Saturday, November 29, 2008

Journalists and Facebook

The American Journalism Review had an interesting article earlier this year about journalists and how they are using Facebook as part of their professional lives. Personally, I think Facebook can be a great tool journalists can use to generate story ideas and tout their work and that of their respective news organizations to a new audience.

That said, I also respect the opinion of some journalists who see little value in using Facebook. For example, Phillip Blanchard, a former copy editor at the Washington Post, raises a very valid concern about the truthfulness of the profiles and items being posted on people's walls. "Facebook is great for 'social networking' but not terribly useful as a journalistic tool," Blanchard wrote on the wall of the Facebook group Journalists and Facebook, "People aren't always who they seem to be."

The Journalists and Facebook group was started by freelance journalist Pat Walters and Bill Mitchell of The Poynter Institute with the hope of creating an interactive forum for journalists to weigh in on the question "What can journalists learn from Facebook?" You can read Walters' article and the comments the Facebook group received on Poynter's Web site.

For the movie lover on your holiday gift list

Frank Gabrenya, film critic for The Columbus Dispatch, reviews "Tales of Hollywood," an upcoming book that offers a behind the scenes look at classic films including "All About Eve," "Rebel Without a Cause" and "The Graduate," as well as failures including "Cleopatra."

Interview with Christian Science Monitor editor

Leonard Witt of the PJNet blog recently interviewed John Yemma, editor of the Christian Science Monitor, about the changes the paper will undergo as it moves from a print to online product beginning in April 2009. (The Monitor will continue publishing a weekly print edition on Fridays.)

Witt and Yemma sat down while both were attending a conference at the Poynter Institute titled "Who Will Pay for the News?"

Lazy weekend

I've been thoroughly enjoying my long weekend, but having this extended stretch of time off has made me incredibly lazy.

Thursday I had dinner with Kristine and her family, which was much nicer than sitting in my apartment alone, which I've done on most holidays since moving from Wisconsin. The food was excellent. (I'll be having the leftovers for dinner tonight.)

Friday I got my hair cut and colored. It was high time for the former since my hair was the longest it's been since I was 12. As for the latter, my gray hairs have been taking over my brown ones and it was high time for that as well.

This morning I lost my power and was fearing it would be a repeat of the "fun" time I had in September when I was without power for two days and had to throw nearly all my food out. When I called the power company to report the outage around 10:30, I was told someone was on the way to check out the problem and the estimated time of restoration was 1:45. (Don't ask me how they can estimate a time when they don't yet know the problem.) In any case, the power came back on around 12:45. I used the down time to read the latest issue of News Library News (great job Julie!) and to sneak a cat nap.

This afternoon I feel quite accomplished. I cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed and changed the sheets on the bed. I also did some shopping (who cares if all I bought was stuff for me)?

I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon working on holiday cards, catching up on some reading and enjoying the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wisconsin library at risk of losing regional library status

The New Glarus, Wisconsin Public Library is in danger of losing its status in the South Central Library System.

Before I go on, I should say New Glarus is close to my heart. I'm a quarter Swiss courtesy of my dad, who grew up in the village.

The library, which is located in one room within the Village Hall, is fighting to remain in that space rent-free. Library officials say that "is crucial to staying in the regional system ... because to be a member libraries must show a certain level of support from their municipalities." The village says they need to charge rent because of a tight budget and a "state-mandated levy limit." Officials also contend that New Glarus "should be compensated more than the 30 percent it already receives from the county" because "half of the library patrons come from surrounding communities."

TV intern loses it

University of Minnesota student and KSTP-TV intern Jennifer Nicole Anato-Mensah reacted quite badly to the news that she was being fired.

Told by executive producer Danielle Prenevost that her experience wasn't enough for the job, Anato-Mensah proceeded to yell threats and kicked out the glass of a conference room door atttempting to get at Prenevost.

Anato-Mensah has been charged with criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct. Not surprisingly, she has declined to comment.

Story courtesy of Romenesko.

Newsroom staffers offered valet work

Employees in the newsroom will be getting an opportunity to work outside, but only if they choose to take up the offer of Ed Lehman, the publisher of the Longmont, Colorado Times-Call to be valets at a private Christmas party for Lehman's family.

