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July 25, 2009

AP to bloggers: We do understand the Web. Don't get your panties in a twist.

Phew. We in the small-time content-theft game can breathe easy. Relax, Bloggers. The AP Isn't Out to Get You : CJR
But the AP’s Jane Seagrave, senior vice president of global product development, tells me that all this isn’t true. It has no intent to nail individual bloggers for linking to stories or quoting headlines. It’s going after wholesale theft of its content by websites trying to make a profit off of it. “We want to stop wholesale misappropriation of our content which does occur right now—people who are copying and pasting or taking by RSS feeds dozens or hundreds of our stories.” Seagrave tells me. “Are we going to worry about individuals using our stories here and there? That isn’t our intent. That’s being fueled by people who want to make us look silly. But we’re not silly.”

July 23, 2009

Cops never apologize

Cambridge sergeant declines to criticize Obama - Local News Updates - The Boston Globe
Cambridge police Sergeant James Crowley declined today to criticize President Obama for saying Wednesday night that police "acted stupidly" in the arrest last week of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., but he did say it was "regrettable" that anyone would speak without knowing the "whole story" of the confrontation a week ago at Gates's home near Harvard Square. Speaking at length this morning on the Dennis & Callahan show on WEEI radio in Boston, Crowley maintained that "I know what I did was right."

July 22, 2009

It's not like it's a newspaper or anything

It isn't even publishing yet, but the Web-based replacement for the Ann Arbor News has put its foot in something. I guess we don't need journalists after all. Knowledgeable civilians will do. MichWine - Wine writing's ethical thicket
AnnArbor.com recently began to trickle out names of its "digital journalists" and bloggers on various subjects. Their wine writer came as an eye-opener: he's the head wine guy for a company that runs five restaurants in town, and more elsewhere.* I've never met Eric Arsenault. As a certified sommelier, he doubtless has the chops to write about wine. And I can understand his appeal to an operation like AnnArbor.com, looking to save money with unpaid or low-paid "citizen journalists". They get someone qualified to cover a specialized topic without having to shell out serious dollars. But at what cost to their journalistic credibility? His ethical standards may be impeccable. But the position he'll occupy -- highly-visible wine writer for a dominant local news outlet -- presents an insurmountable appearance of conflict with the interests and demands of his nicely-paid day job. Or, as retired Michigan journalist Jim Smith asked in his "Free from Editors" blog, "Will the writer slant columns to favor or benefit his own company and who at AnnArbor.com will monitor that?"

July 19, 2009

Schwa Video

Yeah, where the hell is Bill Barker? ** Gracias, Jack ** Schwa (30-second spec spots) on Vimeo
by Meinert Hansen "These are ads I directed and animated, based on Bill Barker's ingenious Schwa Corporation, which had a small cult following in the mid-90's. Between Bill Barker and myself, we were to create 50 of these spots for MTV, but the deal unfortunately fell through. This was animated pre-Flash days, using a D-1 editing suite at Buzz to move the levels around. Today it would be so quick to make this kind of animation." "Where is Schwa or Bill Barker these days? "

Schwa (30-second spec spots) from Meinert Hansen on Vimeo.

Chicago-area cemetery accused of dumping African-American veteran's remains

Cemetery scandal: Veteran's grave was marred on son's last visit -- chicagotribune.com
Both the National Association for Black Veterans and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs say they will inquire about the veterans' graves at Burr Oak. The FBI said it's too early to know just how many veterans' graves were violated. Agents just this week began the painstaking task of locating all the remains dumped in a fenced back lot of the cemetery. Robert Cocroft, national commander of the black veterans group, said he has spoken with Reede and others with relatives at Burr Oak who thought their loved ones were in their final resting places and now have only questions. Cocroft said his group's mission is to preserve the historical record and honor the service of African-American soldiers, making the Burr Oak scandal especially painful. The group is pledging to try to eventually account for all veterans' graves there, using whatever records might still be at Burr Oak or elsewhere. He noted that many of the veterans buried at the cemetery likely fought in World War II, returned to the Chicago area and in some cases then took part in the civil rights movement. "These are individuals, especially those who made the supreme sacrifice for their country, whose graves should not be desecrated," Cocroft said.