Saturday, December 30, 2006

It's the weekend

...but there's not much to update this week. Little new and didn't spend much time online. A couple things of note, though:

Al's Morning Meeting had a great collection of resources on Saddam Hussein and his execution yesterday.

SizeEasy looks like a great resource for journalists and news researchers, who are always trying to answer the question, How many swimmming pools (football fields, gallon jugs, whatever) would that fill? This fun tool lets you compare an object by size to other objects and see the relationship.

Google Alerts Tutorial, from Amit Agarwal's Digital Inspiration blog, how to use Google Alerts with more specific searches. I don't often have ongoing search projects but did use Google Alerts for one recently. This tutorial has lots of useful hints, like creating a feed of every time someone mentions you, or your website, lots more.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Following the Ford story

Here's the Bob Woodward story on his 2004 interview with Gerald Ford in which he said he wouldn't have gone into Iraq. More to come tomorrow in the Post.

And, a nice note from the news librarians who responded to a request for an official number of Gerald Ford's vetoes: there are presidential veto counts at the U.S. House Clerk's office, and at the American Presidency Project I mentioned yesterday. Thanks to those who contributed the links. So much better to get a good source rather than relying on wire stories (which did have the correct number but was the suggestion of a couple of researchers).

Interesting to see that our current President has had only one veto.

For much more on President Ford, a great collection of links to research resources was on Al's Morning Meeting yesterday. I guess I missed it when I checked in the morning.

In the Miami Herald, Elinor Brecher and Luisa Yanez tell the story about a 1976 visit by Ford to Miami, where he lambasted Fidel Castro.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Nixon's legacy

Living through those tumultous times in Washington, it was hard to think of Gerald Ford as anything but Nixon's unelected choice. So those years he was president are just a blur between the image of Nixon leaving the White House, getting on the helicopter with his hands raised in the 'V', to Jimmy Carter's smile. By the time he left the presidency I had left Washington too, to the wilds of Mexico, Guatemala, and western North Carolina.

But he left the presidency with decency and respect, so is worth remembering today. Some sources:

The Gerald Ford Library and Museum (they are in separate locations in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids but share a Web site) has lots of great photo collections, speeches, documents, and biographical information. This photo is from the early life collection, Ford as a young Naval officer. (Interested in other presidential libraries? This page from the National Archives has links to several.) One thing not available at the Ford library is a searchable archive of his Public Papers. The GPO doesn't have them online, either, yet.
But The American Presidency Project has Ford papers among its collection. Papers are browsed by type of document and year, so here are Ford's bill Signing Statements and Executive orders of 1975.

Ford's Wikipedia entry. Note the great references links and bibliography.

For more, Juan Cole has a long essay on the '70s and Foreign Policy during the Ford administration.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 22, 2006

An early Weekend update, with Christmas music, terrorism resources, and more

Had a big project this week and I know the weekend will be crowded, so time to post this week's stuff now before I (finally) get started on baking some cookies. I may not post here for a few days but hope I'll get some photos to post on the HighlandsCam blog.

Here's one that needs to be posted before the holiday: Going caroling this weekend? Check out the Christmas Carol Database: free and searchable, from AskSam. Search/browse online, or download.

Sheila Lennon pointed out some links to a lovely piece of music which ran on 'Studio 60' a couple weeks ago and repeated on Monday (this one could be repeated again): the wonderful New Orleans musicians' rendition of Oh Holy Night. Great story behind the piece, too.

And here's a nice note for news librarians: Credible and Credited: the rise of Newspaper Librarians (PDF) study from the UK of The Guardian's library.

And some good new resources for terrorism research:
  • Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism; includes a Knowledge Base and Information Center, and an 'On this date' feature.
  • UN Action to Counter Terrorism, news and info for the new anti-terrorism global strategy.
  • The Militant Ideology Atlas from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

    And, one more thing: nice to see The Miami Herald picking up on the story first reported by Bob Norman at the Daily Pulp, posting news of a Washington family looking for their lost daugher after she gave birth prematurely and left her son at the hospital where he was born.

