February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Isn't this perfect for a journalist?
You'll find many appropriate gifts over on 10,000 Words.

February 12, 2009

Wired: Too much Martha makes me miss Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion

Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine folded and "they" decided to replace my subscription with one to Martha Stewart Living.

Within two weeks, three editions popped up in my mailbox. January, February and March.

I would rather have Mary. But if that wasnt possibe I would rather have a choice - let me choose the magazine.

But if that wasn't possible I would rather get the magazines over a longer period. I don't need three so quickly.

At least I didn't have a subscription to Martha's.

See I know the customer loses when subscription records merge.

I've been a Wired subscriber since day one.I also like to save money so I bought multi-year subscriptions.

Unfortunately, I also subscribed to other tech magazines, which graciously 'gave' me Wired subscriptions when they folded. Soon, it became a joke that my subscription would outlive me as the magazines folded and my subscription extended.

Unfortunately, I lost track somewhere and missed when a replaced subscription suddenly became my "real" subscription.

By the time I noticed the switch - prompted by a request to pay for an extension - records had blurred. I tried to get records fixed and then gave up.

I'll just read what I want online, picking up a print magazine for the few times I know wired access is unavailable

February 11, 2009

Talent will outlast jobs, careers

I saw this banner ad - Jobs become obsolete. Talent doesn't - when cruising the 'net and wish I could post it on the computer of every print journalist I know - especially those who are working now but don't know how long their jobs will last.

Folks become journalists for a lot of different reasons, but some common ones are a love for a writing or storytelling, a need to know, and a knack for backing complex things simple.

Folks can stay a journalist or use those skills today. It just takes extra effort.

Former journalist Scott Hepburn shares some ideas to help in A Journalist's Survival Guide. Let me share some of his steps:

Hang Your Shingle and Start Building an Audience

He suggests that every reporter should blog - on their own. He points to Chris Brogan’s “If I Started Today” post as a guide. And Chris has good advice in the post about blogging - buy your own domain, decide on a type (personal brand, something for consumers or one featuring stories and photos of causes you support) but I recommend Brogan's post on My Best Advice on Blogging. It's actually a list and links to 11 other posts, all worth reading.

I also suggest you start reading Pro Blogger. (A post I bookmarked recently is Creating a Blog Plan. One of the most bookmarked-posts of ProBlogger in delicious was 31 days to Building A Better Blog, which is a list of links to 31 posts.

If you want one post on getting started with a blog, start with Mindy McAdams Start a Blog.

If you want to see how one journalist executes a blog on a subject he knows, read this piece from NewsPay on Tom Mangan, who created the Cat Stock Blog. The blog is about Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of engines, earthmovers and mining equipment.

Bill Mitchell's post on How to Make Your Blog a Paying Business looks at Mangan's effort in detail. Mangan, who is still a copy editor and page designer at the Mercury News, works on the blog daily.

Diversify Your Offerings

You're not likely to get by doing one thing anymore. Flint Journal columnist Andrew Heller is a perfect example of this - he's got his newspaper column, supercharging that with blogging, a radio show (weekday mornings from 7-9 on WFNT-AM (1470), and he self-published his own books after The Journal got out of the book business. He taught journalism at the local community college. He makes speeches in the community and he works hard at learning new things.

On LinkedIn, he describes himself this way:
"Columnist, blogger, talk show host, publisher, communications consultant."
He's following advice Scott shares:
You can't do one thing anymore. You have to hedge your bets. Sure, be a journalist, but be a news reporter AND a columnist/blogger. Do some PR work, too. And freelance writing. And…whatever. You’ll need multiple income streams to survive in a decentralized information economy.
Diversity will count as making money just blogging is hard. Did you read "Hanging Up the Pajamas?" (Susan Mernit pointed me to this "priceless" update.)

Get Closer to the Cutting Edge

Scott suggests you have to "dabble with new stuff," hardware, software, websites. Like others, he suggests you…play around.

One of the commenters on Scott's post started a blog as a way of answering some of the questions she kept getting about new media. Erin even has a list of The Best of Me Media to help you get started. Her "Social Media for non-Techies" blog is easy to read.

Still working in the newspaper business is Gina Chen, the blogging mom who also writes Save the Media. Her series on reinventing journalism is worth a read. Then, follow her advice. If a working mom can find time, almost everyone can.

One of the best resources is Wired Journalists. As the tag there says
"You're a journalist who wants to build your skills, serve your community, and advance your career. We're here to help."
On Feb. 8, 3,269 folks are signed up as members on the network. You'll find tutorials, advice, blog posts, videos - lots to help figure out the future.

