Monday, July 31, 2006

Search engine for images

Thanks once again to Mark Schaver over at Depth Reporting for pointing me to Netvue, a search engine that finds pictures, graphics and animation and displays the results in a slideshow format.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Best cities for singles

The city that I've been living in for nearly a year (amazing that the anniversary of my move is fast approaching) made the list of's top 40 major metropolitan areas favorable to singles. Columbus is number 11 this year, a 7 point move from its number 18 ranking last year. The number one spot went to Denver-Boulder.

The rankings were based on seven categories: nightlife, culture, cost of living alone, singles population, job growth, online dating and "coolness." After Denver-Boulder, the remaining top ten spots went to Boston, Phoenix, San Francisco-Oakland, New York, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Seattle, Austin, Texas, and Washington-Baltimore.

The only personal perspective I can offer is that I've had no luck in this area. I'll leave it at that. Discuss among yourselves.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blogger busted

The author of the "La Petite Anglaise" blog, a 33-year-old British woman named Catherine who has called Paris home for the past ten years and who was working as a bilingual secretary for a British firm, was fired from her position after her employer learned about her blog. Catherine has decided not to take the decision lying down: she is suing. The lawsuit is viewed "as a test case in France," where firings are rare due to the "strong legal protections" for employees. That hasn't been the case in the United States, where I've read and posted about several incidents of employees being disciplined and fired for what they write in their personal blogs. The best known case of this of course is Heather B. Armstrong, the author who was fired from her job in 2002 after it was discovered that she had written about situations involving her
co-workers on her blog.

Catherine was very careful with her blog, never revealing where she worked or her last name. By her own description, most of what she wrote was "fairly humorous anecdotes about things that happened to me," incidents such as the time she fell down the stairs and another where she inadvertently exposed her cleavage on a video conference screen.

Her employer, an accounting firm named Dixon Wilson, contends that Catherine damaged their reputation and that a "loss of trust" was involved in the decision to fire her. The firm also contends that Catherine had admitted lying about the reasons for work absences and for updating her blog during work hours.

The day Catherine made the announcement of her firing, her blog received 10,000 hits. I dream of getting that many, but I definitely don't want to get them the same way she did.

NPR honors Schorr

NPR honored Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr at a luncheon yesterday in anticipation of Schorr's 90th birthday, which is August 31st. The occasion was marked by the announcement of the newly named "The Daniel Schorr Studio."

Despite the fact that "people have joked with me that the average employee at NPR is one-third my age," Schorr has no plans to retire. "I don't think at all about retirement. For me, puzzling out what's happening in Iraq or with Hezbollah is more fun than playing checkers."

One irony regarding the luncheon is that it was billed as "an NPR family event" and as such, didn't allow reporters from outside NPR to attend. Schorr, a longtime proponent of freedom of the press, was indignant when he was informed about the exclusion. "It's absurd," Schorr said. "I don't want to start an argument with NPR, but I regret that. And I apologize."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Travel plans

I'm a little early with this post, but if the next couple months go as quickly as this year has, September will be here before you know it.

I'm going to be on the go throughout that month. My first stop will be Indianapolis, where I'll be attending the Great Lakes Regional Conference. The following week, it's on to Knoxville, Tennessee, where I'll be attending a meeting for a board I was recently appointed to.

There will be a one day turnaround before I head out of state yet again for another event that I'm not yet at liberty to discuss.

Finally, I'll finish off the month with a trip home to Madison. (I'm still waiting for someone to offer to go to Paisan's with me. :)

I should mention that I'm looking for a roommate for Indianapolis. If you'll be traveling from central Ohio for the Great Lakes Conference, let me know by next week.

Pew report on bloggers

The Pew Internet & American Life Project today released a report, "Bloggers: A portrait of the internet's new storytellers," that is based on a phone survey of bloggers nationwide. The results are interesting, with 1/3 of bloggers (34%) saying they consider their blogging to be a form of journalism and 37% saying that the main focus of their blogs are "my life and experiences."

