ridders than Knights.
    I'm still thinking about the book and what it projects about the future of newspapers, and will have more to say and some quotes in coming days.

    The links....

  • Balseros, multi-media exhibit on the Cuban Rafter Phenomenon from UM.
  • Names, Expectations and the Black-White Test Score Gap, fascinating-sounding study from UF.
  • The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States 2005 from CAIR; the number of incidents increased in 2004 significantly.
  • The Effects of Reserve Call-Ups on Civilian Employers from CBO.
    Governments, Politics:
  • U.S. Courts map: don't know what circuit you need? Check this map, which links to the courts' websites.
  • U.S. Govt RSS feeds a directory from FirstGov.
  • Company Profiles from Yahoo! Finance now have corporate governance ratings from Institutional Shareholder Services. Information page.
  • Dogpile has been redesigned and has some new features, including a way to compare results from different search engines, or to highlight results that are missing from some engines.
  • Cambridge Dictionaries Online includes an 'American English' dictionary.
  • 2005 Mobility Report from TAMU. Reports the latest in traffic congestion. Congestion Data for Your City.
    Public Records:
  • At least two states are now putting Traffic accident reports online: New Mexico; and Arkansas.
  • New York Charities Bureau Registration search: check a charity to see if it's listed in NY.
  • Florida Compliance Stop Work Order Database finds employers who have not paid Workers' Compensation claims. Story in S. Fla Biz Jnl.
  • The Best of Photojournalism, 2005.
  • The State of the News Media 2005 from Project for Excellence in Journalism.
  • Gallup Poll RSS: get the latest polls in your newsreader.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs:
  • The Huffington Post, a group blog with celebrities from Arianna, includes Harry Shearer's 'Eat the Press' column.
  • Home from Iraq: fascinating column by Molly Bingham of the NY Times, on how it is working in Iraq and how difficult it is to even cover the insurgency there.
  • Sprol blog uses satellite photos to illustrate what urban sprawl and pollution is doing.

  • Friday, May 13, 2005

    It's back?
    Sheila Lennon linked to Robot Wisdom last night, saying it was 'still fine'. Surprise to me, since far as I knew, this 'blog', recognized by many as the first blog ever, had been down since late 2003. I looked at it a couple weeks ago and decided nothing has changed. But the blog archive shows postings in January, February and April of this year. Right now there's a long list of new postings.
    Nice to know Jorn Barger hasn't gone away totally....

    ...and fascinating to see, according to his bio page, that Barger spent several years at The Farm, in Summertown TN, back in the late 70's-early -'80s and has put together a Web page on the topic and on founder Stephen Gaskin. I still have a couple books about The Farm and Gaskin, including a book of his Monday Night Class talks. The man was inspirational in a very common-sense way. He led his followers from San Francisco to found a communal farm in Tennessee in the '70s, and The Farm is still going strong. On its Web site, a link to the Hippie Museum, with a Kerouac quote: "I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier..."
    It's a vision that still lives in some parts of this sad country....and in this happy old girl, quickly approaching 60. And interesting that the Web is where many followers of the vision have ended up.

    Thursday, May 12, 2005

    Oh dear. I knew this would come out. A study says 'Info-Mania' reduces your IQ. So that's what happened to me!

    Wednesday, May 11, 2005

    Blogging discussion:
    Dan Gillmor mentions an email from a journalist who says his newspaper is starting a 'blogging beat' and gets some interesting discussion. I like this comment, from Tom Johnson: "But I wonder if the BIG NEWSPAPER will understand that the process of linkage and blog infrastructure will ultimately be more important than the content?"
    My perception of the value of blogs was cemented several years ago by a comment by Adam Curry that I quoted in a March 3, 2002 posting to my old blog: "But I like to think of blogging as just a fun -- and fast -- way to get personalized news out, whether to friends and family, or to a broader readership.
    Two recent comments in this mode: MTV's Adam Curry, who considers his blog part of the "personal communications infrastructure among my family and friends", gives this mantra: "Links are the only true currency of the web"."

