Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Because Mark S. Luckie Said So.

At the suggestion of my professor, I recently checked out 10,000 Words: Where Journalism and Technology Meet. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have never heard of this site before. Can you really blame me though? The internet is pilled high with crap and I stick to what I know. However, after browsing the site I am into Luckie.

Luckie put a list together of the “10 Journalists you should follow on Twitter” so I took his advice and starting following all of them. I am going to post their most recent tweets…ready?

Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu): As of 52 minutes ago posted, “Revised opinion. Normal Buzz. Enjoy it, if it entertains you. Ignore, if it doesn't. I will stick with: don't emulate.”

Chrys Wu (@MacDivaONA): As of 13 hours ago posted, “@seanjtaylor But then do you have those "Doh! I should have done that ... Doh! I should have done that ..." moments immediately after? I do.”

Suzanne Yada (@suzanneyada): As of 15 hours ago posted, “Use this Facebook widget to search what @jerrybrown2010 & @whitman2010 have said by topic, location, attacks & more:”

Robert Hernandez (@webjournalist): As of one hour ago posted, “Ha! RT @marksluckie: Hilarious Washington City Paper Staff Memo on Stewart/Colbert Rallies: (via @NABJDigital)”

Lauren M. Rabaino (@laurenmichell): As of 11 hours ago posted, “WTF? Ignore my last tweet. I wrote that like 9 hours ago and have no idea why it barely tweeted now.”

Amy Webb (@webbmedia): As of one hour ago posted, “StumbleUpon Video Gets More Personalized -”

McKenna Ewen (@McKennaEwen): As of 11 hours ago posted, “RT @drewvigal: Now that's pretty sweet | The ABC’S of Sport Logos -”

Vadim Lavrusik (@lavrusik): As of 30 minutes ago posted, “Newspapers now provide only 20 percent of Associated Press revenue: Revenues from papers have fallen by 1/3 since 2008.”

Ben LaMothe (@BenLaMothe): As of one hour ago posted, “Some interesting data: Nielsen estimates 362,000 Britons behind the Times paywall”

10,000 Words (@10000Words): As of 26 minutes ago posted, “Common copyright mistakes that can still get you sued:

Out of these ten journalists, I was hoping to find a story that I could write a blog post on. But only a few links were relevant. The search continues!

Vegetarian Paradise: Get Your Eat On!

I am a vegetarian and I love food. Here is a map of some of the best spots around! Don’t see your favorite restaurant? Send me an email or leave me a comment.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Photographs Everywhere!

It seems as though the internet is a breeding ground for stealing. Whether its music, movies, books, videos, or photographs we are all guilty in someway or another. On a number of occasions, I have turned to Google for images. It’s simple: search for an image, find exactly what you’re looking for, right click and save to your desktop, and add it to a blog post. Well, apparently this is a no-no.

Here is a list for legal sources of photography.

Flickr: The Commons or Flickr: Creative Commons.




Or just buy a camera and start shooting.

Jay Rosen, I Love You.

In the ever-changing world of journalism Jay Rosen gives me hope. I stumbled upon a lecture he gave to the incoming class at Sciences Po école du journalisme in Paris, September 2, 2010. It is my belief that Rosen is not disenchanted with the current climate of the journalism world but rather, eager to grab a hold of it and prepare future journalists for the road ahead. Here a few highlights from the lecture.

“Seeing people as masses is the art in which the mass media, and professional media people, specialized during their profitable 150-year run (1850 to 2000). But now we can see that this was actually an interval, a phase, during which the tools for reaching the public were placed in increasingly concentrated hands. Professional journalism, which dates from the 1920s, has lived its entire life during this phase, but let me say it again: this is what your generation has a chance to break free from. The journalists formerly known as the media can make the break by learning to specialize in a different art: seeing people as a public, empowered to make media themselves.”