In addition to reading the report, you can view the survey questionnaire.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blog PR

I have dutifully heeded Steven Cohen's call for the names of librarian blogs and have added said blog to LISWiki as well. Thanks for the nudge Steven!

Friday, July 14, 2006

120 positions being cut at the Chicago Tribune

The bad news just keeps coming for those working for newspapers and other media. The Chicago Tribune announced yesterday that it will be cutting 120 positions, adding to the 80 to 90 positions that were eliminated at the end of 2005.

Publisher and Chief Executive David Hiller said that there are currently around 40 positions that have remained unfilled since the beginning of 2006, which means 80 additional jobs will be "deemed unnecessary and eliminated in the coming months." Managing Editor James O'Shea added that there is no firm figure for the number of newsroom positions to be cut. "We're working through the numbers now, and we're trying to see if we can avoid layoffs," he said.

Hiller says the Tribune will be investing in areas where it envisions growth, which includes its Internet presence and Red Eye, its paper that focuses on entertainment, sports and other lifestyle topics.

Hiller admits that the situation is "hard and painful, ... but we're not facing anything that anybody in the rest of the media industry or, frankly, the rest of American industry, isn't."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Writer confronts her attempted murder

NPR's "All Things Considered" aired a piece today that reminded me of a book I had heard about a few months ago that fascinated me so much that I immediately added it to my Amazon Wish List. It concerns the story of writer Terri Jentz, who in 1977 was a student at Yale University. Terri and her roommate, who is given a pseudonym in the book, had decided to do a cross-country bike trip from Oregon to Virginia. The two young women were seven days into their trip, camping at Cline Falls State Park in Oregon, when they were brutally attacked by a man who first ran over their tent with his truck and then went after the women with an ax. Jentz had deep gashes over her head and arms, with one cut so vicious that it sliced through a bone in her arm. She also had a broken arm, collerbone and ribs and a crushed lung from the truck running over her body. Jentz's roommate suffered several blows to her skull that resulted in permanent damage to her vision.

The women had very different reactions to the attack. The roommate doesn't remember the incident and has chosen to move on with her life. She is now a doctor and Jentz says "I'm very impressed with how she has stayed on her own course ... she never felt that hearing the story was crucial to her survival." The women's friendship eroded after the attack and the attacker was never caught.

By contrast, Jentz felt its effects long after her body had healed. According to her description, she went through feelings of "trauma, rage, fear and denial." In 1992, Jentz returned to Oregon to confront the incident that had nearly ended her life. The result is her book "Strange Piece of Paradise."

When Jentz arrived in Oregon, she began talking to people in the area and was surprised to hear that not only did they remember the attack, they knew who did it. In answer to the question of why no one said anything at the time, Jentz reasons that the police assumed people would give them information about the crime and the people of the community assumed the police were handling things. It was a clear case of "disconnect."

Even though Jentz was unable to see her attacker punished for what he did to her (the statute of limitations had long passed), she was present at a court appearance where he was facing other charges. She describes him noticing her and thinks he realizes who she is. He has always denied any guilt in the attack and Jentz says she has no plans to confront him. She does admit however that being able to sit down in a bar with him and talk would be fascinating and adds that he is still a dangerous man who continues to harass people as he's done his whole life.

Jentz chose to make her attacker anonymous in the book, partly because she didn't want to "glamorize" him. She also wanted to protect the safety of the people who had spoken to her and the anonymity of his family members whose only crime is being related to him.

Jentz feels the attack created what she calls "a traumatized self that needed integration into my public persona." Ultimately, she feels the book was able to accomplish that task.

TV news blog

Depth Reporting had a post today about TVNewser, a blog about TV news written by Brian Stelter, a journalism student at Towson University in Maryland. Stelter, who is hoping for a career in television, was also the subject of a profile earlier this week in USA Today.

