Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Meg Hourihan was one of the people who created Blogger, when it was a product of Pyra Labs and before it was bought by Google. For years I've occasionally read posts on her blog, but was surprised today to find that Megnut has just recently (this month) become a food blog. And a really good one. Check out her posts on comparing fresh and frozen fish, for example, or on the coriander/cilantro debate. On the fish:
When we make a decision to eat seasonal, local food, we give up our ability to control what that food is, to a certain extent.
...Ultimately this experiment failed to determine if flash frozen fish is a good as fresh but it reminded me of the unanticipated pleasures that result from relinquishing total control over my food. The joy of trying a new fish, like sea trout; of savoring something fleeting, like ramps and tiny baby potatoes and just dug asparagus.
The blog is full of great links to other cooking/food blogs, food happenings, book reviews....I'll be reading this one regularly.

On blogging, new media, and the news

Some interesting comments worth pondering in these:

Adrian Holovaty gave the commencement speech at his j-school at Missouri. As one of the experts on what can be done with new media to enhance journalism, he's a great choice and hopefully an inspiration:
Graduates, the fire should be burning under each and every one of you. You should be yearning -- aching -- to bring this industry into a new age. Your generation -- our generation -- is going to be the one to do it.

You're going to be the people breaking the rules. You're going to be the people inventing new ones. You'll be the person who says, "Hey, let's try this new way of getting our journalism out to the public."

One of Newsvine's most commented stories today is from a contributor: How the 'Vine' changed my view on liberals:
...most liberals on the vine are very thoughtful decent people who want the same thing I want. That's freedom to enjoy life and help those who need our help.
... I do think no matter if we are liberal, conservative, or moderate we all have the same hopes and dreams for the world, only different ideas on how to get there.

It's a perfect example of how some predictions that making news sites interactive can improve the conversation may be coming true.

Jeff Jarvis posted on a post on the BBC's Nico Flores' blog On Demand Media, Aggregates go mainstream, which among other things says
Content is nothing on its own. It only exists as part of conversation.

Jarvis relates this to a previous comment of his own,
it’s not content until it’s linked.

Yes yes yes. 'Links are the currency of the Web....'

Among the comments on Flores' posting, one from Terry Heaton:
I once interviewed bluegrass legend Bill Monroe and asked him how he wrote so many songs. "I never wrote anything," he replied. "I just heard them before others did."

Doug Fisher at Common Sense Journalism has some good recent entries with information and links on language, grammar and word useage, including a new AP style rule that should help end phone number confusion: Use figures. The form: 212-621-1500.
Among the links here recently: You Don't Say, a Baltimore Sun copy editor's blog; and Language Log, from two profs in linguistics and communications.


Articles worth reading

Some things from the last few days, when I wasn't able to get online:

Bush's My Lai, on Haditha and other atrocities in Iraq, from Robert Parry in Consortium News.
the scenarios are eerily similar: U.S. troops – fighting a confusing conflict against a shadowy enemy – lash out at a civilian population, killing unarmed men, women and children.

The Four Fundamentalisms and the Threat to Sustainable Democracy, by Robert Jensen in OpedNews. It defines the things Americans want to believe: Economic, Technological, Religious and National, and considers alternatives, such as those thought essential for a good life, like air conditioning:
The “cracker house,” a term from Florida and Georgia to describe houses built before air-conditioning that utilize shade, cross-ventilation, and various building techniques to create a livable space even in the summer in the deep South. Of course, even with all that, there are times when it’s hot in a cracker house -- so hot that one doesn’t want to do much of anything but drink iced tea and sit on the porch. That raises a question: What’s so bad about sitting on the porch drinking iced tea instead of sitting inside in an air-conditioned house?

How New Orleans drowned, by Douglas Brinkley, article in latest Vanity Fair,a chronology of the disaster and the government's response, that concludes:
Blanco's was a struggle largely hidden from the public eye. But her effective, if clumsy, showdown with the president subtly changed the second term of George W. Bush, leaving him open to other attempts to curtail the sweeping power he had assumed for himself.

Speaking of Vanity Fair, don't miss the 'Morpholution' on the front page of their site (slide the arrow...).

Blogger Jon Swift: suffering from 'Conservative Fatigue Syndrome'.

The Boston Globe's Charlie Savage does it again, with Cheney Aide is Screening Legislation.

And, following up on the Al Gore story, here's Andrew Sullivan in The Times Online: Gore goes from bad joke to great white hope. Among the arguments:
Then there’s the issue of karma. Gore won the popular vote in 2000. If a few old Jewish ladies in Palm Beach had not been confused by their ballots and voted for Patrick Buchanan, Gore would have won Florida as well — and the presidency. Everyone knows this — and that election still wounds America in ways that a Gore candidacy might assuage.
I also recall the ineptitude of the 2000 campaign, the tone-deaf rhetoric, the palpable unease in elective office that made Gore — and the rest of us — miserable for so long.

If he really is a new man, if he really is finally comfortable in his own skin, he’ll stay on his porch in Tennessee. Or be dragged by his party, huffing and sighing, off it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Weekly update:

A few more things of interest found this week:

  • Music lists from Infoplease, top records lists over the years, CD sales lists, Hall of Fame lists, etc.
  • Eigen's Political & Historical Quotations: search over 40,000 quotes.

