Kamala Harris likes a cold soy latte

“I grew up going to a black Baptist Church and a Hindu temple,” Harris recalled as she sipped an iced soy latte at a Berkeley coffee house.

(From a Los Angeles Times profile of California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is running for the U.S. Senate)

It might be appropriate to mention her drink if she knocked back a shot of Kentucky moonshine during the interview, but that’s about it.


Stoopid science, with baby-talk

Scientists might be a step – a teeny tiny step – closer to developing that Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak of your dreams. Researchers at UC Berkeley have created a thin metamaterial that can conform to irregularly shaped objects and render them invisible in certain wavelengths of light.

(Los Angeles Times)


I hate the first person

On Monday, Laura Bennett’s Slate piece on the boom of first-person essay writing sparked a fierce online debate between editors and writers: how can one best work between the vulnerability of a writer and the traffic goal of an editor?

What’s the line between publishing someone’s personal experience and exploitation?


Faint, if anything.

First-person essays have become the easiest way for editors to stake out some small corner of a news story and assert an on-the-ground primacy without paying for reporting.


As for Chenier, the original ending of her essay was: “What I want to say about all the women out there who have ever been victimized is you are beautiful and it’s not your fault.” Tolentino tweaked it in the edit to read, “To the victims of their abuse, I want to say what I have finally been able to understand myself: that my attraction, and what it led to, was not my fault.”


That’s no tweak, it’s a rewrite.


Jacks of all trades

Along with traditional reporters and editors, The Wall Street Journal’s nearly two-year-old audience engagement team fueled the outlet’s coverage of the slayings. The team simultaneously verified information, promoted Journal articles and social media posts on the killings, managed reader comments, and shuffled online feedback and analytics to their colleagues. (Columbia Journalism Review)

If you’re verifying information, you’re too busy to promote articles and social media posts, manage reader comments, and shuffle online “feedback” and “analytics” to colleagues. And, if you’re already doing all that stuff, you’re too busy to verify information.

“The audience team is just like your shoe-leather reporters,” says Carla Zanoni, head of emerging media and audience development, “in that they feel like this is what they’ve been training for.”

Whatever that means.


Nothing to see here

There are few must-watch events anymore in television news.

Atlanta-based CNN has one in Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate ….

(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

If you must, you can read about it in your newspaper or favorite news website.


Crisis on the General Desk

Migrants, refugees or both?



Editor! Stat!

It is your tenth birthday. You invite close friends to your party, plus a few other kids from your class—the popular ones, good to have on your side, and maybe a couple of smart ones, who know all the answers to the questions. Your mother has an idea: “Invite Jerry.” You scoff at the thought. Jerry is the outlier—the class grouch, making trouble but never headway. Nobody hates him, but you all roll your eyes whenever he raises his hand, because you know what’s coming next. Plus, Jerry is no fun. He actually likes school. For just those reasons, however, your mom thinks you should include him; it will loosen the guest-list, shake things up a little. So, with a sigh, you agree.

Jerry comes to the party. Everyone laughs when he arrives—dressed like a dork, of course, because he is a dork. Still, he hangs around, and talks. And then something strange happens. The other kids begin to listen to Jerry. They sidle toward him, and cluster round. He seems different from everyone else; that used to be a liability, but now it makes him stand out from the crowd. It even makes him—get this—a little bit cool. And so it is that, as the party ends, everybody leaves with Jerry, hanging on his every word. He has already blown out the candles on your cake, taken a large slice for himself, and handed round the rest. He has opened your presents. He has utterly won over your mother, who finds him “so real” compared with the rest of your pals. Today, in short, feels like his birthday, not yours. Everybody loves Jerry.

All of which is one way of describing the events that have overtaken the Labour Party in Great Britain over the past four months—events that culminated, Saturday, in the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the party.

(New Yorker)

It may be one way, but it’s an excruciatingly dreadful way.



