September 5, 2009

Update: Burying the lede, and everything else*

Remember the post about GQ's decision to bury the article that was critical of Vladimir Putin? Simon Owens who blogs at Bloggasm stopped by to let me know he interviewed Gawker's Nick Denton about its decision to run a Russian translation of the story on its site.

Denton talks about copyright and why he thinks the Conde Nast wing of the Advance Publications family opted from posting the article.

New j-school class: Investigative Twitter and other tales

Did you see this breaking alert from the Chicago Tribune intern who will teach a course focused on Twitter?

Gawker wrote about the class in Twitter 'Investigative' Journalism 101 and even included a copy of the syllabus.

The class actually is "Journalism 520: Digital Editing: From Breaking News to Tweets."

A news release says DePaul also is offering:

  • Niche Journalism: Examines the explosion in magazine and trade publication journalism that targets specific audiences with content designed exclusively for them.
  • Reporting for Converged Newsrooms: Equips journalists with ability to assemble and produce stories that can be published and distributed across integrated media platforms.
  • Backpack Reporting: Gives students the practical experience they need in news gathering and distribution within the converged landscape of electronic newsgathering.
  • Entrepreneurial Journalism: Focuses on how journalism students can create their own place on the Internet and become known as content specialists in particular niche areas.

Speaking of journalism classes, former Flint Journal editor John Foren stepped back into the classroom at Michigan State University. He's teaching computer-assisted journalism. The three-credit, 400 level is described as including "Electronic information gathering using online databases, videotex, bulletin boards, and public records. Research and reporting strategy. Development of computerized news gathering."He's already been called professor.

Speaking of jobs, John also wrote recently for The Center for Michigan - Connecting students to good jobs that DO exist. (He left his editor post July 31.)

See, everything is connected.

September 4, 2009

Burying the lede, and everything else*

Gary Scott posts about a Conde Nast article missing from the web site in Burying the lede, and everything else*:

"David Folkenflik had a fascinating and highly disturbing piece today on Morning Edition about a story written by reporter Scott Anderson for GQ that was buried so deep it's been scrubbed from the Internet. The story was entitled 'Vladimir Putin's Dark Rise to Power.' From NPR's web story:
[Anderson's] investigative piece, published in the September American edition of GQ, challenges the official line on a series of bombings that killed hundreds of people in 1999 in Russia. It profiles a former KGB agent who spoke in great detail and on the record, at no small risk to himself. But instead of trumpeting his reporting, GQ's corporate owners went to extraordinary lengths to try to ensure no Russians will ever see it.
The corporate owners don't seem to have any concerns over the accuracy of the story or with Anderson's safety. An email from Jerry S. Birenz, a lawyer for Conde Nast, the corporate owner of GQ, indicates financial motives were at play:
[Birenz] ordered that the article could not be posted to the magazine's Web site. No copies of the American edition of the magazine could be sent to Russia or shown in any country to Russian government officials, journalists or advertisers. Additionally, the piece could not be published in other Conde Nast magazines abroad, nor publicized in any way.
Scott also reported that Gawker is working on a Russian translation of the GQ story and has scanned the article.

Also reporting on the missing article was the New York Times

Newspaper gets crime-fighting role

Gawker - hey, it's a fun read - and the New York Times Gadget blog were chatting about using a newspaper bag to protect your laptop. The $85 bags are called "the perfect repellent for criminally-minded urban digerati, much like the classical music piped outside convenience stores to discourage teenaged loiterers."

But over on the manufacturer's site I found this picture of a smaller bag against crime. The Barcelona design firm Mitemite also has a duvet cover with crime scene positions drawn out and lazy Sunday pants.

For much less, you can own one of my daughter's cancer-fighting purses made from Flint Journals. Meanwhile, she's done with radiation - and heading next week to Tennessee, where the job she left in December waits. (Translation: Blogging may be light.)

Here are some of the purses; more on Facebook. If you're interested, we can arrange delivery. She's even willing to make more if there's a special newspaper you want incorporated. (Translation: She hates owing money, but at least only her college loan is charging interest. I hate that she owes but we ended up concentrating on getting her cancer-free instead of doing another fund-raiser. Maybe later. Maybe not. Let's see how the payment plans work out. Or when I get my energy back.)

New GSUSA guidelines will help girls use latest tools safely

Tripping through the Internet has uncovered more evidence that some Girl Scouts are serious about moving faster.

Girl Scouts of the USA just sent out updated guidelines on the Internet, recognizing that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can help with product sales. That's a great follow to the launch of the and the reaction to one girl's cookie website.