  • Draft Report, Independent Levee Investigation Team
  • Hurricane Relief by Sea, press release about study by Clemson's Strom Thurmond Institute, on bringing relief supplies in by ship. Text of report here.

    Governments, Politics:
  • 2006 Election Forecast Map from CQ Politics.
  • Elections Around the World 2006 from Australia Parliamentary Library.

  • Muckraked! a blog on investigative journalism (unidentified author)

  • Free name or text searches in EDGAR documents: EDGARScan; SEC Info.

  • Business Filings Database: recently updated, this database from LLRX has links to and details about each state's business filings records.
  • Offshoring, study by Economic Policy Institute, with links to more info.

  • Hurricane Newspaper Archive

    Public Records:
  • Free Public Records directory. This one could be a good alternative to, which is now emphasizing its pay links.

  • Friday, May 26, 2006

    New newsroom: Palm Beach

    Steve Outing's Stop the Presses column in Editor & Publisher, How to Get Ahead in the New Media Newsroom, Circa 2006, highlights the new media work being done in the Palm Beach Post newsroom, from television and radio contributions, to blogs. Interviewed: former Post library director and AME Mary Kate Leming, who went on to work for Cox and is now the Post's new media coordinator.

    Added later: a Post employee takes exception in the comments. See mine. My memory isn't perfect but I am talking about a time in the '80s/ early '90s when Mary Kate was a member of our Florida News Librarians' Association and went on to bigger things. (Regular readers know as a long-time news librarian I occasionally comment on library people and history: inside baseball.)

    Looking back: additions

    Here are a couple of things I should have said about some of the last postings:

    I usually try to attribute the source of some of the links I find, but there are days I just don't remember to do it. Of course, most of the links do come from the links in the sidebar, and one link that needs attribution is the one to the LowertheBoom site, which came from Al Tompkins and his Morning Meeting site. Tompkins looks daily for interesting topics for news stories, and that's one he came up with yesterday. The others came from Romenesko and other journalist sites, or from blog/news aggregators like Memeorandum or Metafilter.

    Another thing: the New Times story mentions some authors I've done research for, and one that I should have mentioned is Don Bohning, whose book The Castro Obsession came out last spring and is a riveting tale of the behind-the-scenes machinations of the '60s by our government and intelligence agencies to support the anti-Castro movement.

    I've heard the book is coming out in paperback next month, so it's a good time to mention it. I was also pleased recently to find it available for reading in Google Books.

    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    In the Miami New Times

    A section of The Bitch is about me this week. I'm really flattered, although I don't know about this 'legend' stuff. Not bad being called
    a keen-minded news researcher with a soft voice and a kind heart,

    though.....not to mention
    unfailingly generous, technologically prescient character with a subtle sense of humor



    Digby reminds us, in case we've forgotten, just how close Ken Lay and his cronies were to George W. Bush.

    Today's Lagniappe

    A few more things I ran across today:

    The Newspaper Archive has now put hurricane stories online: Hurricane Archive. Here's where you can read -- for free -- newspaper stories from around the country on every hurricane since Galveston, 1900. The Galveston Daily News is here, and many other papers, although the stories might not always be from a paper in the area affected. Not many Florida papers here, for instance.

    Ripe London is a blog about eating, food shopping, restaurants and cooking in London. This is even more interesting because the author, Jessica Stone, calls herself a "Cuban-marinated, Russian-blooded New York food snob".

    Among the recent postings, one on cascos de guayaba con queso:
    Growing up in Miami, it was guaranteed I would always find several cans in the kitchen cupboard, sharing space with the Mahatma Rice and frijoles negros (black beans). During hurricane season, our stock pile was impressive.

    And, here's one for all of you, who like me, would like the ambient noise around me to be as natural as possible: Lower the Boom. This one's from a foundation dedicated to trying to eliminate excess noise from our streets, particularly that from 'Boom cars'. You know what they mean. According to the site, there's a corporate and political fight to be fought here too:

    Our quality of life has been devistated through the unconscionable greed of the manufacturers who market the misuse of infrasonic technology and promote audio terrorism to those who have no sense of empathy or respect for the rights of others.
    Bravo. I've been offended by those electronics products ads that encourage buyers to 'annoy the neighbors'. Even though I now live far out in the country, I still hear them sometimes. As well as lots of huge loud pickup trucks with bad mufflers.

    Last: Are you a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fan? Have you got your towel today?

    Another apology

    The Tallahassee Democrat is running a series, The Ride to Equality, about the 1956 bus boycott there.

    With the series, editor Robert Gabordi (until recently editor of the Asheville Citizen Times), has written an apology for the paper's stance on segregation: Fifty Years in Coming:
    It is inconceivable that a newspaper, an institution that exists freely only because of the Bill of Rights, could be so wrong on civil rights. But we were.
    It's just too bad that the apology isn't coming from the editor at the time, whose daily columns were constantly anti-black, according to an article in Editor & Publisher.

