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April 10, 2009

Kos on what's really killing newspapers -- failing to respect and value readers

Some journalists seem to be silly twats. **Jack** adds: "...'cause Woodward and Bernstein told them they were stars. Stars, baby!" Daily Kos: State of the Nation
At one of those conferences, however, a nice editor approached me. He had tracked the growth patterns of this site and was wondering what he could do to help his mid-sized newspaper become better acclimated to the web. My answer then, same as it would be now, was to embrace the audience and make them feel like part of the endeavor, create tools that would allow greater engagement and discussion between editors, writers, and readers. As a first step, why not add comments to your stories? The editor sighed. You see, he told me, they had tried that already. The reporters hated it of course, since I doubt I've met a more thin-skinned group of people in my life than beat reporters. They're expected to become instant experts on any number of issues on a day-to-day basis, so they're touchy when they screw up, which is often. But the experiment in user feedback persisted until the newspaper's "star columnist" stormed into the editor's office one day. "Get that graffiti off my page!" he furiously demanded. You see, to this pompous ass, anyone who would deign challenge him on the page containing his column was a tagger. And not in the positive, artistic, sense of the word, but in the "vandal" sense. And if that vandalism wasn't removed from pages containing his column, he would quit the paper. The paper's leadership panicked, and the commenting feature was removed from the paper's site. What newspaper was this? The Rocky Mountain News, which completely ceased publication Feb. 27, 2009.

April 07, 2009

Scholars Discover 23 Blank Pages That May As Well Be Lost Samuel Beckett Play

Scholars Discover 23 Blank Pages That May As Well Be Lost Samuel Beckett Play | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

The 23 blank pages, which literary experts presume is a two-act play composed sometime between 1973 and 1975, are already being heralded as one of the most ambitious works by the Nobel Prize-winning author of Waiting For Godot, and a natural progression from his earlier works, including 1969's Breath, a 30-second play with no characters, and 1972's Not I, in which the only illuminated part of the stage is a floating mouth.

"In what was surely a conscious decision by Mr. Beckett, the white, uniform, non-ruled pages, which symbolize the starkness and emptiness of life, were left unbound, unmarked, and untouched," said Trinity College professor of Irish literature Fintan O'Donoghue. "And, as if to further exemplify the anonymity and facelessness of 20th-century man, they were found, of all places, between other sheets of paper."

April 06, 2009

Town names streets after Terry Pratchett's Discworld

Sir Terry Pratchett unveils Discworld-inspired road names in Wincanton - Telegraph

The town officially made Ankh-Morpork its sister city, being the first town to sister city a fictional place.

Peach Pie Street and Treacle Mine Road are among the list of streets named after the comic fantasy series of novels at the Kingwell Rise development in Wincanton, Somerset.

Sir Terry visited the town to reveal the road names at 4pm and was greeted by scores of Discworld fans, many in costume, at housebuilder George Wimpey's offices.

March 31, 2009

Quantum Suicide

Quantum Mechanics, Miracles and Immortality I am not sure how...

Photo Gallery: Literary Tattoos

Books | Contrariwise: Literary Tattoos

March 30, 2009

T.S. Eliot rejected Orwell's Animal Farm

T.S. Eliot nixed Orwell's 'Trotskyite' Animal Farm
Eliot, working at British publishers Faber and Faber, sent a rejection letter to the young Orwell in 1944 dismissing the book, which went on to become a classic of modern English literature. "Animal Farm" -- which is generally seen as an allegory on Stalinist communism in Russia -- was only published the following year, after the end of World War II. Orwell's usual publisher Gollancz had refused to publish it, so the young writer tried his luck with Faber and Faber. But Eliot was not impressed, saying Orwell's view "which I take to be generally Trotskyite, is not convincing." "We have no conviction that this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the current time," he said. "After all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore are the best qualified to run the farm. "In fact there couldn't have been an Animal Farm without them: so that what was needed (someone might argue) was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs," he added.