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Richard Horgan

[Email contact: rhorgan@gmail.com; personal Twitter account: @hollywoodspin] I have worked as a journalist and editor for several decades, beginning in Canada at age 17 with a full-time job at the Ottawa bureau of Associated Press Canada (Canadian Press).

The Tenets of Solid Journalism Get Pooped On, Again

ICNPhotoFor the love of fact-checking!

On April Fool’s, UK website Independent Catholic News published an item, complete with hilarious photo (at right), about a hawk enlisted by the Vatican to help tend to aviary security matters. On April 15, per a summary of this sorry trail by iMediaEthics managing editor Sydney Smith, The Guardian replaced its pick-up with this note:

An agency story about the Vatican recruiting a hawk to protect the Pope’s doves was deleted on the 15 April 2014 because it was discovered to have been an April fools’ joke.

As the crow flies, or any other trajectory, it’s a long way from Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden NSA scoops. Per Smith, other major outlets fooled were said agency, AFP, and the Washington Times.

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Novelist Recounts Her Ascension to Darren Star-dom

ShutterstockDarrenStarIt started in earnest last August. As author Pamela Redmond Satran delightfully recalls in an Indiewire guest post, that’s when she was bulletin-ed into a fever pitch of professional excitement:

Google Alerts informed me that TV Land was “fast-tracking” the series Younger by Darren Star, based on the book by Pamela Redmond Satran. I was floored, because not only was the show moving forward, but they actually mentioned me and my book!

My LA agent Dana Spector had just gotten married, my NY agent was on vacation, so all my initial news came from Page Six. The fall brought more news: Sutton Foster was set to star, an inspired choice for a role that demands freshness, combined with soul and serious acting chops. Then the adorable Hilary Duff was tapped for the role of the younger colleague, giving the show big-time Hollywood cred, with Debi Mazar as the main character’s best friend – perfect, as I’d always thought of Debi as my secret best friend.

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Horseless Carriage Champ Bully-Whips Female Photographer

SteveNislickNYCLASSNYDNAs with most every debate of an animal welfare-related issue, pro and con tempers are running high. But there’s still no excuse for this:

Steve Nislick, the 70-year-old founder of NYCLASS, told his handler he was on the verge of getting violent with the photographer [Thursday] as he unveiled the prototype of his electric car at the Javits Center. “Let’s get away from the Daily News before I hit her in the face,” muttered Nislick, the anti-carriage industry crony of Mayor de Blasio.

“Steady, steady,” the man with him said, taking Nislick’s elbow and guiding him out of hitting range.

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Unlike Many Music Journalists, NPR’s Ann Powers Does Her Homework

AnnPowersNPRPicFive years ago, NPR music critic Ann Powers relocated from Los Angeles to, of all places, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The trigger for the move was her husband Eric Weisbard‘s acceptance of a teaching position in the American studies department at the University of Alabama.

Powers tells student newspaper The Crimson White that she did not expect her move to correspond with a musical-artists renaissance in the U.S. south. She also reveals to Francie Johnson that laziness in the music journalism business remains pervasive:

To prepare for her interviews, Powers listens to the artists’ catalogs and spends time researching online and in music archives. “You’d be shocked to know how many times I’ve talked to artists, and they’ve said journalists will come in completely unprepared,” Powers said. “That just seems ridiculous to me. You wouldn’t talk to the president without knowing the issues. Why do you think it’s okay to talk to an artist without knowing their work?”

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Project Thunderdome Officially Closes Its Doors

In spite of melancholy circumstances, staffers at the NYC headquarters for Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome are having some fun on this, their final day. Here for example is the front of the internal farewell Web page, as shared on Twitter by project EIC Jim Brady:

ProjectThunderdomeFarewellPage

Further examples of the kind of humor that invariably courses through newsrooms can be found via the fast-moving Twitter-list stream of 51 Project Thunderdome departing members. Like this observation:

ThunderdomeTweet1

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NYT Parenting Columnist Tackles Marijuana Dilemma

RonLieberPicThe headline – “What to Do When Your Child Wants Marijuana Stocks” – at first almost seems like a gag. But on this 4/20-minus-three Thursday, New York Times parenting columnist Ron Lieber (pictured) is entirely serious:

Few mothers and fathers prepare themselves for a circumstance I’ve encountered twice in just the last month: What to do about a child who wants to buy stock in marijuana companies? Should the fact that we probably don’t want our children consuming the stuff mean that they shouldn’t try to make money off of it either?

