Saturday, June 2, 2007

Missing headlines 2: And other random musings

This is my next attempt to finish up with some of the interesting headlines I've seen over the past few weeks. It will also probably be my last post until the end of the week because I have a lot of things I have to take care over the next couple of days.

"The Brothers Bulger"
I finally started reading Howie Carr's "The Brothers Bulger" last week. I bought it months ago in paperback, because I'm cheap, and it had been sitting on the shelf. So, I decided to bring it into the bathroom, in the hopes that I would actually try to read it. First, it isn't as good as "Black Mass." It does have a ton of juicy underworld tidbits in it and the angle of including Billy Bulger in it, and the flipping back and forth between Whitey and Billy, every other half chapter, really works. Since it is done in chronological order, you get to see what one was doing right after reading about what the other one was doing. And, it is written in Carr's column style. So, it is very snappy, and quick and easy to read. I'm more than halfway through it at this point. There isn't a lot of new stuff in it - especially if you've read "Black Mass" or Howie's columns. But it is still a pretty good read so far.
Beyond reading in the bathroom, I've also had a bit more time to read because I've kept the television off for about three days. It's been nice keeping it off. And there isn't much to watch on it anyway so ...

R.I.P.: Stever Gillard
["The News Blog"]. I didn't agree with him all the time, but he made some really good points on his blog. What a drag. And so young at 41. Yikes!

A changing of the guard at the Concord Monitor
I didn't get a chance to write about this when it initially happened but I would be remiss in not mentioning it. Mike Pride is out as Executive Editor of the Concord Monitor after almost 30 years but has decided to stay on as an editor, to do some writing and work with reporters in the newsroom: ["Taking a new a long-desired role"]. Some of my regular readers will note that when Pride was named the co-director of the Pulitzer Prize, I wondered aloud when he would have the time. Well, now we kinda know.

Felice Belman will be the new Executive Editor: ["A daunting challenge and a great privilege"]. She has big shoes to fill but a lot of talent to work with. Belman has put together some lofty goals, including getting some fresh voices on the opinion pages, opening up news meetings to the public, expanded war photography, more Web stuff, and being a better watchdog over public officials.
I can tell you that I'm not alone in hoping the Monitor will get a bit more serious about its local news coverage, including covering more things in Concord and exposing some of the major problems we have in our city. I could go on a total rant here, but now is not the time for that [Maybe, after she has had some time leading the newspaper, and doesn't address the issue properly enough, I will revisit it at more length].
I would also agree that it would be good to see some fresh faces on the opinion pages. Although I don't necessarily know if getting more teachers, state workers, or "essayists who can write provocatively about natural resources" is something I'd really be interested in reading on a regular basis. That sounds kinda wonky to me. How about some regular folks, like that contributing board series the paper once had? I would personally like to see a gritty city columnist covering things in Concord like Mike Royko or Peter Lukas, or even expanding the Capital Beat column to every day or every other day. I would also like to see city and state representative races being covered with the amount of energy and finesse as the presidential campaigns get covered.
The Monitor Web site also needs to be a bit more user friendly. The content should be posted first thing in the morning and breaking news needs to be posted when it happens and highlighted. It would also be nice to see it a bit more interactive, with blogs and other things more readily accessible on the site, or even the ability for readers to comment on stories like some Web sites are doing these days. The Union Leader has a great feature where you can sign up for email alerts about breaking news which drives people to its Web site on a irregular basis. It might be time for the Monitor to consider such a service.
And more power to Belman about kicking her reporters in gear about the Right-to-Know law and asking the tough questions, both on the state and local level. But readers will have to hold her to it now that she has opened the box. There shouldn't be any excuses - like there have been in the past - for not covering controversial issues which might make people in high places a little uncomfortable. It would also be good to set a goal for reporters of, say, one or two stories per day, in order to make sure that they are utilizing sources and the newspaper is getting the maximum amount out of its staff. Targeted story number goals are not unheard of in the business. But the Monitor regularly looks pretty thin even though it has 13 reporters and 46 editorial employees on the staff.

It will be interesting to see how she comes along and I do wish her the best of luck.

You gotta love this

Hello? Spell check, anyone? Hillarious? [This was spelled incorrectly on purpose].

This video is hilarious:

["My Boobs Are OK"]

More on John Cox
After I wrote about John Cox last night, I noticed that some folks had been tracking posts about him on Technorati, a service which allows you to search blogs for certain topics. Through that, I noticed some sites which are alleging that he is a bit unstable: [John Cox - The Facts] and this post: ["Cox cans campaign manager, again"]. Interesting reading, to say the least. To be fair and balanced, here is Cox's blog: ["Blog for Cox"].

Short cuts
* You say you want a revolution? ["When in the Course of Human events"]
* Stewart Copeland says The Police are "lame": ["Police drummer rips band's 'lame' concert"]
* Ralph Nader backs Mike Gravel's National Initiative idea: ["Let the People Make the Laws"]
* Don't like your local newspaper? Start your own ... like they've done in Dover: ["New weekly newspaper comes to Dover"]
* GM finally, finally considers making a car I might buy: ["GM's 'Maximum Bob' tells of his green epiphany"]
* Clear Channel looks to MySpace for unsigned talent for HD signals: ["TALENTfilter"]

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