Friday, October 29, 2010

"Rethinking Early Retirement in Europe" -

"Débat à Nice-Matin: où va le mouvement des retraites ?" -

We have had a long period of civil turbulence in Nice and in France more widely. Strikes. Demonstrations. Etc.

In order to address the competing concerns, the local newspaper - Nice Matin - did what a lot of smart people might recommend. They organized a meeting at the newspaper of the leaders of the principal groups involved on the many sides of the issues, and had a debate/discussion and reported on it in the newspaper the next day.

When was the last time a US newspaper did this? I am sure it has happened often, but I just don't recall, and I don't recall it recently.

This was not an editorial board meeting. It was designed to be a debate, with the leadership of the newspaper "animating" it as the French would say.

There are many variations, of course, on this excellent theme!

Has it helped solve the problems? Perhaps not, but the newspaper obligation here, I believe, is to try. It met that obligation very well.

"Top Execs from Reuters, Google, AOL, Microsoft, WSJ Headed to Monte Carlo" - Beet.TV!

"Divided We Fail" -

I guess I share KRUGMAN's concern. Surely, I hope the many predicted, or even assumed , Republican victories don't happen. But in thinking about this and how much negative feeling I have toward many Republican leaders, I realize that this is the wrong place to which to direct these feelings. Instead, we all ought to be seeking out friends, neighbors, family, others who support these people and figure out better ways to engage in some good old-fashioned conversation. It's not the Republican leaders who will deserve the blame, at least in the first instance; it is the people who elect them, and if each of us cannot convince at least one person to consider changing some votes, well, we'll get what we've earned next week.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"No U.S. Sanctions on Four Countries With Child Soldiers" -

We elected Barack OBAMA expecting him to have the backbone to do the right thing in a case like this. He has not, and I am getting increasingly disillusioned as disappointing choices are followed by more disappointment.

"How to Save a Third of Your Income" -

"A Budget Travel Pioneer" -

"Travel Guides Don’t Measure Up to Books" -

"On the Daily Show, Obama is the last laugh"

One of the biggest problems here is that the President clearly needs help that many of us did not think he would need, and he does not know it. How do we all get him to the point of realizing this? It's hard to imagine moving forward on anything without him having that understanding of the mistakes he is making and the changes he needs to implement in order to achieve more, even if achieving more is explaining better what he has done. I don't think that's enough, tho.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"On Balance, Hype, Climate and the Media" -

"Future Dim for Condé Nast Digital?"

It never should have been created in the first place.

"Arianna Huffington: Amicable Breakup: HuffPost's Health Coverage Moves Out of Living Section, Gets Its Own Place"

"Les consultations médicales par internet"

We need to move on this in the US as well, as long as the net effect is not to drive the cost of seeing doctors in person any higher. Even if that is the effect, a gradual move in this direction has to be better for everyone's health, the most important test.

"Hotels Seek Quicker Redress on TripAdvisor Reviews" -

Friday, October 22, 2010

Helping to make my life work better.....

I expect a lot of "my" newspaper wherever I am.

Sadly, I am usually disappointed.

My first step in judging how good the newspaper is doing is to see how high is the pile of pieces of the newspaper that I have torn out by the time I turn the last page.

This morning, I had quite a stack from the Nice-Matin in my other home here in France.

But now that I go through them, I find that the newspaper (and all newspapers I know) does virtually nothing to facilitate my use of what I have clipped. No help moving along the path toward a possible purchase of something; no help contacting someone to whom I would like to present an opinion; no guidance on where to go for more information.

It is so irritaing to see this chronic and, I believe, cataclysmic failure.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Juan Williams’s NPR Contract Is Ended" -

I often find myself disagreeing or not liking something that Juan WILLIAMS says, but my initial reaction to his being fired is not positive. While I would take issue with his remarks about Muslims, if that is the way he feels, I don't see why he should not be free to express them. NPR, naturally, can employ anyone it chooses, and those who contribute to the network's finances directly and indirectly can make their choices as well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Home builders switch on the 'invisible' solar panels" - CNET News

It seems to me that this sort of approach is going to gain a lot of traction once they work out all of the bugs and get the cost to where it is a no brainer for anyone needing a roof.

