Thursday, June 30, 2005

Trying out Blogger's new image posting feature. More flower photos on the photo blog.

It took three attempts to load the photo. So far, Hello! is faster.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

For public records junkies:
BRB Publications, longtime publisher of public records directories, has had a useful online directory for awhile too. They also have had a directory of public records retrievers you can hire to get records from courthouses where they're not online.
Now BRB has revamped their Web offerings, and now announce the BRB Public Record Resouce Finder. It's a giant directory of all the public records online, as well as the retriever directory and much, much more, from phone number directories to Social Security databases to VIN decoders. The listings always point to the books (in book or CD format), but each one has at least some useful online link.
Some of the listings may be a bit less than useful: the military links point mostly to the official pages, eg from the Air Force, but don't help if you're looking for something more specific, like those elusive personnel records we can rarely find.
But BRB has created something to add to our arsenals of public records directories, like those from Search Systems, NETRonline, and Merlin. (Sometimes you'll have to look in all of them to find a particular local record you need....)

(Added later): Note, I just took a look at my Public Records Links page (linked on the left) and noticed it was shockingly out of date. Apparently I somehow found an older version still sitting on my hard drive and posted it instead, the last time I updated. It's fixed now. If you've tried to use it and found it lacking in last few weeks, that's why. Sorry.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Easier blog art:
Blogger has announced Blogger photos which lets you post a photo from right inside the post window. SO much easier than using Picasa/Hello, which works pretty well but requires a separate program launch. I'll try it soon. I like Hello and usually am already in Picasa when thinking about what photo to post, but I'm hoping this will work a little faster......

Weekly update:
Seems like not much caught my eye last week so there really wasn't much for an update, but here are some things that seemed interesting:

Friday, June 24, 2005

I mentioned this before, but it's become such an extraordinary thing that it's worth pointing to again: the Guest Book for Gene Miller on ( is pages and pages now of tributes from former and present colleagues, family friends, and acquaintances. The names are a Who's Who of journalism from the last 40 years. One posting notes that Gene would be proud that his death prompted an 'online Herald reunion' (there was another reunion at his memorial service on Wednesday in Coconut Grove...reporters and editors from around the country attended). It shows the hold that the Miami Herald -- and Gene -- still have over the people who were lucky enough to work there. Despite all the negative things said about the paper for many years, it was, and still is, a community of astonishingly creative people.

On another note, one of those astonishing people is Don Bohning, who made The Herald the prime source of information about the Caribbean for many many years before his retirement. Now Don's book is out: The Castro Obsession: U.S. Covert Operations Against Cuba, 1959-1965. An excerpt is in the Harvard Review of Latin America spring 2005 issue. I've just received a copy of the book and am looking forward to reading it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Family reunion:
It's amazing how the Web has enabled the making of communities that would have had a hard time getting organized in times past. I don't know how long this group has been around, but I've run into their forums in the past, and now an email tells me The O'Donovan Clan is having a 'clan gathering' in Boston next month. I know there've been previous reunions, at least one in West Cork, Ireland, current home of the family chief, The O'Donovan, and where most of the clan lived before many emigrated to America. One fun thing I found here: Castledonovan has been taken over by the Irish state and is being saved from deterioration. (I took the photos in August 2001, but the castle's Website disappeared not long after.)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Weekend update: Other things found this week:
It's been a sad weekend for me, thinking of what journalism's lost. The days when a reporter like Gene Miller (see previous post) was allowed to spend weeks or even months following trails that might lead to proof that someone was wrongly convicted seem to be far gone. As one commenter on Gene's Guest Book on said, reporters like Bob Woodward who got people sent to jail are not nearly as rare as one who gets them out. Will we ever see the like again? It doesn't look good.

The links....