A woman whose daughter is involved with Girl Scouts gives a good example of why youth groups try different ways to raise funds. We're all different. The Evil Eye Cafe: A subscription in begging post explains why the annual magazine drive is a favorite of hers:
"Come to find out that I personally love the magazine sale because a giant pile of product doesn't end up stacked my dining room waiting to be delivered.

"If I have to be stuck in the non-stop world of fundraising (which I am), then at the very least I would like to support the one product that inconveniences me the least."
It's true that fund-raisers for organizations like Girl Scouts do take a lot of time and space for the adults involved. I do not miss the days of figuring out how many boxes of cookies will fit into what vehicle or whose garage.

Done right, though, the sales efforts are a big plus for girls. They can help the girls gain financial literacy as they learn the reality of the cost of manufacturing goods, how to set individual and group goals and conduct sales campaigns. The product sales through Girl Scouts also give girls practice in running a business, a good skill set to develop as more people are seeing their own business the best way to stay employed.

The new Girl Scout how-to manual, Volunteer Essentials, also pulls the sales efforts into its keys to leadership programming theme. These sales let the girls:
  • Discover a strong sense of self and her values as she makes decisions about money-earning, customer-management, and so on.
  • Connect with their group members as they set goals. Then, the girls can meet families, mentors and business owners who have worked as accounting managers, event planners, public relations specialists, and graphic designers to learn more about the roles and how those roles can lead to a successful group sale.
  • Take action as they learn to map neighborhood business and other resources that can help them consider community service needs. Girls use product sale money to make a difference in their communities, whether through a take-action project or a philanthropic donation.
I think it well help volunteers learn the sales are more then a fund-raiser. Yet, I recently was surprised how important product sales are to my local council. (Councils are charted to run the national program in specific areas. The annual membership fee - now $12 - goes directly to the national organization, leaving the local council to raise funds through product sales, grants, and other means.)

I've been away from the nuts and bolts of my local Girl Scout organization for awhile but recently volunteered to help produce an introduction event for new troop leaders. I was surprised when I thought product sale profits funded about 30 percent of my local council. I was shocked to learn it actually is 61 percent.

Fortunately, it looks like girls and adults working with them will be able to use social media tools to improve the efficiency of sales. At least that's my reading of a document just released by the Girl Scouts of USA.

The latest update to Safety-Wise, the guide to keeping all girls involved in Girl Scouts safe, carefully outlines what girls and adults can do on the Internet as far as product sales or money-earning activities. The revision says:
"Girls can use e‐mail and age‐appropriate Internet functions as online marketing tools to let family, friends, and former customers know about the sale and collect indications of interest."
The new guidelines also allow adult-supervised e‐mail and texting as a marketing tool, and/or use of a customer commitment tool (such as an e‐card or blind e‐mail provided by product vendors) to communicate with family, friends, and former customers.

There are, of course, restrictions including:
  • No broadcast e‐mails to parental membership lists or place‐of employment e‐mail directories.
  • Only the magazine vendors can accept online payments.
  • Girls are not to use their personal e-mail address or post their address or phone number.
  • Sales need to be limited to the ZIP codes of the girl's council (relatives are an exception.)
The online site will direct potential customers to the closest council which must have a way for girls to benefit from the sale.

There's also detailed advice on using Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and Myspace, with a reminder to check out for its social network safety ideas.

The 11-page update
includes an updated GSUSA Online Safety Pledge for girls to sign, plus new guidelines for creating content online whether its on an independent site or Facebook or a similar site.


It's a love-hate relationship (both ways) so I often write about Girl Scouts. A few recent posts are how some councils are on Facebook and some on Twitter.

September 3, 2009

Scooped by site when content keeps flowing?

Wow. Talk about being watched. Nieman Journalism Lab over at Harvard University came out Wednesday with another post about

Joshua Benton suggested that the site architecture meant a top story didn't get top billing all day. Tuesday, Gina Chen wrote about what bloggers added to the site.

Benton wrote about this story: a business connection between the University of Michigan’s football coach Rich Rodriguez and a booster banned from another college football program.

The problem: Benton noted that the standard view has the newest postings floating to the top so this story was soon out of sight. A commenter reminded Benton that clicking the most popular button gets the story to the top again.

Ben Cohen, who interviewed chief content Tony Dearing for his Nieman post In Ann Arbor, designing a news site that doesn’t look like a news site, reminded us that keeping top stories top of mind was in the works.

Enjoy the post (with a site snapshot) and the comments. Don't forget to check the story.

Besides Chen's Community voices in Ann Arbor: a glimpse of local journalism’s future? on Neiman's site, Martin Langeveld wrote about the site in A new look for local news

Reporting Michigan ready for prime time.

