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  • The End of Privacy Episode 3 - Data brokers - the news business' awkward little secret


    Advertisers and data brokers collect information about you as you move from site to site across the internet – including your hobbies, your politics, your religion and race, how much debt you have, what health issues you look at and much more. There are dozens of data trackers on most news sites, too. But most news organizations only reveal that...
  • The End of Privacy Episode 2 - Sources at Risk


    Mass surveillance programs and aggressive government crackdowns on leaks are creating serious risks for sources. A single email or phone call to a reporter could leave a source without a job, or worse, facing criminal prosecution. Episode 2 looks at the state of source protection around the world and how journalists are adapting to these new challenges. With Stephen Engelberg,...
  • The End of Privacy Episode 1 - When Governments Spy on Journalists


    Today I’m launching The End of Privacy, a five-part series on the intersection of journalism and privacy issues. Are journalists entitled to special privacy rights? Are news publishers helping data trackers violate users’ privacy? Is it possible to have confidential sources in the Age of the NSA? All of that and more is coming up. In today’s episode, Jason Parkinson,...
  • Broken Links


    I'm transitioning off Wordpress to a new hosting setup and in the process I've killed off a bunch of old posts. The previous links to the posts I kept should seamlessly redirect to the new locations. As for the stuff I killed off (mainly political blogging from 2008 and posts cross published from other sites) it's gone. If I deleted...
  • 5 lessons from a 97-year-old style guide


    I like old newspaper style guides. I recently picked up The Detroit News’ from 1918. A lot of it looks familiar, with rules for headline, punctuation and capitalization. (It’s good to know editors have always been trying to ban writers from using certain words and phrases.) But unlike the AP or other contemporary style guides, there’s also a lot of...
  • Backpacking 140 miles through Death Valley


    This last March I set out to backpack the length of Death Valley National Park. Due to some snowed-in roads and a little equipment failure I ended up cutting the trip short at about 140 miles. It was some of the most grueling and most beautiful backpacking I’ve ever done. 140 miles 20+ miles a day, partially off-trail, partially following...
  • Macro Mason Bees — Dead and Alive


    More photos This wasn’t a great year for me and Orchard Mason bees. I’m not sure if it was their mud or some other environmental issue, but they never came back to their tubes after they hatched. There were two cocoons left over so I brought them inside and cut them open. The first was an almost-developed dead bee (see...
  • Oakland Police Beat - Oakland Spent $74 Million Settling 417 Police Brutality Lawsuits


    Read the full post at Oakland Police Beat An Occupy Oakland protester is arrested in the early morning hours of Thurs, November 3, 2011 in Frank Ogawa Plaza. Lawsuits alleging excessive force by OPD officers during the demonstrations have cost the city more than $6 million in settlements. Photo by Elijah Nouvelage. A Catholic priest who said an officer put...
  • Oakland Police Beat - Oakland’s Most Decorated Officers Responsible for High Number of Brutality Lawsuits, Shootings


    Read the full post at Oakland Police Beat An Oakland Police Department officers holds onto a protester while others try to pull him away and prevent his arrest during the May 1, 2012 protests in downtown Oakland. Photo by Glenn Halog. It was almost noon on an overcast day in East Oakland, home to much of the city’s violent crime,...
  • Whatever You Do, Vice, Don't Hire That Copyeditor


    Update for the copyeditors and journalists I irritated today: I wasn’t debating the value of copyeditors or saying copyediting was responsible for the drop in traffic. We, the top editors, were responsible for that. We were convinced that fewer, higher-quality stories would differentiate ourselves in the tech news world and would attract readers. We hired more editors, including copyeditors, and...
  • My Top 12 Narrative Crime Journalism Books


    Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History Scott Selby, Greg Campbell On February 15, 2003, a group of thieves broke into an allegedly airtight vault in the international diamond capital of Antwerp, Belgium and made off with over $108 million dollars worth of diamonds and other valuables. They did so without tripping an alarm or injuring a single guard...
  • Tech Press Critique - Churnalism Fight Club! Plus - The Science of Liveblogging And The Aftermath of Israel’s Twitter War


