Posts from October 2003

How to make the world job in journalism the best job in journalism

How to make the world job in journalism the best job in journalism
: Dan Okrent has just been appointed to the worst job in journalism: public editor (that’s the pronouncable, spellable, PC synonym for ombudsman) at the NY Times.

But I think I know how to turn it into the best job.

I know Dan from my days at Time Inc. and afterwards, when he headed up new media content. He’s smart and opinionated; I like and respect him. But I’ll just bet he’ll rub the Timesies the wrong way, for he can be gruff and he has no newspaper experience (which would help if you’re trying to figure out how a story gets messed up in such an organization). That will only make watching this more entertaining.

I thought this was the worst job in journalism: dealing on the one hand with too many Times-bashing natterers to count and on the other hand with Timesies, and being at the center of the gigantic circle-jerk that is journalism self-awareness.

But I see a new model for how to run the job in a memo — not, unfortunately, a column — that Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler wrote slashing Tina Brown’s debut in the Post:

Post ombudsman Michael Getler

And then they were Friends

And then they were Friends
: Stern also reports this morning — unbelievable but true — that Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt are going to the Middle East to bring peace. Sure enough:

Where presidents and prime ministers have failed, Hollywood hunk Brad Pitt and wife Jennifer Anniston hope their star power will work wonders in new roles as Middle East peace envoys.

Tinseltown to give a try, led by Brad Bitt (left) and his wife Jennifer Anniston.

They will team up with other actors such as Edward Norton, Jason Alexander and Danny DeVito on a private mission to help resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict.

‘The past few years of conflict mean that yet another generation of Israelis and Palestinians will grow up in hatred,’ said a statement from Pitt and Aniston. ‘We cannot allow that to happen.’

That’s what the Middle East needs: a laughtrack.

And that’s the wonderful thing about stars: They have no idea how stupid they are and they have no one to tell them.

: Meanwhile, did you see that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston’s production company just bought the rights to the story of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s murder? That’s what the war on terrorism needs: glamorous victims.

Howard Stern says…

Howard Stern says…
: Howard says the reaction of some New Yorkers he knows to the California fires is odd. Try to talk to them about the fires, try to get them to care, and they say, “9/11.”

Yes, it’s hard to beat even our tragedies.

Weblog internationalism: blog bridges, blog mobs

Weblog internationalism: blog bridges, blog mobs
: One of the most exciting aspects of weblogging for me is the international nature of it.

Webloggers link to news from sources around the world with different viewpoints (see Steven Johnson’s study of Technorati headlines).

And webloggers manage to make connections across any borders — national, ideological, religious, linguistic — here. See Martin Roell and Ton Zijlstra on making such connections via this post.

The most gratifying moments I’ve had with this weblog have been such moments on blog bridges. Early on, I tried to make use of my bad German to read German blogs; I linked to them (see my blogroll); they linked to me; conversations and, I hope, friendships followed. And now, when I link to something, I find it popping up in German blogs quickly either because of me or another blog bridge on either side. I have been captivated by the story of Iranian bloggers carrying on a true revolution (rather than our couch revolution) and I’m delighted to have met many of them online. Most recently, I’m gratified to see a new Iraqi blogger, Zeyad, giving us a fresh perspective from Baghad at HealingIraq. See other links in this post below and various posts inbetween.

That is all good: new communication, new connections, new understanding, new information, new relationships, new power.

That is all something that could not happen before blogs.

: But, of course, there is a bad side, too. That’s no surprise. This weekend, I linked to various European blogs that had critical things to say about anti-Americanism and this began to bring out Europe bashing to match the America bashing.

What’s most curious about this is that online, Americans and Iranians and Iraqis are getting along better than Americans and French and Germans. Perhaps we’re too close, too familiar. Perhaps there are other, more complex reasons. Whatever.

My point — a quite simplistic one, in the end — is that we need to guard against bashing … or the assumption that criticism is the same as bashing.

I link to some German sites that are critical of anti-Americanism from Ted Honderich or Michael Moore, below, and people come on and engage in inane German bashing. That doesn’t do anybody any good and certainly doesn’t advance the discussion. On the other hand, when I criticize Jacques Chirac for dumping on us, I’m accused of bashing. That, too, doesn’t advance the discussion.

The great potential of this medium is to create connections that could not exist before. Let’s not disconnect.

Here ends my Mister Rogers moment.

Well, it’s one way to keep the little nippers in line

preschool.jpgWell, it’s one way to keep the little nippers in line
: Drove by this sign in the ‘burbs, chortled, then suddenly realized that I now have my handy-dandy phone cam and so I did a Uie, pulled up, snapped the shot, and here it is. And who says the quality of journalism will not improve…