    Happy holidays to all of you, and thanks for sticking around with me for 6 years (on the 7th now, since the early November anniversary).
    And to my friends in South Florida stuck with the nasty flu going around down there: get better.

    More links:

  • A Guide to the American Revolution, at Library of Congress.

  • Latest Census update on population change

  •, 'Top news from around the net', described as 'Google News with editors' by one source.

    Some interesting stories/blogs:
  • The 12 unwritten rules of cell phone etiquette, from digitalmediawire.
  • True Films: Kevin Kelly lets us know about reality films worth watching.
  • Links to military training manuals and other warfare guides on IraqSlogger.
  • InfoPlease Editor's Blog
  • UN Pulse, blog from the UN's Dag Hammarskjold Library.
  • Social Media, new blog site from J D Lasica.

  • Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    Oh yeah, that war

    It's still happening.

    And so it goes, with the same old 'Told you so's':

    In Hullaballoo, Digby reminds us about the 'mission accomplished'.

    The Carpetbagger finds that even the press is being exonerated by the right these days: according to The National Review's Rich Lowry,
    Most of the pessimistic warnings from the mainstream media have turned out to be right... Conservatives need to realize that something is not dubious just because it’s reported by the New York Times.


    Glenn Greenwald reminds us that the war was supposed to improve our image in the world.

    And, Tariq Ali says the war is already lost. (I still have a photo I took when attending the London School of Economics in 1966 of Ali in an anti-Vietnam march nearby. Things never change.)

    Dan Froomkin reviews the year in the White House, and says Bush is ending the year on the same note as he started it:
    The year 2006 started with President Bush firmly in denial about how terribly wrong his war in Iraq has gone. It ends that way, too.
    But in between, something changed: Bush lost his parade.

    Dave Winer wants to know if it's time to stand up.

    Meanwhile, what's with that dead deer on Cheney's lawn?

    And, can you believe the flurry over Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen's sending of a Christmas card with an image of an Afghan girl on it? (Seems to me that Mary must have looked a lot like her....)


    Calling Miami journalists

    Let me revert to my old position (as research coach) for a moment, to suggest that any journalist working in the Miami area would be silly not to take advantage of the chance to attend Joe Adams' Power Reporting Through Public Records seminar, (finally!) being held in Miami on January 13. Definitely worth giving up a Saturday for.
    I went several years ago, have seen him speak at News Division sessions, have become friends with him, and have always been an advocate for his work in this area. His book, The Florida Public Records Handbook, is a classic and should be copied in other states.

    Labels: ,

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Too busy to blog

    Late weekend update: More research links from last week:

    Just a few things of note, and a few good research links. Hope I get back to more timely blogging soon, after work and holiday stuff gets done. You may have seen some of these but a couple are fun:
  • Dick Cheney's Google Searches (Vanity Fair).
  • Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year: "Truthiness".
  • Search Engine Land is now open.
  • Gabe Rivera's Rivers of News for his news sites Memeorandum, Techmeme, WeSmirch and Ballbug.

    The links:
  • Hurisearch, a human rights search engine from Huridocs, Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems, International.

  • Livestock Impacts on the Environment, new report from FAO documents the increasing effect of meat-eating. Download full report, Livestock's Long Shadow.

  • Swivel, data-sharing site.

    Public Records:
  • CanLII: Canada Legal Information Institute, directory of Canadian law sites and case law searches, national and provincial.
  • BRB's Public Records Blog
  • Google Patent Search

    Some interesting stories/blogs:
  • Johnny Apple's Lessons go beyond Journalism, lovely reminescense in the Oregonian from someone who worked for him.
  • If you badger, he will talk, thoughtful interview with Dan Lebatard in The Big Lead blog.

  • Saturday, December 16, 2006

    Bluegrass and journalism juncture

    Hmmm. All the Miami Herald news doesn't require any comment, except to say: nice to know there'll be a banjo player in charge.....not to mention a celebrity uncle.

