Daily journalism and monkey screech

Macaque photographed at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaI have a theory. Maybe some grad student will test this. My theory is that you can take a random story from a newspaper, and a random person from the community, put them together, and have about a 50 percent chance that the person won't understand it.

Turns out it's Google's fault, after all

Once upon a time, you couldn't find much of anything on the Internet.

Oh, there were a couple of ways to do it. Gopher tried to hook everything into a big menu tree that you could follow to the point of exhaustion. Mosaic's homepage was set to automatically open the National Center for Supercomputing Applications "what's new" document, which announced three, four, even five new websites a day. If you were smart, you bookmarked the good ones.

Should this be illegal?

My first job as an editor was at a weekly newspaper. My parents and I had pooled our funds (read: my college savings) and bought a couple of failing small-town newspapers. One of the things I did every week was scan other weeklies and dailies in the region and write a summary of their high-school sports coverage, citing and crediting each source, of course.

It was a different time. Back then (when I had long hair and a motorcycle), most of the publications I cited weren't generally available in my community. There were no computers. There was no Internet.

Starving for a newspaper fix? Let them eat Kindles

Dan Kennedy asks a reasonable question: Would it be possible to drop the print model entirely and shift the struggling Boston Globe to a reader-paid model delivered on a Kindle?

At the risk of seeming like a chronic naysayer, I have to point to some problems with the idea:

Warnings about the online-only path

Neil Thurman and Merja Myllylahti of City University in London have published a study "Taking the paper out of news" in the academic journal Journalism Studies, examining the case of Taloussanomat, a Finnish financial publication that responded to the economic failure of its print product by shifting to a Web-only, advertising-supported strategy.

So now you know, and via radio

All the recent grunting and saber-rattling about stopping those evil Internet sites from stealing content strikes me as bizarre. Who are these bad actors?

Global village or global panopticon?

Tampabay.com's shiny new Mug Shots gallery has sparked a debate: Is it the proper role of journalism to publicize everything?

In an email to several journalism-related lists, Nora Paul of the University of Minnesota declared: "I think it borders on journalistic malpractice! ... Journalism should be about putting important events in a community into context. This doesn't."

Don't underestimate the importance of small talk

The usual curmudgeonly complaint about online interaction is that it's banal: a bunch of bloggers (or Twitterers, or whatever) in pajamas (or whatever) blathering on about what they had for dinner (or whatever). But mark me down as one of those who's not bothered by occasionally reading a Tweet about something good to eat.

Notes from the unification

Perhaps there is a time and place for everything. The era of newspapers operating wholly separate online divisions clearly has ended, and the era of integrated newsrooms has begun. From that union we're all learning some things.