“Seeing people as a public, empowered to make media themselves.” The public can make media themselves? I can guarantee this statement would give a few of my journalism professors a heart attack. I’ve been taught that the media is only reserved for journalists; those who endured classes like Media Ethics, Journalism 101, Media Law, Magazine Writing, and who have eventually graduated with a degree in Journalism. What’s the big deal? Bloggers (a portion of the public who has evoked their right to make media themselves) are seen as uniformed, untrained, and not really journalists because???… Nevertheless, they are capable of creating news, drawing an audience, and swaying opinions. It cannot be us versus them anymore. If you have done the research, interviews, experienced something firsthand…you own that piece of media regardless if you work for The New York Times or run a blog.

“Students of social media and behavior on the Net are highly aware of the one percent rule, which has been observed in a wide variety of online settings:

It's an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will 'interact' with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it... So what's the conclusion? Only that you shouldn't expect too much online. Certainly, to echo Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come. The trouble, as in real life, is finding the builders.”

Last week I was in New Jersey and had the chance to speak with Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq and professor of journalism at Columbia University. I asked her about the state of journalism, death of the newspaper, and about jobs. Benedict stated that 22 recent graduates obtained jobs at a newspaper and 23 obtained jobs in the social media field. We were both surprised. She also reassured me that the “newspaper is not dead yet.” The one percent rule seems to be echoing her opinion.

“In your bid to be trusted, don’t take the View From Nowhere; instead, tell people where you’re coming from. Treating people as a public means refusing to float "above" them. Instead of claiming that you have no view, no stake, no perspective, no (sorry for the academic term) situated self, try to level with the users and let them know where you are coming from. As David Weinberger puts it. "transparency is the new objectivity." You may find that trust is easier to negotiate if you don't claim the View from Nowhere, but instead tell them where you're coming from…”

We can have an opinion?! Thank you, Jay! Now I’m going to show several of my previous journalism professors this statement and watch them cry. In the spirit of Jay Rosen and as an aspiring journalist, here goes nothing…

The Rent is Too Damn High! I'm with Jimmy McMillan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Five Followers?

This is so exciting! What should we talk about?

I ran into Don Forst, former editor-in-chief of The Village Voice, and asked him what I should do after I graduate...

"Find a rich husband." No thank you.

"Buy a bus ticket and go across the country. Get off at every major city and walk into a newsroom. Tell them they need to hire you because you’re good.”

If you go to UAlbany, take a class with Forst.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Love The New York Times? Pay Up!

On Wednesday, The New York Times announced it would charge some frequent readers for access to its Web site beginning January 2011. While it sounds horrible at first, it’s actually not so bad.

According to a piece by Richard Perez-Pena, “…a visitor will be allowed to view a certain number of articles free each month; to read more, the reader must pay a flat fee for unlimited access. Subscribers to the print newspaper, even those who subscribe only to the Sunday paper, will receive full access to the site without any additional charge.”

I don’t see what the problem is. Those who have a subscription to the newspaper have nothing to worry about. Those who get to an individual New York Times article via Google, Yahoo, or another server will be allowed to read that piece. And the home page will be accessible to all visitors.

During a months time, the attracts over 17 million readers in the United States alone. It is sited as the countries most popular newspaper site. Imagine if one million of those online readers decided to subscribe to the Sunday paper. Not only would that mean full access to the site for the reader but it would help the struggling newspaper industry. Why is it acceptable to subscribe and pay for a newspaper to be delivered to your house but subscribing to the same material online is considered outrageous? Is it because now you'll be paying for blog content?

Kachingle offers an alternative, “…support the New York Times blogs you love directly, with a voluntary contribution of just $5/month.” The service “is about new thinking for online content, a new business model where users like you voluntarily support the online content you love.” Here is how it works: You install a Firefox or Chrome browser (cannot be used with other browsers) extension, and this puts a small Kachingle bar medallion at the top of each NYT blog. Then you click on “Join Kachingle to support this blog” from the Leaderboard, and now you are instantly providing financial support to your favorite blog.

