Tag Archives: journalism




Hello again, world.

Obviously I haven’t been keeping up with the site, but look, that’s changing — and so is the site itself. This “blank canvas” theme is just a placeholder for the time being (though I do appreciate its spareness). Expect something to happen, at some point. New content will be flowing regularly, though.

So, the big news: in February, I became the new Managing/Online Editor for Creative Loafing, the Tampa Bay alt-weekly newspaper where I spent five-plus years as a staffer and have been contributing more or less continually for more than a decade. My friend and former co-worker Joe Bardi jumped ship for another gig, and Editor In Chief David Warner (another former co-worker; actually, my old boss) invited me to fill the slot.

I’m starting to find my groove, and really enjoying collaborating with old and new co-conspirators. It’s put the current book project back a bit, but not too badly, and it’s worth it to have a full-time spot that I can honestly say excites me.

OK, more later.

LAWBI Wins AAN Award for Best Individual Blog

So, yeah, I won.

I honestly didn’t think LAWBI had a shot, as this isn’t exactly the usual lefty call-for-revolution sort of thing, so I’m truly surprised, and very, very stoked. I won a few awards over the course of my career as a full-time, aherm *cough* “journalist,” and while it pleased me, I never really thought of them as a big deal. But this is different, because it comes directly from the alt-weekly community–a group, a network and an idea that’s near and dear to my heart.

Alt-weeklies are always the scrappy punk-rock underdog publications in any community, the papers that cover the cool bands and feature writers for whom style and passion are every bit as important as content. They were the blogs before there were blogs, with the important distinction that you had to know a bit about your subject and be able to write worth a shit to get published. The day a decade ago when I was offered a full-time position at Creative Loafing (then Weekly Planet) remains one of the proudest of my life thus far, and I hope the alt-weeklies keep printing, tilting at various political windmills and generally being awesome for a long, long time to come.

Bay News 9 Bottlenecking Links Through Their Own Site?

I watch Bay News 9 quite a bit, while I’m eating lunch or just letting it cycle in the background while I’m writing. Bay News 9 is a 24-hour regional news channel here in West Central Florida only available to subscribers of Bright House Networks cable TV. It’s a pretty informative mix of national and (more importantly) local news–yeah, it tends to beat you over the head with the same stories if you watch for more than an hour at a time, but sometimes that seems like a fair trade-off for the coverage and feel of a news outlet that seems to actually have roots in the community.

I had it on tonight while laptopping casually away when a really interesting Black History Month piece came on about The Weekly Challenger, a St. Pete-based African-American newspaper founded by community activist Cleveland Johnson in 1967 that is still produced today. It was a good segment, one of those meaningful bits that lends substance to the spectrum of “soft news,”–a real and worthy feature.

What bothered me about it, though, was the fact that instead of just telling viewers that The Weekly Challenger‘s website address was the name of the paper with a freakin’ dot-com added to the end of it, the anchor instructed folks to go to Bay News 9’s website, where they could find a link to the periodical’s website. This struck me as pretty tacky–“let’s make every viewer interested in learning more about this contribute to our own hits, as a sort of tip for turning them on to the information.” [Quotes mine.]

It only took about a minute of navigating Bay News 9’s site to find the link, but still. I could understand it if we were talking about a more difficult address to recite or remember, BUT IT’S THE NAME OF THE PAPER WITH A FREAKIN’ DOT-COM ADDED TO THE END OF IT.

My agreement with Tampa weekly Creative Loafing doesn’t specify that I can’t post the columns I write for them here in their entirety. It probably would, if I didn’t have the history and relationship with the newspaper that I do–but it wouldn’t state that I couldn’t tweet to a peripheral link here rather than directly to their own site, to give my own site hits.

In other words, I could make everybody who follows my Twitter feed, or Digg or Reddit or whatever, come here first to link to stuff I write for other people, but I don’t, because it’s disrespectful–disrespectful of your time, disrespectful of the fact that the information is more important than where it comes from. It’s a chintzy little bullshit way to increase visits to a website by people who can make up their own minds from the story whether or not they want to read more of my shit.

I’ll be paying more attention to how often Bay News 9 attempts to send viewers to their own site rather than directly to the material being covered in the future.