    Regret the Error posts links to the apology and to the previous one from the Lexington Herald- Leader.

    Time to believe

    The Brookings Institution posts a new briefing paper, Case Closed: The Debate about Global Warming is Over. In it, visiting fellow Gregg Easterbrook says you'll learn this:
    First, the consensus of the scientific community has shifted from skepticism to near-unanimous acceptance of the evidence of an artificial greenhouse effect. Second, while artificial climate change may have some beneficial effects, the odds are we're not going to like it. Third, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases may turn out to be much more practical and affordable than currently assumed.

    Fulltext of the briefing paper, in PDF, is here.

    On this topic, The Guardian says famed television scientist David Attenborough, a past opponent of global warming theories, has changed his mind as a new BBC series, Climate in Chaos, debuts. Some good links on the topic with this story.

    And Tennessee Guerrilla Women posts a NYT column by Maureen Doud: Enter Ozone Woman, on Hillary Clinton and her attempt to take up Al Gore's main issue.

    Following up on KR Washington, Buchwald and Fiedler

    Editor & Publisher has a wonderful profile of Clark Hoyt, the man who runs the Knight Ridder Washington bureau, and a Knight man since the 60s, who was in the courtroom (but too far back) when Bob Woodward heard Watergate James McCord admit he worked for 'CIA'. I remember seeing Hoyt's name a lot those years. Much here about the future of the bureau under McClatchy, too.

    The Miami Herald's Tom Fiedler has written a Herald column in reaction to Ed Wasserman's column about divergence (earlier posting with links to Wasserman and an internal Herald memo from Fiedler).
    It's not that I love newspapers less, it's that I love being relevant more. It's inescapable that if we are to be as successful in practicing journalism in the future as we have been in the past, we must be available in these other spaces.

    And then there's Art Buchwald, who entered a hospice months ago because his kidneys were failing and he refused dialysis: Heaven Can Wait.
    I'm going to Martha's Vineyard instead of Paradise.
    I called up the TV stations and the newspapers and asked them if they would make a correction and retract the original story. They said they never correct stories about people who claimed they were dying and didn't.

    Getting into journalism...and research

    Here's a fascinating 'Ask the Post' column on the Washington Post's website, with a Q&A from Peter Perl, Assistant Managing Editor, Training and Development.

    Lots of good questions and answers about how to break into journalism, or get hired by the Post. And, a research question!
    Washington, D.C.: Hi Peter, I was wondering about the researcher positions at The Post-- what kinds of things does a researcher do, and how? And how does one become a researcher at a newspaper or magazine?

    Peter Perl: Researchers are highly valued at The Post and other good newspapers. They perform a huge variety of search functions, usually on the Web. The Post was fortunate enough to win 4 Pulitzer prizes this year and in our newsroom celebrations, several researchers were cited as being indispensable parts of that great work. Again, we would look for highly skilled people with several years experience.
    Get that? 'Highly valued'. Thank you, Peter.

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    Time goes by

    As I approach another birthday, the one that takes me to within a year of Social Security eligibility, it seems a good time to stop by Ronni Bennett's Time Goes By blog.

    Ronni's moving from Manhattan, where she's lived since 1969, to Portland, Maine. Much of the debate with herself about making this move were posted on her Sense of Place blog. But now the ongoing story is all in one place, and it's down to the last two days before the move; much of the same turmoil as when I left Miami for western NC a year and a half ago. With Ronni, her goodbye to New York was personified by the recycling cop who gave her a ticket -- for putting a couple of ceramic plates in with her glass recyclables. The last straw: New York City can Stuff it. (With us, it was hurricanes that forced us to sit in Miami, truck packed, for three days and still hit us on the way out of Florida at the state line...Sept 2004)

    Much to think about in her musings, from the ease of dealing with business in Maine as opposed to New York (same here, with Miami), and questions about how long she'll be able to drive her lovely new red car.

    It's always worth a stop here, especially for those older folks who can find a community here among the other elder bloggers Ronni links to.

    Every once in awhile, though, something here just hits me: witness her posting on the First Amendment and blogging:

    Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University who is also a media blogger at PressThink, said something so succinct, so smart and so true that I, caught up in its stunning simplicity, missed whatever came next.

    I liked it so much that as soon as I returned to New York, I gave it a permanent home on TGB down there at the bottom of the left rail with a link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This is what Jay said:
    “Blogs are little First Amendment machines.”
    Think about that. You and I, each one of us sitting at our computers at home, maybe in our pajamas, have as much access to publish our words, thoughts and ideas as the richest person or corporation in the world.

    Gary Price

    Steven Cohen posts a great photo of Gary, and asks for captions. Some are pretty funny.

    Joel Achenbach

    I haven't been reading Joel's blog at the Washington Post much lately, but today...the last few days' postings are a feast.
    Oh, the writing. Don't miss the backyard/garage/garden/weeds discourse (My Farm Journal):
    This is a time when the yard can be made to look well tended, even though it contains the seeds of weedy chaos and madness. The vines are getting ready to pounce. If you hear me whistling in my yard it is because the weeds make me nervous. They can be so stealthy in May, coiled to strike.
    And the next posting, Gator Country, on a trip to Miami and the Glades:
    In Miami a person must head to the swamp for relief from the urban jangle. Miami is fabulous and fun, but there are too many people crammed into too small a space. Complications ensue. Mutations. Maladaptations.
    ...The nice thing about Nature in South Florida is that it's cordoned off. The dividing line between civilization and Nature is typically a canal....

