August 29, 2009

Moving is today's theme at the Advance Publications Alabama properties

The publisher
isn't the only one moving on at the Advance Publication newspapers in Alabama.

Columnists moved to new days and places as the Birmingham News launched a plan to make local news coverage more dynamic - editor's words, not mine. His explanatory column includes a nod to take advantage of "where we can break stories in real time and supplement them with a rich array of original source materials, such as full court filings and searchable databases. ", by the way, was one of the sponsors of Social South, Deep Fried Social Media. which you can read about elsewhere.

Bors Blog first alerted me with a Flash of Hope that The Chicago Tribune hired Scot Stantis, who had worked for the Birmingham News since 1996. Stantis explained why he's heading north and the Tribune put together the Stantis cartoons gallery. (That snowy 'toon was on Stantis' 'i'm leaving' post. His farewell post - After 12 years, 11 months, I say goodbye is words only. (corrected Aug. 31)

Also now in snow country is Ian R. Rapoport, who traded the University of Alabama sports beat to cover the New England Patriots. He's already writing in Boston, where his banker wife of three months is preparing for her first snowy winter. Snow is not new to Rapoport, who wrote about heading home to New York in December.

Reversing the weather chain - leaving snow for warmth - is the new advertising head for the Birmingham Times. Kurt Vantosky, the new vice president of advertising, spent the last four years at Washington's Tacoma News Tribune and was in Alaska before that.

Media of Birmingham reported those changes and had some speculation about the new role of Ricky Matthews, who replaced Howard Bronson as president and publisher at the Mobile Press-Register, Baldwin Register and Mississippi Press and picks up oversight of the Birmingham News and Huntsville Times in the new role of president of Advance Alabama/Mississippi.

The timing of the 72-year-old publisher leaving an Advance Publications newspaper in Alabama is the main focus of Bidding Bronson Bye post in the Lagniappe. Bronson was remembered for creating a Sound Off column and moving corrections to the front page. (Update on 9/18/09) The publisher sued Advance Publications)

A former editorial writer heaps much more praise on Bronson on, citing his work to help redevelop parts of the city and some of the awards the newspaper won. The letter followed an editorial "Howard Bronson's rich, broad legacy." (I wrote about Bronson when the Press-Register took on the printing of a Florida newspaper and he was on a local TV station.)

Matthews role with Advance Alabama/Mississippi led the Lagniappe speculation to speculate the news operations could combine if circulation drops.

While I'm hanging out down south, let me lead you to Roasted Rump, where J.D. Crowe the cartoonist for the Mobile-Register, let peers and politicians get back at him for a night. He serves a second helping of the roast in Notes 'n Quotes.

Plus John Ehinger, the editorial page writer for the Huntsville Times and author of Bird Droppings who left June 30 via a buyout returned briefly with a remembrance of Apollo 11 Saturn V launch.

Read it quick as is one of the Newhouse sites getting much more aggressive about moving articles and columns behind a pay wall. An example is the May article about Ehinger's replacement, John Peck, announced on the same day the Opinion pages changed.

August 28, 2009

The hour changes the city that changes me

In April, an unexpected window of free time opened while I was in a city that once offered smiles, love and musical notes swallowed quickly with ale. Back doors, stage doors, friends' doors opened for me then. But when single life switched to married-and mom-routines I visited the city less often. I let most live music slip away again.

My daughter's fight to beat breast cancer led her to this city nine months ago and I have again become an almost resident. This time the doors lead to labs, doctor's offices and infusion centers.

Sometime, I rush in a visit to Whole Foods to stock up on hormone- and vitamin-free food. The city becomes one of pain, of healing, of tests when the focus is cancer. I don't take time to find coffee or beads or friends.I travel the same streets but the sites/sights are different. Now, the medical center hides the music that is in the city's shadows.

But on this one day, some plans fall through and I have unexpected free time early in the morning. 7 a.m. early. I take a quiet ride through Ann Arbor, seeing a city so different from the one I usually hustle through at mid day after the cancer demands. It is a city view that is much different from the one I saw while actively chasing music through studios and bars and musician hangouts.