A colleague sent me the link to Depth Reporting, a very impressive blog created by Mark Schaver, the computer-assisted reporting director at the The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. Schaver shares "pointers to useful Web sites, examples of computer-assisted and investigative reporting, and whatever else strikes me as interesting, funny or worthwhile."

The rise of MySpace

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably heard the news this week that MySpace has overtaken Yahoo! and Google to become the most visited Web site in the United States.

NPR's "All Things Considered" discusses MySpace's rise in popularity.

Paperless news

Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, California) publisher Marty Weybret says that in 125 years, all news content will be delivered electronically and newspapers as we currently know them will cease to exist.

Link courtesy of

NYT editors answer readers' questions reports that several editors at The New York Times have been answering readers' questions in a "non-live" setting.

The most recent Q&A was with Assistant Managing Editor for Photography Michele McNally. Links to the previous six sessions with other editors can be found on the same page, although registration is required.

Blogger's pen gets pulled

Blogger Matt Bartel was attending the Katie Couric love fest tour's stop in Minneapolis at the invite of television station WCCO , but the invitation was unceremoniously pulled when Bartel was taken out of the auditorium and told that his participation was no longer wanted because it had been discovered that he had a blog. Bartel was told to either "surrender his notebook or leave the event." When Bartel refused to give up his notebook, his pen was taken instead.

Bartel was matter of fact when asked about the incident. "No one said anything all that remarkable. And even with the interesting things that were said, I can't imagine it would make any difference." He added that "I didn't get anything out of it, which is exactly what the evening news is." As to the important question of whether Bartel got his pen back, the answer is no, but "some WCCO guy gave me one that was even better, so that was okay."

Couric's appearance was held at the Minneapolis Central Library.

Thanks once again to Romenesko.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Troubling times in Richmond

Romenesko points to a story that appeared in Style Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Richmond, Virginia, which concerns the environment that exists in the newsroom of the city's only daily newspaper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Unfortunately, the picture writer Greg Weatherford paints is not a pretty one. Reporters were scared to talk to Weatherford and those who did begged him to keep their identities secret. One reporter, described as a "star" in the newsroom, agreed to talk on the record, even if doing so would mean his termination. Ultimately the reporter, concerned about losing his pension, effectively backed out of an interview by not returning Weatherford's repeated messages.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The scale tips toward the big 4-0

I don't know how the heck this happened, but I am now officially on the upside of turning the big 4-0.

I'm glad it falls on a Sunday this year, so I can have a relaxing day, but I'm bummed that I can't be at Paisan's, where you were always sure to find me hanging out on my special day. To any of my Madison friends, has the restaurant reopened at its new West Wilson location yet?

Happy Birthday to me!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


NPR's "Talk of the Nation" today featured an interview with someone I have long admired,
author and historian David McCullough, who discussed his book "1776."

Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

2006 Great Lakes Regional Conference update

Following up on a post from two weeks ago, the 2006 Great Lakes Regional Conference now has a Web site I can refer you to for additional information. Registration is open, but there are some deadlines to keep in mind.

Early bird registration requires that your materials be postmarked by July 29th. Cost is $125 for attending the Thursday and Friday programs, which is what I'm planning on doing. After the 29th, the fee goes up to $155. You can find the complete list of registration options on the site's registration page.

A complete list of programs will be available soon, but to get you interested, here are some of the topics that are currently planned: "Google Tips & Tricks, Law Resources for Non-Law Librarians, Business Resources, Document Delivery Services, The NCAA Virtual Library Project, GIS and Libraries, Text Mining and Librarian in "Jeopardy."

I'm willing to drive if anyone is willing to read me the trusty MapQuest directions. My thought is to go in earlier to work on Wednesday so I can leave earlier and arrive in Indianapolis Wednesday evening. I'm planning on sticking around on Friday afternoon for some of the area library tours. So far, those will include Eli Lilly & Company and the National Collegiate Athletic Association/Hall of Champions. I'm also hoping that a suggestion of mine will result in a tour.