    For more on the gator question, see Carl Hiaasen: Gator Panic Sweeps South Florida. Sounds like a good topic for Carl's next book.

    Blog for work, blog for life

    Steve Outing notes that one British journalist blogger, Jemima Kiss (pronounced Kish, she says), has devised a unique way to separate her professional and personal postings on her blog:

    It's broken down in two columns, one marked 'journalism', one marked 'life'. Cool idea, and something every blogger could think about. Outing says he doesn't post enough personal news, and this format would allow it. Some bloggers maintain two blogs, such as Derek Willis' The Scoop and Blandiose (and me).

    The dual format has been tried before, although most versions I've seen have gone away. One I used to read regularly, but not lately, is Low Culture, which divided the postings into 'light' and 'serious' but seems to have lost the serious side.

    All worth thinking about, especially for me now as I try to determine how I'll combine the personal and professional postings I had here before along with the more newsy posts I did on the old Infomaniac blog at, along with the photos and some local news on my Highlands Cam blog.

    Oh, and Jemima? She lives in Cornwall. How cool is that?

    (More .)

    Congress and taxes

    Speaking of comments, there is a huge reaction to this posting on Think Progress blog, about a statement in Congress by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who said:
    ‘If You Earn $40,000 a Year and Have a Family of Two Children, You Don’t Pay Any Taxes’
    164 comments so far. This one got people going.

    Newspapers allowing comments: controversial?

    Bob Norman, in the New Times' Daily Pulp blog, writes about the new comments feature on Miami Herald stories, and is puzzled (and puzzling): Miami Herald wrestles with free speech.

    Norman asks the Herald's Rick Hirsch about whether anyone is reading and editing the comments, which have been ... um... frisky on some stories, and Hirsch says they can't read them all immediately and depend on readers to flag unobjectional ones.

    Seems to be standard procedure, but Norman wonders: that stuff seems a little dangerous for the Herald to publish, especially the totally unfounded stuff, and asks for reader comments. So far only a couple, but one commenter responds: Papers are not liable for the content that other people leave on their articles or on their blogs.

    True? Norman is asking for more comments.

    Big split

    Thanks to Sheila Lennon, who says she posted these links 'to get it out of the way', a couple columns in the Brit papers on the Paul McCartney/Heather Mills split that've attracted lots and lots of comments: The Real Reason Macca snapped, in the Mail; and Lady Macca: the Case for the Defence, in The Guardian. Not ones to hold back, the readers are speaking their minds, and some of the comments are pretty funny, like this one, referring to Keith Richards:
    She's well out of it. He's a boring old fart anyway. Any self respecting man his age is out climbing palm trees. And falling out of them.
    Thinking about online newspapers allowing comments, seems the Brits, starting with the BBC, have been doing it for a long time without much controversy.

    (Added later:) Here's another interesting take on the split from The Independent: Heather Mills McCartney: Secrets and Lies.

    Weather or not

    Gary Price's Resourceshelf points to a new service from (Gary works for Ask now) that puts a new twist on getting online weather. Just put in a search for weather (city name) or weather (zip code). It gives you quick forecast (detailed, 7-day-or seasonal), plus links to weather reports on the area from several other weather sites, as well as links to general area business and news sites (and ads). Here's weather for Murphy, NC.

    It doesn't seem to link to my favorite weather site,, though, at least not in the first page of results., from the National Weather Service, has more detail than anything else I've found, as well as links to climate history, etc. Here's Murphy weather on

    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    Weekend update: Other things found last week

    You'd think that the ending of my work for the Miami Herald would have freed up lots of time to devote to the blog. But somehow the end of that job opened the door to more new jobs, and this week, instead of having a break from work, had even more. So I didn't get do do much browsing this week and the weekly roundup is shorter than normal. No categories, just a dump of some of the most interesting things I came across this week (I've added a couple new things at bottom of this posting):

  • Federal Courts contact information, a searchable database of all the courts.

  • PubMed Central, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. (Not the first time I've posted this, I think.)

  • Save Our Social Networks:'s new campaign to defeat legislation against sites like MySpace, Facebook and Friendster...

  • Hermits of the Florida Everglades assembled by students of Everglades City High School in Florida around 1980. Includes this touching tale: "... a would-be hermit Henry Dalmas, as told by Seely. Dalmas visited Seely on weekends and expressed his desire to become a hermit -- when he had enough money to support himself on an island, since he wanted a generator for electricity to run lights, power tools, etc. This daydream went on until Dalmas was seventy-two years old. He finally moved to an island -- only to die six months later. Commenting on the short-lived hermit career of Dalmas, Seely concludes philosophically: "If you ever have any thoughts about becoming a hermit ... do it now!"

  • Geographic Names Information System, new address for the USGS database of official names of geographic places in the U.S. (Click on Query.)

