Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar nominations

Nominations for the 81st annual Academy Awards were announced this morning and except for a couple surprises (Kate Winslet being nominated for Best Actress in "The Reader" rather than "Revolutionary Road" and no Best Actor nomination for Clint Eastwood for "Gran Torino"), the nominees were pretty much what I was expecting. I haven't seen many of the films, but I will be seeing "Frost/Nixon" this weekend and added "The Visitor" to my Netflix queue. And though I'm not a big fan of Brad Pitt, I'm tempted to see "The Curious of Benjamin Button."

Here are my thoughts on the nominations and likely winners in the major categories, which I know from past experience will likely change as the awards show draws closer. Oscars will be handed out on February 22.

Best Actor:
* Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” (Overture Films)
* Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon” (Universal)
* Sean Penn in “Milk” (Focus Features)
* Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
* Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

A couple months ago I would have said Sean Penn had this award all but won, but now I think Mickey Rourke will win for "The Wrestler."

Best Actress:
* Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married” (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” (Universal)
* Melissa Leo in “Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Meryl Streep in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company)

Let's start with who won't win. Angelina Jolie sure won't and Meryl Streep has won before. Melissa Leo's performance in "Frozen River" has been widely praised, but her nomination is her award. Which leaves the race between Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married" and Kate Winslet in "The Reader." This is Winslet's sixth nomination and this is the year she will finally win, although I really thought it would be for "Revolutionary Road" rather than for "The Reader."

Best Supporting Actor
* Josh Brolin in “Milk” (Focus Features)
* Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
* Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.)
* Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

Do we even need to discuss this? Ledger wins this one posthumously.

Supporting Actress:
* Amy Adams in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (The Weinstein Company)
* Viola Davis in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
* Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

I think Penelope Cruz will get the win for her role in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." That said, one category usually has a surprise winner and if that's going to happen this year, this will be the category.

Best Director:
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Fincher
* “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Ron Howard
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Gus Van Sant
* “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Stephen Daldry
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle for "Slumdog Millionaire."

Best film:
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* “Frost/Nixon”
* “Milk”
* “The Reader”
* “Slumdog Millionaire”

"Slumdog Millionaire" has this one in the bag.

Inaugural front pages

Check out this impressive display of inaugural front pages from papers across the United States and world. The papers are displayed alphabetically by state, then by country.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Who has the right to call themselves a librarian?

I've posted before about the ongoing discussion (some may term it a debate) that has occurred in various articles and listservs about whether or not someone who doesn't have a master's degree in library science should be called a librarian.

LISNews is taking a poll on the question of "So, does a degree a librarian make?" Your voting options are yes, no, perhaps or other.

I voted yes, but I also agree with people who say the area is a gray one. I've worked in some libraries with great people with years of experience, but no master's degree. Am I going to tell them they shouldn't consider themselves librarians when they know just as much if not more than the professional librarians they work alongside? Of course not, but that said, I worked very hard for my degree and that means something. I feel strongly that hiring people without that degree devalues it and in turn, devalues our profession.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Fresh Air" talks newspapers

"Fresh Air" from WHYY Radio had a fascinating show on Monday, January 9 that featured an interview with former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. One interesting point Downie mentioned about himself is that starting in 1984, when he became Managing Editor and was put in charge of the paper's day-to-day operations, he stopped voting. In the show Downie said "I wanted to keep completely open-minded to all sides of everything we were covering." Downie is now registered to vote, as an independent.

The show's second segment featured an interview with Christian Science Monitor editor John Yemma, who discussed the paper's move from print to an online-only daily edition.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Exciting news in Madison and the state of Wisconsin today as Andy Hall, a journalist at the Wisconsin State Journal, announced the formation of the nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

The center "will examine government integrity and quality of life issues in the state." Hall, the center's executive director and for now its only employee, said "Mainstream journalism is in economic trouble, but the needs of our democracy are greater than ever."

Hall, who has been with the State Journal for 18 years, will leave the paper this Friday.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is partnering "with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication to provide free content about government ethics, neighborhood safety, water quality and other issues to news media in the state," Hall said.

Hall's goals for the center include the eventual employment of "five journalists, including one based in Washington, D.C."

On a personal note, I had the pleasure of working with Andy at the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times. He's a top notch investigative journalist who always appreciated the value of having librarians in the newsroom. I wish there were more like him and I wish him all the best in his new venture.


GenderAnalyzer is a beta site that attempts to determine whether a Web site has been written by a man or a woman. Because you're dying to know, GenderAnalyzer says the following about "All Things Amy: "We think is written by a man (68%)." Whoops!

By contrast, my ex's blog was figured to have been written by a woman. (69%) That's poetic justice.

I decided to try out GenderAnalyzer with a couple friend's blogs. For Amanda, it states "We guess is written by a woman (56%), however it's quite gender neutral."

For Inquisitive, the result was: "We think is written by a woman (64%)."

