Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Queen Rania in Paris! (frong page of Demotix)

Queen Rania of Jordan spoke at LeWeb. I happened to be outside chatting with a friend when she left the building, and I happened to have my camera. The results made front page of Demotix! ("Yes," Maile says smugly, "again!")

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Anyone else...?

Forgive the crassness, but does anyone else find the recently e-mailed e-holiday card from the Graduate School of Journalism to be rather phallic? (And if you think about it as long as a 14-year-old boy might, you might detect in the image a certain feeling of frustration.) 

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I'm sitting here in LeWeb. Jack Dorsey is talking about Twitter and new applications. Cover It Live won't launch. TweetDeck won't tweet. Looks like I'll be blogging and phone tweeting here on in.

Jack Dorsey of Twitter talks at LeWeb in Paris!

I'm at LeWeb, an Internet, digital media conference, in Paris. The event's organizers are Loïc and Géraldine LeMeur. They are introducing the event now, and Dorsey will take the stage in just a moment.

LeWeb coverage!

In just a few moments, I will be covering LeWeb from this site. Tune again soon!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Front page of Demotix!

Last night, Algeria played Egypt for a spot at the World Cup in 2010. (This is soccer, of course.) Before their shaming defeat, Algeria supporters took to the streets, shut down the Barbès-Rochechouart metro station and blocked traffic. And fans of every shape and size came out to join the frenzy: There were young girls draped in Algerian flags, middle-aged men hooting and hollering and women yodelling. Teenage boys with faces smeared with red, green and white paint set off fireworks and every physical surface that was climbable was climbed on, including the newsstand opposite the entrance to the station.

I took some photos of the pre-match celebrations and, not knowing what to do with them, I uploaded them to Demotix. (Demotix is a new news group that offers a platform for citizen journalists to display their work.) I had had a Demotix account for a few months, but never posted anything to it before yesterday. Thus, I was quite pleased to receive a note from their editors letting me know that they selected one of my images for their home page (as pictured above). Pretty neat, huh?

If you'd like to see some of my other pictures, you can look at my page at Demotix.

Monday, November 02, 2009

For my long suffering teacher friends...

**That Maroochydore High School in Australia voted to have this message as its actual phone message has been proven to be false. This does not take away of the message's funniness, however. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Published in the International Herald Tribune!

My photo is the one on the lower left. If you can't make it out, it was published September 26, 2009. Woo hoo!

Photo published in the International Herald Tribune

Monday, October 12, 2009

Damien Walters

For Dad: the video I mentioned in our last conversation.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I'm playing with Scribd. Here is my resumé.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Who's a guru?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Something from the wonderful world of TED.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Building Online Communities

Some geeky social media stuff... Pretty interesting.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Shit my dad says...

Someone forwarded me a link to this Twitter page today. It's awesome. Everyone should look at it.

It's from a guy called Justin. As described in his mini-bio, he's 28 and lives with his 73-year-old dad. (Sound familiar? Yeah, but my dad is 84.)

Here are some choice bits:
"Here's a strawberry, sorry for farting near you...Hey! Either take the strawberry and stop bitching, or no strawberry, that's the deal."- about 21 hours ago from web

"It's just a fucking june bug, calm down. Jesus Christ, what happens when something bigger than a testicle attacks you?" - 10:12 PM Sep 2nd from web

"You know, sometimes it's nice having you around. But now ain't one of those times. Now gimmie the remote we're not watching this bullshit." - 8:18 PM Aug 28th from web

"How the fuck should I know if it's still good? Eat it. You get sick, it wasn't good. You people, you think I got microscopic fucking eyes." - 10:55 PM Aug 25th from web

"How the fuck should I know if it's still good? Eat it. You get sick, it wasn't good. You people, you think I got microscopic fucking eyes." - 10:55 PM Aug 25th from web
Follow Justin, and the shit his dad says at http://twitter.com/shitmydadsays.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Soros thinks the next boom should be in alternative energy

On a totally random note, here's an interesting clip with George Soros. He says that America's late 90s/early 00s bubble (the one that just exploded) was the result of Americans consuming more than they produced (made possible by very easy-to-get credit). To climb out of that hole, Soros says that America needs to get on top of alternative energy--investing into research, technology, etc.

His ideas are hardly new--you might want to check out what folks like Paul Krugman and Tom Friedman of the New York Times say about green energy and the future of economy--but when a bazillionaire like Soros talks about alternative energy, it's pretty important. (Because it means that doing nice things for the planet isn't just about tree-hugging, recycling, vegetarian hippies anymore...)

Should people go to journalism school?

As you may or may not realize, I'm in Paris now, and I've just begun my SECOND masters program in journalism. (I know, I know...) I'm going to write more about this shortly, but until then, here's a clip from Big Think about journalism schools and whether people should go. (The man interviewed is Bill Wasik, senior editor of Harper's Magazine.)

P.S. If you don't know Big Think, go over and check it out. It's kind of like YouTube for clever people (though perhaps not quite as heady as TED).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My friend, Julianne, goes to Indonesia

My friend, Julianne, is going to Indonesia. She just finished her masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Teachers College, Columbia University, and she was selected to be teaching fellow in a U.S. government program. She'll be there an academic year.