  • History of International Migration, from the Netherlands' Leiden University

  • Take a Break! Currency Converter from the British National Archives, good tool for finding out what money was worth.

  • Most popular baby names, Social Security Administration's latest list.

  • Baby Name Wizard, includes a Name Voyager, a Javascript program that shows how names have evolved over the years.

  • CIA's Electronic Reading Room has added lots of new documents, including intelligence briefs, Vietnam records and broadcast monitoring reports.

  • Air Ninja helps you find the best fares from discount airlines.

  • Oral Histories of the American South from UNC's Documenting the American South center.

  • Travel, Tourism, and Urban Growth in Greater Miami, a digital archive from UM's Richter Library. Includes histories, bibliographies, chronologies, and lots of old illustrations from postcards and other sources.

  • And, a couple dustups in the blogosphere:
    Michelle Malkin is upset about a posting by Wonkette about her. She calls them 'intolerant liberal bastards'. Not sure I'd call Wonkette 'liberal' but they do make a point of sexual innuendo, and this one is too much for Michelle....

    Miami city commissioner Johnny Winton had a bit of trouble with police the other night, and now there's a Winton Must Go! blog. This could get interesting if they keep it up....

    Last, of course for best coverage of the problems in Guantánamo, there's Carol Rosenberg's reporting in the Miami Herald. She's the only reporter with access to the base; there's an audio interview with her on the site, too.

    Speaking of Wonkette, founding writer Ana Marie Cox (no longer writing there) adds to the Al Gore story (see a couple postings down) with this, in Time: Al Gore, Movie Star. Cox says:
    ...there was (a) rock star in the room: Al.
    ...There's nothing as sexy as a tease and Gore probably knows that his dance of the seven veils does more to heighten the movie's profile than the movie could ever do for his.

    Oh, yeah, remember the story (so last week) about the CIA, congressional favors, defense contractors and jailed rep. Randall Cunningham? It's still going on, behind the scenes, and the San Diego Union Tribune has been following up with interesting tidbits. Among the latest, a story about a vacation house in Hawaii. Raw Story has the pictures, via ABC News. Very nice. Everyone should get this kind of accomodations once in their lives. Don't miss the waterfall and the view of islands...

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Legendary Reporters out of a job

    I first saw Donald Bartlett and James Steele speak at an IRE conference, maybe the first I went to in Portland, 15 years ago or so. They worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time, and had done a legendary investigative project on tax breaks for the well-connected, for which they won a 1989 Pulitzer, their second for the paper on that topic.
    The duo moved to Time Magazine a few years later. Now, as Time reorganizes, they've been let go, just two among the 650 recently laid off. From the story, by Steve Lovelady, in CJR:
    This morning, as word moved through the journalism community that Barlett and Steele had been sacked by a corporation as wealthy as Time Warner, the all-but-universal response was dismay. "This," said Sandy Padwe, a professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and a pretty fair investigative reporter himself, "is a disgrace. Two of the best investigative reporters ever, and they're on the street? It's a fucking travesty."

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    Not to be missed

    Andrew Sullivan, in his Time blog, posts some correspondence that makes The Case for Gore.

    It sounds as though Al has become the man we wanted him to be in 2000:

    He has gone through the valley of tears and what did not break him has strengthened and transformed him - I will use that word again. In comparison, Hillary's politcal calculations look tawdry and obvious.

    Sullivan says: My own preference for Bush over Gore in 2000 was primarily because I feared Gore would increase government spending and regulation too much. Yeah: I know.

    Blogger Design question:

    Anyone know how to make the header box above smaller? It takes up too much space. I've considered switching the template to the simple one I use for the Highlands Cam blog, but that header box is pretty deep too.

    I don't like taking up so much space for just color. And, do the margins have to be so wide?

    One commenter misses the old blog even though this one is cleaner. Maybe I should go back to the old template, which was more basic html, and change it?

    Nevermind, I found the answer to this one, it was in the settings: Another Blogger question: why does my post screen for Highlands Cam include a title box? And the one for NewsliBlog have a title AND a URL box? I thought changing the template might add those functions......hmmm.

    Best Fiction?

    Wow, does this make me feel.....stupid? out of it? uninformed? The New York Times' Books in Review posts the winners of their survey of prominent writers to identify the best book of American fiction in the last 25 years. The winner: Toni Morrison's Beloved. There are several runners-up.

    I haven't read one of these books.

    I have not even read many of these authors. There are really only two on the list that I've really wanted to get copies of to read: Tim O'Brien's and John Kennedy Toole's books. Well, Morrison's, too, of course....

    I have so many books that it will take me years to read them all. I rarely take books from the library since I don't need them. I buy books at used book sales, so don't have a choice in what books I find (same thing with most of my books, many of which came from book reviewer discards). I know I miss out on some great books I should read, but serendipity is great: I've found authors and books I never would have read, and enjoyed the heck of them.

    I'm reading a 20-year-old American epic now that I found among my old stash of paperbacks: ...and Ladies of the Club, an 1100-page documentation of small-town life in late 19th-Century Ohio. Wonderful!