With light but without rushing people on bikes and feet and in cars, I can see the mammoth buildings that define the various campuses of the university. Those buildings line the sidewalks, sprinkled almost randomly in blocks of houses, restaurants and stores.

The further you go from campus, the more you escape into the town of everywhere: Starbucks, Panera Bread,and Subway, line up with the JCPenny, David's Bridal, and Walgreens.

But in the sprawling area called the campus, there is room for the unusual. An Indian restaurant, a used bookstore, a shop of 100 percent cottons, tie-dyed. I remember this part from the days and nights of booking musicians, of rehearsing the bands, of playing and collecting.

A few news racks carry "daily" newspapers, and weekday newspapers. But there also are others - aimed at families, aimed at those striving for healthy eating and living, aimed at those whose lives center around music and nightlife.

An hour alone - who to call to share this unexpected pleasure of 60 minutes emptied of musts. The seller of organic foods won't open for an hour so filling the time becomes my treat.

So many people here I would like to see - some purely pleasure, some for possible work, some just because. So far, nearly every time I plan to meet someone the schedule changes.

A normal visit is a rush to, through and out of this city for cancer treatments that include chemo and bags filled with healthy groceries that do not play hide and seek in rows of hormone- or vitamin injected foods.

I am a vehicle on these trips, a provider, a soother.

Taking time for my pleasures seem like stealing, perhaps sinning. Yes, I know the importance of taking care of the caretaker.

But knowing and doing? We all know how the first will not ensure the second. Or perhaps in a way I believe that my rushing is taking care as it allows all of us to return to the sacredness of home quickly.

Who to beg for a moment? Some are just settling into their beds at this hour, still addicted to audience adoration and musical notes. Some are busy dressing selves and kin, prepping for the mad dash to nursery, school and work.

Did I answer my own question with the word beg?

I could call. I could sit in a coffee shop and male more lists. Or I could sit under a tree listening to a city awakening. Or I could just sit. Alone. Doing nothing. Alone.

Taking care of me by slipping into a silence only cities can generate.Or slipping into a place that lets me empty thoughts into a post. Tell me again why the "Publish Post" button was missed again?

August 27, 2009

Girl Scouts getting more social day by day.

The Girl Scouts are moving into Facebook nearly as fast as they Twitter.

They are recruiting volunteers, looking for former members, and sharing ideas about programs. Some Girl Scout pages are filled with requests from parents looking for ways their girls can join the best leadership training program in the world. (Yes, my blood is green.)

At least one council is offering a week at camp as an incentive to answer a survey. At least two councils use road races to help generate funds for programs for girls between the ages of 5 and 18.

A few might want to rethink how they are registered - I was checking my update settings and notice four are listed in the category of Bars and Clubs. I think they were looking for the non-profit group, where most Girl Scouts hang out today.

I like how some are going beyond the standard Girl Scout logo for their avatar. I've included three in this post. There are more like the Michigan one below that use a map to show the location of the newly formed council. At least one is encouraging indulgence of the Dairy Queen Thin Mint Blizzard.

It also is obvious that many volunteers are like me - impatient with our piece of the Girl Scout world is behind and start their own pages. Then, someone notices what a handy tool Facebook or Twitter might be and starts an official page so suddenly we have two organizational pages.

(By the way, there isn't a Girl Scout council in the nation that wouldn't love to have you volunteer - work with the girls, the computers, or maybe even help with developing a blog or some other online communication.)

Check out these posted social media guidelines - clearly based on the Girl Scout Law.

At least once council representative needs to know that Facebook doesn't let you leave anonymous comments on pages or delete your last name either.

Look! It's official. Girl Scouts of the USA is on Facebook. In fact, the remake of its web site puts Facebook, Twitter and the Girl Scout blog out front. There are even links to YouTube channel and Flickr.