I met Julianne in 2002 when we both took a teacher training certificate course in Boston. Julianne had been in Switzerland for more than a year, and she had her sights set on returning. After the course, she found a job in Basel, teaching English to the blind. Then, five years later, she got into Columbia the same year I did--a total coincidence.

Now, she's back on the road, and blogging about it. If you'd like to see what she's up to, go to http://www.julianne-in-indonesia.blogspot.com. (She's only just started writing, though, as she leaves the U.S. tomorrow.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Catching up and sand animation...

Yes, it's been MONTHS since my last post. No, I have not stopped writing here. I've just been a bit busy.

Since May, this is what I've done: graduated from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University with a M.S. degree (didn't do the cap and gown, though--not my thing), left New York, drove up and down the California coast with a lovely, young Frenchman, got my visa to study in France (not as simple as one might think), saw my sister graduate from her master's program at UC Irvine, went back to Hawaii for four days, flew to China and chaperoned a group of teenagers in and about the country, took a few days for myself in Beijing, flew to Paris via Doha, got an apartment, a bank account, a phone, an internship at the International Herald Tribune, and a folding table for my place. It has been a long couple of months and if I had been able to see one of my best friends get married in New England last week, I would have made it AROUND THE WORLD.

So now I'm settled, mostly. I'm waiting on the last two pieces of French bureaucracy that make me 100 percent legit--my carte de sejour, a kind of a residence permit, and a carte vitale, my health insurace card--and that's it. Then, I will be fully settled-in.

I do want to write about some of the things I've done, but then again I don't want to bore people with long and rambling tales of travel. So, my solution to this is a plan to post a few snippets, with photos, about the things from my journey that I liked best. Then, once I start school and get moving with my internship, I'll post normally again, I think.

In any case, that won't happen today. Maybe I'll start tomorrow. But until then, I wanted to share this. I saw it today and was so so so impressed. It's well worth the entire 8:33 minutes. I promise.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Andrew Revkin and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr. Rajendra Pachauri talk live at Columbia!

Science writer, Andrew Revkin, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, talk about climate change and the environment live at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"I could break Sean Hannity just by giving him a middle seat in coach!"

Wanda Sykes to President Obama: "You know, you might want to look into this, sir, because I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was just so strung out on OxyContin he missed his flight!"

I love her. (And finally, someone has come out said Obama is BI-RACIAL. Thank you, Wanda.)

What is citizen journalism?

This is what Jay Rosen, NYU scholar and the think behind PressThink, says:

Please comment.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ricky Gervais and Elmo

How cool is this video?!

And before I pass this off as my own find, I must confess I ripped this clip off the blog of a Twitterer I just discovered. He's apparently an English journalism student called Alastair Plumb. (Great name, eh?) He's got wicked links. (Might have lifted a few others too...)

Check out Alastair. His site. His Twitter feed.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Editor-in-chief of the Guardian talks about the future of journalism, Twitter and new business models

Alan Risbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian talks about the future of journalism, the changing role of the journalism, reader participation and, of course, Twitter. (He's a fan of Twitter.)

This interview was conducted relation to an event at the Institut für Medienpolitik in Berlin.

Alan Rusbridger on the Future of Journalism from Carta on Vimeo.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A summary of the economists' event and some thoughts

To sum up the event: Nobody really knows what's going on, not even the really smart guys, and one smart lady. Everyone is convinced that things must change, but all anyone has is theories. Right now, we are playing a game of "which theory is best, which should we choose?" The slightly unsettling part is that we have to try one to see if it'll work.

These are interesting times, indeed.

Ferguson came out as the unpopular one and that's because he is pro-private sector and against accumulating too much government debt. (Which actually doesn't seem to unreasonable to me, but then again, I'm a neophyte.) I was a bit surprised that Soros--given his reputation--was all for regulation (with some restraint, however).

Another note, and this might not have been clear in the coverage: No one really expressed any feeling of panic. (Though Ferguson was getting awfully passionate.) They all said things are looking better than worse. No one was VERY optimistic--there was an air of cauton--but no one said out loud that things were just rotten. If this is true, it's reassuring.

After the event, I stayed on to send out a couple of e-mails and wrap up my computer gear. Most of the place had cleared out, and when I looked up from my computer, I saw an immaculately groomed blond woman. She was either in her 30s, or a very well maintained woman in her 40s. Her make-up was perfect and her hair was styled into a kind of post-WWII poof. Behind her was Mr. Soros. He is shorter and older-looking in real life than he is on TV. The woman was clearly a part of his party. Then Krugman appeared. He is also shorter and heavier that he appears in pictures. He was with a woman, too--she was less notable--then they all started talking about dinner plans. Though I could not confirm it, it did seem that the financial folks would dine together.

It took me a good 15-20 minutes after the fact to realize I was arm's length from George Soros, the billionaire, and Paul Krugman, winner of a Nobel Prize. In the world of economics, these guys are rock stars! However, it also made me recognize that the problems of the world's economy, as well as the solutions to them, rest in just a few people's hands. (More than the two of them, of course, but not all that many.) And these guys are just guessing, too! (They devote their lives to this stuff, of course, so I'd imagine they are in a position to make better guesses.)

