Think Differently

This just blew my mind.  Forget searching for travel in the traditional Orbitz-Sidestep-Delta sort of way…

The old way.


Hipmunk takes that normally drab and painful experience and instead offers a visual representation of your options that makes it easier to find exactly the right flight. See it for yourself after the jump.

Continue reading Think Differently


Election Night From a New Seat

Despite all the gadgetry and gizmology, the pomp and the pundits, there’s still one thing missing from the horse race coverage of a night like tonight: Perspective.  There are glimmers of it (NBC’s Brian Williams noted as I write that there haven’t been this few Democrats in the House in 60 years, for example), but we journalists should strive for more.

NYT's Tracking Twitter Traffic

I have, for the first time in many, many years, a different perspective this election night.  I’m not at a campaign “headquarters” with a sideline coach’s headset messing up my hair.  I’m not in a newsroom frantically checking the latest wires and cuing talent.  And I haven’t spent the day ferrying a campaigning family member around his district.

I’ve gotten to arm chair quarterback this whole thing, and it gives me the ability to say things like this:  Continue reading Election Night From a New Seat

Yes, I’m alive.

Don’t worry, friends.  I’m still here.  But most of my time is focused on Censorship and Media, a course I’m teaching this fall at American.  Care to follow along?  Read our class blog: This Blog Is Censored, where we’re taking on craiglist’s recent decision to “censor” the adult services ads they used to run, for example.  Your regularly scheduled programming will return in the near future.

TBD: Not Just a Website

Lost in the coverage (including mine) of the much-ballyhooed launch of is the fact that a revamped cable channel launched in Washington, D.C., too.

NewsChannel 8, a pioneer among local cable news operations, is no more.  Taking its place is TBD TV with Steve Chaggaris at the helm as V.P. of Cable News (@stevechaggaris, bio).

Rarely does an opportunity come along to rebuild a television news operation from the ground up. Even more uncommon is the tail wagging the dog: A decidedly fresh website serving as the mold for the TV station, rather than a TV station creating a website in its image.

Chaggaris and I got a chance to sit down together a few weeks ago — and he recognizes this as a chance to revolutionize the way things have always been done.  [Video after the jump.]

Continue reading TBD: Not Just a Website

“Avoid Showing Corpses”

The title of this post comes from the first line of something I stumbled upon this week.  In the footer of Bay News 9’s website is a link to its “Crime Guidelines” — what I find to be a refreshingly transparent and important move by a local news organization.

Two of the ten guidelines. Read the rest.

It goes on to discuss the placement of murders within a newscast:

Continue reading “Avoid Showing Corpses”

Thou shalt not steal.

Seems pretty cut and dry to me.  Of course, nothing’s cut and dry when it comes to the online world.

Twice in a week I’ve heard of organizations taking another person’s photos and using them as their own — and it happened to be the same person’s work both times.

Continue reading Thou shalt not steal.

Semper Lie!

No, Blumenthal did not swim here at Harvard's Blodgett Pool! It opened in 1978. (Photo used under CC, thanks to flickr user jeromeleslie)

It’s certainly among the tabloid-style headlines I would’ve loved to have seen (and maybe I missed) for a story questioning one’s military service, but I can’t take any credit for it.  I noticed it in a comment left by ‘meridenite’ on the Hartford Courant‘s piece about

…wait for it…

…wait for it…

whether or not Richard Blumenthal was actually captain of the swim team at Harvard, or was actually on the team, or even dipped a toe in a Cambridge pool during that era. Let alone what counts as ‘the team’.

So you can see where this is going:  Over-reporting an over-reported story does not suddenly prove you’re on the case.

Continue reading Semper Lie!

The funny thing about transparency…

…is that it works both ways.

The story of Richard Blumenthal and the way he “misspoke” (or “lied” or “mischaracterized”, depending upon whom you ask) when it came to his Vietnam-era service record has to do not just with politics, but to a greater extent, with problematic journalism.  Misrepresentation by someone believed to be trustworthy is the issue — whether that’s a politician or a newspaper.

(By way of background: Blumenthal is the Attorney General in Connecticut, a Democrat, and is running for the Senate seat soon-to-be vacated by Chris Dodd. Linda McMahon, who helped create World Wrestling Entertainment, is the front-runner on the Republican side.  I was, until January, a journalist in Connecticut for more than eight years.)

The New York Times came out swinging, and I count two strikes against them.

Continue reading The funny thing about transparency…

Hidely-ho, Neighbor!

We’re a few weeks away from moving into the Mount Pleasant section of D.C. [Flickr stream!], and I have to say it’s reassuring and refreshing to find so much there there.

Not only are there local blogs with strong followings, like The 42 Bus (whose namesake runs right by our place) and the Prince of Petworth, these sites actually have some journalism behind them.  And one even seems to be making some money from advertisers.

What’s more, there’s a decade-old, active listserv-turned-Yahoo! group (I’m hoping to be member #1296!).  Sure, there are “I lost my wallet” notices and crime and traffic alerts, but there are also news items that I want to know about, like the Commercial Revitalization Strategy the city is shopping around.

Dos Gringos: One reason this place is so Pleasant (Flickr photo by NCinDC)

These community members are giving me the sort of information about my (soon-to-be) new neighborhood that I want.  Plain and simple.  They’re not putting up paywalls or running interstitial ads that disrupt my viewing experience.  Heck, they don’t even have their hand out asking for donations.  They’re doing it for the greater good.  And I think that’s great.

When we finally move in, I’ll hope to buy them a cup of coffee at Dos Gringos (pictured) or a cookie at Heller’s Bakery.  Welcome to the (soon-to-be) neighborhood indeed.