    To me, any site or blog that takes me to new interesting things is something I'll go back to. Can't say that about some blogs, and I don't spend much time reading them.
    (Oh, and I should have said 'Adam Curry, formerly of MTV'. Curry has since gone on to become the guru of Podcasting.)


    Dead trees:
    I really enjoyed this Op-ed piece in the Washington Post by Michael Kinsley: The Press Is in Decline -- So Where Are Our Subsidies?. Excerpt:
      "...reading newspapers is, in the end, what makes us Americans. We are prudent, practical, common-sense people. And what could be more common-sense -- more downright American -- than chopping down vast swaths of trees, loading them onto trucks, driving the trucks to paper mills where the trees are ground into paste and reconstituted as huge rolls of newsprint, which are put back onto trucks and carted across the country to printing plants where they are turned into newspapers as we know them (with sections folded into one another -- or not -- according to a secret formula designed for maximum mess and frustration and known only to a few artisans)
      ...Newspapers are essential to every American, and none more so than the fools and ingrates who have stopped buying them. It is up to us, as members of the last generation that experienced life before computer screens, to make sure that future generations of Americans will know what to do when it says "Continued on Page B37."
      ...As with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the government would buy vast quantities of newspapers on the open market and store them somewhere for a rainy day (when they can be delivered sopping wet, as the newspaper industry prefers whenever possible)."

    Read it all. It's a laugh, but might make you think about holding on to the traditional newspaper formula in a different way.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    Wiki success:
    Poynter's E-Media Tidbits links to news that Wikipedia has become the second-most used reference tool on the Web, and Steve Outing says:
      I'm not surprised. What seemed at first to many of us a crazy idea -- an open encyclopedia written and edited by anyone who feels like contributing -- has turned out to have affirmed the wiki model as a legitimate and important publishing orce.

    Monday, May 09, 2005

    KR blog moves:
    The San Jose Mercury News' Good Morning Silicon Valley has become a blog, formerly a Website column and email newsletter. The blog is on TypePad; is this a sign?

    For those of you who (like me) missed BlogNashville, the Discussion page links to photos, blog postings, and other links on the conference. Big story on the conference in the Sunday Chattanooga Times Free Press, so I guess the news of the conference got spread pretty thoroughly, at least in Tennessee.....Also, JD Lasica has a photo gallery. Most interesting thing about JD's comments about the conference is that he says he put a 4-minute video together on the plane ride from SF to Nashville. I'm impressed.

    (Added later:) Dave Winer discusses his attempt to find common ground among the politically diverse bloggers at the conference, and notes from his session list several things he believes all bloggers should agree on. Number twelve:
      12. Support America and American values. Blogging gives First Amendment and Constitutional rights an excellent territory to be tested and strengthened, further solidifying one of the strongest democracies in the history of civilization. We can listen to each other if we want. As Americans, we play on the same team and we are a lot stronger if we work together.

    (A later note on Winer's blog: apparently the political discourse was unpleasant there. He says, sarcastically: "We should return the favor and host an open blogging conference in a blue state, and import some of the south's most famous bloggers. Before the conference we should make sure that the most flamey left-wing bloggers are present...")

    (And later:) Nashville editorial cartoonists Cox and Forkum had fun drawing the folks at BlogNashville....

    Health Research News:
    Here's a great new resource for health care reporters: Journal Browser, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, gives you the tables of contents from the leading medical journals as well as research and policy news from A useful tool to add to the list on the Health links page I put together for the AHCJ this spring.
    Also: the NIH is going to have RSS Feeds soon, so you'll be able to get PubMed reports sent directly to your newsreader as soon as they're added. Right now screen shots are available.
    (Via ResourceShelf and Library Stuff.)