I think it’s easier to just pay a few dollars a month for online content or subscribe to the newspaper.

Andrew Marr: Bloggers are the urine stain on the underpants of society. I stand by my words.

What got Marr’s undies in such a bunch? The British journalist and political commentator has pissed off many with a statement he tweeted to Jay Rosen, a strong supported of citizen journalism and professor at New York University.

As I looked more closely at what could’ve sparked this elitist little tweet from a self-important twit, I found Marr’s blog. Well, he likes to call it a diary…well, except for when he first referred to it via Twitter, “Follow my blog here Sue, and please RT! Shortly after that tweet he corrected himself, “I'm keeping a diary, not a blog.” I think he’s confused.  

Anyways, I checked out Marr’s blog and came across a post entitled “United Stares of America” where he reiterates his view on bloggers:

“I rise early today to a flood of correspondence from across the herring pond, challenging me on my views about bloggers. How I hate that word. One particularly angry journalist fellow accused me of being a “pot calling the kettle black”. I am still not exactly sure what he meant, but I replied “surely you mean pot calling the kettle African American”, which I thought rather witty. God, American bloggers – double jeopardy. Scum. I shall say it again. Bloggers are the wet fart in the express elevator of elite journalism. Those who "tweet" are even more risible. Losers, all of them. Except me.”

I laughed so hard at Marr’s attempt to be witty “pot calling the kettle African American” joke, I wet myself a little. Hmm urine? Blogger? He may be onto something.

A few Twitter losers did not appreciate Marr’s tweet…

Greytdog said, “@andrewmarrblog @jayrosen_nyu better urine than the brown skid marks left by the mass media”

Brijesh Kartha, “@andrewmarrblog in which case old gen big media are the crap in those very underpants! @jayrosen_nyu

At the end of the day, what matters is that Marr won’t kill the blogger. In fact, he’ll update his online diary, and all us Twitter losers will tweet about his not so witty jokes. We all win.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Now What?

For those graduating in December (like me), finding a journalism job is proving to be slightly difficult. Newspapers are cutting backing, getting a new media job is somewhat difficult, and let’s be honest…the state of journalism is in a flux. Who the hell is a real journalist anyways? We are all sneaky little reporters with our camera phones, Twitter accounts, blogs, and all the other crap I’m forgetting. So, what do we do?

Well, I’m not exactly sure. But here are some ideas…

Seven steps to get a journalism job in this wonderful economy. They are pretty obvious but check them out.

Visit, throw your resume up, and start searching. I was surprised to see 364 Newspapers/Wires jobs available but only 162 online media jobs open. Interesting. (POLITICO and AOL Inc has several positions available).

I would also check out Poynter Career Center. There are currently 149 jobs posted.

A handful of jobs for thousands of college graduates. If all else fails there is always graduate school! Good luck!

Howard Kurtz Leaves The Washington Post Behind.

Howard Kurtz, a fixture at The Washington Post for the past 29 years, is joining The Daily Beast. What does this mean? Some are screaming that print is surely dead or that new media is taking over and taking big talent with it. However, Kurtz sees through the bs and proclaims newspapers will be around for a “long time.”

In a piece Kurtz wrote for The Washington Post he states, “Reporters instinctively look for the larger angle, so several asked me what this meant for the death of print or the decline of The Post. I pushed back, as I happen to believe that newspapers are going to be around for a long time. Let's not get carried away here.”

Kurtz isn’t the only big name to ever leave print media. The Daily Beast was started just two years ago by Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. Aside from well-known journalist moving to new media, it seems college grads are left with the same option. Do we fight for that one open position at a local newspaper? Or do we take a chance and work for a new online media outlet?

Steve Myers points out, “Rather than being a story of how online media has taken something from legacy media, this is a story of how online media is now mature enough, editorially and financially, that people like Kurtz or

Exactly. Online media has snowballed over the past five years. It is now a place college grads look for jobs. It is now a place where “old school” journalists turn for work. With the help of big names like Howard Kurtz, the Daily Beast and other online media outlets may just become a household name.
Howard Fineman consider it a real option.”