A journalist who started covering Michigan politics in 2000 but lost his printing press when the Ann Arbor News closed in July launched Reporting Michigan with a web site, Twitter account. and a group on Facebook.

The traditional print journalist has thought about handling comments, too.

Tom Gantert's plans for a non-profit, statewide online political newspaper were part of an article in the Ann Arbor News on its last day. Geoff Larcom told us then that Gantert wanted to stay in journalism, but didn't think a traditional, for-profit model could work anymore.

In a post labeled opinion, Gantert explained "Reporting Michigan is not a blog. It is a non-profit registered with the state of Michigan that will report about political topics on a daily 24/7 news cycle."

It's a solo effort, although there is a board of directors.
"I just decided to "go for it." I am in front of all the right people. It's just, "How bad do they want an outlet that won't rip on conservative values?" We'll find out."
Gantert says he start selling advertising within a couple weeks.
"But even if I "make it big" all the other organizations have one full timer and hire freelancers to contribute on a daily basis. Tis' the new journalism model."
And that came from a Facebook reply, just part of that model.

Gantert tells me he considers the competition the Michigan Messenger, which he describes as the far left non-profit news site.

A Reporting Michigan post explains:
"We started Reporting Michigan because there was a gap in the coverage done by the mainstream news media. Conservative issues are often overlooked or not given fair treatment.
Back in July, Gantert told the Ann Arbor News he was "anxious, nervous and sad" as the newspaper ceased publication and he was working on this new enterprise on his own where "For the first time, I'll be working for the smartest man I know."

The about page fleshes out Gantert's 20 years in journalism, including time at at USA Today, the Jackson Citizen Patriot, Lansing State Journal and Ann Arbor News. He also worked in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Those who know Gantert know he has opinions, opinions he' willing to share. His opinion on citizen journalists led to uncovering moderation problems over on

It's clear that he's been watching and other web sites to see what they do with moderation. He's used some of that experience in formatting his own system.
"We will not allow comments on stories to be posted. Simply put, there hasn’t been a news site yet that has found a way to handle commentary in an acceptable manner.
Either vulgar and insulting comments are allowed to be posted, or the censorship of some posts is uneven at best, biased at worst.
But your voice can be heard and in your own words. There will be an “email to the editor” section."
His rules for an "email to the editor" section include:

  • Use a working email and a name. I prefer a real name, but as long as the email works, if you feel more comfortable with a nomme de plume, so be it.
  • Don’t be profane or insulting or libelous.
  • Reporting Michigan reserves the right to edit entries but that is not our intention. We believe in free speech, healthy debate and the “email to the editor” is your opportunity to get your two cents in with your words, pretty much untouched. But be reasonable in length.
  • Also, we reserve the right to make editor’s comments notes about factual misrepresentations about Reporting Michigan. That means if you write that Reporting Michigan wasn’t at an event and we were, we will make an editor’s note at the end of your commentary to correct it."
Go visit Reporting Michigan to see what another unemployed print journalist has decided to do.

Turns out I haven't published any of the things I wrote about Tom. I've written about the and Ann Arbor News, though.

A video, now on YouTube, was an outlet for Tom's moaning what was the Ann Arbor News. It was put together by Jordan Miller, who explained how it came about on

Go Ahead Drink and Drive

There's this blog called Something Seen that makes me smile on days I'd rather not as well as the days I am smiling. How can you argue with a reminder like this? I'd tell you more but I don't remember how I found it or who Violet Spirite is. That's the beauty of the multiple sclerosis fog - you think you will remember something, but you don't.

September 2, 2009

Blogger: Is's reliance on unpaid writers how news units will survive?'s reliance on community bloggers fascinates Gina Chen, who posts in her own Save the Media blog and expands her opinion about the future of journalism over on the Nieman Journalism Lab.

She explains the four things she sees working on
  • Getting the community involved
  • Mixing news and features
  • Local, local, local
  • Bloggers and journalists
and suggests improvements such as more video and photographs; more aggregation, more topics and more use of social media.

Perhaps the most interesting parts come from her conversations with Ed Vielmetti, blogging leader of That leads Gina to write "A reporter may be assigned to flesh out the idea — so in that sense, the community bloggers become a herd of highly invested tipsters even as she acknowledges not liking journalists being laid off.

Ed's role comes up again. He does not consider himself a journalist - pointed out by Gina and argued about in a comment. But his years of curiosity of how government, community and media work and practical knowledge in using the Freedom of Information Act might let you see why he certainly is a first-class citizen journalist.

(By the way, the site now lists all of the bloggers with staff online.)

