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Monday, December 17, 2007

YouTube Videos of the Weekend Storm

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2007 at 3:45 PM

I just searched YouTube for Vermont videos of the weekend's storm, but I had a hard time finding any. There seem to be lots of videos from Canada though.

This one's my favorite. Some guys in an apartment above an icy road in Toronto put their camera on traffic. I feel a little guilty about laughing at this video, but it is funny. And there don't appear to have been any fatalities...

 


Here's a longish video from Vermont, called Vermont Storm, or "We Come From the Land of the Ice and Snow."

Here's a very short video from somewhere in Canada. I call it, "We Love You, MySpace Friends!"

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dan Gillmor Strikes Again

Posted By on Fri, Dec 14, 2007 at 8:55 AM

It's refreshing to read an articulate defense of citizen journalism from someone with legitimate Old Media cred.

The relationship between "citizen media" and "traditional media" is complicated and evolving. I think it's an exciting time to be a professional journalist. It's important for us to be engaged in the evolution of our craft.

But I still see many traditional media-types — in both the mainstream and the alternative press — instinctively take a defensive stance every time the subject comes up. I think they have some legitimate concerns, but I often see those concerns obscured by anger and fear. It's disheartening. And frustrating.

Thanks, Dan, for having an open mind, and for being a kindred spirit.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Staffing Cuts at Alt-Weeklies

Posted By on Tue, Dec 11, 2007 at 2:10 PM

Not sure if anyone else around here is paying attention to this, but there have been a bunch of staffing cuts recently at Creative Loafing-owned alt-weeklies, including the Chicago Reader and the Washington City Paper.

Creative Loafing Atlanta Editor Ken Edelstein gives an overview of the carnage:

In Atlanta, we laid off four sales people, a marketing assistant, asales assistant and our wonderful assistant distribution manager —seven employees total. No Edit staff member was among those cuts, butthat’s partly because we have a couple of open positions right now.

The edit departments at the Chicago Reader and the Washington City Paper – altweeklies that Creative Loafing Inc. bought last August — were hit a bit harder. Reader Editor Alison True had to lay off John Conroy and three other highly respected, longtime staff writers on Friday. City Paper Erik Wemple laid off four writers and an editorial assistant.

Ouch.

At the Reader, the cuts included Steve Bogira, who was on leave working on a book.

I'm pretty sure I saw Steve Bogira speak at an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conference a few years ago. He wrote Courtroom 302, a widely-acclaimed account of a year in the life of a Chicago courtroom. 

If memory serves, he talked about investigative reporting, about the importance of developing sources and building a sound fundamental understanding of your beat, about how there are lots and lots of important stories out there in the world for reporters who take the time to find them.

I remember that he advised the writers in the audience to spend time in courthouses, to spend the day watching trial proceedings, even if we didn't necessarily have a story to cover. He said that's how he found some of his best stories.

I remember thinking, Yeah right, like I have the time to just hang out in a courthouse. I don't have the luxury of being able to do all of this background research.

Now, I guess, neither does he.

It's too bad. He's a great reporter.

I want to point out that the editorial staff at Seven Days is growing — we added a 2nd Staff Writer and a Food Editor in 2005, an Online Editor, a Videographer and a News Editor in 2007 —  but I have to admit that it's still hard for us to do the kind of research that Bogira recommended. I wonder how he'll subsidize his reporting from now on?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Good audio slideshows

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2007 at 12:32 PM

I was just poking around on the Valley News website and found these slideshows.

This is good stuff!

I'm particularly fond of Cow Tipping and Farm Auction. Nice job, James Patterson.

Beautiful photos. And the audio editing on this cow slideshow makes me jealous. I really need to hone my Audacity skills.

Too bad I can't read more of the Valley News articles online. I actually went to the site trying to find an article. The article was linked from another website, but the link was broken. I went to the site to find the story, then I realized that they don't archive anything. And they don't post the entire paper online. What a bummer! Also a bummer that I can't tell when these slideshows appeared. And there's no contact info or masthead. So I don't really know what James Patterson does at the Valley News.

But his slideshows look great!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snowbloggan

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2007 at 1:18 PM

That's the name of our new winter sports blog.

And this is our blogger, Jason Starr. He'll be posting about skiing, snowboarding, sledding and other downhill-type activities.

Jason emailed me and pitched this blog a couple months ago. He really wanted to launch it in early November, but he contacted me right as we were poised to finish our web redesign, so it took a little while to get this site up and running.

Check it out, leave some comments, tell us what you think.

The name is a play on "toboggan." I wanted to put an umlaut on the 2nd "o" — just for the hell of it — but it seemed too cute.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

We heart Goma

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2007 at 2:00 PM

Somehow I have neglected to mention last week's episode of Stuck in Vermont, starring Goma, this super-cute Himalayan cat. My apologies!

I mentioned Goma once before on my blog, when I introduced Sachie Tani's My Himalayan Cat Goma Blog. When I first wrote about Goma, I dismissed Sachie as just another cat blogger. But now I know that Sachie's love for Goma is real. And powerful. Watching Eva's video made me love him, too!

I wrote about Goma in my Web Page column in the paper, to draw attention to the video Eva posted online. That's what Goma is looking at in this photo from the Goma blog.

I am powerless to resist the cuteness of Goma.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Times Argus take on iBrattleboro suit

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2007 at 11:09 AM

Another twist on my last post...

Dan Barlow had an interesting article in the Times Argus yesterday about the lawsuit against iBrattleboro.

It's my understanding that iBrat is covered under the Communications Decency Act (Section 230, I think), so they should be fine legally.

But I have to agree with Traci Griffith's assessment:

"The government is still playing catch-up with the Internet in a lot ofareas, especially around speech," said Traci Griffith, an assistantprofessor of journalism and mass communications at St. Michael'sCollege in Colchester. "It's too bad we didn't have the foresight toaddress some of these issues earlier, but we are going to see newattempts to regulate the Internet in the next few years."

Will the laws change? Will websites become liable for comments posted by 3rd parties? It does seem unlikely. Can you imagine someone having to read and filter every single comment on every single web forum before it got published? That seems crazy to me.

But maybe that's because I'm one of the people who would have to do it.

I mean, I think hands-on moderation is key to hosting a healthy discussion. It's definitely smart to read comments and remove them if they violate a policy, but pre-screening seems too labor-intensive to me for a site like iBrat. And it would put up a barrier that could inhibit the community conversation that makes the site so useful.

Incidentally, what's up with the lack of links in this story? C'mon, Times Argus. How hard is it to link to iBrattleboro?

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