  • Hurricane Research Division, NOAA.
  • Acronyma finds acronyms in several languages.
  • Air Passenger Opinions on Security Screening Procedures.
  • Newspaper Index Blog about newspaper business and free speech; recent postings list the 100 biggest newspapers in the world by circulation and most popular U.S. newspapers.
  • The new newsroom: Jeff Jarvis posits a new idea about what a newsroom should be. "in the palace to passive-aggression that is the newsroom, resistance to change is made into a religion."
  • The 11 Layers of Community Journalism by Steve Outing.
  • BaristaNet has a study of the media at the Jackson trial by an NPR reporter: The High School Model of Media Heirarchy.
  • Yahoo! Subscription Search lets you search sites that normallly don't come up in Web searches, like Financial Times, Wall St. Journal, NEJM and Consumer Reports (you will still need subscription to read).
    Governments, Politics:
  • Gingrich/Mitchell report on the UN, from U.S. Institute for Peace.
  • Caribbean Development in the 21st Century, a new World Bank report.
  • Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances: a campaign to change provisions of the Patriot Act.
  • America's most unwired cities: Miami/Ft. Laud comes in 20th in percentage of Wi-Fi hotspots, beat out by places like Toledo and Baton Rouge.
  • Housing facts, figures and trends from Natl Assn of Home Builders.
  • The Arms Transfer Database from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
  • Survey of the States: Speeding from Governors Highway Safety Association.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs:
  • Culture Vulture, a new Guardian blog.
  • New to Sree a 'new Web sites' blog from Columbia U's Sree Sreenivasan (who does a Web column at Poynter, and a newsletter).
  • From Hot Type to Blog, a blog by several 'just grumpy' retired newspaper people -- who all seem to have worked at the Miami News.
  • How to catch internet hoaxes: useful article from Virtual Chase.
  • Reporters Without Borders' blog awards go to a fascinating selection of worldwide blogs: one is Jay Rosen's blog, Pressthink.

  • Friday, June 17, 2005

    Gene Miller
    Posted by Hello

    Miami Herald obituary

    I'll be adding links to comments, stories and tributes at the bottom of this posting.

    I've posted lots of obituaries of journalists I once worked with here, and have left out a few. (Recently, J.D. Alexander of the Seattle P-I and the Washington Post and Robin Daugherty, formerly of The Herald, because I didn't know them well.)

    But this one.....may have been my favorite journalist of all time. I met Gene not long after coming to The Miami Herald in 1981. He'd been there for 25 years or so already, and had won two Pulitzers. Not only that, but they were Pulitzers for getting innocent people out of jail. Not often anyone gets to do that.

    Gene was irreverent, funny, had a huge laugh you could hear across the newsroom. He had friends all over journalism and was constantly writing letters to them pointing out stories they'd missed, errors, or making suggestions. He'd often bring those letters around to be read, because he enjoyed them so much. He wrote the best ledes ever.

    When he was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, he wrote his own biography. And sure enough, he brought it around for me to read. It's like no autobio I've ever read:

      "At the factory on the bay, silkpursed the ears of sows, mountained molehills, thumbed dikes, and unscrewed things when things got screwed up. Covered: Yarmouth Castle fire, Birmingham and MLK, Candy Mossler, Mackle kidnapĀ­ping, Apollo, Chappaquidick, Kent State, Dolphins Perfect Season, Three Mile Island, Patty Hearst, Mai Lai and Lt. Calley, Attica, Elvis, Ted Bundy, Gary Gilmore, Guyana suicides, McDuffie trial and riots, George Wallace, Fountain Valley massacre, some of which seemed important at the time...
      Swims a thousand yards daily with the grace and beauty of a floating log. Heart beat so slow Pacemaker installed. For sexual escapades, see addenda."

    Once years ago Gene came into the library and said he'd been on vacation. 'Stayed in a cabin and did nothing but get laid', he said. Shocked me a bit, but that was Gene. He enjoyed life and his family and friends. He swam every lunch hour. He was sick for over two years but, despite a couple chemotherapy bouts that laid him low and took his hair, he took each of his grandchildren on a special trip, came to work most days and stayed happy. What more could you ask?

    The Herald obit, mostly written by Gene himself, a rewrite of the Hall of Fame bio, is already linked on Poynter. But, although Gene wouldn't have approved of the addition to his copy, Martin Merzer gets the essence:
      "His philosophy: Put everything in the newspaper, unvarnished. Just ask questions, write down the answers and put them in the newspaper. Pretty simple.
      Gene's first byline appeared in The Herald on Nov. 9, 1957, the day after he came to work. In that story, a BBC executive said, ''There is no substitute for news.'' It became Gene's creed.
      'Publish! Journalistic cowardliness and/or soft-headedness is as evil as censorship and is just as harmful to a free society,' Gene wrote in 1984 when a Herald editor made the mistake of sending him a questionnaire about dicey journalistic situations."

