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Archives: March 2005

Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!

wolfblitzercnn.jpgThe Hill reports that Wolf Blitzer was the star of Baghdad’s Camp Liberty this past weekend:

In fact, the bearded Blitzer was mobbed almost everywhere he went during a whirlwind visit to Iraq last week as officers and enlisted men–and especially women–asked for his autograph and thanked him for coming to the combat zone, where he conducted interviews with the top American generals for CNN’s Sunday program.

Perhaps Jeff Gannon should considering lending Blitzer for a little while.

Your Beloved U.S. Is Now A Noun

It appears we were a bit hasty (blogs? hasty? what?) in yesterday’s announcement of AP form changes for the upcoming year. It turns out there are a host of changes:

  • A new entry on child care, noting AP style is two words.
  • A new entry on touch-screen, noting it is hyphenated.
  • New entries on video game and voice mail, noting AP style is
    two words in each case.
  • A changed entry on backyard, making it one word in all cases.
  • A changed style on best-seller, hyphenated in all uses.
  • An updated entry on Customs to reflect its incorporation under
    the Department of Homeland Security.
  • A revised entry on Fatah, to eliminate “al” from the name and
    change its description.
  • A revised entry on fundraising, changing it to one word in all

And, in a big slap at John Bolton, the AP has decided to eliminate its restriction on using the abbreviation “U.N.” as a noun. Take that you unilateralists!

Similarly, and proving once again that the vast left-wing media will stop at nothing in its quest to hurt America and undermine patriotism, the AP will allow “U.S.” to be used as a noun.

The screams of shock and horror may begin…

NYT v. Tasini Claims Settled for $18M

Ending a four-year battle between 10,000 freelance writers and a group of online database companies, the database companies have agreed to pay $18 million to settle claims of copyright infringement.

The settlement, which primarily covers claims from the National Writers Union, the Authors Guild, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, arose out of the 2001 landmark case Tasini et al v. The New York Times. The writers had argued that their work had appeared in online databases like Lexis-Nexis and ProQuest, without them receiving compensation for those electronic rights.

The settlement will come up in front of a judge for preliminary approval tomorrow, and could pay some “prolific” freelancers up to $100K, according to the New York Observer.

The settlement (which is too big to upload, but if you want a copy of it, email us) also provides for a nice $4.4 million in lawyer’s fees. Freelancers are so in the wrong business.


A handful of blog-i-licious items this afternoon:

  • Humorist Gene Weingarten’s WP chat proves that sometime at some point in the future, the Post is going to realize that allowing their writers to speak directly with the public is a big no-no. Case in point this exchange:

    Help, ME: Why do guys like to sleep on the couch. I am a guy, I do it once in a while because I can. I am single so it is voluntary. Why does it feel so good?

    Gene Weingarten: For precisely the same reason men peek at women. It is forbidden.

    I have observed that a woman in shorts crossing her legs attracts far less attention from men than a woman in a skirt crossing her legs, even though the shortswoman is exposing more leg. It is because peeking is forbidden.

    If you don’t understand what this has to do with sleeping on a couch, you aren’t really male.

  • The AP has made a much needed style update.
  • Jack Shafer rips apart lousy journalism by the LAT’s media critic.
  • The Gaggle features a return by super reporter Les Kinsolving.

How Many Matt Clausens Are There?

Anyone else find it odd how, with supposedly 14,000 Flexcar and Zipcar users in the region, both the Washington Post and the Associated Press featured the SAME driver and the SAME soft story lede on the SAME day?

The AP lede:

Car-sharing grows in popularity
By BRIAN WESTLEY / Associated Press

When Matt Clausen’s car broke down about a year ago, the timing was bad. His wife was eight months pregnant and the Capitol Hill couple did not want to deal with the hassle of buying a new car or spending a lot of money on repairs.

So Clausen, 33, made a decision that friends greeted with raised eyebrows. He gave up his 1991 Toyota Corolla and became one of thousands of area residents to sign up for a car-sharing program.

“I tried it out for a few weeks and found that it worked so well,” said Clausen, who is a member of Zipcar. The company is one of two industry leaders expanding their presence in the region as a small but growing number of residents look to avoid high insurance costs, hefty parking fines and rising gas prices.

The Washington Post’s A1 lede:

More Area Car Owners Shift to Hourly Rentals

By Steven Ginsberg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 29, 2005; Page A01

Matt Clausen’s friends told him he was crazy. Absolutely nuts. How in the world did he and his wife expect to take care of a new baby if they got rid of their only car? How would they get to the doctor’s office? See their friends?