    In today’s episode, John Biggs, TechCrunch’s East Coast editor, and I disagree about churn and journalism; and Sara Morrison from the Columbia Journalism Review talks with me about the fight, and yes it’s a fight, over the “right” way to do journalism. Alicia Cohn from thehill.com talks about the impact of the Israeli Gaza Twitter war in Washington DC and...
  • Tech Press Critique Podcast - Here Come The Secret IPOs And The Not-So-Secret Apple Secrets


    In today’s episode I talk with Chris O’Brien from the San Jose Mercury News about the new IPO process and how it’s changing the way we cover companies who’re about to go public. And Jon Mitchell, from ReadWrite.com, and I talk about how Apple’s product launch hype cycle just might have a little less hype in the future. With music...
  • Tech Press Critique Podcast - 623 Tweets About An Embargo?


    Today I’m launching Tech Press Critique, a bi-weekly look at how the online media are covering technology. Whether it’s TechCrunch or The New York Times, this show is going to be about challenging assumptions, tipping over some sacred cows, and pushing bloggers and traditional journalists toward greater accountability. Today’s episode: 623 Tweets About An Embargo? TechCrunch’s Ryan Lawler explains what...
  • The End Of Digital Journalism Portland, The Beginning Of Something New


    _This was originally posted at Digital Journalism Portland. After two and a half years, two conferences, eight social hour presentations, and almost a hundred job listings on the job board, it’s time for Digital Journalism Portland to come to an end. I want to deeply thank the hundreds of people who attended the events, who were a part of the...
  • 3 Ways to Turn Your Newsroom Into an Idea Workshop


    Last week The Globe and Mail interviewed Steven Berlin Johnson, author of the book Where Good Ideas Come From, and put together eight of his ideas that can “turn your workplace into an idea workshop.” Most of them are obvious: don’t be a know-it-all, don’t keep secrets, accept failure. But I think three are missing from a lot of newsrooms....
  • Top 5 Smart New Media Stories For This Week


    This week the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which audits the vast majority of US newspapers, released its data for the last six months. The numbers were, surprise surprise, down. Stocks for the major companies promptly took a hit. But there were glimmers of hope in those figures, too. Check out PaidContent’s post on the increase in digital editions and Jeff...
  • The Carnival of Journalism - The Future of News Video Looks Like Crap


    This month’s Carnival of Journalism host is Andrew Pergam, who asks “What is the role of online video in the newsroom of the future?” The future of online news video hit me for the first time in mid 2009 when I was talking to the editor of a small daily in Northern California. He was telling me how the paper...
  • Top 8 Journalism Apps of 2010 (That You’ll Use All Next Year)


    This year news apps were either horrible villains or lifesaving heroes depending on your perspective. But what about apps for journalists — for reporters who need information and tools on the go? I’m not talking about podcasting or video editing apps. I’m talking about mobile and cloud-based tools that the average journalist will use on a regular or even day-to-day...
  • Build a Robot Journalist Assistant in 3 Easy Steps


    Too much information, too little time to sift through it — who has time to find the few relevant stories that dozens or hundreds of beat-related blogs and company and government sites produce every day? How about a digital assistant? There’s a way to automate that filtering process in just a few steps using Yahoo Pipes. One of the best...
  • A Simple Tool For Finding Journalism Sources on Delicious


    A coworker of mine, Marshal Kirpatrick, once wrote, “People new to social media are often frustrated when they are told to “join the conversation” – because they aren’t sure where to find the conversation.” That’s doubly true for journalists. We need to mine the Web for stories and sources but where do we start? The social bookmarking site Delicious is...
  • We Made The Media - What went right - and wrong


    We Make The Media was an intense day. As one of the sub organizers who spent the last few months helping Ron Buel and a core group of people create the event, it was both thrilling and heartbreaking to see how it played out. Over the course of the day about 50 percent of attendees left and didn’t come back....
  • Hey media startups - J school students need your help (and you need theirs)