    Gene died on the anniversary of the Watergate break-in, probably the biggest thing to happen to journalism in his lifetime. I hope he got to enjoy the Deep Throat stories in the last few weeks....I noticed recently that among the files in the Bernstein/Woodward Watergate collection at UT, is one correspondence from someone at The Miami Herald: Gene Miller. Another of Gene's letters.

    Some references to Gene Miller: Calvin Trillin on 'the Miller Chop' in NewsDesigner. How Miller helped get another conviction reversal, from ABANet; from ASNE (in the Spaziano case). Appeal in Miller's case against Universal Studios.

    Reaction to his death:

    Thursday, June 16, 2005

    A list to beat all lists:
    Sree Sreenivasan, who has teased all of us with his great Web tips newsletter and Poynter column, now announces he's created a blog, which just consists of lists of new things he's found: New to Sree. He's using Furl to compile the links.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2005

    Sailing away:
    One of my favorite news researchers, Kitty Bennett of the St. Petersburg Times, retired this spring to sail away with her husband Bob on the sailboat they've spent the last many years building. Now Kitty (of course!) has a blog, and it covers their trip through the middle of Florida (there's a canal) and up the east coast. The latest entry details anchoring problems in St. Augustine harbor. Kitty's a natural writer and funny, and she's also posting photos to the blog. Very enjoyable, it's at Sailing Equinox. (Thanks to John M. for the tip.)

    Tuesday, June 14, 2005

    Help for bloggers:
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published A legal guide for bloggers, including help with liability, defamation, reporters' privilege, media access, and the like. (Via Jeff Jarvis.)

    Another Deep Throat story:
    I'm fascinated by all the stories and reaction over the Deep Throat revelation after all these years. Is this just journalistic solipsism, or is everyone really interested in this story? (Today Romenesko points to a Washington Post story asking why Frank Wills hasn't been mentioned in the stories about who really broke the Watergate story. (Frank Wills, in case you don't remember, was the only black man in the story, the security guard at the Watergate who found the burglars had retaped a door open after he'd removed the first tape he'd found.))
    Standing out, though, was the story in the Albany Times-Union about how Mark Felt wasn't the only FBI employee involved in the leaks. The Times-Union's editor has a column asking why the story hasn't gotten more play. He also reveals that Harry Rosenfeld was the source of the story. Rosenfeld was metro editor at the Post during Watergate (and was my boss when he became national desk editor a couple years later); he went on to edit the Times-Union for many years and has written about Watergate on occasion for that paper.

    Sunday, June 12, 2005

    Weekend update: Other things found this week:
    I didn't get back to posting last week's update because travel and visits took up too much of my time. I did post some things to the NewsliBlog about the SLA conference and just posted some photos from the trip back to my photo blog. Getting to see Toronto was a real treat, although I was only there two days and spent most of the time in the convention center, it is a fascinating city that I'd only spent one night in once before. I always enjoy being in Canada. It just feels good there.

    This update includes two week's worth of links although they were fairly slow weeks.

    The links....