Go forth and multiply those opportunities.

Related posts:

Ideas on how to change journalism? Then get to Chicago, 2.21.09

Got an idea about what to do about journalism? Ready to move the conversation away from the coffeepot or bar or blog?

There's a series of sessions - barcamps/unconferences across the nation - where your ideas about innovations for news are front and center.

We Media Guru shares some of his enthusiasm, hoping to hear more about connecting technology at BarCamp NewsInnovation Chicago on Saturday, Feb. 21 at Northwestern University's Medill Graduate School of Journalism newsroom at 210 S. Clark St., in downtown Chicago. Register now to take partbarcamp_medill_ The Media Guru thanks Northwestern University, the Medill School of Journalism, Rich Gordon and Beatrice Figueroa for their help in making this event happen.

Here's an explanation from the site:
Join this group for a one-day un-conference to experience the creativity and energy that occurs when technologist, programmers, web developers, designers, hackers and information architects teams to do cool stuff with journalists, entrepreneurs, tech business dudes, students, professors and others with interest in news and information.

This ad hoc event will be a place to not only talk about how technology is influencing journalism, but participants will be given the opportunity to brainstorm an idea and hack it out by the end of the afternoon.

Don't go expecting to return home with a bag of goodies.

Do go willing to share and build on the ideas of others.

It is our turn. Leave the suits at home.

February 10, 2009

Finding Michigan peeps on Twitter

Are you from Michigan? Do you tweet? Introduce yourself here You will find names of other folks from Michigan on the list.

After you fill in your Twitter name, you are asked to send out a Tweet.

PS Find me at http://twitter.com/mcwflint

Thanks to motownmutt and shawnsmith for the headsup

Michigan man a success in MS stem cell study; coverage upsets me

My January issue of MSFYI and several Google Alerts also had good news about a small stem cell study.

Here's what the newsletter said:
"Three years after being treated with an experimental procedure that used their own stem cells, a small group of people with early cases of relapsing-remitting MS appear to have either halted or even reversed their course of disability."

The study, conducted at Northwestern University in Chicago, involved 21 people who had "autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, a procedure in which their own blood-forming stem cells were extracted, and then reintroduced into their systems after each person was treated with chemotherapy to kill immune cells in their bone marrow."

The goal to "reset" the immune system seemed to work with most:
  • 17 showed improved EDSS scores,
  • 16 had no relapses after three years,
  • none have had a worsening of MS symptoms.
Previous studies using stem cells in people with more advanced cases of MS have not been as successful, and some attempts have been fatal due to methods used to kill immune cells. A new technique, believed to be safer, was used in the most recent trial.

The study's lead author, Richard Burt, a Northwestern associate professor, said in media reports that the therapy may not be effective in late-stage MS because too much damage from immune cells had already been done. On the mean, those involved in the newest study had been diagnosed with MS for five years.

A larger trial, with 55 patients in the U.S. and Canada, is now planned for what the Chicago Sun Times said: 'First time we have turned the tide' on MS - Injecting early patients with own stem cells seems to reverse disability: researcher."

The Sun Times is where I also learned that a Michigan man participated in the trial. And that's where my disappointment with the media begins.

I was surprised that I couldn't find the Michigan connection in any of reports on the study in Michigan media. Surely, I'd learn more in local media. (I live in Michigan.)

Here's what the Sun Times said:
Barry Goudy, of Woodhaven, Mich., was one of the success stories. Goudy was diagnosed with MS in 1995. Since his stem-cell injection in 2003, Goudy said he hasn't had the fatigue, blurry vision and weak limbs he used to experience with every relapse. Goudy noticed improvement in his symptoms within six months.

Now, he's back to working full-time at a car dealership and said he doesn't have to get weekly and monthly drug injections anymore to keep his condition in check.
Except, I don't think he lives in Woodhaven. I know he's not working at a car dealership, if he ever did. But details beyond his participation in the study are fuzzy after watching what four TV stations did with a video report featuring Goudy and reading a number of reports in various newspapers and medical journals.

The Journal of the Medical Association did a video report in April 2008. Here's an abstract: AMA report on how stem cells treat autoimmune (and other) conditions, focusing on Barry Goudy - who celebrates 5 years free from Multiple Sclerosis symptoms after treatment. Clinical Trials ongoing...

From the JAMA site:
Barry Goudy learned he had multiple sclerosis in 1995. He was losing feeling in his left leg, and then his vision began to go.

“I went back to my neurologist and said, ‘Tell me how I can fight this,’" Goudy said.

Goudy enrolled in a clinical trial in 2003.