I could have a lot of fun with this site.

Link courtesy of Depth Reporting.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What a photo - amen to that!

I'm also impressed with the dedication of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's staff in the midst of hearing the announcement about the future of their newspaper.

Many thanks to Lost Remote for posting the photo.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Librarian film from 1947

With thanks to Blake at LISNews.

Friday, January 09, 2009

"I look like a librarian." Oh, the horror!

First, full disclosure. Over my Christmas vacation when I was Internet-less, I did spend some days laying on the couch channel surfing and stopped to watch "The Real Housewives of Orange County." I'm not proud of it, but watching these women and the piddly issues they deal with in comparison to the rest of the world is like watching a train wreck that you can't help gawking at.

The housewives recently appeared on Oprah and got makeovers. Check out the comments of housewife no. 2, Tamra Barney, who is horrified that her transformation has turned her into a librarian.

Well, if that's the librarian look, sign me up. And Tamra, I suggest you visit your local public library in your Halloween costume and poll the librarians to get their take on your new look.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Former mayor: Lee Enterprises should sell interest in Madison papers

Isthmus, a weekly newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin, has an interesting article which discusses former Madison mayor Paul Soglin's suggestion that Lee Enterprises sell its interest in Capital Newspapers Inc. (formerly Madison Newspapers Inc.) to The Capital Times, the city's former afternoon paper which ceased publication last April and became an online-only news product. In the article Soglin further suggests that once a sale is complete, the Cap Times become "Madison's morning and Sunday newspaper," replacing the Wisconsin State Journal, which has been the city's morning paper since 1949.

With thanks to Romenesko.

A little newspaper circulation humor

Because we all need that from time to time. Thanks to Susan for sharing this editorial cartoon by cartoonist and artist Steve Greenberg titled "Circulation Gauge" with me and thanks to the E&P Pub for the post featuring the cartoon.

"Pages from the Past"

"Pages from the Past" is a new history blog written by Brian Fulton of The Times-Tribune of Scranton, Pennsylvania that features historic stories, photos and "treasures" of the newspaper's archives.

Thanks to Larry Harnisch of the L.A. Times' "The Daily Mirror" blog for the heads up.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Inauguration store on

NPR's "Morning Edition" had a piece today on and its opening of an Inauguration store where you can find Barack Obama mugs, pins, paper dolls and much more, as well as D.C. travel guides and winter clothing for those of you lucky enough to be in D.C. for the historic day.

SLA annual conference

I was happy this morning to be one of the first 100 people to register for the SLA annual conference, which is June 14-17 this year in Washington, D.C. SLA offered $100 off the cost of conference registration for the first 100 people registered in honor of the association's 100th anniversary and as a means of attracting attendees, many of whom have dealt with unemployment as companies have laid off part or all of their library staffs. My colleagues in the News Division have been hit particularly hard. Reading our listserv this year has been quite depressing with all the messages from people, including my former boss in Madison, who announced they were accepting buyouts from their respective newspapers.

On a happier note, I'm so happy that Amanda will be attending this year. Since we both moved away from Madison in 2005, conferences are the only time we get to see each other. (Although I'm dreaming of a trip to NYC this year.) We both agreed through e-mails today to talk about staying on in D.C. a few days after the conference to do touristy things. I've never been there and it would be a shame not to get a chance to enjoy the city a bit before returning to reality. Plus, I think I deserve some fun this year.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Amy .. book babe?

I think not, but this Agnes comic that Kathy and Linda shared with me made me smile.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Back from vacation

I had a wonderful time being home in Wisconsin the past two weeks, in spite of the fact that I spent the second week sick with a cold that has now turned into a hacking cough.

My airline problems continued, this time on the return trip. I knew it was too good to be true when I called Amanda to say all was going well and my flight looked to be on time. (In fact, I called her from the plane to tell her just how wrong I had been.) There was a problem with the fuel indicator, so we sat on the plane for 90 minutes before we could finally take off.

Then I had to take a cab back to my place, at a cost of $50 no less and had to give directions to my place to boot, quite a challenge for me as my friends know since I'm absolutely rotten with street names. Since I spent a good portion of the drive with plugged ears courtesy of my cold and was on a hacking jag at the same time, the ride was quite interesting.

As you'll see by the time of this post, I'm now completely wired and wide awake at 3 a.m. Fortunately, I don't return to work until Tuesday.

I have to admit I'm getting weary of airports and longing for the days where I had a 20 minute drive for the holidays.

On a more positive note, I did eat at Paisan's and had lunch with my former boss, which I always enjoy. I appreciate him always taking the time to see me when I'm in town and the advice he continues to offer me. He is without a doubt the person who I owe my professional success to.

Later today will be spent running errands and getting my mindset back into work mode and hopefully offering some more interesting posts. I also need to do some catching up with Mark. (Yeah to the Vikings going down today!)

And before I forget, happy 2009!