  • ' the world's largest online encyclopedia of graphic symbols!'
  • NLM: Turning the Pages Natl Library of Medicine now has tchnology the British Library has been using, allowing you to scan copies of rare old medical books.
  • Urban Pavement Conditions are bad in many cities, according to this report from a transportation research group. (The major cities list actually shows Miami roads in better shape than most.)
  • Measuring the impact of crack cocaine a Harvard study.
  • Peace and Conflict 2005 "100-page global report details major trends in armed conflict, self-determination movements, and democracy through the contemporary era, 1946-2004" from Center for International Development & Conflict Management (University of Maryland).
  • Natural Hazards Support System from USGS, has a 'viewer' that maps, monitors hazard events worldwide, including weather watches and hurricane tracks for North America.
  • 11 Most Endangered Historic Places from National Trust. This year's list includes Hemingway's Finca Vigia and Belleview Biltmore Hotel in Bellaire, FL.
  • Healthcare Coverage Database compiles info on available health coverage options by state for those who don't have health insurance.
  • The Guantanamo Report from Southcom. In PDF.
  • Topix has added business news from Forbes. See it at Topix's Financial Services page.
  • MediaBistro Salary Survey on media-related jobs.
  • News is a Conversation: a new blog from the Spokesman Review in Spokane, where readers are invited to have a say on news coverage.
  • Newspaper diversity report: latest version of the Bill Dedman/Steve Doig analysis of newsroom staffs for Knight Foundation.
  • The Times or local? Tim Porter discusses the Greensboro paper's decision to drop the NYT service to cover local news better. Smart move, he says.
  • Want to know just what is listed in the Woodward/Bernstein files sold to UT? Here's the Finding Guide.
  • Small Town Papers has digital archives of several newspapers, mostly Western papers but including the Antigua Sun of St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda.
  • British Library Direct lets you search for and download over 9 million articles for a fee.
  • Utah Death Certificate lookup search by name.
    Governments, Politics:
  • Nixon and the FBI: the White House Tapes from National Security Archive.
    Public Records:
  • A guide to news about privacy breaches in this compilation from Virtual Chase: stories about Choicepoint, latest Citi loss, etc.
  • More traffic accident reports online: Maine; Charlotte-Mecklenberg, NC.
  • Utah Death Certificate lookup search by name.
  • NOAA Storm Tracker brand new, lets you get the updates in a small browser window.
  • Postal Service Databases available on CD or download give more specific ZIP code info, etc.
  • Latest Population Estimates from Census.
  • School Enrollment, 2003: latest Census report.
  • 1890 Census now online.
  • CDC report on emergency rooms says visits increasing, number of ERs decreasing.
  • The rising cost of unemployment, report from Economic Policy Inst. says total unemployment is worse than ever.
  • U.S. WEAPONS AT WAR 2005: PROMOTING FREEDOM OR FUELING CONFLICT? , report on increasing U.S. arms sales from World Policy Institute.

    Some Interesting stories/Weblogs:
  • The Writer's Almanac from the Garrison Keillor radio program.
  • As the World Burns: Mother Jones investigation of ExxonMobil's influence on journalists denying global warming.
  • Herblock's History from the Library of Congress.
  • The Internet Archive has added Lots of 78rpm recordings to their audio archive. Great place to find things like Mitch Miller, Paul Whiteman, The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, classical recordings (Caruso!), voice recordings (Pope Leo XIII!) and more.
  • History and Politics Out Loud has voice recordings from presidents' speeches to Nixon tapes.

  • Tuesday, June 07, 2005

    Toronto 2005:
    I got to spend a couple days at the Special Libraries Association convention in Toronto this weekend. Some reports are posted on the NewsliBlog. Now I'm visiting family so posting will be sparse for a couple more days, but I'll try to get at least the weekly update posted...maybe tomorrow....

    Help with CAR:
    New from Poynter, A Guide to Computer Assisted Reporting by the great Pat Stith.

    Thursday, June 02, 2005

    Who cares?
    That was the title of a posting on my blog at, where I've been posting lots of links and comments on the Deep Throat story. But here's one I didn't link there and I think it's worth posting to this blog: The Myth of Deep Throat, by Barry Sussman. Sussman, who was Woodward & Bernstein's editor on the Watergate stories and who wrote possibly the best book on Watergate, says making a big deal of 'Deep Throat' denigrates the real reporting work done by the Post Reporters:
      Deep Throat barely figured in the Post's Watergate coverage. He was nice to have around, but that's about it.
      The logic behind the Deep Throat myth is confounding. On the one hand, Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein deserve credit for helping uncover the Watergate scandal. No one disputes that. On the other hand, the basic legend is that one of them, Woodward, did little more than show up with a bread basket that Deep Throat filled with goodies.
      Anybody see the conflict here? It can't work both ways. The greater the importance of Deep Throat, the less the achievement of the two reporters.

    Sussman, now editor of The Nieman Watchdog, wrote The Great Coverup, which was published before All the Presidents' Men.

    In one of the little twists to this story, a Minnesota TV station interviews Kenneth Dahlberg, whose check giving to the Nixon campaign ended up in a Miami bank account of one of the burglars...the story of how Woodward originally located Dahlberg is the Post library's connection to the case......

    Easy Wiki?
    Someone today pointed (I can't find it now) to a new Wiki software that says it's 'easy as a peanut butter sandwich': PBWiki. According to the site, you just enter a Wiki name and your email, and they email you a password. You can make the Wiki password-protected so it might work well for a newsroom or library Wiki.
    worth a try?