Sunday, September 30, 2007

Buzz-builders leak news content to bloggers

Are you being served? Are you being used?
The Economist is courting blogs to drive up online viewing statistics. The site discloses how blogs and aggregation sites now are the main source for links to newspaper sites.

"What we've found to be very successful for getting views is to actually engage with bloggers," said Mike Seery.

"In the US we identified the 100 most important political bloggers and we effectively give them content before it's published in print, so that it builds a buzz around the thing before it's there.

"It takes work and it's not the exclusives you might get in a national daily here [in the UK], but it's the sort of thing that create a big buzz and brings lots of traffic the next day," he added.

Brave new world.

Friday, September 28, 2007

japanese journalist shot dead by the military in burma

A 50 year old cameraman, Kenji Nagai, was gunned down in the Rangoon street while covering the protests. Many more are believed killed, although the junta admits only to nine deaths and is moving to suppress media reports by cutting mobile phone and internet connections.

cure for hacks' cyber-obsession

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Covering Ahmadinejad at Columbia

Student videos like this show a "new journalism" take on student viewpoints at rallies outside the New York speech of Mahmoud the Mouth. More can be seen here.

Meet Josef, Mikki, Matthew and Fatemeh, four different faces of students protesting, and listen to some Hebrew singing and accordion and banjo playing.

The Security of Free Speech
Almost one year ago, student protesters stormed the stage in Columbia’s Roone Arledge Auditorium when controversial Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist took the podium to speak.

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the even more controversial president of Iran, took the same stage Monday, Columbia was better prepared. Uniformed police officers, intelligence officers, Secret Service, and the FBI monitored campus and the surrounding streets. Silver barriers lined Broadway Avenue between 113th and 116th streets, and 114th Street was closed to cars.

The protesters—police estimated 1,000 total—clustered at Columbia’s main gate on 116th Street and Broadway Avenue. A man flew Israel’s flag on his back. Taxis and a Fresh Direct truck beeped as they drove slowly by a “Honk if you hate terrorists” sign. Police officers stood ready with billy clubs tucked into their belts

Students approaching the main gate had to elbow their way through a forest of signs and dodge the pamphlets thrust at them. An officer with a bullhorn bellowed, “Show your ID card.” Associate Vice President for Public Safety Jim McShane sent a campus-wide e-mail last Friday warning that entry would be restricted to those with a Columbia ID.

Raphael Levy, a junior, said the event was more exciting than annoying. “I tried to stay away from the mob,” he said. But he did join other students who packed the ledge overlooking 116th street, staring at the protesters below. “I heard people got into fights,” he said, although he hadn’t seen any himself. Police said there were no arrests.

Ahmadinejad’s visit was notable not just for what he said but also for the ease with which he said it. The wheels of free speech were oiled by NYPD Intel and Secret Service in their shiny black suits, by police officers with billy clubs, and by Columbia officials shutting the gates to anyone without a University ID.

(hat tip to Candice Hughes for the link.)

Burma-shaving the truth

The generals' iron fists are shaking at a so-called 'Sky-full of lies' which threatens the Burmese junta's grip on power, the biggest challenge since the slaughter of 8/8/88
As Burmese soldiers fire bullets and tear gas to disperse anti-government protests in Rangoon, the military rulers have taken the offensive in the battle to control the flow of information in the country, says the BBC.

Websites and internet blogs posting information and photographs of the government's action have been blocked.

Telephone lines and mobile phone signals to monasteries, opposition politicians and student leaders have been cut. A hotel where foreign journalists lodge was surrounded and ransacked.

All this has made it more difficult for people to upload pictures of the mass protests to be picked up by international satellite news channels and beamed around the world, including back to Burma.

In a sign that the military junta in Burma is afraid of foreign radio and satellite TV coverage of the protests and the junta's crackdown, the state-run media has begun to blame foreign media for inciting the trouble.