    More TK later.


    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    The importance of doing your research

    I don't want to harp on this but think it's definitely worth mentioning as a cautionary tale for reporters and researchers:

    Daily Pulp pointed out the other day, via a tip from his comments on a posting about a Miami Herald story, that the story's author doesn't seem to have seen a major news report about her subject before publishing hers.

    Here's the deal. One of several women found murdered in Atlantic City, reportedly all prostitutes, was a suburban mom from Broward County. The Herald's story about her claimed she was stressed from the pressure of motherhood, and escaped with a man she'd met at a class, and went back to New Jersey with him, ended up turning tricks and losing her life.

    The Star-Ledger in Newark, though, had done a profile of her a couple days earlier, which reported she'd been involved with drugs in NJ before she and her husband fled to South Florida and managed to get their lives together.

    Too bad the reporter didn't do a simple web news search. According to the commenter who first pointed it out, the story came up as the second result on a Google search. Said Pulp's Bob Norman:
    How in the world did the Herald leave out that background? It’s really the only thing that brings context and sense to the story.

    Pulp's earlier posting on the Herald story noted that lots of people were questioning it at the time.

    News about the news

    Several things worth pointing out today, for those who didn't see them on Romenesko first:

    The Chicago Tribune has a long analysis of the troubles between The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald: Culture Clash. Seems there's no compromise here, as some Miami journalists interviewed for the story see no problem with reporters also being paid by the government, claiming it's normal procedure in Latin countries.
    Not so, says former NY Times Washington Bureau Chief Bill Kovach:
    He pointed to a 1994 declaration of principles of a free press by the Inter American Press Association that links the credibility of the press to "its commitment to truth, to the pursuit of accuracy, fairness and objectivity."
    "They're out of touch with their own people," Kovach said, referring to some of the Spanish-language journalists in South Florida. "It hasn't worked its way up to Miami yet."

    A day or so ago, Romenesko linked to a memo inviting journalists to apply for the job of assistant to Bob Woodward, with the warning it would be a strenuous position: The Boston Herald today says hundreds of resumes are coming in.

    There's also news of a new website devoted entirely to the situation in Iraq. Iraqslogger was founded by, among others, former CNN chief Eason Jordan. There's news by category, like casualties, contractors, journalists, good news, humor and heros, links to prominent media sources and blogs, and Iraqslogger's blogs, including one from Sayed, who was one of the first Iraqi bloggers on his own site, Healing Iraq. The site hasn't gone public yet, according to a posting by Jordan, but will be launched next week.

    One other thing that caught my eye: Gannett gives awards to editors at their papers who help facilitate their papers' outreach to readers via the Web. 15 editors are winners this year of the Supervisor Recognition Awards. A good way for a company to recognize the importance of online.

    Labels: , ,

    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Gibson's Mayas

    Although I don't plan to see it, I'm feeling a bit queasy anyway about Mel Gibson's new movie, Apocalypto. Didn't know why until I read this:
    Is "Apocalypto" Pornography? by Tracy Ardren, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Miami.

    ...Gibson replays, in glorious big-budget technicolor, an offensive and racist notion that Maya people were brutal to one another long before the arrival of Europeans and thus they deserve, in fact they needed, rescue.
    ...To think that a movie about the 1,000 ways a Maya can kill a Maya--when only 10 years ago Maya people were systematically being exterminated in Guatemala just for being Maya--is in any way okay, entertaining, or helpful is the epitome of a Western fantasy of supremacy that I find sad and ultimately pornographic.

    Thanks to Doc Searls, who was tipped off to this article in Archaeology.

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Pinochet's legacy

    Predictably, the death of Augusto Pinochet is stirring up the blogosphere, especially in Florida, where Cuban bloggers say his crimes were nothing compared to Fidel Castro's.

