This Weblog comes from Mindy McAdams and resides at It's a personal blog and probably not of much interest to anyone but me. You are welcome to read and comment as you like.

August 31, 2001

Newspaper Web Sites

Three things from American Journalism Review, September 2001 issue:

(1) "Seeing the Sites" (pp. 52-57): A snapshot of content, operations and philosophy at six newspaper Web sites: NYT, TWP, Mercury Center (now -- yeesh), The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News, the Fort Collins Coloradoan and The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call.

(2) "Treasure or Torture" (pp. 36-41): A realistic look at those gigantic newspaper series that no one ever reads -- except the Pulitzer judges.

(3) "That's 'Mr. Boyle' to You" (p. 18): This will become a class handout for me! A hiring editor explains frankly how casual e-mail messages from job applicants fail to win him over.

Posted by macloo at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

Wrap-up on Drudge Lawsuit

The Blumenthal-Drudge case, now concluded, is described in full in "If This Ain't Libel ..." by Roger Parloff, Brill's Content, Fall 2001 (v.4, n.6), pp. 94-113. I'm really happy to have the story of this lawsuit and its origin (on Drudge's Web site in 1997) wrapped up in a tidy package, at last, because it raises a lot of important points for discussion. These include:

  • What is "recklessness" in journalism?
  • Are anonymous sources ever enough, with no named sources in tow?
  • How vulnerable are journalists, in general, to "planted" information, whether truth or lies?
  • How bad are the effects of a lie when the whole story is deleted and a retraction both posted and e-mailed to subscribers within 24 hours of its Web publication?
  • How much protection should a public figure have? (Blumenthal was a White House aide in the Clinton administration in 1997. He had been a journalist, author and playwright.)

I prefer to discuss Matt Drudge as a journalist -- not a very careful one, but a journalist all the same. Journalists employed by newspapers and TV news stations have made and will make the same kinds of mistakes he has made.

Posted by macloo at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2001

Health Activism Online

"The Citizen Scientists," by Sara Solovitch. Wired, September 2001, pp. 144-51. Every time Wired publishes a story like this one, I decide to renew my subscription yet again.

It's not news that parents of children with medical problems go on the Web to find information. What makes this story about those parents different -- and a darned good piece of journalism -- is that it describes how some of those parents create activist groups around the condition that affects their children and, using the Internet as their meeting room, collect genetic material for research use -- providing exactly what researchers need to study these rare conditions more closely. One "citizen scientist" mother is even the co-applicant (with a medical research scientist) for the patent on a particular gene, which causes a serious medical condition in her children.

Posted by macloo at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

Where Wizards Stay Up Late

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet, Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon. New York: Simson & Schuster, 1996. A very nice piece of journalism -- this book, based on interviews with the people who invented computer networking and the ARPANET, takes the tone of a good feature story. It begins in the Pentagon during the Eisenhower presidency and ends in 1994, on the 25th anniversary of the installation of the first node in the ARPANET.

I want to assign this book to students in Technology, Change and Communication, but I think I will assign only Chapters 1-5 and then Chapter 8. The history in Chapters 6 and 7 is good and important, but the story becomes less compelling after the first network has been set up and tested.

Posted by macloo at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)