    A concept hard to get

    It's no wonder journalists are struggling with how to deal with maintaining a print product while also working in new media. Even the best thinkers in journalism are at cross purposes sometimes.

    Witness the column Ed Wasserman wrote for the Miami Herald this week, claiming 'convergence' is ruining newsrooms, and the reaction from Herald Editor Tom Fiedler, who has recently come out as an advocate of giving equal effort to the online and other media products of newspapers. Fascinating stuff, including another response to the Romenesko posting from a long-time journalist who says 'convergence' has always been there.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    News and photos from Haiti

    Kevin Sites' HotZone on Yahoo has been covering Haiti for awhile, something I'd missed. Along with the first-hand reports, there's video and photos ... and a separate photo collection on Flickr.

    Lots of comments on the site to each of the reports; there's also a reaction from a blogger to the photos:
    The photo journal does what mainstream journalists usually do when they show Haiti: show the very worst and the very worst *only*. Some would argue that the shock created by the pictures helps bring attention to the problems. Hmmm... only partially.

    Sourcing the Sag

    For those watching the state of the current administration, some markers:

    SurveyUSA, which has come up with some interesting new ways to use data to understand the Red state/blue state thing, has new polling data; MyDD has taken the data and made a map that shows the red pretty much fading from the U.S. as a whole. Only 3 states and a small percentage of counties are still red. (It looks like that includes the one I live in, although Bush's approval ratings have dropped 28% in the state.)

    Reaction to the president's speech on immigration has been swift and heavy, and from browsing reaction linked on Memeorandum today, seems to represent more erosion of the conservative base.

    Welcome future researcher

    Congratulations to The Scoop's Derek Willis on the new baby (We Interrupt this blog...).

    Derek helped inspire me to blog, many years ago, and we've shared a panel at IRE. Sorry I can't be in Baltimore this June to help inspire (or roast?) him at his panel for the SLA News Division there. I know he'll be in fine form at 7:30 am with a 3-week-old at home.....

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Do you like the changes?
    I should have remembered to save a screenshot of the old template before I changed it. Oh well, I have the HTML.
    This may not be the ultimate new design, but it seems to work for now. Hope all my regular readers approve. Keep watching for fine-tuning.
    Let me know if you find something missing. The research guides are still there but I haven't listed them separately in the sidebar. Just click on the News Research Directory link, or go straight to them here.

    Welcome Infomaniac Readers:

    Today I posted a message to my Infomaniac blog on that that blog is probably coming to an end.

    Many of the Florida bloggers I link to there have been blogrolling this blog, not the Herald one, so you all already know this one. This blog has also continued to be much more popular than the other one, according to the Technorati ratings of links.

    Now that it is going to be my main blog again, I'll be making some changes: modernizing the template, changing the photos, and updating the research links in sidebar. Among them is a good list of Florida blogs which I've been able to update more easily than on the Herald blog.

    Since my homebase is now North Carolina/Georgia/Tennessee, blog focus will sometimes include those areas too, although for local news I sometimes post it on my Highlands Cam photo blog, along with the photos of the beautiful mountain area I live in now.

    I'll also change the focus a bit: although the blog has mostly been aimed at news researchers and journalists, before I started blogging on it had a wider range, with news and blog links. I'll be doing that again and maybe confining most of the news research links to a weekly update.

    Thanks for reading, many of you have been here since I started this in November 2000 and maybe now there'll be some new ones too!

    Saturday, May 13, 2006

    Weekend update: Other things found last week:

    Along with the changes I'm planning on making here in the next week, some thoughts about whether to continue this 'link dump'. It consists mostly of things gathered from resources most researchers read regularly anyway, like Resourceshelf and Depth Reporting (links in sidebar), so is a bit redundant (and I can't credit people like Gary Price and Mark Schaver enough, as well as the other researchers and reporters whose blogs I use to find useful tools); but I like to think I'm picking out the cream of useful journalistic tools.

    I had been considering dropping this format and just linking to the things that most catch my eye as I find them, but this week I got a comment from someone who teaches Information Visualization and who says he likes the weekly update. Hmmm. Maybe I will keep it.

    The links:

  • Guide to Ethanol from Iowa Corn.
  • New York Database lets you search for all things bigapple-y. There's a Los Angeles database, too. Also directories.
  • Appellation America, guide to wineries, wine regions and varietals in America. Pretty complete: it even has my favorite local winery in north Georgia.
  • The History of Money from Library of Congress.

  • Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared, report from Senate committee on homeland security. Includes hearings and documents.
  • American Roulette: Murder-Suicide in the U.S., study from Violence Policy Center.
  • Vehicle Theft Hotspots, highest ranking cities all in the west. (Mia-Ft.Laud, 36th.)
  • State of the World's Mothers, 2006, report (PDF) from Save the Children.
  • American Gaming Assn Survey of Casino Entertainment.
  • Top Ten markets to watch for real estate investors: Orlando comes in #2, Palm Beach/Lauderdale #4. (Press release).

  • Foreign born workers: characteristics of the labor force in 2005, BLS report.
  • State of the World's Refugees, 2006 from UN.

