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Speaking of dated imperialist dogma...

April 29, 2011 at 9:57 a.m.

I've been muttering lines from this all morning:

Props to The Guardian for giving me a way to make extravagant demonstrations of inherited wealth disappear from their homepage. And to other news organizations that remembered there are more important issues at hand than a marriage in someone else's monarchy.

And if you must read something about royal weddings, read what Jeff Jarvis had to write about the last one.


Onward to NPR

February 7, 2011 at 9:48 p.m.

I've been holding off writing this post. It is, for a number of reasons, a hard one to write. Maybe it shouldn't be--but it is.

Wednesday is my last day at the NewsHour. Two years and a week ago I moved across the country with a backpack for a job I was recruited for in a tweet. Since then, I've worked on projects than reshaped how I think about journalism and changed the way I call myself a journalist.



January 10, 2011 at 10:11 a.m.

This caught my eye just as I took a peak down the rabbit hole of CouchApps:

The phenomenon of yak shaving, broadly conceived, is exactly why freelancing as a coder is a mixed blessing. You can never take the scenic route, never keep chewing on a problem merely because it rouses your craftman’s instinct. Every detour is a delay for your client, and a context switch for you. But we need detours, we need to stumble in order to learn. Mucking about is the stuff from which best practices are made.

Getting distracted and turning your attention to trifles ...


"Data Is the New Soil"

August 31, 2010 at 10:56 a.m.

... and we are just learning how to till it on the web.

David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut -- and it may just change the way we see the world.

My favorite is the "mountains out of molehills" chart of unreasonable fears.

(via Flowing Data)


My Django Setup

April 7, 2010 at 2:56 p.m.

I picked up my old MacBook from the Apple Store with a new, bigger, and spotless, hard drive, with a fresh install of Leopard.

Time consuming as it is to set up a computer from scratch, it's actually something I'd been meaning to do. The death of my old hard drive just forced me to do so sooner, and a little less gently than I might have liked. But it is nice starting from scratch.

With that in mind, I decided I should set up my development environment the Right Way: with code sandboxed as much as possible ...


Happy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2009 at 9:11 a.m.

I have been neglecting this blog of late, so here's a quick list of things for which I am thankful. This year has treated me well, and I am grateful, first, to all the people who have helped make that happen.

My fiance is wonderful, and amazing, and I love her. What can I say? I lucked out here. I'm getting married next year and that makes me happy in ways I can't put into words. Thanks, Laura.

Mom, Dad, Katie, Nick, Mike. Getting married brings up all kinds of opportunities to gripe about the family. But ...


Art blogging on Art Beat about art bloggers

August 8, 2009 at 12:58 p.m.

I had the pleasure of talking to Scott Rosenberg earlier this month about his book Say Everything for the NewsHour's Art Beat blog. The book is billed as a history of blogging, and it tells that story admirably. We also got to talk a bit about why blogging works so well on the web and how it differs from other literary forms. Read that post here.

That conversation spawned a follow-up post in which I interviewed three art bloggers about how the medium has affected their message.

For example, here's Lisa Fung, arts editor for the LA Times ...


Squished grapes and sunken starfighters

July 21, 2009 at 10:30 p.m.

Listen to Yoda and Mr. Miyagi: Do, or do not, or be a squished grape. English grammar is less important.


Have more fun

July 6, 2009 at 5:55 p.m.

Before she flew to Russia ahead of Barack Obama's trip there this week, someone gave Margaret Warner an HD Flip Cam to shoot a few video diaries for the web. They came out a little bouncy, not quite the quality we'd get from more serious video equipment and the sound, while way better than I would have expected, could still be a bit clearer.

But the big thing I see in this video, and what I really like about it, is a reporter having fun.


Do something.

June 16, 2009 at 4:28 p.m.

Alex said this in a recent email, and it's worth repeating:

In the end, I think, doing something is what's really important. There can be a lot of wanking over platforms, implementation, topics or whatever. But doing something, and including people, being open in approach, is probably the most important thing to do, I think, and once the ball's rolling, let it roll in they way it wants to.

Remember that when meetings multiply, when platform wars become software crusades, when your computer does things that cause you to swear in Portuguese and Chinese and Italian.

Doing ...


Beyond publishing

June 1, 2009 at 9:26 p.m.

Rebuilding my blog in Django means I can do more than just publish posts.


Imagine...news on your computer

February 9, 2009 at 1:46 a.m.

It's not as far fetched as you might imagine:

This video has been making the rounds, but I had to post it because--aside from being broadcast the year I was born--it says something about the way news consumption has changed in my lifetime.

I hear some version of the lead in on this piece pretty regularly from members of my parents' generation: "I just can't imagine sitting down with my coffee and a computer screen. I like the feel of the paper." Funny, that's exactly how I read the news, and discuss it, and create it.

A ...


PBS Newshour Online

January 26, 2009 at 11:37 p.m.

Funny story: Back in October, I started building a little Django-powered web app that ultimately became Tools for News. I'm up coding one Friday night (my girlfriend was in Guatemala at the time; I'm not THAT much of a nerd) and send out this tweet:

Photo_18_normal eyeseast: The little journalists' toolkit I mentioned yesterday is coming together. A few good folks are testing it now. Going to try adding comments. Oct 11, 2008 05:37 AM GMT
A few minutes later, this direct message appears in my inbox:
NewsHour Howdy there. We're digging the toolkit for journos ...


Remembering Deep Throat and the man in the shadows

January 17, 2009 at 2:35 a.m.

Friends, family and admirers of W. Mark Felt, better known to the public as Deep Throat, remembered the late FBI agent today as a man who lived his fundamental beliefs of "truth, justice and service."

"Action is character," former Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward (now an editor there) said of his late friend and mentor.

This was a memorial for the man known as Deep Throat, the G-man who arranged secret meetings at an underground parking garage with Woodward as the Watergate cover up unfolded, much more than it was for Mark Felt, who died at 95 in his daughter ...


Stuff to learn in 2009

January 7, 2009 at 1:20 a.m.

Just going to write all this down so I don't forget. Could call it "resolutions" but that whole mindset seems designed to produce regret come December. Let's just make this a to-learn/to-do list:


With Tools for News up and running and RedFence 2.0 almost there, I feel like I've got a good enough grasp of Django to try out the GIS branch. I've got a subdomain for it set up and a couple project ideas to play with. No promises that anything interesting will happen there, but it's there.


I have ...