    I spent the better part of last weekend at the University of Oregon’s journalism school. On Saturday I was a panelist at the Building a Better Journalist conference, and on Sunday I took part in the Redefining J School barcamp. I don’t have a journalism degree. In fact, I don’t have a college degree at all. But this weekend I learned this:...
  • Updated - Digital Journalism Camp has a schedule


    I’m posting this a little belatedly. Ok, really belatedly. Over at the conference site I have a schedule for Aug. 1, as well as list of some of the presenters, panelists and moderators. I just added Carolynn Duncan, founder of the startup incubator Portland 10, to the list. Her presentation is called “Square peg, wrong hole: Why your news product...
  • 130 years of must-read stories for digital journalists - Five lessons from 1851-1981


    Members of the White House News Photographers' Association, circa 1922-1926 As journalists, the future looms so large that it feels like we’re constantly on new ground. But we’re not. Whether we tell stories with words, audio, video or a combination of all three, there are a surprising number of lessons to be found in the past. A 115-year-old slice-of-life story...
  • Oregon Understory Podcast - Twitter in the newsroom, hate it, love it -- why we can't shut up about it


    In this episode of Oregon Understory I interview reporters, editors and anchors in Oregon, Washington and California about that much-critiqued social media tool: Twitter. Stop rolling your eyes — this is more than just a Twitter love fest. We talk about why journalists aren’t using it, why it’s changing how the PR industry views reporters, and why it really doesn’t...
  • Digital Journalism Camp - date, survey, and tickets


    I promise not to cross post everything that happens over at Digital Journalism Camp Portland, but I wanted to mention that the conference now has a date — Aug. 1 — and that there’s a quick survey on the site that’s helping me plan what sessions people want. If you’re coming, or even if you just think you may be...
  • Announcing Digital Journalism Camp Portland, August 2009


    -UPDATE: Digital Journalism Camp Portland now has its own site: journopdx.wordpress.com It’s official: Sometime in mid August, Portland will be home to a one-day conference on digital journalism. What’s digital journalism? This is my definition: It’s where traditional print and broadcast journalism, blogging and web-based innovation meet. This is not some far-off future for the industry. It’s happening right now, all...
  • Oregon Understory Podcast - An $18 billion shadow economy, plus Steve Martin gets banned


    Oregon Understory is a behind-the-scenes look at stories from the Pacific Northwest’s best reporters, editors, and bloggers. This week Ben Jacklet and I talk about his cover story for Oregon Business magazine on the state’s billion-dollar underground economy, and Dick Mason at the La Grande Observer talks about Steve Martin and the biggest story to hit La Grande in decades....
  • Oregon Understory Podcast - Secret North Koreans and small town murders


    UPDATE: Included link to iTunes store. Oregon Understory is a behind-the-scenes look at stories from the Pacific Northwest’s best reporters, editors, and bloggers. This week’s edition features work by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Rich Read from the Oregonian, and Kelly Moyer, news editor at the South County Spotlight. You can subscribe to this this podcast via iTunes.
  • Shooting Mary in the heart


    Robert Arthur Cambridge had been to the National Gallery in London with his sawed-off shotgun once before. Not just there but the Tate Gallery, too. Both of those times he’d wandered around, looking at art, the gun hidden in a small flight bag he carried by its handles. On those days he’d kept his disquiet mind in check and had...
  • The war in negative


    When the Iraq War began, I was sitting in a small steakhouse in rural Central California and as the television screens lit up with grainy, phosphorescent splashes of color, the people around me began clapping. We all knew it was coming; the build up to the war had been years in the making. But I was the one stunned into...
  • Falling down


    Sonny Liston had 15-inch fists and a 7-foot reach. He was the son of an Arkansas sharecropper, a “labor enforcer” for the Italian Mafia, a world heavyweight champion who learned to box during a teenage prison stint for robbing a gas station. He was powerfully built, illiterate, sullen, violent and withdrawn — a man who did not engender support from...

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