The Light of Myanmar newspaper said: "Saboteurs from inside and outside the nation and some foreign radio stations, who are jealous of national peace and development, have been making instigative acts through lies to cause internal instability and civil commotion."

The official English-language television station, MRTV-3, has said that people are being intimidated into joining the demonstrations.

State media is airing the official view of events in Burma
Screen captions ran scrolling messages saying: "We favour stability. We favour peace. We oppose unrest and violence."

Another screen caption, also read by an announcer, said the BBC and the Voice of America were broadcasting "a sky-full of lies". Another said: "Beware of destructionists, BBC and VOA".

Screen grab from Burma's state-run English language TV - 27/09/2007
Despite the government's best efforts to drown out independent voices, images and uncensored information are still getting out of Burma.

Some people in Burma are circumventing the government's firewalls by uploading pictures directly to data hosting sites, which are harder to trace, instead of sending images by e-mail, says Moe Myint from the BBC Burmese Service.
Journalists in exile are using their networks of contacts back home to get images and information out of the country and on to blogs and satellite TV - and back into Burma.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

When Satchmo made a historic squawk

Reporters, even when covering celebrities, can change the course of history.
This bright little nugget by David Margolick in the International Herald Tribune recounts what transpired when Lubenow, an enterprising cub reporter, persuaded Louis Armstrong to speak out about the segregation problems in Little Rock, Arkansas half a century ago.

"It's getting almost so bad a colored man hasn't got any country," a furious Armstrong told him [the reporter]. Eisenhower, he charged, was "two faced," and had "no guts." For Faubus, he used a double-barreled hyphenated expletive, utterly unfit for print. The two settled on something safer: "uneducated plow boy." The euphemism, Lubenow says, was far more his than Armstrong's.

Armstrong bitterly recounted some of his experiences touring in the Jim Crow South. He then sang the opening bar of "The Star-Spangled Banner," inserting obscenities into the lyrics and prompting Velma Middleton, the vocalist who toured with Armstrong and who had joined them in the room, to hush him up.

Armstrong had been contemplating a good-will tour to the Soviet Union for the State Department. "They ain't so cold but what we couldn't bruise them with happy music," he had said. Now, though, he confessed to having second thoughts. "The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell," he said, offering further choice words about the secretary of state, John Foster Dulles. "The people over there ask me what's wrong with my country. What am I supposed to say?"

Lubenow, who came from a small North Dakota farming community, was shocked by what he heard, but he also knew he had a story; he skipped the concert and went back to the paper to write it up. It was too late to get it into his own paper; nor would the Associated Press editor in Minneapolis, dubious that Armstrong could have said such things, put it on the national wire, at least until Lubenow could prove he hadn't made it all up.

So the next morning Lubenow returned to the Dakota Hotel and, as Armstrong shaved, had the Herald photographer take their picture together. Then Lubenow showed Armstrong what he'd written. "Don't take nothing out of that story," Armstrong declared. "That's just what I said, and still say." He then wrote "solid" on the bottom of the yellow copy paper, and signed his name.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Incestuous plot in London

These sister papers should not marry, hurrumphs Stephen Glover, a media analyst at the Independent newspaper.

One story you will not have seen in MediaGuardian concerns goings-on at 'The Guardian' and 'The Observer'. As I wrote here a little over two months ago, there have been discussions about turning 'The Observer' into a seven-day version of its daily sister paper. The 'Evening Standard' has even suggested that Roger Alton, 'Observer' editor, may be considering his position. He denies this.

The rationale for making 'The Observer' into some sort of Sunday version of 'The Guardian' is that it is losing a good deal of money. Integrating some departments would reduce losses. A similar thought process has been going on at the 'Telegraph' papers, where there appear to be plans afoot (though they are denied) to make the Sunday title closer to the Daily one.