Back in my political, pink hair and nose ring days, I used to hang around a bunch of really smart philosophy people. (This was in Boston.) We'd read the papers and talk about politics, the economy and what could be done to improve the state of the world. At that time, I have to admit, we were all pretty convinced that there were definitely some conspiracies going on. "The Man" was most certainly trying to bring someone down. But now, I'm really not so sure about any of those ideas. Of course, I'm still a skeptic, but it really does seem to me, that when it comes to the economy, international policy and perhaps other things, no one really knows what's going on. Everyone just tries really hard to do their best.

To me, the economy is like a living animal. You can feed it, starve it, train it, beat it, love it, or tie it to a tree, but at the end of the day, it's still an animal with a mind of it's own, and you can't really always predict what it's going to do. I am coming to the point-of-view that most people usually just try to do what's right. However, we are all limited: Not just in understanding, but also by the finite number of years we all live, by communication (the left hand doesn't always know what the right foot is doing) and by the fact that to get really good at something, you have to give up other pursuits (thus limiting the creative process that is inherent to mental cross-training). Throwing a master conspiracy into all of that is just impractical.

In any case, I digress. It was great to hear what these folks had to say, even if there were no clear answers to life, the universe and everything. It's stuff like this really makes living in New York so worthwhile.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Top U.S. Economists talk in New York!

Live from the Grace Rainey Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Featured panelists: Senator Bill Bradley, Paul Krugman Niall Ferguson, Nouriel Roubini, George Soros and Robin Wells. Moderated by Jeff Madrick. Introduced by Robert Silvers.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

**UPDATE: My 84-year-old father is on Twitter!

Dad is now on Twitter! You can follow him at http://twitter.com/geancannon. (But there are no posts, yet. He says he is trying to work out TweetDeck and needs some time.)

Talking about Twitter with my 84-year-old dad...

My papa (father, not grandfather) is awesome. This is what he looks like: (--------->)

That's his desk and he spends most of his waking hours there, working. My dad has been a lawyer since he finished law school in 1951. Though he officially retired in 1987, he still works everyday.

Papa is totally online now. He e-mails daily and can do attachments (though, learning to attach took a bit longer to master). His most recent cyber-coup was signing up for Gmail and learning he can chat from inside the inbox. ("But how did you know I was online?" he asked, the first time I appeared on his screen at home in Hawaii while I was at my computer in New York.)

For an 84-year-old, I'd say my papa is ahead of the curve when it comes to being Web-savvy.

Yesterday, he asked me about Twitter. I tried my best to explain. This is how it went (edited for clarity and typographical errors):

geanwcannon: I really don't have any idea what twitter is although I see a lot of reference to it online. Could you give me some idea what it is and what use can you make of it?

me: twitter is a service whereby you can post very small messages online
they must be smaller than 140 characters
so it's a bit like a micro-blog
people write these tiny messages
sometimes from their phone
all day long
and it's open for the world to see

geanwcannon: Where online does it go? How do you get it "online?"

me: you either send a message from the twitter web site, or hook up your phone to the web site
and [the messages] go to a kind of collective cloud
of messages
to organize it, each person has an account
then they announce to other people that they have an account
then someone [another Twitterer] can hit a button and become a "follower"
so on your own personal page, you will see your own messages, as well as the messages of people you follow

geanwcannon: Has an account -Where?

me: on twitter
to use twitter
each user has to establish an account on the web site

geanwcannon: What web site?

me: twitter
twitter has a main web site
you go there, set up an account, then send messages through your account
then other people can follow your messages from their own accounts
here's an example
you and me and leilani [my sister] and tom friedman
each of us want to use twitter
so each of us go to the twitter site, which is twitter.com
then, we each open an account. my account is very simply "mailecannon"
so now we all have accounts
from my account, i write short messages
they get posted on my account page
(which is what i see every time i sign into twitter, just like how i [see my inbox each time I] sign into my e-mail account)
so let's say, you and leilani and i want to follow each other
we would find each other my entering our respective account names
then, we would hit a button to become "followers"
so if we all did that, all of our messages would be seen in all of our respective pages

geanwcannon: Fascinating- Now
Now i know. It is a shortcut form of e-mail.

me: well, yes and no
anyone could see it
not just you and me and leilani
it's not that personal
for example: tom friedman
i follow him on twitter
so all i do is enter his name
and press a button to become a follower
so i can see all of his messages
but it isn't like we communicate
he doesn't know who i am

geanwcannon: I want to give this a try. This is an easy way to broadcast to the world.

me: very very easy
and sometimes
total strangers follow me
because there is a search function
so let's say i go to a mozart concert
and i send a message about mozart
and maybe
at the same time
someone is looking for something about mozart
and they see my message
so if they like it, they might want to follow me
i did this recently [followed strangers]
there was a big student protest at new school
and i didn't have the time to go down and see the students. so what i did was make a twitter search. then, i aggregated messages from people who were there and writing messages about it
so it was like live news
though i have to say, it's flawed. because it is so personal, people just write some very silly things and that is impossible to control.

geanwcannon: You have roused my curiosity. I want to sign up on Twitter. I have some foolish things I want to say.