    Governments, Politics:
  • Emails from the edge of disaster, Center for Public Integrity reads ex-FEMA chief Michael Brown's emails. The emails available in a 900-page PDF.
  • Center for Nonproliferation Studies: Iran Special Collection has reports, country profile, treaties, satellite images....
  • Iraq Index, 'Tracking variables of reconstruction and security in Post-Saddam Iraq', from Brookings Inst. (PDF)
  • from White House, a site rating government programs by performance.

  • Knight Science Journalism Tracker reports on good stories, including medical stories (About).
  • 2005 Gay Press Report; press release.

  • WW II Army enlistment records are accessible now via National Archives databases.

  • IATA Economics, good stats, reports on airline industry: traffic, fuel prices, lots more.
  • CEO Compensation, 2005, latest compiliation by Forbes, sortable by name, rank, location, etc. Covers top 500 companies.
  • Best Places for Business, Forbes report.

  • Printable maps by state from, includes maps with counties and towns.
  • Amtrak Interactive Route Atlas.
  • Some great ergonomics links from ResourceShelf.
  • Polly Glotto: type in a word, phrase or paragraph and Polly will translate and read it to you out loud in any of 11 different languages.
  • Google Trends, see what people are searching for and how much.
  • Geostat (the Geospatial and Statistical Data Center) is a new version of UVa's collection of databases, with maps, geospatial data, and social science datasets. Also:

  • American Lawyer publications will no longer be on Nexis, a big loss. Included: The Daily Business Review (Miami and Broward/PB editions).

    Some interesting stories/blogs:
  • Losing Louisiana, a multimedia presentation.

  • Newspaper Snippet Generator make your own newspaper page with your own story, as an image you should be able to copy and paste.

  • Friday, May 12, 2006

    Using the archives for a newspaper blog:

    News libraries seem to struggle these days with ideas about how they can have a presence on a newspaper website. There are some good examples out there of news researcher and librarian blogs; they're linked in the blogroll on the NewsLibLog.

    But I've said before that Providence Journal online features editor Sheila Lennon, a library advocate herself, provides one of the best examples of how it should be done on her Subterranean Homepage Blues blog.

    Today she uses the library archives to provide a really nice service for readers for Mothers' Day: she browses through the recipes to find a perfect collection of recommendations for Mothers' Day breakfast at home.

    It's a simple project, but obviously took some time. Nice work.

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Nothing to see here...

    Bob Norman is back posting at Daily Pulp. Not a story after all?

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Story comments:

    In latest move to improve the online product and communication with readers, the Miami Herald has added comments to the stories.

    I had noticed a few 'comment' links on the front page, and it seems that not every story has a comment feature. But many of the major ones on the front page do now. They are attracting comments already.

    Possibly notice by the Critical Miami blog yesterday attracted some attention to it.....

    Speaking of South Florida media blogs, lots of concern by local bloggers about what's going on with Bob Norman's Daily Pulp blog. Critical Miami thinks there's a problem with New Times management (which insisted he move his personal blog to the company website, making it less user friendly, a few weeks ago....)

    This should be fun:

    Google Book Search has launched the Inside Google Book Search. Only a couple postings so far but among them, some looks at some of the more esoteric books found in the search, like A History of the Boston Base Ball Club (1897).
    (Via John Battelle.)

    That links question:

    Interesting to me that some people don't like blogs with lots of links. Hmm. I guess to some, blogs are for writing.

    To a researcher, though, blogs are for links. Always have been. Blogs help me find new things I never thought about or found before. More links the better.

    I remember reading Adam Curry's comment about links as conversation years ago, and having a light turn on in my brain. (I repeated it last year on this blog; the link back to my original 2002 blog posting on it is probably not available, since the archives reside on my original Earthlink space which inexplicably became overwhelmed last fall.) Curry said: 'links are the only true currency of the Web'. I still like it.

    My posting last year also mentioned a blog comment on newspaper blogging 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?"

    I bring this up again because of a dialog on Doc Searls' and Ed Cone's blogs:
    Cone writes this:
    In my very first newspaper column about blogging, published four years ago this month, I described linking as "writing in 3-D."
    Beyond the rush of publishing in real time, blogging adds an extra element to the process of composing your thoughts. It's like writing in 3-D. The ability to link to other sites from within your own work can enrich whatever you have to say with context or counterpoint.

    Linking also brings value to your readers by making your blog a portal into a much broader web experience. It makes your blog part of a conversation, not a lecture.
    It's called internetworking for a reason.
    Doc, expanding:
    I had been writing for thirty years before I started doing it in 3D, in 1995. For the first time I felt like I was writing with two hands, seeing with two eyes. I no longer felt trapped behind my own lectern. Eleven years later I'd still rather write (and read) linky text than linkless text.

    Yup. And I'm so much more likely to link to someone else's posting if it contains lots of links.

    (One additional thought, though: I don't like blogs with lots of links that don't explain what they link to. (See first link in this story.) That's why I rarely read Dave Barry's blog (sorry, Dave and Judi). But obviously, there are lots of people out there (see the massive number of comments on Dave's blog) with plenty of time to follow anonymous links.)