Here are some more Facebook sites - council ones for the most part.Let me know if I missed your council's page. I've also collected these on a Facebook page - Girl Scouts Online. - a place to tell you who is online now. See Fan page favorites.
  1. Atsugi Girl Scouts
  2. Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Inc.
  3. Girl Scouts - Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas
  4. Girl Scout Commonwealth Council of VA
  5. The Girl Scout Council of Central New York
  6. Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast
  7. Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta - added Aug. 27
  8. Girl Scout Council of Greater New York
  9. Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle
  10. Girl Scouts Heart of the South
  11. Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida, Inc.
  12. Girl Scouts, Hornets' Nest Council
  13. Girl Scouts Louisiana East
  14. Girl Scouts - North Carolina Coastal Pines, Adult Volunteers
  15. Girl Scouts of Maine
  16. Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council
  17. Girl Scouts of California's Central Coast
  18. Girl Scouts of Central Texas (official)
  19. Girl Scouts of Citrus Council
  20. Girl Scouts of Colorado
  21. Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois
  22. with its Camp Little Cloud
  23. Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts
  24. Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri
  25. Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma
  26. Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania
  27. Girl Scouts of Frontier Council
  28. Girl Scouts of Gateway Council, Inc
  29. Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa
  30. Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa, Tabor IA Troops
  31. Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.
  32. Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia
  33. Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore
  34. Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana
  35. Girl Scouts of Laredo Texas
  36. Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore
  37. Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys
  38. Girl Scouts of Moccasin Bend
  39. Girl Scouts of Nassau County
  40. Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails
  41. Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama
  42. Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York added Sept. 22
  43. Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois
  44. Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana
  45. Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey
  46. Girl Scouts of Ohio's Heartland
  47. Girl Scouts of Orange County
  48. Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, Inc. (official)
  49. Girl Scouts of Raintree Council, Inc.
  50. Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (Official)
  51. Girl Scouts of Silver Sage Council
  52. Girl Scouts of South Carolina - Mountains to Midlands
  53. Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama
  54. Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama
  55. Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas
  56. Girl Scouts of Suffolk County
  57. Girl Scouts of Tanasi Council
  58. Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council, Inc.
  59. Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains
  60. Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland
  61. Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada
  62. Girl Scouts of Utah
  63. Girl Scouts of West Central Florida
  64. Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma
  65. Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma
  66. Girl Scouts of Western Washington
  67. Lake Orion Girl Scouts
  68. Medway Girl Scouts of G.S. Eastern Massachusetts
  69. Sahuaro Girl Scout Council
  70. World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
  71. Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace
  72. Girl Scout Leadership Institute
  73. Girl Scouts of the Philippines
  74. Girl Scouts
  75. Lakeland Guiding Lights Girl Scouts

I've written some more about Girl Scouts. Read some posts or learn more about my Girl Scout past.

August 26, 2009

Words float up from Twitter, blogs just in time

Success comes with passion, power and purpose. Or maybe the right word is authenticity,

Posts by others remind me that each of us is responsible for where we are. It is the message I need to hear as I drown in the ever growing group of journalists drawn out of their newsroom through the carrot of a buyout "too good to ignore."

I watch so many writing goodbyes.

So thank you @TonyDearing for this tweet:
Nice interview by @cnewvine with owners of Ann Arbor Brewing Co and Corner Brewery
Colleen Newvine did come up with an inspiring post on the success of the owners of Ann Arbor Brewing Co and Corner Brewery. Hard work coupled with a dream won't make a life worth living. That takes mindful awareness of what life you want, how the day must go. Imagine that.

Thank you Gina Chen for reminding me to review Ryan Sholin's post on authenticity. a
and the archived chat from Poynter Online.

What can be more simple then his five keys to authenticity:
  1. Be Human
  2. Be Honest
  3. Be Aware
  4. Be Everywhere
  5. Show Your Work
Thanks also for your idea that authenticity on the Web prevents ethical breaches for journalists engaging with readers.
"If you’re authentic — which includes honesty and forthrightness and decency in my mind — you’re not going to have a problem with breaching anything.

"To me, authenticity would makes it needless to impose cumbersome rules for journalists’ social media use."
(Are you sure Gina that you need to move out of the newsroom and back to the classroom? There are newsrooms needing your thinking,)

Thank you Good Housekeeping for the latest reminder from Geneen Roth that I am the boss of me. The article was about food and why adults don't need a food critic:
  • Nutritional and medical info is helpful and necessary
  • No hiding, no spending a life as a child obeying authority or rebelling
  • Shame does not lead to everlasting change.
  • Be clear and direct about your needs
  • Remind yourself you are the boss of you
The words float to the surface when the message is needed.