The contrary case is that making 'The Observer' into a seventh day 'Guardian' would weaken it. I would like to know of a successful instance in this country of a Sunday paper being successfully merged with its daily stablemate. Almost invariably, the process, having been embarked upon, is reversed. Of course, some resources, such as foreign correspondents, can be shared. But if it is to punch its weight in a very competitive market, a Sunday title needs its own editor and staff.

One can understand why the Guardian Media Group should be concerned by losses at 'The Observer', but I hope it keeps it separate. In 1993, Newspaper Publishing, then owner of 'The Independent', almost acquired 'The Observer' with the idea of merging it with the 'Independent on Sunday'. At the last moment 'The Guardian' bought the paper with the assurance of keeping it alive as a separate title. It must not break this pledge.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Rather's $70m suit about Big Brother interference

Ex-Network news anchor Dan Rather filed a lawsuit, in Manhattan challenging the government for its intimidation of the mainstream media, then went on Larry King Live to bellyache about his sullied reputation. The CBS logo, like a big eyeball, is quite appropriate for such a Big Brother analogy. Rather labelled a review of his notorious broadcast about Bush's shirking of National Guard duty "a fraud" and "a set-up." The media scrutinized the details of Rather's evidence rather than the essence, and appeared to turn on the messenger rather than pay attention to the rather long-in-the-tooth assertion that Bush had dodged service hours on the elite duty which had kept him out of Vietnam, and that officers had glossed over his records because he was scion of the heavyweight politico Geo Bush. The documents appeared to be forged.
At this point, with another 15 months of lame duck, 'war on terror' chest thumping, toxic Texan in the White House, it's hard to do more than whimper and shrug. It is about time that the media gets a bit ballsier.

Rather claimed CBS and Viacom Inc. (VIAB) used him as a "scapegoat" and intentionally botched the aftermath of a discredited story about President Bush's military service to curry favor with the White House. He was removed from his "CBS Evening News" post in March 2005.

"They sacrificed support for independent journalism for corporate financial gain, and in so doing, I think they undermined a lot at CBS News," he told King.

Rather didn't mention other instances in which he believed news organizations bowed to corporate and government pressure.

according to the Washington Post:

Dan Rather says he's suing CBS for $70 million to restore his reputation, and that he'll donate most of any winnings. Former CBS News correspondent and Rather critic Bernard Goldberg says the former anchor is a great reporter, "but the dark side is that he's unwilling or incapable of accepting responsibility... This is the man who signed off his newscast with 'courage,' and now he's alleging 'they made me do it, they just put the words in front of me.' This is ridiculous on so many levels."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Old School Time-ese: 'vermicelli-bearded Ho'

Time after time, America's top newsweekly showed off its breezy style of hyphenated descriptions. As innovative and space-saving as text messaging seems today, the magazine's dashing way with wordlinks and inverted sentence structure was much mocked over the years.
In this week's Columbia Journalism Review, there's a nostalgic trawl through Time magazine's archives for those snappy phrases, which appear far less frequently these days.
Hyping Hyphen Heaven makes for a good read.
Time magazine has unlocked its archives on its revamped Web site, and I’m giddy with excitement. Now, free of charge, I can revel in Time’s nine-decade celebration of the Homeric epithet. As quickly as I can move my fingers on the keyboard, I can find out whom Time has called “snaggle-toothed” (author and cultural arbiter Tom Wolfe, among others, I was surprised to discover).

Teeth, in fact, have been the inspiration for many of Time’s hyphenated epithets. Joe DiMaggio was “squirrel-toothed” in 1947, then, inexplicably, he was “beaver-toothed” a year later. One of my favorites is from a 1938 issue, which told of a “gat-toothed spinstress” who, at the age of seventy, was marrying a twenty-two-year-old man. Initially I wondered if “gat” was a misprint of “gap,” but a trip to the dictionary suggests Time knew what it was implying. Derived from “goat,” the word can mean lustful or wanton.

Early Time-style, compressed and hyphen-happy (and still enlivening the magazine’s pages), was the invention of Briton Hadden, who cofounded Time with Henry Luce, his Hotchkiss and Yale classmate. According to Isaiah Wilner, a recent Hadden biographer, Hadden read Homer in the original Greek and kept a copy of The Iliad (with its “wine-dark sea”) on his desk as he edited every word that went into the magazine. As editor-in-chief, he often penciled new epithets into copy, letting out a whoop when the right words could be joined by a hyphen.

Eyes have provided Time with more inspiration than perhaps any other part of the body. Sometimes the magazine resorts to a hackneyed “bleary-eyed,” “steely-eyed,” or “hawk-eyed,” but it also produces gems—like “bedroom-eyed ballet dancer and international superhunk Mikhail Baryshnikov,” in 2003, and the dead-on “raccoon-eyed” for J. Edgar Hoover, from 2004. Occasionally, Time has a foot fetish. Actress Mae Murray was “flutter-footed” in 1929, and British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald was, inexplicably, “sock-footed” that same year. In 1933, Time noticed that Texas politician Tom Connally was “small-footed.”

But sometimes Time seems to decide that it hasn’t done justice to a subject. That happened in 1936 when the magazine described Spanish Premier Don Manuel Azana as “sack-faced,” but barely more than a month later found that he was actually “frog-faced.” (Three years earlier, he had been “bag-jowled.”)

Under Hadden’s watch, and perhaps his itchy pencil, Time wrote of a “leering-visaged ghost” (1926), “bottle-nosed clerks” (1925), a “splay-nosed” Jack Dempsey (1927), and a “snouty-faced amateur of rococo amours” (1923, Time’s inaugural year).

Present-day Time may be more abstemious, but the Homeric epithet lives on in its pages. In 1996, the magazine wrote about “lizard-visaged country singer Lyle Lovett.” An article from 2004 describes “blue-lab-coat-garbed artists,” which, considering the triple hyphens, may have been a writer’s homage to earlier days.

What is the most inventive epithet that Time has published? After much archive browsing, I had a candidate from a 1956 article: “spaghetti-bearded Red Boss Ho Chi Minh.” With that description, Time finally gave Ho a unique honorific. Up to then, he had to share “goat-bearded” with another Red boss, East Germany’s Walther Ulbricht. But with a little more archive browsing, I discovered that Time decided that “spaghetti-bearded” didn’t quite do Ho justice. In 1958, the North Vietnamese president was promoted to “vermicelli-bearded Red Boss Ho Chi Minh.”

If Ho had also been snaggle-toothed and shaggy-browed, what multi-hyphened appellation might have become one of Time’s archival jewels?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

North Korean nukes, Israeli strikes, and conjecture of selective leaks

Journalists need to heed the con in conjecture and be a bit skeptical about anonymous leaks, backed up by notable cherry-pickers like John Bolton, the neo-con former US ambassador to the United Nations. The BBC diplomatic correspondent, Jonathan Marcus, examines the fallout after a mysterious Israeli incursion into Syrian airspace two weeks ago. Tel Aviv still is keeping mum and the regional wardrums keep throbbing.

Nearly two weeks on from Israel's incursion into Syrian airspace, the mystery surrounding the operation shows little sign of disappearing.

Press reports suggest strongly that the Israeli jets destroyed a facility near Syria's border with Turkey.

All sorts of details of the operation have "leaked" out, but still the precise nature of the "target" remains unclear.

By far the strongest theory though suggests a North Korean nuclear connection - a linkage which the North Korean authorities have strenuously denied.

The story put about by largely unnamed US sources and backed up by the former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, is that North Korea - under international pressure to scale down its own nuclear weapons programme - has recently transferred equipment or technology to Syria.

And it is this equipment - possibly at a fledgling research centre - that the Israelis hit.

'Political agenda'

All sorts of questions remain. Experts on North Korea's nuclear programme are highly sceptical about the alleged technology transfer.

Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Washington-based Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank, has gone so far as to describe the story as "nonsense".

