Monday, May 18, 2009

Who are You?

I write stuff about people all day, every day. I can distill legal arguments, even lives into a sentence or two. Why can't I do the same when it comes to writing about myself?

So, I got a fellowship to go to the annual journalism fete in Tampa this year. As a part of the requirements, they want us to write a short biography -- anything from a sentence or two to a short paragraph -- about who we are and what we do.

I was hoping I'd sent them a bio last year that I could update and recycle. No such luck. I went trolling the Internet for old bios that I could recycle. They were all woefully out of date, or inappropriate to the point where it would take a lot of rewriting to make it applicable for the fellowship.

This sucks. And I feel sucky for not being able to just bang this out. Maybe if I imagine I'm not writing about myself:

T-Dot is a justice reporter for a major metropolitan daily in New England, specializing in courts and technology. She covers two suburban courthouses and the Town of Smithfield and has been with the paper for 4 years. She is a 2005 graduate of Hampton University {begin optional trim} where she studied print journalism and served as editor in chief of her school newspaper, The Hampton Script, for two years {end optional trim}.

Eh. Not bad. I'll figure something out I suppose.

Labels: ,


Posted by T Dot at 2:07 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Friday, May 08, 2009

Wiki-user to Journalists: "PWN'D"

From the Agence France Presse:

DUBLIN (AFP) - An Irish student's fake quote on the Wikipedia online encyclopaedia has been used in newspaper obituaries around the world, the Irish Times reported.

The quote was attributed to French composer Maurice Jarre who died in March.

Shane Fitzgerald, 22, a final-year student studying sociology and economics at University College Dublin, told the newspaper he placed the quote on the website as an experiment when doing research on globalisation.
Now.... I don't know about you, but I kinda got the whole "don't-trust-Wikipedia" meme when I was just a lowly student in journalism, oh so many years ago. I always thought everyone knew, "Don't use Wikipedia!"

Guess not.

What's more troubling is how this reflects on our already shaky industry. "Not good" are two words that come to mind. This tech blog summed it up another way:
A key part of the argument for maintaining traditional journalism is that its trained reporters can perform research and investigations that the untrained masses can't, and the content they produce is run by editors and fact-checkers. The revelation that their research is often no more sophisticated than an average Web surfer's, and that the fact checking can be nonexistent, really doesn't help that argument much.
"Doesn't help that argument much"? Heck, it almost shoots it into the ground. Corrections be damned, we're supposed to get it right. And I can't help but wonder how an unchecked wiki quote could make it past the copy desk and into print. Was it a lowly intern obit writer who didn't know better? A seasoned obit writer who, regretfully, isn't as seasoned in technology? Or just another reporter who felt no need to stay at work late to check his facts?

Being that the quote showed up in more than one place, I suppose it's anyone's guess.

But I know one thing for sure -- thank God for Kee Malesky, the veteran NPR librarian who has no qualms about shouting from the top of the building...




Posted by Veronica Marché at 6:54 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lamentations on the Future of our Business

A column from the WP's Dana Milbank about the Senate hearing on the future of Newspapers:

They came as if to their own funeral.

Reporters from Hearst, USA Today, McClatchy, the Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, the Washington Times and the Boston Globe -- their employers in varying stages of decline or death -- took their places at the press table for a Senate subcommittee hearing yesterday titled "The Future of Journalism."

"I hope I get laid off," one of the reporters could be heard telling a Senate staffer, "so I can get the severance."

And later:

But it was (David) Simon, once a Baltimore Sun reporter, who struck the strongest blow for newspapers. Though scolding publishers for their "martyrology" and mismanagement, he spoke of how "aggregating Web sites and bloggers contribute little more than repetition, commentary and froth" and added: "The parasite is slowly killing the host."

Go read it.

So, I'm procrastinating on writing a story (that got held anyway) and I stumble across this column in the Boston Globe by Kevin Cullen.

As a journalist, I got pulled in by his lede (even if it is a rehash of what was drilled into us in j-school) because really, don't we all think our jobs are more noble than that of those we cover?

If you ask anybody why they got into this business and they say it was for the money, they are either certifiably insane or no longer in the business.

Few in journalism call it a business. We like to think we forfeited bigger paychecks to pursue something that is essential: speaking truth to power, comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable.

I'm here in New England watching as the Globe struggles with wage cuts and other concessions in an effort to stay afloat. I have to say as a newspaper snob myself, I always thought the Times was better than this. I had this notion that if any paper would understand the value of journalists, it would be the Times. And they would do what it took to make sure they continued supporting great journalism. But as Cullen said, the Globe relationship with the Times wasn't a marriage, it was a business deal. And, really, I think we all knew that if it came down to the Times and anything else, the Times was going to take care of home first. Shoot, I was told by Times employees not to go to a Times regional paper expecting the same treatment as I would in New York. Only The New York Times is The New York Times. Cullen continues:

It would be easier to get worked up if there were shining examples of an enlightened newspaper company figuring all this out. The Times has made lots of mistakes. I wish they didn't build the Taj Mahal on Eighth Avenue. I wish they'd close the International Herald Tribune before they gut the Globe. And, at the very least, the bigshots at the Times should have climbed aboard the Acela and come up here to explain to us, and to you, their threat to close the Globe. When an essential element of your business is demanding transparency of others, it looks pretty shoddy when you expect none from yourself.

But hating The New York Times is like hating the Yankees: It might make you feel better, but it means nothing in the standings.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Posted by T Dot at 2:20 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Web's Got the Power!

The third and final installment of tips, tricks and sites to check out from the New England First Amendment Coalition's Freedom of Information/Investigative Journalism Seminar. Check out the first and second installments as well.

Government Contracts:
SEC filings (documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by publicly traded companies or those preparing to go public) www.sec.govNonprofitsLabor Unions
For searching multiple sites at once:

Labels: , , ,


Posted by T Dot at 12:56 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Public Records Hiding in Plain Sight

Second installment of tips and info from the New England First Amendment Coalition Freedom of Information/Investigative Journalism seminar. Check out the other installment here.

Labels: , , ,


Posted by T Dot at 12:54 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

That information? It's free.

My paper sent me to the New England First Amendment Coalition's Freedom of Information/Investigative Journalism Seminar last week at the Boston Globe. The seminar was a full day chock full of tips, tricks and cool stories from seasoned journalists about how to get information from the government when they don't want to give it to you. I had to present what I learned to my team today at work, so I figured, "why not share the fruits of my labor with loyal Ten95 readers?"

So here you are, readers. The first installment of my notes from the seminar. Enjoy!

Mark Benjamin (
Story about US soldiers in Ramadi, Iraq who were killed by friendly fire incident. Attack was taped by soldier helmet cams. Benjamin wrote stories about the resulting cover-up.Mark Kaufman (Hartford Courant)
Pulitzer finalist for report on mentally unfit soldiers being sent into war:

Labels: , , ,


Posted by T Dot at 11:16 AM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

We'd Like to Know...

Our Favorites

Poynter Institute
Media News
Ask the Recruiter
About the Job
On The Media
Columbia Journalism Review
Howard Kurtz's Media Notes
Eric Deggans
E-Media Tidbits