Monday, October 4, 2010

To Squat or Not to Squat: A Look at Popular Lark Street Bars Bathrooms.

Public restrooms horrify me and for good reason. Think about it: Before it’s your turn to balance ever so carefully over a toilet and attempt not to pee all over the seat, someone else has graced the same bathroom. But before you can even get to the point of to squat or not, I suggest you do a three-point check.

Jess and Kate at Cafe Hollywood
Over the weekend, I scoped out bathrooms at some of the most popular bars on Lark Street with the help of my fiend Jess Duell, a 27 year-old Albany preschool teacher. I evaluated them on their cleanliness, appearance and smell. When it comes to cleanliness the bar cannot be completely responsible. Let’s face it, there are some dirty people out there. For example, if you accidentally pee on the seat wipe it up. I don’t want to walk into a stall and see dribbles of leftover urine all over the toilet seat. I don’t want the stench of urine to engulf my nostrils. I don’t want to look at urine and debate in my head whether the person before me needs more water in their diet. It’s simple: If you color outside of the lines clean it up.

The bar bathroom needs a certain appearance. I enjoy a dash of color, artwork, writing on the walls, dimly lit lighting, at least one mirror, and a few forgotten drinks sporadically placed. The artwork and childish declarations of love, “Ashley luvs Brian 4-eva,” give me something to look at while my friend uses the bathroom. The dimly lit lighting is necessary. Do I really need to see what I look at like a three in the morning? No. All of these elements make a bar bathroom cozy and forgiving.

A foul smell can ruin a bathroom experience or should I say, make one puke in their mouth a little. Why is it so difficult for a bar to supply a spray? Glade: Relaxing Moments in Water Blossoms smells great. Look into it. I know bar employees are not the only ones responsible for the deadly fumes that inhabit the bathroom, so women need to start practicing courtesy flushes and even carrying a little spray with them.

Bombers Burrito Bar was the first stop on my list. After navigating through a sea of college kids and a Snooki wannabe, Jess and I finally made our way to the bathroom. For starters, the door was labeled with a “W” written on a piece of notebook paper. Really? A piece of notebook paper? The smell is what hit us first…puke and bbq sauce. There was no puke anywhere but the smell still lingered. The floor was littered with a few paper towels and a mixture of what looked like to be leafs, tomato peels, and paper resided in the sink. We made our way out the Bombers to a played out Lady Gaga song and to kids sipping enormous margaritas. Grade: C.


One Of Hollywood's Mens Bathrooms
I had been warned about Café Hollywood, “Last time I was at Hollywood there was a puddle of piss covering the entire bathroom floor,” said Jaime Malekoff of Albany, New York. Jess and I preceded with caution to the upstairs bathroom. I swung open the door and saw…nothing. The walls were a deep red color and once again paper towels were everywhere but the trash can. In one of the stalls, there was evidence that a woman had gotten into a fight with the toilet paper, as it was covering the tile floor. This woman and those who used the bathroom after her were obviously too lazy to discard of it. We decided we should also check out the downstairs bathroom. The bar was crowded and loud. People played pool, shot darts, and sang along to "Run-Around" by the Blues Traveler. As we waited in line for the ladies restroom, I asked Roger, a high school Spanish teacher, about the guys bathroom. “Oh, it’s gross!” said Roger, “There’s pee on the floor and it smells like ammonia. Why do you want to know about the bathroom?” He seemed perplexed by my interest in bathrooms until I told him it was for a story. “Will you go in there and take a photo for me?” I asked while handing him my camera. “Sure!” Urine was everywhere. The toilet was filled and there was piss soaked toilet paper all over the floor. “Eww!” said Jess. “Can you do a scratch and sniff photo for your story?” asked Roger. And on that note, we left. Grade: Women’s bathroom B-. Men’s bathroom G for gross. Get it together guys.