What is most striking to me about this conversation is that it made me realize that there really is a huge gap in natural understanding when it comes to technology and the Internet. Now, it's obvious that younger people usually have the advantage over older people when it comes to technology, but I think it's assumed that that's because older people just didn't learn this stuff, nor care to learn it. However, what became obvious in chatting with my father was that he was approaching Twitter with a mental landscape very different from my own. If tailored handbooks were available to teach people about Twitter (or Facebook, or whatever), my dad's book would not look like mine. For example, I recently explained Twitter to a friend of mine my age and the conversation was simple: "Go to twitter.com and sign-up." There wasn't too much discussion about where these messages might be going, how they got there or what happened to the messages once they got sent. But with my dad, he really wanted to know more before he would buy into it.

For me, all this says a lot about the learning process and how one relates to the world now. To have access to the newest (though arguably not the best) information, one must be in a constant habit of learning HOW to do it. But, from my understanding, learning, in general terms, is the realm of the young. Though people talk about developing a "love of learning," that usually meant maintaining a life full of interests and reading books about them, or perhaps taking a class. This was almost always available to everyone because the method of transmitting information (reading books or talking face-to-face with people) held true once one overcame the initial burdens of learning to read, listening carefully and thinking critically.

Now, with the Internet, people must alter their entire understanding of HOW to GET information. And if we want people, specifically the elderly, to continue being able to stay on top of things, that means we have to consider seniors as a unique learning group, and then develop learning techniques to cater to their specific needs. I don't think this has ever been an issue before, and that's pretty interesting.

This makes me miss China...

Just had yet another mediocre American breakfast (eggs, toast, a muffin and some juice). Then, I saw this. Boy do I miss China.

The Menu Stealer - episode 1: Guilin Mifen from PraxisLanguage on Vimeo.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lunar Eclipse

The fellow who made the baby video also made this lovely clip.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

" We, the greater good mob, contributed..."

Here is an interesting conversation I just had with my best friend at the j-school, Venkat. (Sorry Kim, Venkat just edited my last lit journ paper, so now he's number one.) He's a brilliant writer from India and he used to be an engineer. (I like both of these details.)

In any case, Venkat alerted me to a story in the New York Times about the Freddie Mac executive who hanged himself. (Or at least, he was found hung without any evidence of foul play.) This guy, David Kellerman, was brought in as CFO after the government seized the company last September. Then he was awarded a $800,000 bonus during a time when people don't think much of these things.

This is how our chat about this went:

you know what my mother would say
in her chinese accent?



no that isnt right
much as it feels that way

i never said that my mother was reasonable, venkat!

:) alright
but seriously
the guy was employed after the collapse

this is pretty hardcore

if i may, i am going to pick out some sentences

1. Mr. Kellermann, 41, had been Freddie Mac’s chief financial officer since September. He was named to the position when the federal government seized the company and ousted its top executives last fall.

2. Mr. Kellermann had received a bonus of about $800,000.

3. caused some controversy earlier this month, and some lawmakers called for them to be rescinded (*edit: lawmakers were acting on emotion)

4. Mr. Kellermann hired a private security firm after reporters came to his house to ask about his bonus. (*edit: kellerman threatened, hounded)

we drove him to suicide?
the media did it?

i dont know the details at all
but i am inclined to believe we, the greater good mob, contributed.
who is to prove suicides, after all.
they almost certainly don't have a single factor.
it's just a bloody volatile world I live in.
anyway, nuf said.
back to reading and at some point, writing about copper.
i want one hard hitting compassionate story for the financiers.
I think Venkat really does bring up some valid points. But like he said, we don't know all the details. Kellerman might have had personal problems totally unrelated to his work, or mental health issues, or there is a sliver of a chance it was foul play. But yes, the media can really make life hell for others, especially when there are so many media groups ruthlessly competing for the same stories.

Something to think on...

Ever wonder where babies come from?

Xeb passed me this, which was passed to her from someone who saw it on Boing Boing. (See this attribution?! That's a degree in journalism will do to you...)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Russian hairdresser rapist; pissed on while flying and pigeon carriers

My friend Xeb is pretty brilliant. (Though she's not brilliant enough to have permalinks on her blog. I can say that 'cause I've just learned how to put them in.) She's an anthropologist and here is an example of the interesting things she comes up with:

The wonderful thing about doing what I do (socio-cultural anthropology) is that you can take voyeuristic delight in human absurdity and nobody can accuse you of procrastinating and being a flake (well they can, but you have valid counterarguments), because this is precisely what you've been trained to do. So for today, let me chronicle some of the more absurd, err, absurdities I have come across:

The Russian Times reports the fascinating story of a Robber, tuned into a Sex-Slave by a local Hairdresser: According to RT, "A hairdresser from the small Russian town of Meshchovsk subdued a man who tried to rob her shop, and then raped him for three days in the utility room. The incident occurred on Saturday, March 14. The working day was coming to an end at a small hairdressers, when a man armed with a gun rushed in and demanded the day’s earnings. The frightened employees and customers agreed to fulfill his demand, but when the shop’s owner, 28-year-old Olga, was handing the money to the robber, she suddenly knocked him down on the floor and then tied him up with a hairdryer cord. The 32-year-old Viktor couldn’t have known that the woman was a yellow belt in karate. Olga locked the unlucky robber in the utility room and told her colleagues that she was going to call the police – but didn’t do so. When everybody left home, she approached the man and ordered him to ‘take of his underpants’ threatening to hand him over to the police if he refuses to cooperate.After that Olga raped her hostage for three long days. She chained Viktor to the radiator with pink furry handcuffs and fed him Viagra. She eventually let the man go on Monday, March 16, saying: “Get out of my sight!” Viktor went straight to hospital as his genitals were injured, and then to the police. Olga was resentful when she was taken by the police. “What a bastard,” the woman said about Viktor. “Yes, we had sex a couple of times. But I’ve bought him new jeans, gave him food and even gave him 1.000 roubles (around $ 30) when he left.”. After that she wrote a notice to the police claiming the man tried to rob her shop. Both Olga and Viktor may now face prison terms. The woman could be convicted of rape, while the man of robbery".

