Archive for February, 2009

The Future of Newspapers
February 28, 2009

Via Golis, it looks like the New York Times is starting up a network of neighborhood-based New York blogs. And they’re serious about it–the editor in charge of this initiative says: “Our two pilot sites are staffed with full-time NYTimes reporters.” But it sounds like they’re looking to move into more of a freelance-based model once everything’s set up.

I’m intrigued. The Times is a lot better at this Internet stuff than a lot of newspapers, and it’s great to see them moving beyond the newsroom and trying their hand at some more decentralized reporting. The question is how effective these blogs will be at staying on top of everything happening in their backyards, and whether the Times will be able to find talent that will put in the work for freelance rates. I’m willing to bet that they answer to both is “yes,” and the Times might even find that their new blogging team is a great farm group for full-time reporters.

If this model is successful, as I think it will be, hopefully a lot of other papers covering large urban areas will follow suit. One of the most disturbing consequences of the decline of print has been the impact it’s had on local coverage, and models like this are the best suggestion I’ve heard for how to fill in the gap.


Tucker Carlson On the Future of Conservative Journamalisming
February 27, 2009

Depending on how numb you already are to the horrible carnival funhouse that is CPAC, the above video (via Friesendorf) is either kind of funny, kind of upsetting, or both. It’s kind of striking how the audience’s reaction is predicated entirely on NYT=bad!, FOX News=good!, and they’re unwilling to grapple with the argument that Carlson is making. I guess that’s why folks like Ann Coulter, who speak entirely in a dense, monotonous portmanteau of dog whistles, do so well with that crowd.

But to the substance of what Carlson says: I think he’s half-right here. The things that he’s wrong about are as follows:

Shameless Roadtrip Plugging
February 26, 2009

Did you notice that the Juan Way official site got a spiffy new redesign, courtesy of John? Did you notice the Help page is still there?

And did you know that our Facebook group is very close to 300 members, and you should join and invite all your friends?

Sorry, I have to do this stuff. Normal blogging resumes later.

Classic Kristol
February 26, 2009

So this very Kristolesque Bill Kristol quote has been making the rounds:

Perhaps — if they can find reasons to obstruct and delay. They should do their best not to permit Obama to rush his agenda through this year. They can’t allow Obama to make of 2009 what Franklin Roosevelt made of 1933 or Johnson of 1965. Slow down the policy train. Insist on a real and lengthy debate. Conservatives can’t win politically right now. But they can raise doubts, they can point out other issues that we can’t ignore (especially in national security and foreign policy), they can pick other fights — and they can try in any way possible to break Obama’s momentum. Only if this happens will conservatives be able to get a hearing for their (compelling, in my view) arguments against big-government, liberal-nanny-state social engineering — and for their preferred alternatives.

What really gets me about it is the “find reasons to obstruct and delay” part. In other words, create a political fight where there’s no sane reason to disagree with what the White House is doing. It’s a slightly more urbane way of saying the same thing that Rush Limbaugh keeps repeating; that the GOP’s best hope is to make Obama fail no matter what the consequences for the country.

And of course, that’s basically what the Republicans have been attempting. How’s that been working out so far?

John Kerry Brings the Funny
February 26, 2009

Despite his reputation as a humorless plank of wood, I actually enjoyed this interview quite a bit. I guess no longer running for president but still having your party control the White House and the Senate loosens a guy up. Although he makes too many half-joking references to his failed candidacy for me not to think that still stings a little bit.

Also, my former roommate pointed this part out:

Q: Think of one of your least favorite people in Washington and, without naming names, describe what makes that person so unappealing.

A: Disloyalty is the trait that burns me up.

That sounds an awful lot like a dig at you-know-who.

The Verdict
February 26, 2009

Looks like the TBNYU! kids will be getting off relatively light. Good.

I don’t think there’s been any word yet on proposed fiscal accountability committee, but that’s probably going to be the next fight in the ongoing campaign for budget disclosure. Let’s see if we can make that happen within legal means this time around.

links for 2009-02-25
February 26, 2009

Fair Hearings for the TBNYU! Kids
February 25, 2009

This sounds right to me. Just because I think that the occupation was one of the stupidest ideas an NYU student has ever had, doesn’t mean that the people involved don’t at least deserve fair hearings. And if it gets them a lighter sentence than expulsion while still serving as a deterrent for future illegal nonsense, so much the better.

This part of the petition is particularly interesting:

The Administration’s statement on the Kimmel occupation focused only on student misconduct, thereby failing to acknowledge that the protest took place in response to the Administration’s conduct of university business. We therefore call on the Administration to address the serious policy issues that the protest has now raised, by working with the faculty, students, and staff to establish a university-wide fiscal accountability committee. In these hard times, candor and transparency are essential, if NYU’s economic policies are not to cause more friction, misunderstanding, and civil disobedience.

Sounds good to me. And although I’m sure TBNYU! will declare victory if the administration agrees to this, it’s worth noting that this is the sort of idea those tenured professors probably would have signed a petition in favor of without all of the stupid antics in Kimmel.

Fun Alternatives to Illegally Occupying Buildings
February 25, 2009

Just a thought: What has Take Back NYU! done to shore up support among faculty? If I were running a campaign in favor of budget disclosure, it seems to me that one of the first things I would do is get as many tenured professors as I possibly could to sign a letter in favor of it, and then send a press release highlighting the letter to all the local papers. That would be the beginning of a campaign, not the end, but it would probably get you a lot farther than a 40-hour freak-in in the school cafeteria.

My understanding is that the final word on what’s going to happen to the occupiers is to come later today. Expulsion seems sort of likely, and I’m not sure that would be so poorly received by the rest of the student body. The WSN poll shows 2/3rds against expulsion, while the NYU Local poll shows 70% for, and it’s hard to tell which one to put more credence in; the NYU Local’s is an online poll, but the WSN one has a tiny sample size.

If you add all of the respondents from both polls together, though, you get 65% for expulsion, which is kind of funny. To borrow one ringleader’s favorite phrase, it appears that the student body of NYU “formed a consensus,” and that consensus is that TBNYU is terrible.

I’m actually opposed to expulsion, though god knows those kids were asking for it. But when dealing coke to other undergrads just gets you kicked out of housing, expulsion for a well-meaning but staggeringly stupid enterprise like this seems pretty harsh. But with little certainty that the mere threat of future expulsions will deter TBNYU from pulling something like this again, NYU might not have a choice.

links for 2009-02-24
February 25, 2009

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