August 25, 2009

Cancer treatments put on hold

I just got off the phone - my daughter's cancer treatments have affected her heart enough that the doctors are delaying today's chemo for at least four weeks.

If the heart test next month shows no improvement, the Herceptin treatment will end seven months early.

You can read why a phone call in my earlier update. She will learn tomorrow if radiation will continue.

The 2008 movie Living Proof was about the doctor who helped develop Herceptin and the sacrifices he made. It is based on Robert Bazell’s book “Her-2." Here's the trailer:

We're battling cancer - and each other

We are close to marking another milestone in my 25-year-old's race against breast cancer - the last of 30 radiation treatments.

Each milestone brings its own set of challenges and this one means a move, back to work and new doctors for her.

That means we are separating our household goods, pulling together never unpacked boxes, and planning how to get from here to there all the boxes, vehicles, and dogs.

We are separating lives, one fight at a time. Even warned that these fights were coming, they hurt.

There is where a job waits, a mere 575 miles from this base of family and friends. She's grateful to be able to walk back to the same job at the same store because of the right circumstances. She's hopeful her boyfriend will find something as his ex-employer seems unable to find room for him. They have found a place to live, one that will allow their two dogs.

She has found a Tennessee doctor who will oversee the chemo treatments needed through February and coordinate care with her Michigan cancer team. That means fewer trips back here.

Today also is another chemo treatment and a visit with the oncologist, perhaps some more work coordinating care with new doctors in Tennessee. That means it is another long day in Ann Arbor - blood work, oncologist, two hours of chemo, a break, and then radiation.

At 5 a.m., I learn my role will be chauffeur only and opt to stay home. She is surprised, baffled that I would want to meet with the oncologists, the support team this one last time. There would have been some closure, some celebration of the milestone.

Plus, there would be another recording the medical team's recommendations. In the past, my notes revealed we heard different thoughts from the same set of words.

All of us are tired, even the household. A broken washing machine turned out to be a blessing as it means my husband is home when my daughter reveals her new independence. He delivers hugs, saving me from more eggs in the shower.

Wednesday, another doctor will decide if the last four radiation treatments can take place as scheduled or if the blistering is bad enough to demand a break.

I think a break would break my daughter who is tired of crafting purses, painting wood items, crocheting washcloths and bags and disappointed nothing sold as well as she hoped. She is tired of reading, of sleeping, of living off her parents and with her parents.

There is more. I chuckle because I wondered why my daughter hasn't updated her blog since mid July. Then an early morning check shows I haven't written about her cancer since then either. Perhaps we are all tired of cancer and assume you are too.

Herrad's recent comment reminded me how little I've said about me. I can't even remember the last comment I left elsewhere. Soon, there will be time, right?

Some recent statuses from daughter:
didn't win bingo- but winning w only 5 more treatments left! Monday ngiht

6 more treatments! the end is near whoo-hoo Monday morning

7 more treatments!! just 11:52 AM Aug 22

7 more treatments!! Excited to move back to 5:33 AM Aug 21

8 more- Whoo-Hoo!!!at 8:13 AM Aug 20

9 more-- finally single digits!!at 9:07 AM Aug 19

10 more-- figuring out paint colors and moving vans! at 3:33 PM Aug 18

11 more gonna get the eyes checked too--been 3 years! at 10:20 AM Aug 18

12 more... ...
at 5:19 PM Aug 17

13 more treatments-- wonderin can cause too many 3:43 PM Aug 15

13 more treatments-- 10:43 PM Aug 14 f

13 more treatments-- on the road! <3>at 6:27 AM Aug 14

13 more treatments--1 day till trip! so exciting!at 9:01 AM Aug 13

14 more-- 2 days till trip!! today is already better than yesterdayat 8:15 AM Aug 12

15 more-- 3 days till trip!! & today is angery day- y peeps gotta make me mad?at 5:48 PM Aug 11
Mood:pissed (She ripped her second - and last - pair of pants on the radiation table; cut her leg too.)

