Tag Archives: media




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 #63: Gallinippers & The Scare Machine

Been a little lax (OK, a lot lax) about the blog lately, so I’m going to do some catching up here. This column originally appeared online on March 12.




If you had time between dragging your unmotivated ass into and out of work yesterday to check the news online, chances are you were deluged by semi-hysterical notices regarding Florida’s latest imminent environmental cataclysm. Mutant mosquitoes the size of a ninth grader’s fist are, even as we speak, staging en masse amid the swampy hidey-holes of the Everglades, just waiting for the weather to turn warm enough to inspire a statewide assault.

They’ve tasted the salty nectar of amateur python-hunter blood, and they’re hungry for more!

OK, so, gallinippers are not really the size of a ninth grader’s fist. They’re more the size of a quarter. But still — that’s like 20 times the size of a regular mosquito. A mosquito 20 times the size of a regular mosquito is, by all accounts, a Giant Monster Mosquito.

And they’re starved for the blood of our pets, our fauna, and ourselves! USA Todayquoted a MOSI employee as saying “it goes after people, and it bites,” and that being bitten (honest to God) “feels like you’re being stabbed.”

Yeah, all right — regular mosquitoes are pretty much starved for blood, and go after people, and bite. But … stabbing!

(About five other outlets also used this same quote, BTW, which appears to have originated with Orlando’s, ahem, Fox affiliate.)


Except less hyperbolic outlets note that this summer’s possible “swarm” of gallinippers could be similar to last year’s “swarm” of gallinippers, the one caused by floodwaters left in the wake of Tropical Storm Debby.

Remember? Remember last June’s catastrophic statewide gallinipper swarm? The one that carried off your burro in a cyclone of buzzing winged death after stripping the paint from your house and the skin from your mother-in-law? How could you forget?

Oh, yeah — it never happened.

Read the rest at Creative Loafing 

lawbi #5: Nobody Needs the News

In early January, New York media-and-culture pulsefinder Gawker.com ran a couple of posts on the subject of lazy journalism. Chief among today’s lackadaisical newswriters’ offenses, apparently, is “crowdsourcing,” or using social networks such as Twitter to solicit quotable anecdotes for softcore personal-interest features. You know, asking the world if anybody ever grabbed a bag off the airport luggage conveyor that looked like theirs but wasn’t, or if anybody’s dog ever barked the family out of a dead sleep when it smelled fungus turning to fire inside the walls, or whatever.

The message was that these journalists should be cultivating knowledgeable sources about important news, rather than begging the huddled masses for a ready-made story about someone who once made a crepe that looked a little like Roy Orbison.

And now there’s all this talk about Pulitzer Prize-winner Alex S. Jones’ book Losing The News. It’s about how, as the old-school news industry struggles both to participate in and compete with new media, fact-based watchdog journalism is being crowded out by gossip reporting, biased presentation, fluff, personality-driven delivery, thinly veiled advertorial and the kind of opinionated, attitude-laden superficiality represented by stuff like, well, this column, really.

Frankly, I don’t see the problem.

Read the rest at Creative Loafing