Ed Lehman and his wife, as well as Ed Lehman's son, Dean Lehman, who is the paper's editor and president, say "valets are needed because many of the guests are elderly and may need a little extra help." Staffers will receive the same rate of pay for their valet work as they do at their day jobs.

So far "at least two employees" have taken Lehman up on his offer.

With thanks to Romenesko.

SF Chronicle series “Dark Days Of San Francisco”

The three day series, which began Sunday and concluded yesterday, revisits the tragedy of the Jonestown suicides and the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Board of Supervisors member Harvey Milk.

Here's an Editor & Publisher article about the series.

As a sidenote, a movie about Harvey Milk, starring Sean Penn as Milk, is about to open. Check out the trailer.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bloglines divorce

I've been using Bloglines for a few years now to read my feeds, but have been becoming increasingly annoyed and frustrated at the number of times I either couldn't get into the site or my feeds weren't updating. Other Bloglines users have experienced the same annoyance and have been jumping ship. In fact, even Mark Fletcher, Bloglines' founder, is threatening to leave for Google Reader.

Today was just another example. I woke up around 8 a.m. and had nothing in either of my two accounts. Several of my feeds are celebrity and news-related and I guess I was supposed to be stupid enough to believe nothing, not one solitary thing, happened overnight. Give me a break!

As I kept trying throughout the day and the problem continued (much of the time the site would sit and sit trying to load), I finally was fed up and imported all my subscriptions into Google Reader.

Google Reader is going to take a bit of time to get used to. One thing I didn't like is that my two separate feeds from Bloglines (I have one "fun" account that I read at home and another account that is work-related) are all together now. It's not a deal-breaker, I'll just need to adapt.

Another thing I'm trying to figure out is how to whack a "friend" who at some point decided to share his feeds with me. My settings say I'm not sharing with anyone and no one is sharing with me, so even though I whacked him, I'm guessing he has to whack me before I'll see the change. I don't want to do this, but I may have to e-mail him and ask him to whack me since I have no desire to read anything of his. I'll keep playing around though and see if I can't figure it out.

* Addendum: The shared items are quite old and I have nothing recent, which must mean that since I blocked him, the sharing stopped. But there's got to be a way to whack the stuff that's there. I just have to figure out how to do it.

Overall, I am enjoying testing out Google Reader, which seems a bit better to me than I first thought.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Netflix movies fight back

So you keep your movies from Netflix longer than the average user? Be prepared for the consequences.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Harvey Milk

I've recently become fascinated with the story of Harvey Milk's life and have been reading everything I can find on him. That interest has only been heightened by the upcoming release of the film "Milk," which stars Sean Penn as Harvey Milk and Josh Brolin as Dan White, Milk's colleague on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who murdered Milk and Mayor George Moscone on November 27, 1978.

I watched a fantastic documentary yesterday, "The Times of Harvey Milk," which I would urge anyone wanting to learn more about Milk to watch. The film won an Oscar for Best Documentary, Features in 1985.

Here are some other links worth checking out:

* A Time Magazine story on Milk in which he was named one of the 100 "Most Important People of the Century."

* A site featuring the work of David Newman, who captured through his drawings the scene both in and out of the courtroom during the trial of Dan White.

* A story from NPR's "All Things Considered" on the legacy of Milk. (Thanks to Linda for the link.)

* The trailer for the upcoming film "Milk."

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Ten Coolest Public Libraries"

Thanks to Angelica for sending me the link to this story featuring the ten "coolest public libraries" in the United States. I sure regret not checking out the central branch of the Seattle Public Library when I was in the city in June and I would love to have my photo taken in front of the car park of the Kansas City Public Library. Very cool!

Return from a brief hiatus

I just returned this evening from a wonderful trip home to Madison, Wisconsin. I'm sorry to report I will likely not be eating for the next several days to make up for a lot of eating out while I was away, which included the Friday night fish fry at Alt'n'Bach's, a steak dinner with the parents at the Avenue, dinner at Paisan's (twice) and lunches in various places with Andy, Ron and Therese. I also took advantage of the beautiful 70-degree weather during the first part of the week and did plenty of shopping. Since I refuse to check luggage, my goodies will be arriving tomorrow via the United States Postal Service.

I was offline for about 10 days, so I'm now whacking e-mails. I'll have to finish that tomorrow since I'm losing steam. Tomorrow will also be spent running errands including picking up my mail at the post office, a trip to the grocery store and gearing myself up for a return to work on Tuesday.