Posts from October 2002

A kiss from Tina: Note

A kiss from Tina
: Note what Tina Brown, ex editor of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Talk, says in a story in today’s Wall Street Journal regarding magazines in development:

“The big, traditional, commercial magazine launch is a very antediluvian beast,” says Ms. Brown. “If I was to do Talk again, I would do it on the Web.”

She’d just lose less money.

Nuclear snipers: I was, in

Nuclear snipers
: I was, in fact, just sitting down to read the cover story in this month’s Wired — “Stopping Loose Nukes” — by Steven Johnson when (call it fate) I get email from Steven. Now if anybody in the world should have a blog, it’s him. But he doesn’t. So think of this as blogging in proxy. It’s a fascinating story, taking us through the technology and other means needed to find and stop illicit nukes from coming into, say, Washington, D.C. It’s all the more fascinating and all the more frightening today (fate again) as we watch authorities of every stripe desperately trying to stop one (or two) guy(s) with a gun from terrorizing and all but shutting down the nation’s capital. Imagine if the warhead hunted down were not just a bullet but a nuke. In some ways, this would be easier… if the technology is in place to sniff out radioactivity.

An “atomic wall” may seem far-fetched, but experts believe a detection perimeter could stop radiological and nuclear weapons

It’s all in the timing:

It’s all in the timing
: National Geographic Traveler’s cover this month: “Bali — Still paradise?

No, I mean besides the Internet
: There is a real black hole.

: Elizabeth Spiers blog keeps getting better and better.

The future of journalism
: I had an instructive professional moment last night.

My 10-year-old son has joined his school newspaper (if this were TV, you’d see a look of paternal pride) and I’m going to talk to the kids. My son doesn’t read newspapers yet, which I wouldn’t expect. He doesn’t really follow news yet. But I said that it was at his age that I started; I remember the first newspaper story I picked up out of curiousity and liked because it told me everything I wanted to know (it was a weather story promising snow… and a snow day).

So I said it’s time for him to start reading a paper. We get lots of them (as many as six in a day). I picked up one, looking for a story that might interest him (and that wouldn’t scare me if it did interest him). First paper: Nothing. Second paper: Nothing. Only when my wife picked up the mushy Gannett local paper did she find a story about a pesky turkey.

Of course, I’m not saying that newspapers should be edited for 10-year-old (and no, they aren’t already). But I have to say I was shocked that there was nothing (other than sports and we’re a nonjock household) that would even interest a basic human being: a kid. Every story was too inside politics or world affairs or too violent or too dull.

Not a good sign for the future.

: I have stayed out of the snipfest about blog ethics v. journalistic ethics here, here, here, and here because I find the topic as dull as a J-school class and because I have faced far tougher issues of ethics in the real world. Way back when, I thought ethics was all about not taking a free drink from a flack. But then I worked at Time Inc. when it became Time Warner and faced all kinds of pressure about being nice to Hollywood products; I faced pressure from higher-ups on politics; I watched my editor defend me against both. Virtue did not come out of a code; it came out of individuals’ own morals, their own sense of right and wrong and duty. A code is a fine thing; rules are harmless. But rules are worthless if the people who should be ruled by them are corrupt; an ethical person thinking ethically can face issues no set of rules can cover. In the end, the only assets we in the media have are credibility and trust and if we do anything to bring those into question, we squander everything.

Do priests need a code to tell them not to shtup little boys? No. They need morals.

Do politicians need a code to tell them not to pocket bribes? No. They need ethics.

Do journalists — on paper or on screen — need a code to tell them not to take freebies — including free information — without refusing or disclosing that? No. They need common sense.

Where am I?
: If you’re tired of Mapquest, try the newly redesigned Rand McNally.

: Compare.

If cool were still cool
: This would be cool: Make your own city. [via Buzz]

I collect navel lint: I’m

I collect navel lint
: I’m watching the festivities at the AOL 8.0 launch “party” right now and they’re interviewing a lady who collects AOL disks. Takes all kinds.

: I watched the end of this segment as they gave her some special collector disks done by various artists. Only problem is, they come sealed in a tin so you can’t see which artist did yours until you open it up. Will you open it? the perky AOL faux interviewer asks the collector lady? Oh, no, says the lady, then they would lose their value. So the disk just sits in there like a mystery of the universe, uncracked.

: Paul Brisbin sends me this neat story about AOL-disk-obsessors.

: A colleague in my office said this is like collecting junk mail: “I have a very rare Ed McMahon….”

: I’ve been lazy lately and just put up links to vaguely interesting stuff. Haven’t had a great thought in ages. I’m feeling devalued… especially when I look at Nick Denton today. He’s one busy blogging beaver, boy.

Progress?: ABC News reports an

: ABC News reports an ex-Marine has been taken in after he was found with a white van and rifles. Fox News was told this is not related to the snipers. Fox also says they got a white truck. Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, New York Times behind on the story tonight.

: The Australian toll from the Bali terrorist attack is horrendous: 22 Australians dead, 110 injured, 220 missing.

: British fatality count up to 33.

: Tim Blair is, of course, on top of the story.

: Nick Denton says the terrorists are idiots to kill citizens of our allies, for that will only make it easier for them to fight alongside us.

: Even stupider: Indonesian radical fools blame us for the Bali bombing.

: The world tourism industry is already dreading doom thanks to the Bali explosions. It’s not as if Bali is a huge destination for Americans, but the impact will be felt everywhere.

: Mourning in Bali at lists the victims known so far and has a forum where people are asking about the fates of loved ones believed to have been vacationing there.

Taking credit
: An alleged expert on FoxNews just discounted the idea that the D.C. sniper(s) is/are terrorist(s) because no one has taken credit for the acts.

Uh, fella, bin Laden never actively took credit for 9.11 (only bragging about it on a tape). That is the new M.O. of terrorists: If you don’t take credit, then you can get credit for the acts of others — that is, people will assume that any plane crash, any explosion, any gunshot comes from you even if it doesn’t: free-ride terrorism.

In honor of Columbus Day
: A Sopranos’ backlash is brewing. Take the pulse in the Soprano’s forum:

Is this the Sopranos or “The Soap-ranos?” What the hell is going on here? God help me but I almost dozed off during last night’s episide. Who gives a flying @#$* about Carmela’s long term financial goals? Where the hell is Paulie and let’s give Bobby some friggin’ balls already! Why is AJ even on this show anyway? The show is turning into one of those two-panel comic strips where it takes six months to make a point. I hope Chase and Co. aren’t giving in to these phony Italian pride propogandists. I’m 100% Italian-American (Sicilian and damn proud of it!) and do not find this show offensive at all. Until now. Please bring back the fury it once had and let’s stop these mini-soap operas. Does anyone agree? Ciao.

Still love the show, but last night’s coming attractions were better than last night’s episode.