After five days of chemotherapy to destroy his immune cells, doctors used his own stem cells to rebuild his immune system.

He said it worked wonderfully for him.

“I have no symptoms of MS. I do no treatment for MS. I do no shots,” Goudy said.
Researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed the outcomes of about 2,500 patients who had stem-cell transplants. They found that it helped many patients with auto-immune diseases and even helped improve heart function for patients who suffered heart attacks.

“It's a whole new approach to these diseases. Rather than just surgery or drugs that you can use, (it is) a cellular approach that seems in many different studies to be benefitting the patient,” said Dr. Richard K. Burt, chief of the Division of Immunotherapy for Autoimmune Diseases at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Unlike embryonic stem cells that can only be collected after the destruction of an embryo, adult stem cells come from a patient’s own blood or bone marrow or another adult’s.

“There's very low risk – less than 1 percent mortality from the procedure,” Burt said.
Goudy now leads an active life, even coaching a hockey team.
“I've had five years of good life. Five years! If I didn't do the transplant, I would probably be in a wheelchair today,” Goudy said.
Last July, Goudy reached the five-year mark. You can read about some of his early MS treatment efforts.

ABC-12 in Flint was among the stations to pick up the JAMA video last winter, including information about Goudy in a report on stem cell research.

WRAL did a report too, using the video.

In 2006, in a radio show he was working in the automobile industry (read the transcript)

He's testified on stem cell research, where some other details are fuzzied up.

I'm fairly sure he's now a hockey coach at a suburban Detroit high school - contract approved in August. I thought about tracking him down - it's that need to know urge. But then realized there's no reason to intrude on his life. I just need to remember to keep question what I see and read on "news" reports.

Related posts:
If I ask, will questions go away?
Old drugs inspire hope for those with MS

February 8, 2009

Advance newspapers get warning of closure

Over in New Jersey, employees heard the Jersey Journal and some weekly newspapers may close in spring if finances continue the way they are.

The Jersey Journal is an Advance Publication, like The Flint Journal, Ann Arbor News, and the other "Booth" newspapers in Michigan.

The Evening Journal Association announced to its employees today that the company would cease publication of The Jersey Journal and a string of weekly newspapers in Hudson County on April 13, 2009, if its revenue is not sufficient to support the papers' reduced expense plan.

Here's some background.

Does anyone from North Dakota read blogs?

Even " competitors" like to help out from time to time. That's why I have been Tweeting, Friendfeeding and just plain begging in search of someone from North Dakota who willl visit Free From Editors just once so Jim of L-Town who is warming up in California can finally say at least one person from each state has read his blog at least once.

His whining, I mean blogging, about this lapse got me curious about some of my stats. I was surprised to find folks are translating me into Dutch (Flemish), Spanish (Castilian), and Croatian.

And though I'm not cross-checking this against a state or country list, I like watching the cities change. I get Flint, Lapeer, Frankenmuth, Ann Arbor, Troy, a few of the New Jersey, Ohio,Louisiana, Alabama, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon sites that show up. I've worked with people from those places. I am not surprised by Knoxville or Napier or Washington D.C. I'm Internet buds with people from there. Even Phoenix, Nashville, and Miami makes sense - Girl Scouts, you know.

But Australia? Or New Zeeland? How do you find me?

And do you know anybody from North Dakota who could just read this 49 and once to go.

Let's give Jim of L-Town an easy post to write when he returns to reality from the land of the stars.

Equal time for newspaper lovers

Most of what's written about newspapers these days is doom and gloom. But there are some who are enthusiastic about the medium.

Like Ken Paulson, who was from USA Today, and delivered a speech recently that highlights his belief that it's wrong to pick on the "ipods of the 1980s." After all ...
"there have also been huge layoffs at Home Depot, and no one is predicting the demise of hammers."

His speech is on the National Press Club under the headline of Newspapers are Fact-Checked, Hand-Delivered, No Pop-up Ads. What's Not to Love? Paulson Says.

The speech was picked up the Newspaper Project, the website to balance the doom and gloom of others.

"NewspaperProject.org was launched in 2009 by a small group of newspaper executives to support a constructive exchange of information and ideas about the future of newspapers. While we acknowledge the challenges facing the newspaper industry in today’s rapidly changing media world, we reject the notion that newspapers—and the valuable content that newspaper journalists provide—have no future.

"Unlike websites that feature negative, gloom-and-doom stories about newspapers, this website will be devoted to insightful articles, commentary and research that provide a more balanced perspective on what newspaper companies can do to survive and thrive in the years ahead."

(You didn't miss buy a newspaper day because you were busy chasing down the groundhog, did you?