Selective leaks are being used to play up the Syria-North Korea connection, he writes on the online site of the journal Foreign Policy.

"This appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted 'intelligence' to key reporters in order to promote a pre-existing political agenda. If this sounds like the run-up to the war with Iraq, then it should," he writes.

Gary Samore of the Council on Foreign Relations, another leading North Korea nuclear expert, was less dismissive when I spoke to him, but equally sceptical.

"I know that the Israelis have been worried for some time that the Syrians were eager to get nuclear technology from North Korea," he said.

"The North Koreans are looking to liquidate at least part of their enrichment programme, and perhaps want to offload the centrifuges and so on that they obtained from Pakistan."

So the Syrians might be "dabbling" with enrichment technology, but this would not represent "a near-term threat", Mr Samore says.

"There are North Koreans in Syria in connection with missile technology," he said, but on the nuclear front "we just don't know".

One thing he saw as strange, however, was the possible location of the "target" that the Israelis may have hit.

This seems to have been very close to the border with Turkey - an odd place for a potential nuclear research establishment.

Scepticism needed

Of course much of the controversy - given the fact that the Syrians and the Israelis have said very little (which is instructive in itself) - centres on the nature of the messengers, the shadowy leakers in Washington.

Only one of them, Andrew Semmel, a senior non-proliferation official, has gone on the record, and then there is the involvement of the controversial Mr Bolton.

Critics suggest that at least some of these people have a strong desire to derail the Bush administration's current negotiations with Pyongyang.

For whatever reason, the latest round of the six-party nuclear talks involving the two Koreas has been postponed at the last minute, apparently at the North Koreans' request.

But as Mr Samore pointed out: "Just because John Bolton is using this for political purposes doesn't mean that it is not true."

This episode once again highlights the problems for the media in dealing with this kind of story, problems that were exemplified - one has to admit in retrospect- by the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Journalists need copy. But they also have to weigh up what they are told. Official sources cannot simply be discounted.

But on the other hand, a sufficient degree of scepticism needs to be deployed. And just sometimes, that mighty media machine has to admit that it just does not know.

Monday, September 17, 2007

USA Today - brief on the McPaper at 25

USA Today
, which has been around now for a quarter century, is a newspaper that pedants still love to put down. Its Page One editor, David Colton, has just penned an afterword for a new edition of The Making of McPaper: The Inside Story of How USA Today Made It. The newspaper's vintage launch issue is pictured above. Colton boasts that his rag continues to add readers and attract advertizers in an otherwise-declining industry.
He writes in his blog
It took 11 years, but in 1993 USA Today hit a daily circulation of 2 million and started to make a healthy profit. It’s now the nation’s biggest-selling paper. This headline captures its early frothy approach to the news: men, women: we’re still different.

By the 1990s, stories were getting longer, resources were plentiful, and you were guaranteed that your story would be read by colleagues on the campaign trail. They had little choice—the paper was dropped at their hotel-room door every morning...At speaking engagements, I still use my reliable opening line: “I’m from USA Today, so I’ll be brief.”

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Is Maureen Dowd a Throwback?

Is Maureen Dowd a “progressive” columnist? We can’t imagine why we’d say that. We’ve read her carefully over the years, and it seems to us that she rarely expresses an actual view on any political or policy matter. Instead, she dithers and dallies on matters of trivia, voicing a range of utterly pointless and utterly predictable observations. And she’s largely an equal opportunity fool; she has criticized Gore’s bald spot and Giuliani’s comb-over alike. In short, Dowd isn’t progressive, or centrist, or conservative. More than anything, Dowd is a non-political throwback. She captures the fatuous world of the 50’s “women’s page,” in which the writer was allowed to opine about the hats at the recent parade. She rages out from this small, stupid world, but it’s the world she’s selected.
From the Daily Howler

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sean Penn rails at media in Toronto

The guy practically had a nicotine fit and the local press didn't let him off lightly. At least he didn't punch anybody. According to the Toronto Star
actor Sean Penn broke off his press conference in Toronto twice to chide the media for annoying him, while promoting the new wilderness film he directed, "Into the Wild", based on Jon Krakauer's bestseller.

