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Posts Tagged ‘Jack Shafer’

When Is A Shiv Not A Shiv? | Media Moves | More Yesterday’s News

The NYT ombud famously said Sunday that he understands why readers don’t like when the Times “slips a shiv” into other papers…it makes the Times look like bullies. But Slate’s Jack Shafer says shiv, shmiv….and other media news of the day, in handily digestible form!

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Write Jack Shafer’s Latest Bogus Trend Story For Him

Opportunity for one astute writer to nab a byline or is Jack Shafer just taking the week off? Whatever the reason, this week if you spot a trend story that relies on dicey data or weak anecdotes, e-mail it and a 2-3 paragraph critique of its “bogosity” to Shafer and you may see your story on

Yesterday’s story was about the growth of thrift stores in the bad economy.

We asked Shafer about his motivation for the week-long crowdsourcing experiment; we’ll update if he gets back to us.

The Office Romance Gets The Cold Shoulder

The office is not such a great place to meet a mate anymore, reports Spencer Morgan at BusinessWeek.

Writes Morgan:

The time-honored institution known as the office romance has survived threats like corporate no-fraternization policies, philandering chief executives, and David Letterman….Now there’s a new legal menace: scorned workers who claim that an office affair fostered an invidious work environment, even if they weren’t actually involved in the romance themselves. So-called third party or hostile work environment sexual harassment claims are difficult to prove but easy to allege, particularly by employees fearing for their jobs in a sluggish economy.

The article cites a few ambiguous surveys saying that quite a few people think workplace relationships are a bad idea, but we’re sure Jack Shafer would have something to say about those statistics.

However, let’s assume for a minute that office romance is declining, thanks to lawsuit-happy Americans. This might actually be a bad idea: management experts think that love at the water cooler can increase “engagement,” or a technical term for “feeling excited about coming in to work.” NPR, the Princeton Review, Pixar and Southwest even encourage in-house matchmaking, the article states.

Some companies are even asking employees to sign a “love contract,” the “office version of a prenup,” which is the employees promising that their love lives won’t interfere with work.

Geez, people. Why don’t you suck all the fun out of it?

WiFi Disappearing From Coffee Shops?

Computer and coffee“Coffeehouses have always attracted bookish deadbeats who stayed too long and bought too little,” writes Jessica Guynn of the LA Times. But with wifi and electrical outlets, for some owners, loafers are getting out of hand. They’re pulling the plug to make room for customers who buy more and linger less.

If this truly is a trend (and we’re not sure it won’t end up in Jack Shafer‘s weekly roundup) there are definite implications for freelancers, bloggers, and virtual media workers.

The coffee shop has long been a popular hangout for people like this because it’s more interesting than the library, you can bring in food, and it’s a million times cheaper than one of those (admittedly swank) coworking spaces in a loft somewhere. If free wifi goes the way of the dinosaurs as coffee shop owners try to improve business…well, we’ll all get a lot more work done, in the distraction-free environment of our homes (or Internetless cafes).

Or we’ll all spend more money at Starbucks, which recently announced it was making its wifi free for everyone.

Personally, we fall into the camp that says having someone sitting in the window with a laptop makes the place look busier. But if shops are turning away paying customers because the laptop users won’t leave, we do understand.

So far, nobody’s banned laptop use with the vigor of disconnecting wifi. Which means that enterprising souls can bring a cellular connection or piggyback off nearby signals. Which means that the culture of work and coffee may not be vanishing just yet.