Friday, April 23, 2004

Citizens and Journalism

Blogging as Citizen Journalism. This is the future. Read it:

Jeff Jarvis is blogging the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention - here on what it's like to be civilian blogging the talks - "I'm accustomed to live-blogging conferences filled with bloggers who are doing the same. This was the first time I blogged a -- what should I call it? -- civilian event..." - here he covers Ethics and the News, reporting what points were made by whom, e.g.
[Michael Josephson] "Is a profession dedicated to asking others questions and demanding credible answers willing to do the same with respect to assertions and assumptions concerning traditional newsroom assumptions?"

On Rumsfield's talk -
He says news organizations are criticized by many. "But interestingly, my sense is that you're not regularly criticized by each other."

Traditional journalists as bloggers. Dan Gillmor says they're getting the form, but slower to get the culture:
Journalists are beginning to get it. For the first three years of its existence, my blog was one of a few lonely outposts in newspaper journalism. No longer. High-profile blogs have appeared at some of the biggest news organizations, and I've been hearing from more and more colleagues at other organizations, all wondering if it's time to launch staff blogs -- and if so, how best to do it.

I'm still not convinced, though, that Big Journalism is doing the most important thing: listening. We are still in a top-down mode and don't realize that the conversation is more the point than our pronouncements. I see progress, but not enough.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Recently seen in The Union

Letters to the Editor akin to the specimens of yore - [anti-]Iraq war crybabies and Enviro-fascists strike again

(one can understand why the Editor would wish to flee on a yearly basis, but this escape is not kind to those who remain)

On the Wildwood West Drive easement controversy - Union article "Neighbors' fear of growth leaves a family feeling isolated" and editorial "Neighbors need to find a solution" ("The actions of a few homeowners...Afraid..., the group seems to be using the road closure as a form of blackmail to impose a restrictive easement on its neighbor."); response by a resident, "Facts left out of story on road dispute"
Nov. 10: It appears that we may owe someone an apology.

The Woolly-Thinker's Guide to Rhetoric

The above WW West Dr. triad pretty much speaks for itself (if you read them), even without the other recent "private road" news -

Last week, a 9-year-old boy riding a motorcycle on another private road in the county (this is legal, according to The Union, which is insane, according to your correspondent) collided with an SUV and died; his father has indicated he will sue the driver ("retained the services of an attorney") if the CHP investigation finds negligence on the driver's part. ("How much is a child's life worth?" the attorney asks...). Wanting to keep private road traffic to a minimum - particularly if you really can't keep young children from riding motorcycles on it - isn't just a pesky neighbors issue, it's also about safety and financial liability.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Encyclopedias were different then

Lawrence of Arabia on guerilla warfare, in the original Brittanica. Long, relevant.

News flash

Don't go canceling your subscription to The Union, Richard Somerville is out of town. It would appear that bloggers aren't the only writers who need editors.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Pining for the fjords

[have not been dead, just taxing.]

via Pure Land Mountain, Christian Science Monitor on critical thinking ("...a remarkable paucity of critical thinking taught at the undergraduate level - even though the need for such skills seems more urgent than ever...")

Recent Christian Science Monitor article on rural sprawl in the West, older (March 2001) article on us.

The bad old days -
On Poynter, looking at modes of coverage of environmental news in the American West:
...large majority of Western dailies rely heavily on the same two story formats to convey information and explain its significance. Just two formats - the same two, over and over. One is the Inverted Pyramid....

The other dominant story format on the West's environment beat is the Battleground Framework. No matter how revealing the issue's history or how relevant the freshest peer-reviewed science, most Western newspapers make a habit of reducing the story's central theme to conflict.

..In many Western newsrooms, the preference is for confrontational quotes. The more venom the better. We contend that this "quick-hit" approach runs the risk of slighting or omitting story elements that have the most usefulness for the audiences.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Objectivity and the press

This one was new to me. With the obvious error corrected, it reads as follows:
Two boys in Boston were playing basketball when one of them was attacked by a rabid Rottweiler.

Thinking quickly, the other boy ripped a board off a nearby fence, wedged it into the dog's collar and twisted it, breaking the dog's neck.

A newspaper reporter from the Boston HeraldGlobe witnessed the incident and rushed over to interview the boy. The reporter began entering data into his laptop, beginning with the headline: "Brave Young Celtics Fan Saves Friend From Jaws Of Vicious Animal."

"But I'm not a Celtics fan," the little hero interjected. "Sorry," replied the reporter. "But since we're in Boston I just assumed you were."

Hitting the delete key, the reporter began again: "John Kerry Fan rescues Friend From Horrific Dog Attack." "But I'm not a Kerry fan either," the boy responds.