"You can stop taking pictures because I can't think," Penn told wire photographers clicking their shutters near him."It's the ugliest music in the world, all of that. OK?"

Later, Penn was visiby irritated by background chatter during lengthy question which momentarily stumped him.

"What's everybody else talking about? Or are you just interrupting?" Penn said in a excessively calm voice.

Banned from lighting up a cigarette indoors, Penn crunched on a cup of ice chips fetched by his assistant.

Penn ejected compliments for his directing and admitted that he's always resented it when people ask directors how they elicit great performances from their actors.

"Doesn't fuckin happen," he said.

"Directors don't get performances out of actors. Actors give great performances to directors."

Fifteen years after top student and athlete Christopher McCandless walked away from his privileged life and a "sick society" into the wilds of Alaska, only to die of starvation, director Sean Penn on Sunday presented his life story in the world premiere of "Into the Wild."

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Smells like Teen Spirit...smells like consumerism...just smells

The Los Angeles Times has an implicit message for dedicated blackberry bashers and dedicated cyber-surfers in its weekend edition: Bite Me. Er, let's rephrase that to Sniff It.
The West Coast newspaper is experimenting with a vanilla-wafting scratch'n'sniff advert for an upcoming kiddie movie, called Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. The cost is double a normal ad insert for their movie supplement (which is a big deal in La-la-land, where everyone obsesses about the film-industry.) It is aimed specifically for consumers of print media.
Next comes Mojito-laced "Peel and Lick" (without the kick) ads in Rolling Stone.
This is the latest wheeze in a stinking saga of magazines laden with clashing fragrance ads. Maybe not as innovative and edgy as the promoters want us to think...but the consumer is supposed to activate the ad before the stink is released.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Post-mortem squabbles over John-John Kennedy's funeral salute mar obit

Photographers are famously contentious. A dispute over a favourite photo lands in an obituary decades after it was snapped; the New York Times is forced to amend its article, according to the corrections website, "Regret the Error."
Questions still are being raised over who should receive credit for the famous photograph of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's casket in 1963. was first to provide a lengthy look at whether recently-deceased photographer Joe O'Donnell should have been given credit for the shot. At issue is an August 14 obit of him in the New York Times that said, "...the O'Donnell photograph of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's coffin became the most reproduced version of that memorable scene."
It appears there is strong evidence that the photo was in fact taken by UPI's Stan Stearns.
From Digital Journalist:

When Gary Haynes saw the reproduction of the John-John salute alarm bells went off. Haynes, a retired UPI photographer and author of "Picture This!" (Bulfinch Press, 2006), a compilation of great UPI photographs, got in touch with The New York Times. "I alerted The Times, on Aug. 15, the morning after the obit ran, that the photo they had credited to 'O'Donnell' was, I was 99% certain, the famous UPI photo shot by Stan Stearns…. There's no question that the photos are identical. It is impossible for two photographers, even if they are gaffer-taped together, to come up with identical photos.
"I not only relayed this to The Times, but also the Downhold group [a listserv for ex-UPI personnel], and trust me, if you want something checked out by a couple of dozen of the world's best journalists – only some of them retired – this is your group...

Stearns also offers his perspective:

"The true story about John-John saluting … Made by me and it was a "world beater" for UPI. I was chosen to walk with Jackie and the world leaders from the White House to St. Matthew's for the JFK service. When we got there I had to go behind the ropes with the other 70-odd photographers. All squeezed in an area for 30. Wow! UPI photographer Frank Cancellare squeezed me in next to him…. I had the longest lens, a 200mm. ... I just watched Jackie. She bent down and whispered in [John-John's] ear. His hand came up to a salute. Click! One exposure on a roll of 36 exposures...