    Lots of discussion in the comments on this post on Babalu, and this one on A Grand Illusion. Both sides of the spectrum.

    Book plug

    Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing just listened to the audiobook of Carl Hiaasen's latest novel, Nature Girl, and loved it. In a nutshell:
    Hiaasen is my favorite crime writer of all time, an hilarious absurdist whose experiences as a columnist for the Miami Herald provide him with a bottomless supply of rounders, cads, fools and patsies for the cast of characters in his books.

    Yup. Working as a Miami journalist gives you a fine appreciation for the absurdity of life. This is probably my favorite Hiaasen book of all so far.

    Labels: ,

    More from last week

    Just a few new things this week, but besides these, worth posting the announcement that Search Engine Land is officially open today. From Danny Sullivan and others formerly with SearchEngineWatch, this blog covers news in the search world. This will make the links sidebar here.

  • World Almanac 2007 Blog has day by day history, birth days, etc.
  • Aviation Terms Glossary
  • New address for Broward county, FL, property search. Don't you hate it when government information sites keep moving to new URLs without forwarding?
  • America's health rankings from United Health Foundation. This is index page with links to full report, including state snapshots.
  • Free searchable Koran (Qur'an) available from AskSam, in three versions. You can search and browse online or download to search with the free AskSam viewer.
  • Song List: one man's collection of thousands of songs with music, lyrics, and guitar chords, with occasional additional information. I clicked on 'World Without Love', Peter and Gordon's hit, and was reminded it was a Lennon/McCartney song.
  • Political Epithets, collected on Wikipedia. There's also a Wikipedia category, Perjorative Political Terms. Like Bush Derangement Syndrome (at least one commenter has accused me of that).


  • Friday, December 08, 2006

    Outrageous treatment

    Emotional reactions to this New York Times story by Deborah Sontag, which ran Sunday: Video Is a Window Into a Terror Suspect’s Isolation. The photo, from a prison video, is haunting: 'Enemy Combatant' Jose Padilla, shackeled and fitted with sensory-depriving goggles and headphones. FOR A TRIP TO THE DENTIST.
    The videotape of that trip to the dentist, which was recently released to Mr. Padilla’s lawyers and viewed by The New York Times, offers the first concrete glimpse inside the secretive military incarceration of an American citizen whose detention without charges became a test case of President Bush’s powers in the fight against terror. Still frames from the videotape were posted in Mr. Padilla’s electronic court file late Friday.

    Some bloggers are posting their outrage, including Michael Froomkin at (In this posting, and others.) Digby, at Hullaballo, has a long posting: This is going to keep me up at night.
    When I was a kid I read "The Count Of Monte Cristo" and it had a profound affect on me. It is a book about horrible injustice, terrible solitary confinement and the natural human response to suffering it. Every time I read about these prisoners being thrown into these high tech dungeons, isolated and dehumanized I think of that book...The belief that it will never end, that you've lost all normal sense of personhood and control --- that your mind is being stripped away and there's nothing you can do about it --- must be terrifying.

    This isn't the country I grew up in.

    Labels: ,

    Old news, and new news

    One of the stories that obsessed the Miami Herald newsroom the first year I was there was the murder of Adam Walsh. Still, 25 years later, there's no resolution to this gruesome brutal murder of a child.

    But there's news today from Arthur Jay Harris, who writes in a Miami Daily Business Review front page story that many signs point to Jeffrey Dahmer as the killer. Fascinating story, recounting Dahmer's Miami history with interviews with people who knew him, as well as two men (including a Miami Herald pressman) who saw a scary man they identify as Dahmer at the mall where Adam was snatched and tried to let police know. Who Killed Adam Walsh?

    The other news is that I've just switched my blogs to the new Blogger beta. I haven't investigated changes in the template and settings yet, but am beginning to add labels for the first time. Look for more changes.

    (Oop, I was so excited about the new Blog that I forgot to credit Daily Pulp for the Dahmer story link. And, sorry to see that the Blogger switch didn't work for Stuck on the Palmetto.)