"In Digital Age, Students Still Cling to Paper Textbooks" -

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Transcript of "The Art of the Recap"" - On the Media

Why is this not happening for other events, like plays and concerts?

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Newseum | Today's Front Pages | Map View"

"Leaf collection in Chapel Hill" - The Carrboro Citizen

Why shouldn't we all be required to clean the leaves in front of our homes and properties and to compost them? How much money would this save and how much good would it do for the environment and out gardens? A lot.

"Mine Coverage Taxes BBC News Budget" -

So much money could have been saved by so many in covering this story if they had only agreed to work together without giving up any independence. Surely, if there was ever a case to be made for news efficiency opportunities, this is it. What a shame that the BBC now has to reduce other coverage. It's their and everyone else's fault, as this could have been, and should have been, avoided with a little cooperation.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Reporters" in Chile

It is great to see full coverage of the Chilean mine rescue, but imagine if the coverage had been pooled by a team of great reporters and the people and resources - in the thousands - who came to "cover" the story had been assigned to cover places and issues in other parts of the world? Why would that not have been better?

"Abbas Says - Let's Focus on Hope, Not Failure" -

This is a better view.

"An End to Israel’s Invisibility" -

This is surely one point of view.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Two reasons why the First Amendment is so important...

The first is this story, reminding us that what goes around, comes around. Today's favored or disfavored religious views may be seen quite differently over time.

The First Amendment that we enjoy here protects the less-favored from those who would suppress those views in some way. Over time, the wisdom of that becomes apparent to most if not all.

The second is this editorial that comes down on the right side of a painful case, also tied in some bizarre way to religious views. But what we need to remember, always, is that once we empower any element of government to filter and decide what ideas we hear, we lose some of our ability to make fully informed judgments.

Our system of freedom of expression is designed to protect the free exchange of all ideas - and religions - and we cannot subject it to compromise decisionmaking in the name of purportedly competing values, however obnoxious that may be. We have seen too often that we are very bad at deciding what thought, which ideas, what beliefs are bad and should be restricted; the First Amendment is the best antidote for this that anyone has ever devised.

"Netanyahu Suggests Twist to Loyalty Oath" -

Israel can do whatever it likes, of course. As an outsider, I view a move like this as akin to trying to introduce a phrase into the US Pledge of Allegiance that affirms loyalty to the
“nation-state of the Christian people". And, as I have said in the past, I do not support the lavish assistance and allegiance we give to a country that moves in this freedom-restricting fashion.

"Some of’s Health Advice Will Be From Advertisers" -

I wonder how good our schools are today in explaining to students how to approach a site like this in order to draw value without being drawn in market-driven directions as they make health decisions? Something like this is really going to test this skill in very new ways and I am not optimistic that people are generally up to the task. The site is free, of course, to do as it likes, but I think others need to offer critiques and commentaries that add whatever seems to be missing in terms of balance, disclosure and perspective.

Aveeno - Johnson & Johnson

I just finished a container of this product which is quite good. I called them - J&J - to ask if I could buy a refill or if I needed to buy an entirely new container with the pump, etc. I explained that in France, I increasingly see refills for such products offered in much less packaged plastic sacks, for example, that can be squeezed into the old bottle easily and then recycled. The woman on the phone said she had never heard of this and assured me that the one I had finished was fully recyclable but I said I was not sure about the pump. In any case, it is a #2 even though they put their "lot" stamp right over the triangle that would tell me this. I do not recall whether our local recyclers can process this or not.

My comment was that Johnson and Johnson ought to be more respectful of the environment by providing their products in less packaging. She said she would pass it along. Right.

Facebook - UNC Health Care

I added a comment yesterday to the Facebook wall of UNC Healthcare because of the tremendous treatment a good friend has been receiving at UNC Hospitals in the Intensive Care Unit. It should not be as exceptional as it is, but UNC nicely acknowledged my posting this morning. For me, that just reflects even better on the quality of what they do there.

When was the last time you posted something in a place like this, and got a thank you?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

"At Sam Zell’s Tribune, Tales of a Bankrupt Culture" -

How Would You Improve the New York Subway? -

This is great except for one thing. Suppose someone comes up with a really good idea and posts it here. What happens next? Buried in the dark blog hole? Or, I might suggest, packaged up in an easy-to-consume fashion and sent on to the decisionmakers for the subway? The latter is what I expect of a reasonably intelligent and customer-oriented newspaper. Anything less ought to be embarrassing for anyone assocated with the Times. So why is this absent?