Also, Gina is the first female to join the Nieman Journalism Lab, a "collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age. The announcement in August led me to ask her if it was sexist to say I was glad that Nieman finally added a female voice? We both agreed it was overdue and hope that more women will get selected for the team. She's hoping to make looking at whether the blogosphere opened up voice for women or is it just a new medium with the same old rules as part of her efforts to earn a Ph.D. at Syracuse University's Newhouse School.

That reminds me that the lack of women presenting at technology conferences continues to get attention. Cathy Brooks challenged women to step up in a guest post on PR. 2. She suggested that women need to:
  • Don't wait to be asked
  • Say yes when asked
  • Answer the call for presentations
But she did more then point her index finger" She set up a Ning site - Speaking4women, A resource of female speakers - because separate is not equal. - and plans to keep hammering the need for women to become proactive. There were 30 women signed up by 1 a.m.

I've written about Gina before, including:

I've written about Ed before, including:
More telling would be a look at my shares of their posts, drafts of posts here, bookmarks in delicious and elsewhere and conversations via Twitter or Facebook.

I've written about the site
many times.

Wrong, wrong, wrong - public confession time

The recovering perfectionist is slipping in so many ways. Bring on the wet noodles as I attempt to set the record straight on this and on that.

Forgive me Flint Journal, I was wrong about the building where the Blackstone's Pub and Grill recently opened. My husband and I ended a recent date day with tapas at 501 Bar and Grill in downtown Flint. That restaurant is across the street from Blackstone's, at 531 S. Saginaw and clearly not the building at 420 S. Saginaw that held the Greater Flint Arts Council after Roberts David Allan and neverhad a Blackstone's even. I mixed up the men's clothing stores when writing "Rookie professor: Jumping from newsroom to classroom." (Did you see that the "rookie professor" left a comment on the post?)

In my Aug. 29 post Moving is today's theme for Advance Publications Alabama properties, I told you that the Scot Stantis snowy cartoon was in his farewell post. That snowy 'toon was on Stantis' 'I'm leaving' post published Aug. 18. His farewell post - After 12 years, 11 months, I say goodbye is words only and published Aug. 30. A separate post holds his farewell cartoon.

His second day on the job and his work is on page one. Tim Lennox alerted me to that so you could make his day and visit his post and see the artwork.

I'm having a horrible time getting the correct spelling of Sahuaro Girl Scout Council. I think I got it right when I added a few more Twitter accounts for Girl Scouts in a June post.

The items are corrected in the original posts, but I doubt you go back to review them so I thought I'd share the updates here.

September 1, 2009

Newspapers agreed to wait on endorsements

An agreement to wait on endorsements in a state governor's race caught the attention of Aug. 31.

It caught my eye because it involves Newhouse newspapers in New Jersey, where the Advance Publications organization decided to have the Star-Ledger do the political reporting for itself and the six other newspapers in the state.

The reported the Newhouse newspapers in New Jersey agreed with the New Jersey's Election Law Enforcement Commission's request to wait until after the candidates for governor debated before announcing an endorsement.

The debate - looks like the date is still being debated- is co-sponsored by the Star-Ledger.

Speaking of New Jersey, this interesting juxtaposition of posts popped up on my computer screen recently. You've got G.D. Gearino saying in North Carolina, "I thought: Boy, when a guy from Jersey is complaining about our political corruption, things must really be bad" and the Jersey Guy learning about the "whacked view" of his home state abroad.

August 31, 2009

Wife's wishes: Share your stories

There are official dates and data, medals and certificates to mark the life and death of a Marine who followed his convictions to a place he did not have to be.

But Rene E. Browne knows the power of story, acknowledging the gifts given by friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues of Bill Cahir, the former Newhouse Newspapers Washington DC correspondent who was killed Aug. 13 in Afghanistan. Her statement included:
"From across the globe, the shared prayers, tributes and stories have meant so much and will keep Bill's memory alive for all of us. .... I am blessed for the years that we spent together and for the stories that I will be able to share with our children of Bill's ideals, bravery, love and compassion."
She is expecting twins in December, just weeks after Bill was to return from his third tour of duty.

Carl M. Cannon, a senior Washington correspondent for, says Rene asked for letters of remembrances of the 40-year-old Marine with the "soul of a journalist" who joined the reserves later then most people do.

Cannon published his letter to the unborn twins on Aug. 31, the day Cahir was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Cannon shared his admiration for the response of New Jersey senator, Robert Menendez, who Bill covered, to the death. Equally touching, though, is Cannon's accounting of "The Best We Had to Give" clippings collection. The clippings give depth to the numbers through stories.