15 more-- 3 days till trip!! at 8:27 AM Aug 11

16 more-- 4 days till trip!!at 9:04 AM Aug 10

17 more at 10:12 AM Aug 9

20 more.. i HATE those moments were u know you've already lived this but havent...
at 6:48 AM Aug 4

22 more! sad it was the last buick 7:55 PM Aug 2

23 more! excited for the 12:52 PM Jul 30

24 more... & planning a trip-- super excited!at 7:53 PM Jul 29

26 to go... excited 2 b looking for apartments!! at 1:06 PM Jul 27

6 to go... I like seeing the number go 9:23 PM Jul 26

i wanna get back in the game... but i still have 26 more treatments!at 8:00 PM Jul 25

3 down 27 to go at 8:19 AM Jul 24

2 down 28 to goat 10:24 AM Jul 23

1 down 29 to goat 10:09 AM Jul 23

Back from AnnArbor-- started my 6 weeks today of radiation beams whoo-hoo!at 5:25 PM Jul 22

off to Ann Arbor to hopefully start Radiation!at 8:27 AM Jul 22

ahhh.. got it settled hopefully. I'll find out monday if i get to fight again :O)at 3:17 PM Jul 21

when are people gonna learn?? I was trained by the best and you don't wanna mess with the 12:08 PM Jul 21 (she's fighting with a car insurance company)

sad they had to put off my radiation one more weekat 8:45 PM Jul 15

the ironic thing of the day I'm allowed to drink but a report came out linking drinking and cancer in women--- damn ironic!at 6:50 PM Jul 14

You'all feel better now?

August 24, 2009

I lost my patience with Windows 3.0, I think

Thank you xkcd for my laughs and this. (Click on panel for larger version.

Too much time spent on worthless words, unnecessary definitions

Sometimes, I think I was born an editor, doomed to twitch at mumbo-jumbo and smile at plain talk.

Or perhaps I have sat through too many speeches, meetings and interviews where people dance around the truth, hiding it in complex sentences of $5 words. Or met too many people who talk corporate even when they are out of their three-piece suits. Or maybe I am just tired.

I am tired of the bickering over the health-care proposal, the Mac vs PC debates, the save newspapers by charging for the Internet arguments and "Are you a journalist" after a buyout, if you blog or get paid by a non-news organization.

I cannot believe that the combination of two great resources - Publish2, a share the links and curate the news web service, and Wired Journalists, a self-help group, - means we need to worry about the definition of a journalist. You must be a journalist, untainted by pr, to belong to Wired Journalists.

The editorial standards statement, whitewashed in trendiness, ignores the reality that sometimes food on the table is a higher priority then waiting for the next journalism-sanctified source to purchase your work. Shouldn't the criteria be you want to become a wired journalist or share what you know?

I was happier reading Mark Cuban dissecting a pitch letter of big dreams outlined in "must-use" phrases of nothingness. He starts with the email address and slips quickly into the "saving the world" phrasing. Read it all and don't skip the comments. The American billionaire entrepreneur who knows about startups from experience aimed his blog post at those seeking his funds. I say the audience is anyone who sells products, people or ideas.

Perhaps I can find a tactful way to send the blog post to the person who returned two paragraphs of corporate speak when I asked for help in recalling two sentences of his recent speech. Silly me, I thought I could remember the sentences without dropping everything right then to write them down. But when I got to a time and place where I could write them out, I remembered only parts. The two sentences would make a great elevator speech. I couldn't say the corporate speak in a believable way even if the only audience was reflected in the mirror.

By the way, I've recommended folks read Cuban's "I'm rubber, you're glue" post, especially liking his idea of products to deliver. I also thought post on professional sports teams hiring journalists who work for newspapers was thought-provoking.

The first time I "met him" was through his rant on the ethics of a blogger-journalist.

Also there are other avenues to learn the wired-journalist skills - the CustomCurriculum approach explored in a Save the Media post, the ongoing Visual Editors series, the older Poyntner offerings and more.