    Labels: , ,

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Catching up: things of interest today

    I expect there'll be lots of interest in the story that the Seminole Tribe of Florida is buying the Hard Rock chain. (Miami Herald, AP story so far). Guardian news blog has the news with links to the Guardian's story and other sources.

    In Vanity Fair, Gail Sheehy and Judy Bachrach discuss Tom Foley: Don't Ask, don't E-Mail. This one should definitely be worth reading.

    Fimoculous has the Best Blogs of 2006 that You (Maybe) Aren't Reading. I've only read two of these, Metafilter (a daily check) and Journerdism.

    Here's a new photo blog that looks worth checking often: The Daily Pete, photos from Liverpool. Today's photo in itself is about as eyecatching as you can get.

    The Miami Herald has an Insider's guide to ordering citrus, with information on types of fruits available, and where to get it. Good stuff.

    More from Alicia Shepard's book on Woodward and Bernstein, in the Mercury News: Two opposites who `hated each other'

    More to come if I can find some time to catch up on reading.....

    Saturday, December 02, 2006

    Weekend update: More research links from the week

    Found a lot of things this week, most of it good stuff for researchers. I added links to Google News Archive and Google Books again, because I sometimes forget to check them and they aren't obvious from the Google search results. These are two resources that need to be prominent in everyone's bookmarks.

    I searched my name in Google Books again, just for a kick, and found some pages from a great Encyclopedia of Libraries, that has a chapter on news media libraries. Quite a lift to be mentioned there, along with several other news researcher friends like Margot Williams, Teresa Leonard, and Lany MacDonald, among others. (According to this chapter description, written by news librarian friends, too.)

    There were some good threads on the Newslib listserv this week, too, including a great one on the necessity of local indexing of archives. My two cents: how can you ever come up with a quick chronology of plane crashes or murders, for example, if the stories don't get those index terms when they happen? Worth every minute of the library staff's time to do that.

    On another thread, great discussion of how to find experts by topic and location. Some great answers here. I especially like Pete Basofin's on using Google Scholar, but got some good news out of this too, including:

    The links:

  • Good links to AIDS resources from Resourceshelf, for World AIDS day.
  • World Events Calendar from Council on Foreign Relations, has upcoming events by date.
  • Timeline of Art History from Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Ghost Plane database from the book, database of secret CIA flights.
  • German Propaganda Archive at Calvin College.

  • Great Lakes sewage report card (Press release with links to fulltext document) from Sierra Legal.

  • Highway Statistics 2005 from DoT.

    Public Records:
  • New on the Public Records online site: Public Records news stories, free telephone exchange location search (lists local telecom provider and shows you a map with link to local public records), and free online searches including airplane registrations, documented vessels and domain names.

  • Image of the Journalist in the Popular Culture, from the Norman Lear Center at USC Annenberg. $35 membership gets access to a database of films, articles, books, etc. (Thanks to UNC's Barbara Semonche for the link.)
  • Chronicle of a Newspaper Death Foretold, in Slate, about the 1970s report on the future of newspapers. Wasn't good.

  • Zamzar: cool tool converts many file formats to ones you can use, like PDF to Word.
  • Google News Archive Search. have blogged it before (and the one below) but worth remembering to bookmark.
  • Google Book Search has some new features.
  • SearchEngineLand is opening Dec. 11.
  • shows you the general area a computer or ISP is located in, if you have the IP address.

  • Newstrust (Beta): "NewsTrust is developing an online news rating service to help people identify quality journalism - or "news you can trust."

    Some interesting stories/blogs:
  • Keeping up with stream of casualties, LA Times story (in the Merc) about Michael White, creator of Have been recommending this one for years since White is a meticulous researcher who scans the official releases and news stories every day to add each death as it is available.
  • Bill Dedman is now doing investigative reporting for MSNBC. The pioneer in computer-assisted reporting has a report online now: Gitmo interrogations spark battle over tactics.