    Saturday, May 07, 2005

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    A reminder to News Division members heading to Toronto next month for the SLA conference: the NewsliBlog will be the place where you can post coverage of the convention as it goes on. Email me at edonovan -at- if you're going and would like your own password to post to the blog. I'm helping teach a continuing education course on blogging there, along with Jessica Baumgart of the Harvard News Service and we'll be setting up some other blogs too. Keep an eye out for the news.

    The links....

  • National Parks Reports: fulltext books, studies, on the parks. There is a historical study of Biscayne Natl Park here, but nothing on the Everglades. (?)
    Governments, Politics:
  • A journalists' guide to the Federal Courts
  • Separation of Church & State a study by American Jewish Committee.
  • Al's Morning Meeting had good background links this week on judges appointments, Senate filibusters, and base closures.
  • HispanSource: hispanic market information.
  • look up acronyms and abbreviations. From Acronym Finder, another useful tool. Thanks to Joseph Cooper from WLRN in Miami for pointing this out.
  • Searching between the covers: Greg Notess discusses how to search within fulltext books.
  •, from George Mason University, 'keeps journalists on their toes' by analysing stats and scientific info used in stories.
  • State Court Sentencing of Convicted Felons -- Statistical tables by county from Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  • Facts for Features on Mothers' Day from the Census.
  • Fixing journalism: Derek Willis questions why newsrooms are so bad at making information available within their organizations. This essay was posted to the NewsLib discussion list and then linked on Romenesko.
  • John Woestendiek says journalists will be able to get rich selling their notes.
  • Just added to Nexis: Farm Journal, and three other farming periodicals.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs:
  • Have you checked out Global Voices yet? It's a news aggregator that finds useful news from blogs around the world, particularly from third world countries. I may have linked previously, but worth another look. Also:
  • RConversation, a blog from former TV journalist Rebecca McKinnon, who is one of the creators of Global Voices.

  • Friday, May 06, 2005

    Philly Feed:
    Here's something else too good to wait for a later update: the Philadelphis Daily News is doing Podcasts. Philly Feed gives you a link to listen to the broadcasts, which consist of on-the-street interviews, music and sports talk, with links for listeners to comment or upload their music. Fun!
    (Via The Virtual Chase alert.)

    License Calculator:
    This is fascinating, and worth a look right away. WTSP Tampa's Teresa Moore passed this on to Al Tompkins, who posted it on his Morning Meeting site: Unique ID. This lets you put in a name and DoB and get a Florida driver license number. Or put in a number and get a name. Hmm.
    I know it should work, because before driver licenses came online (when Florida put them on Compuserve) we worked with microfiche records, and you had to know the Soundex algorithm to figure out what someone's license number might be. It's a standard code that attaches numbers to letter sounds (so p and b have the same number since they sound alike), skips vowels, and then adds part of the DoB to the final license number. You could figure out anyone's license number, or name, without this program if you had the algorithm.
    A few other states are available too, as well as a page that gives you the Soundex code.
    Is this valuable? Nahhh. How often are you going to have someone's driver license number, or their complete name and date of birth, and need the number? But, it's fun....
    However, if you did have someone's date of birth, made this work and got a valid number, you could go on to the Florida HSMV site, put in the number and at least find out if the license is current...

    Missing spirit:
    So sad to read this morning of the death of Michael Kernan, who wrote for the Washington Post's Style section for many years. He was a wonderful spirit, wrote beautifully, and came from a part of upstate NY not far from my original home. I was glad to know him, and was thrilled when, years after I'd left the Post, his beautiful stories appeared regularly in Smithsonian Magazine. He also wrote a fascinating book about Frans Hals that I treasure. I'm glad to read that he ended his life living in Vermont, a lovely place for a lovely man.
    It's especially disturbing that several of the people I loved at the Post have died of pancreatic cancer. Seems like a statistical anomaly.

    Thursday, May 05, 2005

    Review copy:
    I'd heard publishers were starting to offer books for review to bloggers, so was pleased to hear from the publisher of Knightfall: Knight Ridder and How the Erosion of Newspaper Journalism is Putting Democracy at Risk by Davis 'Buzz' Merritt, former editor of the KR paper in Wichita. The book arrived this week and I'll be reading -- and commenting on -- it, soon. I've read some interesting things about the book so can't wait: (Just as soon as I finish the intense Jane Austen bio I'm reading.....)