Lieber offers three general directives for parents seeking to guide their progeny’s stock market picks. The reader comments to this one are definitely going to be worth watching; here’s some early reaction from mom Joanne:

I’d absolutely give my daughter supportive advice to invest in marijuana companies as I believe that it is time for the pox to be over regarding marijuana AND it is an enormous new business opportunity that will change the economics of our country. On the other hand, it’s most pharmaceutical companies that I would advise her against investing her money.

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Guardian Dudette Salutes Bill & Ted’s Excellent Anniversary

ShutterstockKeanuReevesSpiritAwards2014We love this kind of essay.

Guardian writer Hadley Freeman was a tweenager when Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure forever in 1989 altered the course of time-travel-movies history. Twenty-five years later, in a newspaper telescoped forward by its own paradigm-challenging male duo (Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden), she recalls how she was smitten from the start:

I first came across the movie in 1990, when my mother rented it for me after I announced to her that I was deeply in love with Keanu Reeves and so would probably marry him (it was the early 90s, when it was the law for every heterosexual female under 35 to be in love with Reeves.)

My mother was extremely supportive of my new relationship (my father, on the other hand, never quite mastered the pronunciation of my fiance’s first name), so when I informed her that a mere rental was an insufficient token of my new relationship, she bought the video for me for the commitment-sealing sum of £9.99. My little sister and I duly watched that tape to ribbons.

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15,000-Word, Seven-Part Las Vegas Sun Series Wins Dart Award

The Las Vegas Sun is in very good company. The newspaper, as part of Columbia University’s latest Dart Awards, which recognize exemplary reporting on the effects of violence, crime, disaster and other traumatic events, is one of two 2014 winners, alongside Ira GlassThis American Life. The awards will be presented May 8.

LasVegasSunGraceThroughGrief

The editorial series that won the Sun its prize is heartbreaking. Titled “Grace Through Grief,” it details the aftermath of a home invasion suffered by the Martinez family, during which mom and daughter were killed, and dad was gravely injured:

Judges called “Grace Through Grief” a “deeply reported and inspiring portrayal of a family in the aftermath of horror.” They called Jackie Valley’s prose “exceptional” and Leila Navidi’s photographs “powerful” and “intimate without being disruptive.” They praised the series’ “creative subversiveness,” going far beyond conventional crime reporting in “bringing the reader on a journey of faith, fatherhood, recovery and resilience.” Judges also recognized the “careful restraint” used in bringing forward the perspectives of Arturo Martinez’s young sons.

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Daniel Radcliffe Points Out Two Subtle Differences Between London and New York

USA Today theater and music critic Elysa Gardner, like many others recently, had the pleasure of catching up with multi-talented 24-year-old Daniel Radcliffe. He’s set to open his third Broadway play, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Sunday at the Cort Theatre.

Radcliffe tells Gardner he now feels very much at home in NYC and appreciates the subtle differences in social culture:

Radcliffe finds the overall vibe “more positive than in London.” The Brits “like to revel in our grumpiness a bit, and you’re not like that here…”

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Kate Upton: ‘Isn’t That Lovely Whenever Media Makes Up Something’

ShutterstockKateUptonSports Illustrated subscribers the world over can breathe a sigh of relief. Supermodel Kate Upton is not looking to get a breast reduction. We repeat; the news was WRONG.

Actually, more than wrong. The news was MADE UP. For shame on British tabloid The Sun on Sunday for putting these words in Upton’s mouth. And for glory on the Daily Mail for today setting the supermodel record straight:

Speaking in an interview on Australian radio station 2DayFM on Wednesday while promoting her new movie The Other Woman, the 21-year-old denied ever saying she wanted a breast reduction.

“I actually never said that,” Upton told hosts Dan and Maz. “If someone asked me this question and actually cared to hear what I have to say about my own personal body… I would say that I feel like all women feel like they don’t have life perfect…”

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