The reporter says, "I assumed everybody in this state was either for the Celtics or Kerry or Kennedy. "What team or person do you like? "

"I'm a Houston Rockets fan and I really like George W. Bush," the boy says.

Hitting the delete key, the reporter writes: "Arrogant Little Conservative Bastard Kills Beloved Family Pet."

Monday, April 12, 2004

Handbaskets, Hell, and your wallet

Executive summary: Sell.

Housing bubble stories from the Washington Monthly (fresh) and The Economist (last May). And even msnbc is getting on the bandwagon, although since their pages disappear there's no point in linking to it.

From one of last week's Daily Reckonings -
The idea that the average person somehow becomes an 'investor' simply by buying a mutual fund or a share of Yahoo is a myth and a fraud. He is not an investor anymore than a man who tries to make money at a slot machine in Las Vegas is a businessman. He may wear a suit and tie. He may carry a brief case. He may even tally up his expenses and net them against his income, but he's really just entertaining himself.

I only found out about the Daily Reckoning a few weeks ago. It's very well written, entertaining ("Like a vulture feasting on road kill, the gold market feasted on the auguries of inflation yesterday..."), appears to be good advice, doom and gloom with a flourish - but something's strange about it, which took a while to figure out (some people are slow). It's an every man for himself site, there's not a social conscience, no focus on how to avert the coming doom and gloom, except with regards to oneself. They have no problem with feeding the hindmost to the devil - behaves even more poorly as a political animal than he does as a rational economic one. And the world's financial markets are more and more driven by politics...on a global scale. It's a trend, unfortunately, that's gathering momentum...
...political change doesn't happen haphazardly. It's driven by economic change. And some regions are going to do better than others in the future. The questions are: which regions, why, and how do you profit?
When you're used to Andrew Tobias and Brad DeLong, it's a contrast.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Where are we going and what are we doing in this handbasket

Nothing to add. Except that, almost a year ago, in this weblog, I confessed to being the only person in Nevada County who was still undecided on the war.

Not any more.

"all the mosques, Sunni and Shi'a alike, are calling for Jihad..."

Monday, April 05, 2004

canid, corvid, ranid

"There are people," he said, "who give, and there are people who take. There are people who create, people who destroy, and people who don't do anything and drive the other two kinds crazy. It's born in you, whether you give or take, and that's the way you are. Ravens bring things to people. We're like that. That's our nature. Ravens don't feel right without somebody to bring things to, and when we do find somebody we realize what a silly business it was in the first place."

Epiphany of a Japanese frog

Sunday, April 04, 2004

It's starting to look like it was us all along

April, blog this - in today's Sac Bee, Did we start [global] warming 5,000 years ago? reports on historical research showing that CO2 concentrations underwent downward blips coinciding with plagues and other such events wiping out a substantial fraction of the population. If you're dead, your farm reverts to forest, whose trees pull and sequester CO2 - clear the farms again when the population rises, and atmospheric CO2 rises too. We are more influential than we think.

confidential to Godzilla: your account has been recreated.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

New blood for the blog?

...or maybe old blood, newly spilled....we'll see.

I am **hoping** that a longtime local friend - who holds many strong opinions, few of which are mine - can be talked into sharing this soapbox. And that the result will be neither a conflagration nor a Bambi meets Godzilla remake.

Thinking of our differences, I have to say that one of the most rewarding things for me about living up here has been the exposure to those differences. When your environment is a monoculture, you develop stereotypes about people who who live and think differently, and since you don't have much contact with these other people, there's a little problem with accuracy... Coming to Grass Valley and working and living alongside people from different backgrounds and viewpoints has taught me a lot.

What I hope will emerge here is the engaged blog Sean Bonner envisioned - to quote from him, in my previous post on this:
I would love to start a website with several bloggers from the left, and several from the right who were committed to discussing the issues at hand, rationally, with intelligent back and forth, and facts to back up their claims...

And **engagement** - you make a point, I'm obligated to respond, and vice versa. Otherwise, human nature is such that the airing of views devolves into a cherry-picking exercise - like a game of tennis where one person hits the ball, the other dodges, reverse roles, repeat...

Any other/better ideas as to how to structure this so that it'll help bring light to truth and strength to community? (sorry, link didn't work - it's part of the mission statement of local newspaper's ownership)

Any reactions to the words of others that I've misappropriated in previous posts?

(but not all at once, we have limited bandwidth here.)

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Weather report

Wind, whistling, ominous cracking noises. The sensible person in area sporting large trees prone to dropping things will not blog under these conditions. Likewise for the marginally rational, which is why this post is short.

Read the draft Chapter 6 of Dan Gillmor's book - apologies to vegetarians, but this is where the meat is. Harbingers and future of journalism and weblogs intertwined, interesting ideas, good examples...