Clausen harbored his own doubts, but he had also done some math. He was paying $450 a year in insurance and $800 in repairs, plus gas and other nagging costs. The hassle equation didn’t add up, either: His station wagon broke down a lot, and he was sick of hunting for parking.

So he ditched the clunker and put his trust in Zipcar, one of two car-sharing companies in the Washington region that offer a range of vehicles for rent in increments as short as a half-hour.

Is there some epidemic of Matt Clausens in the area? How did both organizations come to be doing Zipcar stories at the same time? How’d they end up with the same main character?

We’re pretty sure someone deserves a nomination for “hack of the day” here, but we’re not sure whom. If you can shed light on this puzzle, email us.

More Controversy and Hand-Wringing

The letters section of Romenesko has been postively hopping with news about next Friday’s “new media” panel at the National Press Club.

The author of Editor & Publisher article “discovering” the blog that “discovered” the panel is defending himself from full frontal assaults by National Press Club executives who feel that their honor has been impugned. Meanwhile the blogger who “discovered” the panel on the Press Club’s website is laughing at them all. Gosh, isn’t the blog world so much fun?

The questions du jour: What is Jeff Gannon doing on the panel? Is he a blogger or a journalist? Would female hookers get a press club invite? Is E&P suggesting that the Press Club should not invite controversial figures to appear at the Club and be questioned by reporters? Did Jayson Blair get a National Press Club invite? How many National Press Club panels have featured people whose main claim to fame (Washingtonienne and couldn’t be published in a family newspaper?

Instead of all those, we have one of our own: Do journalists ever tire of being self-righteous about the “hallowed halls” of journalism?

A Famous-For-D.C. Mogul Returns To Work

Word in the D.C. Examiner that Philip Merrill, he of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at UMD, is back up and about after triple bypass surgery. He returned to work just two weeks after and is now in Japan traveling.

Wish we could all be so lucky…

Da Life of the Party

Last Wednesday, MediaBistro hosted a (belated) launch party for Fishbowl D.C. and a relaunch celebration for our D.C.-area cousin, TVNewser, at Left Bank in Adams Morgan.

Some photo documentation follows:



More pics after the jump. Thanks to photog Zaid Hamid.

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Stephanopoulos Reads Blogs!

stephanopoulos.jpg After reporting that so many important people don’t read “blogs” on the “InterWeb,” it’s nice to know that all of us crazy pants-less bloggers aren’t screaming into the wing. In that vein, there was an interesting little exchange on the “Sunday Morning Talk” blog last evening about George Stephanopoulos and sourcing.

Evidently ABC’s host made a comment on President Bush and his reluctance to intervene in the Terry Schiavo case that left the SMT blogger and the Post’s Dan Froomkin wondering where he was finding his sources.

Stephanopoulos, who isn’t known (as far as we know) as an avid blog reader, evidently does tip his toe into the blog water–came across the questions, and emailed the author with his answer and sources. His willingness to tackle the tough questions posed by the Pajamahudeen earned him a puff paragraph from SMT, who spoke for ten minutes on the phone with ABC’s All Too Human host:

“That’s good reporting,” Stephanopoulos noted about his coverage. It is. Especially, as no other Sunday morning show picked it up, so you have to give credit where it’s due. Stephanopoulos has earned his stripes over the past few years as a journalist and is often the most well-researched, current and toughest of the Sunday morning bunch.

Just imagine how warm relations could be between journalists and bloggers if they were all as charming and well-sourced as Stephanopoulos.

Controversy Sch-montroversy

Never one to shy away from the Big Issues facing journalism, the National Press Club is hosting a panel next Friday consisting of Washington’s finest new media types: Wonkette, Jeff Gannon, and Fishbowl D.C. (that’s us). The subject? Blogging and journalism, of course.

It may be hard to imagine, but even a panel on journalism consisting of your run-of-the-mill disgraced former male escort, the star of Lucky’s latest fashion shoot, and a former liberal political hack is <a href="causing controversy, and led AmericaBlog’s John Aravosis to declare “National Press Club is the MSM’s latest whore.” Something about how “real” journalists who talk about “facts” should be included. Blah, blah, blah.

We can’t wait. Maybe we can get someone to live blog it for the benefit of posterity. It’s free and open to the public if you want to view the carnage in person.