    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    What every newspaper should do:

    Thanks to The Virtual Chase for the pointer to this South Florida Sun Sentinel story: How to Use Public Records to do a Background Check, with information compiled by researcher and friend Barbara Hijek, a sidebar to Sleuthing May Save You Some Trouble, by Diane Lade.
    The list includes mostly local south Florida records, but also tells readers how to get an FBI background check or statewide criminal and driving records. Very useful for readers who may not know this stuff is available.
    (And note that this story is on the top of the list of the S-S-'s 'most emailed' list today.)

    And, on the subject of what newspapers should do, here's a reminder of how Knight Ridder newspapers once performed that task admirably: Reminders of Knight Ridder at its Best, from the National Writers' Workshop held in Wichita last week.

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Press criticism:

    Salon has a chapter excerpt from the new book by their senior writer Eric Boehlert's new book Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush.

    Search criticism:

    Interesting post here on Britannica's search engine. The blogger comments: When EB’s editors fulminate against the web, can it be because they use their own search engine?

    London photos:

    Absolutely my favorite place to take photographs, I have a drawer full of dark black and whites I took back in the days when I was into pushing b&w film to its limits.

    Doc Searls links to (Technorati) David Sifry's Flickr photo set, taken in London last week.

    You just can't take bad photos in London, but these are just gorgeous.

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    Weekend update: Other things found last week:

    This blog will be going through some changes in next week or so; stay tuned. I'm hoping to do some redesigns and new additions. The research pages linked at left still need updating and that should be happening soon, too. Meanwhile, check out my photo blog for what I'm seeing away from the computer, including pix from an old car show in town yesterday. More photos on my Flickr site, too.

    Among the photos today, a reminder of South Florida and The Miami Herald from little Murphy, NC: Carl Hiaasen/Jimmy Buffet's "Hoot" is playing at the Henn, our 70+-year-old theater, still in operation (and some of those old cars).

    The links:

  • Fundamentals of Statistics, free online textbook.
  • Bibliography Database: Organized Crime and Corruption, searchable, from Nathanson Centre. Lots of good links on this site, too.
  • Access to Prisons: a guide to all 50 states' regs, from SPJ.
  • Country Terrorism Reports, 2005, new from State Dept.
  • Library of Congress has added The George Grantham Bain Collection to its old photo archive; this one was an early news agency. I found two photos from Miami, of a 'marine air base' (Opa-Locka?)
  • Holocaust history, facts from Brittanica, includes an image gallery, videos.
  • Financial Bubbles, a history from Harvard's Baker Library.

  • Highway traffic noise in the U.S., new report from FHWA.
  • Fatalities among firefighters, report from CDC covering last 10 years and professional/volunteer forces.
  • Congressional Research Report: Immigration Enforcement Within the United States.
  • National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza from White House.
  • Muslim Charities and the War on Terror: Top Ten Concerns and Status Update from OMB Watch.
  • Cow Sense: The Bush Administration's Broken Record on Mad Cow Disease OMB Watch.
  • Swimming and pathogens, a study of Dutch recreational divers.

  • Immigration Enforcement Within the United States , Congressional Research Services report, PDF. Also: Immigration Statistics on the Web.

    Governments, Politics:
  • Congresspedia: a Wiki of information about Congress, from Sourcewatch at the Center for Media and Democracy.

  • Iraq's Press: A Status Report, from Council on Foreign Relations.

  • AmLaw 100, 2006 ranking of 100 biggest law firms from American Lawyer.

    Public Records:
  • The Palm Beach County sheriff's office now puts mug shots online too.

  • has free downloadable trade publications for 'professionals who qualify'. Included, journals on Internet, Multmedia, Finance, Government, Transportation, lots more.
  • Holocaust Archive from NewspaperArchive, searchable with full-page images.

    Some interesting stories/blogs:
  • TPM Grand Old Docket is keeping track of scandals, including Abramoff and Boulis trial, with special pages on Kentucky and Ohio scandals.

  • Friday, May 05, 2006

    Of note:

    Running behind this week, but want to post a few things that caught my eye this week from a journalism standpoint:

    First, via Al's Morning Meeting, a great public records investigation by The Guardian, who reveal Q. What could a boarding pass tell an identity fraudster about you? A. Way too much , or how a discarded piece of paper could really get you into trouble. Using the info on a boarding pass found in a trash bin, the reporter and a security expert found a frequent flyer number which let them order a ticket, which led them to personal information, which could be enhanced by using available online searches. Wow.

    Here's News Gems, a blog highlighting good writing from a J-prof.

    And, NewsGorilla (BONG Bull) is back. BONG: Burnt Out NewspaperCreatures' Guild.

    For a dire look at the state of newspapers: A Date with the Butcher, Vin Crosbie speech.

    Iraq's Press: A Status Report, from Council on Foreign Relations.

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Controversial? Duh!

    So here's a 'surprising' article in the Miami Herald: Cuba entry in Wikipedia stirs controversy.

    And, why wouldn't it?

    (BTW, the Herald article needs a little editing too: seems to have made it to online with editor's question marks still in. Hmm. Editing, always a problem....)