It's that simple!
After Jess and I left Hollywood we wanted to go somewhere we could actually get a drink. We ignored the bars that people were spilling out of and headed to Oh Bar. After ordering a Stoli Raspberry with Sprite and a splash of cranberry juice from Riley, the bartended, who informed me that’s what his ex-boyfriend used to drink, we watched In Living Color. I pulled out my notebook and started to look over my notes. “Are you a narc? I’m glad I carded you,” said Riley. “A narc? Ouch,” I said. “Just doing a story on bar bathrooms.” “Oh, don’t go in there!” Riley said while making a disgusted face. I put my notebook down and went into the bathroom. It was pleasantly clean and there was no overwhelming odor. In fact, Oh Bar gave instructions on how to dispose of used paper towels, “PLEASE…PLACE ALL PAPER TOWELS IN THE WASTEBASKET.” These simple instructions seemed to work; all the paper towels were in the trash can. Riley and another bartender named Josh, told me how during LarkFEST their bathrooms were so backed up they flooded out. “We had like four people with mops and it still wasn’t helping,” said Josh. Honestly, I’m glad I missed out on that. Grade: B+.

Susie's Womens Bathroom. Missing a shoe!
Susie’s was our last stop on Lark Street (alright, it's actually on Delaware Avenue) and it was packed with people who had just come from a hardcore show at Valentine's. A few minutes before Jess and I got there, there was a fist fight over a chick but now the bar was relatively calm. People were watching highlights of the Yankee vs. Boston game, playing music on the jukebox, and some were falling asleep on their barstools. This time Jess actually had to go to the bathroom so we made our way to the back of the bar. It was dimly lit, there as a full length mirror, and crappy artwork. Perfect. There wasn’t urine all over the seat or on the floor, and the majority of paper towels were in the trash can. It smelled slightly like stale pee but nothing unbearable. While Jess hovered over the toilet seat, I took advantage of the mirror and fixed my hair. Successful bathroom trip. Grade: B.

Our last stop of the evening was Fuze Box. We decided on this for a few reasons. Fuze Box is where you go to dance and at 2:30 in the morning, and we wanted to dance. And it might be the only place in Albany that you can dance to Billy Idol. Before we made the walk to the other end of Lark Street, we stopped at Dino’s for pizza. We each got a slice of cheese pizza and listened as a girl in short shorts, high heels, carrying a Coach bag, called one of her friends. “Ahhhhhh Ahhhhhhhhhh, call me the fuck back,” she yelled into the phone. “He said that if I called and made the Jersey Shore sound he’d never talk to me again…Yeah right,” said told her two friends. Her friends seemed to ignore her but she kept talking, “I know this is going to sound stupid but like ever eat a lot of sushi and you’re like totally full but it’s just all fish.” I looked at Jess, “Is she serious?” Jess and I shook our heads and walked to Fuze Box.

Womens bathrom at Fuze Box
Fuze Box is for the misfits. It’s where people go if they don’t want to go to a sports bar or a packed college bar or if they don’t care too much about appearance. Fuze Box is a judgment free zone. Straight, gay, black, white, old, and young flock this bar and it works. They are also know for having the dirtiest bathroom at 3:30 in the morning. Jess and I made our way onto the dance floor. Everyone was in their own world…carelessly moving their bodies to the 80’s music and smiling to themselves. We ventured into the bathroom and to our surprise it was clean for the Fuze Box. There were a few drinks on the counter, toilet paper on the floor, it smelled like alcohol, and someone decided not to wipe their urine off the toilet after using it. I’ll never get it. Anyways, we checked out the flyers that were hung up on the walls, applied lip-gloss, and danced the night away to “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi. Grade: B.

Moral of the story: Public restrooms are gross and they are gross due to your poor bathroom etiquette. Clean up your urine, start practicing the courtesy flush halfway through taking a “number two”, and put paper towels and/or toilet paper in the trash can. All these simple steps will make public restroom experiences a little more pleasant.