In other parts of the world the Honolulu Advertiser tells the sad tale of a man who decided to take a bathroom break in an airplane and proceeded to urinate over his 66-year old fellow passenger. Not much of an advertisement for Honolulu as "Federal Court judge Leslie Kobayashi yesterday sentenced a 28-year-old man from Saipan to 21 days in prison for assaulting a fellow passenger on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Jerome Kenneth Kingzio had pleaded guilty. The incident took place on March 21. U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo said court documents show the victim, a 66-year-old woman, was watching the in-flight movie when Kingzio stood next to her and began urinating on her. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Marshall H. Silverberg.

If anyone doubts the value-added by resorting to the indigenous over the 'modern' let them consider the inherent genius behind this crime spree in Brazil, reported by Yahoo News. So, the story is that in San Paolo, inmates have devised an innovative way to smuggle in cell phones into a prison farm in Brazil: carrier pigeons. Guards at the Danilio Pinheiro prison near the southeastern city of Sorocaba noticed a pigeon resting on an electric wire with a small cloth bag tied to one of its legs last week. "The guards nabbed the bird after luring it down with some food and discovered components of a small cell phone inside the bag," police investigator Celso Soramiglio said Tuesday. One day later, another pigeon was spotted dragging a similar bag inside the prison's exercise yard. Inside the bag was the cell phone's charger, Soramiglio said. The birds were apparently bred and raised inside the prison, smuggled out, outfitted with the cell phone parts and then released to fly back.

Check out her site at http://xebiliciouss.blogspot.com/.

The machine is us/ing us...

The Internet is changing how we perceive and interact with information, and communicate. At the same time, how we use the Internet shapes its function. Here's a really brilliant little video I ripped off of my pal, Xeb's, blog.

Good grammar is sexy...!

OK, so let's see if I get this "embedding" thing. Here's a YouTube clip. It's features "Hot for Words" grammar sex kitten, Marina. Good stuff.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The money war...

I like this. So true, so true...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I think I like ShareThis better...

You'll note that I've removed "Add to Any" and have added "ShareThis" instead. More an aesthetic decision than anything else. Plus, "ShareThis" has a few more options.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A better blog...

I have learned two things today. Neither of them have allowed me to advance on my assignments. However, they are pretty cool and very "new media," so I don't feel totally useless.

The first was to set my blog so that titles appear for each blog post. This allows for the creation of permalinks--dedicated unique addresses (links) assigned to each invidual post (as opposed to just one address for the entire blog). This means I can now send out links to specific posts.

The second thing I learned was how to add "Add to Any" to my blog. After each post, you will now see a little box that says "Share/Save." (It's also what you see in the image above.) This will allow readers to share my blog on Facebook or Twitter, as well as other social Web applications.

While I recognize this is pretty amateurish stuff for hardcore bloggers, I must say I'm pretty chuffed with myself for sorting this out.

So now, dear readers, share away!

J-school cover girl...

Wow, I'm on the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's Career Services Web page! The school hosted a career fair two weeks ago, and to stand out from the crowd, I ordered a lei from Hawaii to wear to the event. I was noticed. You can check out the site at http://snurl.com/fo4ui. (You'll have to scroll along a bit...)

Friday, April 10, 2009

New School haters in the Twitterverse

(Photo taken from the Daily News Web site)

So that was quick. Now check out what some of the haters in the Twitterverse had to say about the New School students. Stunning! (All of these posts were taken from a TweetDeck search.)

protest at the new school? wtf. get a job hippies
desusnice, Fri 10 Apr 12:01

the socialist pieces of scum occupying the new school are the REAL pigs- not the policemen #NSIE
talster, Fri 10 Apr 12:23

I would love to know what is so atrocious at New School they feel the need to overtake the building. Seriously? Still doesn't excuse NYU.
sueelio, Fri 10 Apr 12:31

Okay New School kids, I understand you're upset, but no one is taking you seriously anymore. http://moourl.com/4wxl4
dayla, Fri 10 Apr 12:36

new school protesters-- if you are so anti-capitalism just move to a commune and stop bothering the rest of us #NSIE #newschool
talster, Fri 10 Apr 12:37

Spoiled New School kids lose. FAIL. http://tinyurl.com/cca6po
waityourarobot, Fri 10 Apr 12:38

Bored cops pepper spray bored New School students. Oh New York. http://tr.im/izFf
youLukas, Fri 10 Apr 12:38

Another revolution at the New School is apparently underway. I am feeling not revolutionary today so they better finish up soon.
andreagl, Fri 10 Apr 12:49

The college brats "occupying" a New School building got their heads swiftly beat in by the NYPD. I hope this protesting trend dies off soon.
gregchiasson, Fri 10 Apr 12:52

This gal talster was especially offended (and offensive). She kept her rants up while many tweeted, retweeted and moved on. (And get this, she's not some crotchety geezer shaking a cane at them youngins. Check her out here http://twitter.com/talster.) Here's more of what she said:

#NSIE you broke into a bldg,took down a cleaner&a security guard, hurt a policeman and NOW youre crying that they used mace?! gimme a break!
talster, Fri 10 Apr 12:49

oh, BOOHOO... they deserve it!! RT @studentactivism: Campus paper says one New School arrestee was "bleeding from his forehead" at booking
talster, Fri 10 Apr 13:00

@tomaplomb how ab being disgusted at the students for breaking into a building, hurting an innocent cleaner&taking his phone, then a guard?
talster, Fri 10 13:04
Given the current state of affairs in this country, and in this city, especially, I'm surprised that there are still folks who take up these rather negative attitudes. I'm just impressed that the young protesters care enough about their cause to unstrap their wrists from the keyboard and pry their bottoms from chairs long enough to hit the streets (or take over a building). But that's my take on things.

Twitter coverage of New School protests

I can't get down to this site, but here are some Twitter feeds coming in from the New School protest!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

This is a little bit insane...

Higher Education
Journalism Bust, J-School Boom
Lauren Streib, 04.06.09, 3:00 PM ET

When the current class of optimists from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism prepared for their March job fair, some were stunned to learn that, along with The New York Times, Forbes, Dow Jones and other national publications, they'd also been signed up for interviews with Cat Fancy, a lively consumer magazine "for people interested in all phases of cat ownership."

It was, of course, a prank. But it's easy to understand the confusion. The Pew Research Center estimates 5,000 newspaper jobs were lost in 2008. Since 2001, more than 10,000 newspaper journalists have lost work, leaving the total count of those still employed at 47,000 nationwide. It's getting worse, fast. Erica Smith, who runs the online layoff tracker Paper Cuts, counts nearly 7,500 newsroom jobs lost so far this year.

Yet punishing times for journalism have been an unlikely boon for journalism schools. Would-be Woodwards and Bernsteins hiding out from the bad economy or learning new skills to compete stormed the admissions offices of top-tier programs last fall. Columbia, Stanford and NYU applications increased 38%, 20% and 6%, respectively, from the previous year. Same thing at state schools. The University of Colorado (up 11%), University of North Carolina (up 14%) and University of Maryland (up 25%) all saw gains. "I'm amazed that enrollment continues to be so healthy," says Associate Professor Stephen Solomon at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

Costs are up too. The average price for graduate school and living expenses has reached $31,000 per year. This despite earnings for journalists with a graduate degree averaging just $40,000 in 2007 ($10,000 more than for those with just bachelor's degrees).

"I've never met a single person in 35 years who went into journalism out of pure economic reason," explains Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia School of Journalism. "It doesn't make us recession-proof, but it makes us less recession responsive."

What are all these people going to do for a living? Some may actually get jobs in journalism. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2016 the number of positions for entry-level reporters and news anchors will increase 2%, while those for experienced writers and editors will grow 10%. Expect trade publications, freelance work and digital media to supply the bulk of the jobs.

And, perhaps, academia. Old media expatriates looking for a life after layoffs and buyouts are flooding schools looking for work. Brooke Kroeger, director of the Carter Journalism Institute at NYU, says interest in teaching has tripled in the last five years. Columbia's Lemann says he receives several e-mails every day. Says Neil Henry, interim dean and professor at the Berkeley School of Journalism: "It's becoming increasingly common and it is difficult emotionally to deal with."

Luckily, all those new students should create need for more professors. And, it turns out, Cat Fancy is hiring. Parent company BowTie, Inc., has openings for an associate book editor and summer magazine/book editing interns. Interested? http://www.bowtieinc.com/bowtieinc/joblist.aspx

Original link http://snurl.com/fkd5

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

In writing this, I am avoiding a very heavy assignment due tomorrow morning. Around the corner from 29, even I am proof that old habits die hard.

Some musings... There is a panic, among journalists and people who care about journalism, about the state of the industry. Papers are collapsing. Newspaper people are getting laid off. Veteran journos are looking to 12-year-olds for advice about Twitter.

Everyone wants to know how to make money with the Web. Is it possible? How do we do it? Some people say that non-profits are the way to go. But then those opposed to the .org model believe non-for-profit endeavors will eventually fall victim to the desires of whoever does provide the money (as if that doesn't happen with corporate news organizations already).

All of the chatter is rather maddening and it's clear that no one has a clue. Everyone says some "out-of-the-box" thinking is in order, but all anyone is doing is repeating and reorganizing various elements of tired ideas IN the box.

But let's say this: Let's say that newspapers as a concept are dead. Then what? Let's accept that NO ONE in the future will ever read a newspaper. THEN WHAT?


Let's say advertising CAN'T make papers profitable anymore. It's just not an option. Then what? Where does the money come from? Doesn't anyone think that having a business model effectively based on ONE form of revenue INHERENTLY FLAWED? So now what?

I think if we start to imagine a world without newspapers, we'd get much closer to real solutions. Because right now, most people are trying desperately to cling to the notion at the other end of the idea spectrum. If the truth (or solution) is somewhere between the extremes, let's start at the polar opposite of a world WITH papers, then work our to the middle.

And in terms of money, let's cut out the whole notion of advertising. Surely there are products that rely income generated for its value and not for it's power to distribute tag-along information. So how do we make news more valuable? A very tough question...

So I guess the point of my ramble, aside from avoiding my work, is that I haven't really heard too many new ideas about the direction of journalism from anyone in the field. They are all too terrified, or too trapped in their own panic, to start asking the scary questions that might lead to real solutions (not that I am suggesting I know better, or even that my two measly ideas mean anything). But I do think it would be good to start hearing a little dialectic about all this. It just doesn't make sense to feel more secure clinging to a crumbling cliff than taking a leap, possibly into the unknown, for the chance of a new and different landing.

Monday, March 30, 2009

If you were unable to watch the blog live, go here to see it in its complete form. http://snurl.com/eveao. Kind of neat, right?
So this is a new toy. I'm going to live blog an event today at the J-school. The founders of Global Post, a new international news organization, will come to school and tell us about their venture. Hear what they have to say here. (Assuming all this HTML code works...)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

OK, OK, I know it's not healthy to dwell on bad news, but I had to share this Facebook message I just got from my friend, Andrea, who works at a newspaper in St. Louis.
I totally forgot you were going to J-school! Holy buckets. Didn't you get the news flash? Journalism's dead, baby. Even still, I'd have to imagine a degree from Columbia's gotta get you a pretty sweet gig somewhere. Weren't you looking into magazine writing or something? I can absolutely, unwaveringly tell you that newspapers are dead. We've had three layoffs in the past six months, and we're now being forced to take weeklong, unpaid furloughs... and our contract with XXXXX is up in June.
Needless to say, I'm over it. I have been for more than a year, but I didn't get my shit together enough to transition to another profession until last fall. That's when I started studying for the law school admissions test. I'm now shockingly neck-deep in acceptances (I may have applied to a few too many schools...) and trying to decide between Portland, Denver and Seattle.
I met Andrea five years ago when she came to Kona to work for the West Hawaii Today. She stayed there a year or two, then took the gig in St. Louis.

In an interesting sidenote, another ex-West Hawaii Today reporter, a young lady originally from Hilo, who wound up in New Mexico, is also attempting to get into law school.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

OK, OK. I know I haven't been too enthused about journalism school of late, or even just journalism, but look at this! Can you really blame me?!

If you want to check out the full page and see the answer to "How does a young, laid-off journalist recover?" (that was verbatim), go here http://tinyurl.com/db874h .
I just don't know what to say...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I am endlessly amazed at how small the world can be.

So yesterday, I met up with a classmate from Emerson, with whom I studied film. Troy was in town working on a television series, a fact I learned from his Facebook status message. (He, in the last 9 years, or so, has become something of an expert on childbirth and he has produced several series for places like the Discovery Channel.) We met at the bus station because he was pressed for time and had to get to a location in New Jersey, but we did have a good chance to catch up.

Troy is doing this TV stuff, which is neat, but more interestingly, he's become a medium. (Read about him here http://www.troyparkinson.com/) Like the kind that receive messages from dead people. He started developing his medium skills in Boston ("Everyone can do it--it's like a muscle that can be exercised," he says), unbeknownst to me, and others, and now he's got a Web site, does a radio show, is writing a book and has been featured on Fargo (where he's from) news.

Random, right?

Then he tells me he was just in Hawaii for five weeks, waiting for a baby to be born (so he could tape the process). Not only was he in Hawaii, but he was in Kona, my home town!

Troy stayed at the Dragonfly Ranch and loved it. He said he also really loved Hawaii because, unlike in Fargo, where he is a somewhat cautious about with whom he shares his spiritual work, people in Hawaii really dig stuff like crystals, tarot cards, aura readings and talking to dolphins. He became the in-house medium and it was good.

Now, among the guests at the Dragonfly Ranch for whom Troy read was Ian Usher. Mr. Usher, an Englishman, sold his life on eBay and is aiming to achieve 100 goals in 100 weeks. (Learn more at http://www.100goals100weeks.com) However, oddly enough, I had already heard about Mr. Usher because my friend Karin, a journalist in Hawaii, wrote about him here http://www.hawaii247.org/2009/01/18/man-with-a-lot-of-goals-visits-big-island/ .

But to top it all off, Mr. Usher was quite impressed with Troy's reading, so he blogged about it here http://100goals100weeks.blogspot.com/2009/01/mystic-reading-with-troy.html !

So to sum up: We're all connected and the Internet is amazing.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I keep the Merriam-Webster Online Web site open almost all the time when I read or write. At a fancy-pants school like Columbia, I double my efforts to be sure that I am using a word accurately, and that I look up words I don't know to expand my vocabulary.

So today I went to the site to find something and this was at the top of the page, in the "Open Dictionary" section:

red bottomosity

State of humiliation

I am clearly not the only one who invents words and phrases.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

There's a lot happening with me in New York these days. The new semester has just started. I have piles of work to do and I'm preparing for life after j-school, which I look forward to tremendously. I'm in a pretty good mood these days, though; this can be attributed to finally seeing the back end of my miserable reporting class (I won't moan about it here, but not to put to fine a point on it, it was was shit) and having a very good break. I played tourist in New York, finally, then my old pal, Kev Dogg, came out from Los Angeles. Together, we drove up to Boston to see Heather, my college roommate, and some of the gang from the Emerson days. Few in my current life--which is filled with fresh-faced 22-year-olds--realize that when I went to school, I was the baby. With the old crowd, I was the baby again, and that was nice.

Being back in Boston also gave me the chance to kind of think about how life seems to progress for most people. Kev Dogg is a reasonably successful production manager in Hollywood, but he often finds his work unrewarding and is frustrated with his personal life. Heather lives in the sticks with her fiancé and they have a nice home, lots of furniture, regular jobs, a small business detailing cars and a bearded iguana named Pete. Mike, another of the crowd, recently married a chemist (I think--she does something with science) and was Manager of the Year at the hotel where he works. Of course, all this life stuff went on while I was out travelling and generally getting into mischief. It was a bit weird to see how much our lives had diverged, but it was also very reassuring, comforting even, that it's still so easy for all of us to hang out. It was also interesting to realize that despite our very different experiences, none of us has changed especially, nor were we certain about the future. It is as if we had all fallen into our situations by chance and were waiting for a nudge into whatever is next. There is an anxiety in that and we all feel it. Somehow, this made me feel better about taking out a lot of money to attend a school I don't particularly like and having doubts about what I am doing.

After Boston, I went up to Canada with a very nice Frenchman, Romain. We caught a rideshare up and stayed with one of his high school friends who has been studying aeronautic engineering in Montréal for the past four-and-a-half years. She lives just outside the city center and played a brilliant tour guide. We also went up to Mont Tremblant, a ski resort area an hour north of the city. This was the result of whim, on my part, to go dog-sledding, which was an excellent, though irresponsibly costly, pursuit. It was also viciously cold in Québec--the intensity of which I had never experienced before in my life. For the dog-sledding adventure, I wore three pairs of socks, including one, heavy, wooly pair, tights, under wool long-johns, under jeans, under a rented pair of ski pants, as well as several sweaters and a snow jacket.

Exhibit A:

Yes, that's frost on my hair and ice on my eyelashes.

So here I am back in school now. I've decided to make more of an effort to keep up with my blog. While I believe my writing has improved here, I see the need for a daily habit, just to keep at it. Plus, there's an awful lot going on at Columbia, so it's not that I suffer a lack of subject matter. However, my new aim is less to be a journalist and more to be a writer. Given the current state of the journalism industry, I am starting to think that I may not be well-suited for the cut-throat, alcohol-soaked and surprising shallow world of reporting. Thus, to come closer to my personal aims, I am focusing more on developing a keen eye through which to observe the world, a unique voice with which to describe it and lastly, an active mind, connected to a human heart, through which process it all. I assure you the last mentioned is not, generally speaking, ever addressed at the mighty, mighty Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, much to my naive chagrin.
Now let's talk about yesterday.

Gwen Ifill came to school. She's on a book tour (she's got a book called The Breakthrough: Race and Politics in the Age of Obama) , but showed up at Columbia for an 8:15 a.m. session. The student center where she spoke was full, most impressive given that journalism students tend not to be (sober) morning people (myself, proudly, excluded).

She talked about all sorts of things--how she got her start, about being a black reporter and how one goes about covering politics--then she opened the floor for questions. None of these were particularly earth-shattering. They mostly were about race and the fact that I can't remember them without referring to my notes means that they are probably not worth repeating. But Ms. Ifill was super sharp, very charming and down-to-earth.

Something I had hoped she would address was Obama's bi-racialness. There is so much talk about the "black man," we forget altogether, so it seems, that Obama is just as white and he is black. Not only that, his father was from Africa. This, to me, makes Obama, not at all an African-American in the traditional sense (though clearly the literal sense). As a half-Chinese/half-Irish American, I'm a bit put off by all this: It makes it crystal clear that race is PURELY a matter of color and only color. Now, of course, Obama himself might identify himself as being an "African-American," but really, that would have been a choice he made. In theory, he could have just a legitimately declared himself a "White-American," though few others would have accepted this. For all this talk about progress this country has made when it comes to racism, here is a bald example of how we really do only think in terms of color. And that's just sad.

However, I didn't ask Ms. Ifill about this. The conversation flowed away from this subject by the time I had the courage to speak up, I asked her what she thought about Sarkozy's plan to inject 600 million euro into France's print media industry by modernizing the presses, cutting delivery costs and giving a subscription (of choice) to every French citizen when they turn 18 (I particularly like this last aspect). This notion rubbed Ms. Ifill the wrong way and she jokingly asked, before I clarified, if he was giving out subscriptions to government-run papers (of which I don't believe France has any).

"This is a business," she stated firmly, bristling at the thought the government might get involved with the media, even as its industry is collapsing. (And this is not to say I agree with the current proposed bail-outs. Generally, I don't. But then again, I don't really see the auto industry playing the same cultural role as the media, which I believe to be the greatest engine for creating a well-informed public.) Ironically, my question came right after a comment she made about the dangers of a public becoming increasingly specialized in their consumption habits because of the Internet and how we have to somehow think of a solution to increase a vital readership. When I pointed this out, she just repeated that media is a business and it behooves us as journalists to figure it out how to reach our audiences.

Good luck, America.

But in all events, life is good and things, for me at least, look up.