Hmmm. Might more than one photographer have captured that sad little boy's gesture?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Princess Di dossier vanishes

What a wreck. The car and the case are kaput. Wanted: A three foot high stack of files pertaining to the paparazzi pursuit of the Princess of Wales, that blonde icon who famously was killed in a tunnel a decade ago. Whether these vital papers were misplaced or stolen, it is a huge blunder for the Parisian police and will make it practically impossible to tie up all loose ends in their investigation of the world's most notorious car crash.

Already, this lapse is fueling conspiracy theories bigtime. Whodunnit indeed. Bring on Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Six thousand pages is a helluva lot of paperwork to chase.

John Cleese on anti-Semitism

The erstwhile Minister of Silly Walks has mastered the art of keeping his tongue firmly in cheek mid-rant and bluster. This irascible and brilliant performer sure hits his targets when he launches into his schtick after being asked whether Monty Python is anti-Semitic.

Harvey Morris, a veteran foreign correspondent, advises new arrivals to Israel that all the insights a journalist needs to cover the Arab-Israeli conflict are in the film "The Life of Brian". When that DVD was spotted on the desk of a Palestinian official, it became clear that Morris really knows his stuff. He's soon off to cover the United Nations for London's Financial Times.

(cross-posted from israelity bites

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Make the Pie Higher

Cannot resist posting this "found poem" assembled from actual Bushisms published over the past years. It's about time for some humble pie, judging from the words below:

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen
And uncertainty
And potential mental losses.
Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the internet
Become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?

They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish
Can coexist.

Families is where our nation finds hope
Where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!

Source: Richard Thompson

Who's on First?

Extra innings were inevitable, perhaps, after a piece about bush league baseball was heavily blogged before it was published in the international print journals that paid for a "non-exclusive" sports story on the fledgling Israel Baseball League. Veteran Israeli journalist, Alan D Abbey, examines the cries of foul on

Meanwhile, was getting plenty of hits with its own Jewish ballplayer feature scripted by Jonah Keri: "With bashin' boychiks knocking the seam off the ball this year, Salon highlights the greatest Hebrew hammers and fireballers to step onto the diamond." The legend Sandy Koufax, pictured above, leads off the roll call of 18 Jewish athletes. The website cautions that
In the name of inclusiveness, we're counting players with one or more Jewish parents (even those not raised Jewish), converts to Judaism, and non-Jews who practiced the Jewish faith.

Monday, September 3, 2007

TV Guide to disappear into the ether? Not Yet

Insiders hinted on Friday that American media's steady little earner, the weekly TV Guide, soon will only exist online and, after the Emmy issue, stop printing. The death of the magazine was announced prematurely, it seems. It has been going strong since its launch issue in 1953, featuring Lucille Ball and her big-bucks celebrity baby on the cover. At its height, TV Guide had a circulation of 17 million, back when there were just three networks and local stations were not broadcasting 24/7. Cable tv and the Internet have changed people's viewing habits and program reshuffling has created nightmares for the listings editors. Still, even though a long slow slide in circulation was noted, the 4 million paid subscriptions kept ahead of media giants such as People Magazine and InStyle.
But the brand is increasingly perceived as low market, so advertising is starting to dwindle as well. Replacing 42 local editions with local TV listings to a single national edition two years ago was a risky undertaking which alienated longtime subscribers. In many ways, TV Guide was the first taste of celebrity lifestyle reporting for most households and it launched an entire sub-industry. When the magazine attempted to reformat, it underwent a glossy makeover which backfired. Longtime readers revolted and stopped subscribing. Rest In Peace, TV Guide.

If reports are true, this indeed is the end of an era. But LostRemote, a tv blog, wheedled a response from a spokesman:

“TV Guide magazine is alive and well. There was no mandatory meeting today; like most businesses, our offices closed at 1pm for the holiday weekend. Everything is business as usual at TV Guide magazine as we are busy preparing for the new fall television season as well as our 5th annual after party celebrating the Emmys on September 16."