14 September 2002

Just over a year ago my friend Maura lost her beloved sister Anne, one of the Irish 9/11 victims in the Twin Towers. Maura wrote a moving commentary on her blog, Babblogue, last week. Everyone in the media -- and everyone of us who buys a book, watches a special, reads yet another 9/11 story, needs to use other people's sorrows to help them deal with their own -- should have to think about this:

There were cameras at the anniversary mass, and my parents were interviewed before it. I can't tell you how distracting it is to be sitting there, trying to deal with the memories, the pain and the sorrow, and to see a camera trained upon your face. Again, they're hoping for us to break down and cry, to give them the kind of images they can play on the TV during the 9 o'clock news.

Well, you know, my sister is not a soundbite. She's not a biography that can be summarised in a newspaper article, or for a book (which I believe we'll have the dubious "pleasure" of seeing). I object to my sister becoming "news", and in some ways I feel like she's become part of the public domain, and everyone is pawing over her grave, looking for the human-interest story.

Maura was understandably angry at seeing a picture of her mourning mother on the front page of the newspaper I work for, the Irish Times. No one asked her mother's permission to take or use that picture. In her blog entry, Maura raises some of the most central moral questions about reporting. I can assure her most good journalists at many points in their working life grapple with conflicting emotions about such issues. Pictures and stories allow us all, readers and viewers, to better understand, react to, perhaps change the world. But that isn't an answer for those on the other side of the lens or the reporter's scrutiny.


12:57:13 PM  #   your two cents []
Boo, hissssssss... the RIAA's official statement as it files for summary judgement against Kazaa, Grokster and MediaCity.
11:06:52 AM  #   your two cents []
Today's winner of the Unintentionally Funny Big Whopping Understatement Award: Florida election highlights IT training need. <<Electronic voting systems cause problems>> [InfoWorld: Top News].
11:03:49 AM  #   your two cents []
Danny wants to eat Ursula Le Guin's brains for writerly inspiration...
11:01:59 AM  #   your two cents []
From BoingBoing: a link to a gallery of ancient smiley icons... while Microsoft digs up an email with the first DOS-era smiley.
10:54:27 AM  #   your two cents []
Wired: In Brazil, Blog Is Beautiful. <<Why is blogging so popular in Brazil? Nobody knows -- but ISPs are scrambling to get their piece of the rapidly expanding Brazilian blogosphere.>>
10:52:06 AM  #   your two cents []
Lynda Barry. Countdown from cool [Salon.com] I love Lynda Barry -- no other cartoonist quite like her. I hadn't realised Salon was carrying her strips. Excellent.
10:49:56 AM  #   your two cents []
Wireless rebel offers drive-by Wi-Fi. A man in Boston is battling commercial wireless access using his 1997 Saturn outfitted as a mobile Web access point to distribute free Wi-Fi. [CNET News.com] There's something poetically appropriate about a WiFimobile called a Saturn...
10:46:04 AM  #   your two cents []
Lessig: "Trade secrets are forever." [Scripting News]
10:45:44 AM  #   your two cents []
BBC: Wales goes wireless with free net connections. There's some movement along these lines in Ireland as well, perhaps not as well developed as this and certainly without quite this level of official support.
10:45:22 AM  #   your two cents []
Saturday morning. A work day for me, as I didn't do the things yesterday that I was supposed to do, and instead, in a girly moment, went shopping for shoes. I try as much as possible to stick to regular working hours during a five day week so that I get some sense of pause, of non-work break time. Both as a writer, and esp. as a writer on the protean world of technology, I've found it's way too easy to work every day, and well into the night. First of all, I don't work in an office, which takes away the dicipline of a 9-5 day (or, for journalists, it's more like 11-7). Then, you really have to do a lot of outside reading on the web to keep up (and sometimes, as one knows painfully well,  barely) with the whole vast horizon of tech subjects. And, finally, an awful lot of my friends work in the area so you often end up in late night arguments about operating systems, etc etc (sad, I know, but generally pretty interesting...!). So today, after a swim and a visit to the farmer's market, is a work day. Alas.
10:32:10 AM  #   your two cents []
Francois de La Rochefoucauld. "Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example." [Quotes of the Day]
10:23:15 AM  #   your two cents []