    Monday, May 02, 2005

    War on journalists in Cades Cove:
    My headline is a bit exaggerated, but Scott Barker's column in the Knoxville News about how he and fellow journalists were treated by the White House's press aides in the (ultimately canceled) presidential trip to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park last week is frightening.

    A blogger's dream:
    Brittney is a blogger who kept up her blog while also maintaining a fulltime job as a waitress. (I liked her recent story about spilling wine on a customer.) But Brittney's last day of waitressing was yesterday, because now she's started a new fulltime blogging job for a local Nashville TV station: Nashville is Talking. Very cool. Check out the local blog aggregator here, too. (Via Jeff Jarvis.)
    With the upcoming BlogNashville conference coming up, Nashville seems to be becoming one of those 'bloggy' cities like Greensboro or Spokane.

    On Wikinews:
    The Birth of Wikinews, fascinating article posted on the blog of author Matthew Yeomans, Citizens Kane. Yeomans wrote the article for the NY Times Magazine, according to Dan Gillmor, but they rejected it so he posted it here. Better this way: it has lots of hyperlinks.

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    This posting is late again after another weekend of not connecting. I've been frustrated with computer problems and slowness so walked away for awhile. First thing Monday, everything seems to be working better. Even Gmail is working again in Firefox after I completely cleared the history, and Blogger seems better too.

    The links....

  • A Chronology of Significant Terrorism Events in 2004: if the State Dept. won't release it, Federation of American Scientists will do their PDF.
  • Houghton Mifflin Readers' Companions: guides to American history, women's history, civil war, military, ships indians.....great background stuff although not searchable. (Via Docuticker.)
    Governments, Politics:
  • History of Federal Judgeships: useful for background on latest appointments battles? From Federal Courts Center.
  • Al's Morning Meeting had lots of great links on oil supplies.
  • A9 Yellow Pages has added Miami to the cities with pictures of the businesses listed. Now about a dozen cities available.
  • GATT Digital Library: has "documents and information of and about the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), an organization that promoted international commerce and the reduction of trade barriers among member states from 1947-1994."
  • CEO Compensation, 2005: latest report from Forbes.
  • Yahoo's My Web new, in Beta, this service will let you save and search Web pages. Good for research projects?
  • has several searches for phones, addresses. It searches already existing engines but puts all the searches on one page.
  • UN: Population of capital cities and cities of 100,000 and more inhabitants; latest stats on worldwide cities.
  • Prison and Jail Inmates, midterm 2004: latest report from BJS.
  • CIA World Factbook: 2005 edition now released.
  • Social Explorer takes Census data and puts it into interactive maps. (Via Derek Willis.)
    Public Records:
  • has online traffic accident reports from some jurisdictions (none in Florida).
  • Court Rules, forms and dockets: a great guide from LLRX to what courts have online for each state and federal court; doesn't seem to have complete list of available dockets in Florida, though.
  • I listed this one once before, but now Pretrieve says it has nationwide court access but that's only to courts that have Web searches. Nice thing about using Pretrieve: if you find a phone listing for the person it gives you handy links to property records, maps, satellite photos, census data, etc. (Link fixed: it's Pretrieve, not Petrieve.)
  • Legal Dockets Online: this is a subscription service said to have access to court dockets nationwide. Looks like you can use it without subscription, though, particularly for an easy way to find out what courts are online. (Via The Virtual Chase.)
  • Legal Dockets Blog has news of public records online.
  • Miami Dade Clerk now has a feature on the recording index image display that lets you click to download a document. This was one feature this service needed.
  • Contra Costa Times' editor's blog keeps readers up with what/why they're covering....
  • Yahoo! News has been redesigned. Check it out. One thing I like: an easy link to Full Coverage at top. Also: you can make your own source list.