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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Nasdijj" admits he's Barrus

Just saw this on the LA Weekly's website, and thought I'd link it. White guy Timothy Barrus has admitted that he's the Native American memoirist Nasdijj. Kudos for Matthew Fleischer for connecting the dots.

UPDATE: I just noticed the LA Weekly's got a whole special section on their homepage called "Navahoax." This is exactly the kind of innovative, quick-thinking that I wish we had here in Vermont. Look, the content people and the design people and the web people got together and produced something cool! That's what I aspire to, breaking interesting stories in a new way, and then offering comprehensive coverage that's clever, informative and easy to find.

January 31, 2006 at 11:47 AM in Media/Keeping an eye on the competition | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Newspaper Death Watch

Dave Barry tells the San Francisco Chronicle that newspapers are dead. And he's serious.

I first encountered Dave Barry's writing when I was in high school. His column ran in the Detroit News Sunday Magazine. I was a hard-core forensics geek — public speaking, not dead bodies, look it up — and I had to memorize various pieces of prose to use at tournaments. I sometimes read Dave Barry's columns when I competed in the prose humor category. Everybody else was reading James Thurber, or some other, stuffier, less memorable humorist. Sometimes the judges looked down at me for my lowbrow choice, but more often than not, they laughed.

I stopped reading Dave Barry long ago, when I realized that all of his writing is essentially the same — as in, "ha ha, but haven't I read this before?" But because I still associate him with long Saturdays spent reciting the same 5-8 minute piece of prose over and over again before sitting on a dusty tile floor to wait anxiously before finding out if I "broke" to finals, he holds a special place in my heart. So I'm linking to his thoughts on blogs and podcasts.

It's the same old stuff:

"It has to start with the kids," he said. "My son is 25. He's been around newspaper people all of his life. He doesn't get the paper. That's the first problem. The second problem is: We can no longer compel people to pay attention. We used to be able to say, there's this really important story in Poland. You should read this. Now people say, I just look up what I'm interested in on the Internet."

But it's Dave Barry. Does that mean anything to anyone else?

January 31, 2006 at 09:33 AM in Media/Keeping an eye on the competition | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Monday, January 30, 2006

Peter Welch live blogging SOTU

Welch_eventThat's the State of the Union Address. From a press release circulated by Blog For America:

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Welch, candidate for U.S. Congress, will be "live blogging" before a national audience immediately following President George W. Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 31.

The live online discussion will occur at approximately 10 p.m. on http://www.blogforamerica.com/. BlogforAmerica is hosted by Democracy for America, the national grassroots organization founded by former Vermont Governor and current Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Welch, the featured blogger Tuesday, will offer a prebuttal to the President's speech on the blog and, following the speech, will discuss the issues facing voters in the November elections.

I wonder where he'll be blogging from? Will he be the one at the keyboard?

January 30, 2006 at 11:42 AM in Got blog? | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Friday, January 27, 2006

Welcome back Doug!

Doug Cadmus of Bloggle: Coffee & Commentary has returned following his emergency apendectomy.

January 27, 2006 at 09:32 AM in VT Blogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Interview with 7 Days art director/webmaster Don Eggert

DoneggertaHey, check it out! My friend and co-worker Don Eggert is on the homepage of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies website today. That's the continental trade organization for the alt. weekly industry. Don won an editorial layout award last June for the design of "The Blogger", a story I wrote about Jerome Armstrong (back when he lived in Burlington) in the run-up to the 2004 elections.

An AAN writer interviewed Don as part of their "How I got that story" series. I highly recommend reading this series, by the way. I read a little bit every chance I can. It's a great resource for reporters, citizen journalists and students.

My favorite part of the interview is the first paragraph, where Don talks about his design process for that story. "For that particular story," he says, "the writer had finally gotten through to our editor that blogs were going to be important to the election, and she had found out about a couple of local people who were involved in some big national political blogs. So when she talked to me, she was really excited."

January 26, 2006 at 10:39 AM in House Rules | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Citizen Video Journalists?

New England Cable News is doing this cool new thing where they let users submit video content. Check out this episode of video blog Rocketboom for the skinny.

January 25, 2006 at 02:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blogroll maintenance

I just did some. If your favorite link to an abandoned blog disappeared, that's why.

January 25, 2006 at 09:19 AM in House Rules | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Weekly Post: from False 45th

Today's post o' the week comes from False 45th. Flatlander usually writes about the music scene, but here he covers a Texas Hold 'Em tourney in the tiny town of Maple Corners.

My favorite aspect of the night was the contrast between this tournament and the ones you see on TV from Vegas. Rather than guys with sunglasses and cowboy hats, this tournament was filled with guys sporting a lot of mid-winter facial hair and funky smells. Rather than sitting at a table of uber-serious players, I had a lady breastfeeding her child at the table (and never missing a deal). Rather than being surrounded by the faux-luxurious trappings of guady carpeting, excessively large chandeliers and security cameras, we had wide colonial pine planks running under our feet, exposed beams traversing the ceiling and a few sconces on the walls for lighting.

You can read the whole post here, or find a slightly edited version on the letters page of this week's Seven Days. Yep, the post has moved to the letters page. We lost our space in the back  — and, thankfully, my goofy picture — thanks to a new layout. 

January 25, 2006 at 08:48 AM in The Weekly Post | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Read anything by "Nasdijj"?

Then you'll want to read this thorough article from today's LA Weekly, an alt weekly in the city of Angels. It charges Nasdijj, a "Native American" memoirist, with being a phony.

This link is a little off-topic for me, but I stumbled across the story and felt compelled to pass it along. It's longer than it  needs to be, but it's a real eye-opener. This paragraph pretty much sums it up:

The question that remains is how these frauds are perpetrated in such abundance. A writer, seemingly white in appearance and lacking anything resembling a verifiable personal history, turns in a manuscript filled with sage-like wisdom from an ancient and secretive people and no one bothers to check the facts? Houghton Mifflin’s Anton Mueller, presumably speaking for the publishing industry at large, has an answer: “As you know, we don’t fact-check books.”


January 25, 2006 at 08:40 AM in Media/Keeping an eye on the competition | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Must-read for citizen journalists

Citizen media pioneer Dan Gillmor just published a lengthy letter to the online community he's cultivated at Bayosphere, his citizen media outfit. It addresses why his much-hyped site is essentially a flop:

Although citizen media, broadly defined, was taking the world by storm, the experiment with Bayosphere didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. Many fewer citizens participated, they were less interested in collaborating with one another, and the response to our initiatives was underwhelming. I would do things differently if I was starting over.

Gillmor graciously offers a thoughtful list of lessons he learned. If you're a citizen media purveyor in Vermont, and there are a few of you out there, this list is a must-read.

Here are a couple of his insights:

Limiting participation is not necessarily a bad idea. By asking for a valid e-mail address simply in order to post comments, you reduce the pool of commenters considerably, but you increase the quality of the postings. And by asking for real names and contact information, as we did with the citizen journalists, you reduce the pool by several orders of magnitude. Again, however, there appears to be a correlation between willingness to stand behind one's own words and the overall quality of what's said.

And my favorite:

Tools matter, but they're no substitute for community building.

January 24, 2006 at 04:26 PM in Media/Keeping an eye on the competition | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack