Monday, April 11, 2011

A Jumble of Journalism Links - 4.11.11

A Jumble of Journalism Links - What I’ve Been Reading

Net Impact: One man’s cyber-crusade against Russian corruption: This is literary and journalism: Late on a snowy evening, Alexey Navalny, a lawyer and blogger known for his crusade against the corruption that pervades Russian business and government, sat in a radio studio in Moscow. Tall and blond, Navalny, who is thirty-four years old, cuts a striking figure, and in the past three years he has established himself as a kind of Russian Julian Assange or Lincoln Steffens. On his blog, he has uncovered criminal self-dealing in major Russian oil companies, banks, and government ministries, an activity he calls “poking them with a sharp stick.” Three months ago, he launched another site, RosPil, dedicated to exposing state corruption, where he invites readers to scrutinize public documents for evidence of malfeasance and post their findings. Since the site went up, government contracts worth nearly seven million dollars have been annulled after being found suspect by Navalny and his army. Most remarkably, Navalny has undertaken all this in a country where a number of reporters and lawyers investigating such matters have been beaten or murdered.

The Casbah Coalition: Tunisia’s second revolution: About the popular revolution which forced the Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and then Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi from power. Discusses the use of Facebook and other social media by the protesters.

The Artist Behind This Week's Heartbreaking New Yorker Japan Cover Explains How It Came About

Five myths about the future of journalism: There are few things journalists like to discuss more than, well, themselves and the long-term prospects for their industry. How long will print newspapers survive? Are news aggregation sites the future? Or are online paywalls — such as the one the New York Times just launched — the way to go? As media organizations plot their future, it’s worth discarding some misconceptions about what it will take to keep the press from becoming yesterday’s news.

raptorresource's live broadcast. The Raptor Resource Project brings you the Decorah Eagles from atop their tree at the fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa. The live video feed is streamed online 24/7. At night an infrared light provides night vision to viewers through the cam. Infrared light is not visible to eagles, they do not see it or know it is there. Nothing to read here. Just enjoy.

Monday, April 04, 2011


nascent(adj) – beginning to exist or develop. word origin: 1615-25 Latin present participle of nasci, to be born  or arise.  1620s from L nascentum prp of nasci to be born


odd, eccentric, or unexpected action or bit of conduct
odd, whimsical, or freakish idea or notion; oddity; caprice
    from Origin: earlier used as a v., to wander < L vagari, to wander < vagus: see vague from 1565–75,  in sense “wandering journey”; apparently < Latin vagārī  to wander

    A  story reports that a man used a hand weight to "bludgeon" his fiancee to death.
    bludgeon means: to strike with or as with a bludgeon; to bully or coerce.
    Both and Merriam-Webster online list the origin as unknown, but its first known use was in  1730.

    "working or spreading harmfully in a subtle or stealthy manner; intended to entrap; alluring." from the Latin word "insidere," which translates to "to lie in wait for." According to Merriam-Webster, its first known use was in 1545.

    "a leave of absence or a leave granted to military enlisted personnel for a specified period." Layoffs, furloughs possible at SIUC: Employees at Southern Illinois University Carbondale may face furloughs and layoffs in the fall if the state's budget picture doesn't improve, officials said Thursday.

    An etymology from the same dictionary says the word comes from the German verlaub, meaning to permit. An etymology from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language says the word is from the Dutch verloff, meaning to allow.

    "dramatics," and it stems from the Latin word histrion, meaning "actor." The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language also says that histrionics is Latin in origin.

    a transitive verb meaning, "to persuade with flattery or gentle urging especially in the face of reluctance." Yourdictionary. com defines it as, "to coax with flattery and insincere talk." These definitions show that truly there is no synonyms, as this is definitely not the same as convince.

    [L intractabilis, fr. in- + tractabilis tractable] 1: not easily governed, managed, or directed <~problems> 2: not easily manipulated or wrought <~metal> 3: not easily relieved or cured <~pain>.
    “Given the short time frame for action and the prospect of an intractable political clash, leaders in both government and business are already moving to avert a crisis ….


    new convert 
    just beginning a new kind of life, work, etc.; beginner; novice
      The word originates from the greek neophytos meaning newly planted, in which neos means new and phytos means to produce, grow. 

      But do not get devotees of xeriscaped yards, as desert landscaping is known, started about the deleterious effects of all that grass planted around the desert, wastefully sapping water, a valuable and scarce commodity here.
      According to, deleterious means "harmful to health or well-being; injurious."

      a state of agitation or irritation; a fit of anger.  The origin is unknown, and it's hypothesized that it comes from the word "snippy."  

      as “present, or seeming to be present, everywhere at the same time.”
      ubiquitous is of Latin origin, from ubiquity

      "to become friendly or agreeable" or "to gain (as goodwill) by pleasing acts" From Latin conciliatus, past participle of conciliare to assemble, unite, win over, from concilium assembly, council — more at council, and its first known use was in 1545. American Heritage states the origin of the word as "1540-50;   < Latin conciliātus  (past participle of conciliāre  tobring together, unite, equivalent to concili um council  + -ātus -ate1"

      "But unlike their counterparts of yore, the Hoya staffers are part of a highly tech-savvy breed that is easily adapting to the seismic shifts that are convulsing the professional newspaper industry."
      "time past and especially long past —usually used in the phrase of yore."
      The word likely originated in the 14th century from "Middle English, from yore, adverb, long ago, from Old English gēara, from gēar year."


      used to describe posts on an online message board.
      something highly caustic or severe in effect, as criticism

      1.     to act as a patron toward; sponsor; support
      2.     to be kind or helpful to, but in a haughty or snobbish way, as if dealing with an inferior
      3.     to be a regular customer of (a store, merchant, etc.)

      used to describe the gyms in the Czech Republic.
      Having a bad odor; foul.


      "The courthouse where he now sat in his own bare office, with a view of the wintry waves just across the city’s corniche, had been a place of fear and oppression."

      "a road built along a coast and especially along the face of a cliff."


      speech that is lofty in tone, often to the point of being pompous or bombastic.


      "When McKelvey began to worry his company could get killed by an online competitor, he found that Dorsey was the only one on his small staff who agreed on the need to migrate the business onto the fledgling Internet."
      fledg·ling: a young bird just fledged / a young, inexperienced person


      "to hold as sacred; cherish." to preserve or cherish as sacred


      "to predict; to give a presage (a sign or warning of a future event)," – from the Latin "praesagium," which means "a foreboding." Prae means before and sagire means to perceive.


      "Any unresolved situation in which further action is impossible or useless; deadlock; draw."


      Most of the definitions that have for the word are having to do with cargo or shipping.  It's also defined as weight in tons.  It comes from the Old French word tonne.


      From one of The New York Times' op-eds from this week, "In Egypt's Democracy, Room for Islam." The word did not appear in the story but at the end was written: "Ali Gomaa (the author of the op-ed) is the grand mufti of Egypt."
      According to Webster's New World College Dictionary, mufti means, "In Muslim countries, an interpreter or expounder of religious law." An etymology from the same dictionary says the word's origin is Arabic, from āftā, meaning one who gives a decisive response and mufti; meaning to judge.


      lubricious is used to describe the tone of the movie entitled, “Cat Run”.
      it means “sexually stimulating or “salacious”.


      . In the "Room for Debate" opinion section of the New York Times, there's a section debating the reasons for the increased obsession with attending an Ivy League school titled "The College Acceptance Rate Racket." One of the opinions, written by Jane S. Shaw, president of the nonprofit John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, briefly examines the elite league's practice of trying to garner as many applicants as possible when admissions officers are aware they will reject the majority of students. As Shaw says,
      "Thus, elite schools have an incentive to cast as wide a net as possible among qualified candidates (I presume that their scruples prevent them from seeking high schoolers who can’t succeed) so that they can reject most of them."
      scruple means  "high ethical standards."

      cheap and gaudy in appearance or quality
      “India has had plenty of downbeat news in recent months, whether a litany of tawdry scandals, an unexpected sharp decline of foreign investment or the ineffectiveness of a bickering Indian parliament." 


      verb meaning "to stop, check, or allay."
      The wordcame from Latin (stāre, to stand), was used in "Vulgar Latin," Old French and Middle English. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word came from Latin, but it suggest that it came from the Latin word stagnum meaning "pond" or "pool."

      define: staunch – see AP re stanch v. staunch


      I came across this word in an opinion piece in the NY Times (before it kicked me off ??) about internships. It's a great read, and the writer uses malaise perfectly to describe the situation at universities. Webster's New World College Dictionary says a vague awareness of moral or social decline. Origin of Fr < mal, bad (see mal-) + aise, ease. American Heritage says the origin is similarly French, from Old French : mal-, mal- + aise, ease; see ease.

      A Jumble of Journalism Links 4.4.11

      What I’ve Been Reading

      Google has begun publishing – online of course – a digital magazine called Think Quarterly The first issue deals with data – of course.
      Mashable has a brief review of the mag.

      Another fine example of how high school students are being trained in becoming good citizens of an authoritarian regime.

      The Gulf War: Were there any heroes in the BP oil disaster? is a longish story in The New Yorker about the blow-by-blow of the BP spill, but its subtext is the media and the way it frames and reports on such disasters.

      The NY Times Paywall Goes Up. When Is It Immoral to Go Around It?

      Interesting entreprejournalism interview here: How To Start Your Own Local News Site.

      A database revealing where nonprofit news sites get their money

      Speaking of funding journalism, The Washington Post on NBC and the missing story about parent company General Electric not paying taxes on billions in earnings.

      Speaking of funding journalism: Story on the Top 10 Dying Industries - newspaper industry no. 3

      Saturday, March 26, 2011

      A Jumble of Journalism Links 3-26-11

      A Jumble of Journalism Links - What I’ve Been Reading

      A lesson for the folks out there who ignore the importance of grammar – in this case the comma:

      So, an Orlando editor tells me that we should be training “content originators” who can think critically about issues and then report and write them. The next day this pops up on NYT: Washington’s New Brat Pack Masters Media about young bloggers have become part of the journalistic establishment in Washington, and destination reading for the city’s power elite.

      Related to the above, “Journalism as a whole — and media as a whole — are moving to a growing reliance on freelancers,” says Rob Steiner, director of the journalism lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, Freelancers Needed More Than Ever – How Schools Can Prepare Them. Here, I would argue, we should make a distinction between “content originators” of real journalism and the growing demand for a new class of low-paid serfs to feed the superficial, SEO-driven content farms.

      Speaking of content origination, recently viewed a presentation of the Asbury (New Jersey) Park Press’s DataUniverse, a portal to public government data in which the paper has assembled links to property records and taxes, government payrolls, school performance report cards, crime reports and conviction records, and much more. Apparently, some of these links get millions of page views.

      Bill Keller is at it again defending the NYT mode of journalism in a disruptive age. I agree with him up to a point, but the world is changing under our feet: Traditional News Outlets — Living Among the Guerrillas. For example, how would the NYT handle a story like Why Cut Subsidies to Multinational Corporations When You Can Cut Food Stamps Instead?

      Recently viewed this C-SPAN 1989 talk by the father of PR, Edward Bernays. Especially interesting is how he used the media to puncture the rumor that President Coolidge was “weaned on a pickle” – meaning he was humorless – (begins at about 7 minutes) and his discussion about promoting consuming more bacon for breakfast and smoking among women (begins about 20 minutes).

      The Institute for Advertising Ethics published their Principles and Practices for Advertising Ethics. Enough said.

      Thursday, March 24, 2011

      Friday, March 18, 2011

      Tuesday, March 08, 2011

      Peeping Headline

      Write your headline as comment to this post:

      • Subject: A story about high school boys caught looking through a hole in a shower wall at girls in the locker room next door.
      • Boys get in trouble.
      • Story reports that the girls were very angry with their fellow students.
      • Warning: No Porky’s headlines

      Tuesday, February 08, 2011

      Twitter Concision

      Twitter Concision
      Call up your Twitter account. Copy the first sentence into Twitter and see how few characters you can boil sentence down to.
      1. Mellon said his staff accomplished a reduction of long waits in driver’s license offices in the past three months. 
      2. Mellon said his staff has experienced progress in the past three months toward accomplishing a reduction of waits of four and five hours at some driver’s license offices.
      3. Mellon said that his staff has been successful in reducing wait times. 
      4. The average length of waiting time at the offices in Dade County dropped by half.
      5. They reduced the waiting times that some driver’s license offices experienced. 
      6. Vacancies went only to those who were able to speak the Spanish language.
      7. They applied for part-time janitorial jobs with the company so that they could earn additional money.
      8. With the cooperation of Smith, police were able to arrest several suspects. 
      9. Prosecution spokesperson Sandi Gibbons said Love would be arrested if and when she returns to California.
      10. A 2006 Humvee crashed into the back of the Centre County school bus yesterday around 3 p.m at the intersection of Portry Avenue and 15th street. Traffic was halted for five hours. 
      11. A Navy Blue Angel jet crashed at about 4 p.m. during the final minutes of the air show Saturday. 
      12. The jet plunged into a neighborhood of small homes and trailers located about 35 miles northwest of Hilton Head Island. Eight people on the ground were injured, and the pilot, who had been on the team for two years, was killed in the accident. The Navy is conducting an investigation.
      13. The squid was frozen in the ship's hull and brought back to New Zealand for scientific examination and study.