Rene's statement on, includes a reminder of the right thing to do:

"Bill would also be grateful to see that his story helped to raise awareness of the untold sacrifices of the men and women serving their country around the world today. It is their sense of duty and patriotism that inspired Bill to serve and will be the legacy of honor and commitment that he leaves to our children, and to the rest of us."
By the way, NPR filed a report on Cahir I enjoyed. The Washington Post posted a photo of a Marine presenting a flag to Browne that I really like. There's also a memorial fund set up via Democracy in Action.that (There's a photo gallery.)

There's a Purple Heart coming and Chris Matthews did a segment on'Hardball

I wrote about Cahir in Passion drove former Newhouse reporter. and I pray every day that my nephew who just left on his tour of duty returns. It's a practice I intensived after reading Sadly, now I know his first name.

Oregonian's breast cancer series finalist with Wired in online news contest

A stark reminder of how different this summer is compared to last year's came today with the announcement of the finalists for the 2009 Online News Association's journalism awards.

Last summer, I helped pre-screen entries. It took a lot of time but I enjoyed seeing what organizations felt was their best work. I also found it frustrating as I often ran into pieces that didn't work or assumed I knew more then what was presented on the web site.

This summer, no pre-screening and no working on any ONA conference committees.

The Oregonian is a finalist for a 2009 Online News Association journalism award for its Pregnant with Cancer series in the multimedia feature division. The package of stories and videos follows a woman who was four months pregnant when she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. (You'll have to look, I stopped when I learned the baby survives and the mother does not.)

The only other Newhouse family property on the list is, which is a finalist in three categories. Its Danger Room is competing in the Online Topical Reporting/Blogging, Large Site, category and its Global iPhone Study is in the Outstanding Use of Digital Technologies, Large Site, category. The site also is a finalist in the General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large Site, category.

The winners will be announced at the Online News Conference on Oct. 3. You can check out the nominated sites.

I'm hoping for lots of Liveblogging and Twittering as I've decided to skip the conference, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary. It's in California and organizers are taking advantage of its San Francisco location by inviting folks like Leo Laporte, the Tech Guy. Twitter's CEO Ev Williams and Blogher's Lisa Stone to speak. But I'm spending my cash in other ways this year. As my daughter says, "tear."

Update: The Oregonian lost to, Quenching Las Vegas' Thirst
Wired also lost.

I've written about The Oregonian before, including:
And you know I've mentioned the large Newhouse newspaper in other posts when I've written about Advance Publications.

I've mentioned the Online News Association a time or two, including:

August 30, 2009

The right word expands understanding

The naming of something helps it turn up everywhere, or at least it helps me recognize what is right before my eyes. Sometimes, it's a headline. Sometimes, it's a cry for help.

John McIntrye and Chris Brogan expanded my vocabulary this week and that reminded me about speaking in code. Make that singing in code.

McIntrye wrote a post describing headlines that are "crash blossom." He even leads us to a collection of examples. and to Testy Copy Editors where Nessie3 of Japan posted the headline that lead to Dan Bloom coining the name. (Updated 12/31/09 to credit Dan.)

Now, I'm seeing headlines like this - Japan Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms - in so many places. Go ahead, read the story and you'll understand why it is such an "infelicitously worded headline."

McIntrye also reminds of the dangers of the spell-checking software programs, that darn Cupertino effect that gets you Cupertino for a misspelling of cooperation. He also gives examples of eggcorn and snowclone. (Why am I surprised that there's an eggcorn database? or snowclones database?)

Chris Brogan sent me on an Internet search because he recently classified 114 emails as bacn in a newsletter. So now I know what to call all that email I think I'll read later because not enough folks read his 2007 post.

The bacn got me thinking about codes. A co-worker alerted me long ago that red cheeks were a clear signal to slow down. My husband lets me know when to stop without even mentioning that word.

For a group of friends in Detroit, a request for an urgent cup of Earl Grey tea signals a need for rescuing from an uncomfortable scene. For five years, the author of "The Years Keep Passing Me By" blog knows someone saying the "obscure and ridiculous" phrase means "your blockhead friend will suddenly become aware and swoop in to save the day."

I remember some Tennessee friends who would start singing a Carter Family classic at the oddest moments. The first time I heard them sing that I was driving them back to their hotel in Michigan. Unfortunately, I missed a turn, then another, then .... a quick 10-minute trip took several hours and landed us in a woodsy area miles away. (This was years before GPS and wireless access.)

Fortunately, the first impression didn't last so I also got to use the song to signal distress if post-concert activities got out of hand and I needed rescuing. Sometimes, shouting help isn't the best way to find a knight in shining armor.