Monday, October 04, 2010

"In Haiti, Rising Call for Displaced to Go Away" -

"Rejet de l'appel de Mairead Maguire contre son expulsion d'Israël" -

I am not related, as far as I know, to Mairead MAGUIRE, but I respect her very much.

"Group Unveils Program to Let Users Opt Out of Web Ads" -

"NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts" - NPR

I am a huge admirer of NPR, and listen to many programs.

The network has created a deep sense of trust in my mind, and I rely on it almost without exception to be accurate and usually fair.

That said, I think there is a problem with the obvious best-funded part of NPR being the Ego Department. Reducing that department's budget would add a lot to the program quality, I think.

"High school journalism programs prepare students for life a deadline at a time" -

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Newspapers - The Multi-Medium

This is very good. Click and enjoy!

"Cosmopolitan Ad Campaign Puts Viewers in the Photo Shoot" -

Newspapers need to do a lot more of this and not just report that other media are doing it first!

"The Secret Sponsors" -

It seems to me that this is working a lot better than some may have feared.

The problem is that the "working better" means that we are letting people make decisions about what to believe and which advice to follow.

That's pretty revolutionary, don't you think?

I make it a personal practice either to ignore or never take on face value any such representation from people who are not disclosed, whether it be an expensive message on television or a gratuitous anonymous posting anywhere in the web.

I choose only to spend time considering the varied views of people who idenitify themselves and their relationship to the issue addressed.

Is that too much to expect of fellow Americans?

I hope not. It is also much more consistent with our system of freedom of expression than are arbitrary spending limits, in my view.

"Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Murdoch, Mr. Colbert" -

I sure agree with this.

How do we make more of it happen?

"Rock for Reproductive Rights with Maya Azucena" - Facebook

This turned out to be a superb evening!

What's amazing to me in this era of networking, social connectivity, and just the ease of putting words like these together for others to read, if they choose to do so, that not one person seems to have written anything about the performance so far. No reporters. No attendeees. No others.


As is usual for almost any event, there is a certain amount of promotional chatter in advance of an event, but then total silence after it actually happens.

My feeling is that people who attended like to see where they were and to read what someone else thought of it, and those who did not attend often find it interesting to learn what they missed, no?


I like to test out lots of new things that relate to the media in some way. Twitter has been no exception.

But, I am just not sure I have yet figured out Twitter and its value proposition. Every time I look at my Twitter page, I am overwhelmed by gibberish that really adds little or no value to my life. If I take the time to wade through all of the tweets to find a couple that prove to be worth something, I've blown a lot of time.

So what's the value, when you take everything into account, of this?

Yes, it's a nice tool to have, but overused and abused, it seems nearly worthless to me.

"Muslims in America" -

Very well said. The saddest part is that the letter has to be written in the first place. We in the US should be so much better than the way too many of us are.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

"What’s Dumb, Really?" -

What this says to me is that our schools really are failing us. This says that 35% of 18-29 year olds don't know that the House has a Democratic majority and 51% of the same group does not know that Joe BIDEN is the Vice President. I'd love to see the same questions posed to school age young people and see how they do, starting with the local schools where I live.

"Apps for MoMA, Museum of Natural History and Others" -

Which newspapers are doing better than this?

"USPS says droopy newspapers to cost more to mail " - Online News

Despite the fact that many of these "droopy" newspapers have been doing better than the bigger city papers, it's hard to imagine that this is where the future lies, no?

Friday, October 01, 2010

"Marketers like that you "Like"" - Marketplace From American Public Media

With the technology and the applications evolving so fast, it's nearly impossible to establish some sort of balance in one's life. How does a reasonable person sort it all out?

"Blue Haiti" -

How can the newspaper world, collectively, do a better job of telling the world about Haiti, both what the rest of the world wants to know and what they ought to know? How do we put the Haiti story into a continuous news environment and not merely a postcard from last January? Surely we have the smarts, the technology and the market access to make that happen? Why have we done such a poor job?

Is it, as some have suggested, that "we" regard Haitians as somehow inferior, or as failures, and we prefer to keep those people cordoned off from us and our thinking on an island?

If not, what and why is it so?