Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Letterman's Top Ten list, so tired for so long, keeps getting mileage from Saddam's arrest.

1:11:18 PM    comment []

A couple of letters to the N&R have questioned its front-page coverage of the drunk-driving escapades of incoming Guilford County health director Ramesh Krishnaraj.

Let's review: top local public health official blows nearly three times the legal limit, after a neighbor complained that he was honking his horn at 3:15 AM as he cruised around with the top down on his Mercedes convertible. Oh yeah, alcohol abuse and drunk driving are significant public health issues.

Sorry, that's a story.

And as long as the health board continues to withhold information on his punishment and contract status, it will remain a story. (Who do these boardmembers think they are, Dick Cheney?) Whether Krishnaraj gets to keep his $600 monthly car allowance even though he lost his driver's license is a fair question.

I feel for the guy. I don't know that he should lose his job for this first (although grievous) offense -- I tend to believe that treatment instead of punishment is the best way to deal with substance abuse. But when board chair Dot Lambeth calls the 34-year-old's actions a "youthful mistake," you have to wonder if she is taking this seriously enough.

1:03:26 PM    comment []

Chico Sabbah made Business Week's list of 50 top philanthropists, and is mentioned in the accompanying article on publicity-shy givers. Even as the legal fight over Sabbah's business and charitable activities heats up, the American Hebrew Academy, the unique Jewish boarding school he founded here in Greensboro, continues to build out its 100-acre campus.

12:39:05 PM    comment []

I swear I'm not making this up: a reader just emailed me to ask how he could donate to

It's easy -- just click on the little credit card logo/"donate" icon in the right hand column. I guess you can say "blogging" in the line that asks what the payment is for.

All proceeds are plowed back into the blog -- currently I'm looking at wireless access for home and office.

Meanwhile, the return on investment for this project is high, regardless of cashflow generated. My blog has made me a better journalist, and helped advance my career, and introduced me to new friends. Thanks to all -- from mentors to venters -- who have contributed to the experience.

9:41:26 AM    comment []

While Iraqi blogger Zeyad continues to feel a strange ambivalence about Saddam's capture, Greensboro blogger frograbbitmonkey just can't get excited about the whole thing.

9:27:47 AM    comment []

Where are the UNC basketball weblogs? Where are the insider blogs for all teams with fanatic followings?

If there was ever a subject that cried out for blog coverage, it's sports. Not just by fans, but by the journalists who cover the beats. This could be a profit center for the publications that figure it out.

All the key factors for a successful blog habitat are in place. A built-in community, thirsty for more detail and inside info than the mainstream press can ever provide. And at the other end, experts with access to that detail.

Consider Carolina basketball, or even (shudder) Duke. The beat reporters for the big NC dailies and the specialist sports sites get more material than they'll ever fit into articles and columns. Fans are hungry for that stuff -- how did practice go yesterday, what did Roy tell the guys after the game, how are freshmen fitting in, etc.

A constant flow of info, a rabid audience, established brands...somebody, please, take this idea and run with it.

9:02:44 AM    comment []

Jay Rosen lays out nine news beats for Internet-era journalists (that is, anyone interested) covering Internet-era campaigns.

For those who buy the premise that something's happening in campaign 2004, there are hundreds of new stories potentially reportable out there. The campaign system has been de-centered in the open style pioneered by Howard Dean, although it must be added: not completely so, and not always convincingly so, not by Dean alone, and not necessarily to winning effect.

I'd like to see a case study of the Clark campaign, and reports on the use of the Net at other campaigns -- and just as important, the non-use of the Internet at other campaigns. Who is holding back, and why?

8:49:41 AM    comment []