Short memory

Because the surprise attacks were unfolding, in that innocent age, faster than they could arm war planes, Penney and her commanding officer went up to fly their jets straight into a Boeing 757.

(Washington Post)

While were at it:

Penney, now a major but still a petite blonde with a Colgate grin, is no longer a combat flier.

(Note: This story is 5 years old, but is posted on social media today.)



Don’t ask us





Yeah. What goes here, anyhow? (Los Angeles Times)


Yes. That one.

On a continent still haunted by World War II, ghostly – and ghastly – shadows of that convulsive conflict have been impossible to avoid as Europe grapples with its biggest refugee crisis since the war ended 70 years ago.

(Los Angeles Times)



The alpha and the omega o’ the day

Let’s be real: A lot of us don’t know what we’re going to do in the future.  I mean, I know I’m going to be a copy editor, or a graphic designer or… Crap.

(Daily Nebraskan)


Off the top

     Bad news, big sisters: A new study finds that firstborn girls are more likely to be overweight or obese than their second-born sisters.

(Los Angeles Times)


First, fast and wrong



Stock art ‘achievement’ of the weekend

From the Philadelphia Inquirer.



Wooden ships, iron men and cub reporters

What do a food writer at the Los Angeles Times, a senior writer for the Wall Street Journal based in London, and a features and enterprise sports writer for the Washington Post   have in common?

Aside from dream jobs, they started their careers in metro newsrooms around the time they received their driver’s licenses. “I relied on rides from (newspaper) friends, the city bus system and a pair of roller blades to get to and from the newsroom,” said Rick Maese of the Washington Post.

Biographies are filled with stories of famous people whose career path was struck by an early childhood experience (think of George Washington and the cherry tree). Newsrooms seem to be filled with people who knew in adolescence that this business was in their bones.

Like so many traditions of the business that have died in the bonfire of expense cuts over the past decade, we’ve lost that “take a chance on this kid” mentality that served us so well.

(Editor & Publisher)

Okay, but next time try harder on finding stories of early childhood experiences.


This and that

Since the days when most major cities supported multiple newspapers, the news media has long been subject to groupthink, and prone to search for sensation. But as more readers move toward online social networks, and as publishers desperately seek scale to bring in revenue, many have deplored a race toward repetitive, trivial journalism, so noisy that it drowns out more considered work.

(New York Times)

Or to put it another way: Journalism, which since Tut’s time has tried to be exciting, continues to try to be exciting, even if electrons have displaced stone chisels.



Help wanted

Job of the day: The New Times is looking for a arts editor. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs)


Knowledge of English helpful but not required.



Because I felt like it, that’s why

An idyllic city setting was marred by a horrific assault early Tuesday when a woman was raped near the Central Park Boathouse, police said.

The unidentified 22-year-old victim was walking through the iconic park near E. 74th St. about 3 a.m. with her attacker when the suspect forced himself on her, cops were told.

When the rape was over, the suspect, described as a Hispanic man in his 20s or 30s, escorted the woman out of the park but doubled back to get a cellphone he left behind, officials said.

The woman bolted, flagged down a cab and was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital for treatment, cops said.

The woman identified her attacker, said he was an acquaintance, but wouldn’t say more, officials said.

She was being questioned by Manhattan Special Victims Unit detectives Tuesday morning. The rapist remained at large.

This is the second rape to be reported in Central Park this year, according to NYPD statistics. Overall crime in the park had jumped by 26% as of Sunday, thanks mostly to a spike in robberies.

(New York Daily News)

(“Thanks” to?)


Those were the days

logo-test-biz-copy-editorsThis still stands as the best lede of the past 30 years:

NEW YORK — The stock market crashed yesterday.

(Wall Street Journal)




Had to get black in in there.

The dramatic trial of a Colorado neuroscience student who swathed himself in black body armor and unleashed a hail of fatal gunfire into a crowded midnight movie showing ended Friday when a jury spared the life of James E. Holmes, sentencing him to life in prison without possibility of parole.

(Los Angeles Times)