Archive for the ‘Mainstream Media’ Category

Breasts, Docs and Perceived Reality

November 17th, 2009


Confusing Doctors Again

Not much funny about breast cancer, eh? However, the medical community is giving us a big yuk on mammogram schedules.

Like the ending of G.I. Joe cartoons, the moral of the episode invariably included, “And now we know…and knowing is half the battle.” In this case, the U.S. Preventive Health Task Force announced new guidelines for routine breast-cancer screenings. Fundamentally, instead of annual mammograms from 40, the new rule would be every other year from 50.

Alas for the medical community, this is only the latest care that exposes its frailty, its reliance on fungible vetting for diagnosis and care. Truth be told, most doctors have as much to do with medical science as pop journalists do. They wave the current perceived wisdom, call, “Aha!,” and congratulate themselves.

So in the media including talk shows, they find women to say this is putting their lives at risk. They find doctors who say they are confused. They find researchers who were behind the previous perceived wisdom implying that a massive die-off of U.S. women will follow. A few alarmists also say this is all insurance companies need to deny annual breast-cancer screens to women who want them anyway.

The joke here is that this is common, if less dramatic and less discussed, in the profession. With a herd instinct, nearly all non-specialist doctors have to rely on the best guesses from the most accepted reports and studies. That means they end up continually circling back pretending that each change of diagnostic or treatment protocol is a breakthrough and G.I. Joe style new knowledge.

I became aware of this first when I was in elementary school. My mother ran Red Cross chapter, putting her in charge of and teaching first aid, home nursing and such, with the accompanying textbooks. I remember her alternately laughing and complaining when the national organization revised those manuals every year or even less as the American Medical Association changed its mind.

One trigger was burn treatment. It was cover or leave exposed to air and use gooky medicine or let it form a scab on its own. Back and forth it went with one major reputable study after another.

With the imprecision of care and the reality that most primary care physicians — PCPs or what we used to call general practitioners or family practitioners (GPs or FPs) — are not particularly good diagnosticians. They reply on plugging symptoms into their experience or searching software or a book for the most likely fit. In all likelihood, they end up treating symptoms with drugs and never diagnose anything. That means 1) the body cures itself, 2) symptom relief is coincident with improvement, or 3) yet another patient on a long-term regimen of a drug which may or may not address the cause of the complaint.

We really can’t fairly call that medical science. Yet, we do cut docs some slack here. Much of the time they are pretty much the best health gamble around. We know they are not likely to discover or cure underlying causes, particularly of chronic problems. We also know that the system requires them to move a lot of patients through, so that they really don’t have time to muse or deeply investigate or even research beyond reading current medical journals. They aren’t scientists.

Moreover, they are easily misled by extrapolations from the research on which they rely. An obvious example is the silly reliance on body mass index (BMI) for individuals. While useful as a broad-brush measurement for big groups, it is often invalid per patient. Thin looking folk with little muscular development may have fine BMI but have organs swimming in their fat. Athletes with well developed muscles are often obese or overweight by BMI while being very healthy and having a great body fat level, much more meaningful than BMI.

It is easy to see how PCPs can fall back on the lazy solution of BMI though. Plug in a height and weight and there’s a number for comparison. Doctors worthy of their oaths would look at and palpate patients. They would take the same two measurements, but put them into a hand-held body-fat analyzer instead (those are very accurate and inexpensive at $25 to $50). Then nutrition and exercise recommendations would be meaningful. Oops, let’s not forget that most PCPs know little about diet or exercise.

So we are stuck with a system that hurries docs along, encouraging them to be reliant on easy ways out for diagnosis and treatment. We end up with increasingly unrealistic guidelines in many areas, while the population gets widely wide and heavy. Those guidelines have not resulted in greater longevity either, we struggle around 17th in the world, despite our disproportionate health-care cost and use of prescription drugs.

Treat Cause or Symptom?

A real solution would be a hard one, finding and treating underlying causes for conditions. As our system is now, that would happen only if considerable research was done asking such questions as is the mid-term and long-term outcome for patients better with treating symptoms pharmaceutically or changing the underlying cause of their problems. In a country where nearly all medical research is funded directly or secondarily by drug companies, you can imagine how likely it will be for such massive studies to occur.

In many areas, the research that our docs rely on seems misused as well. Consider for one, the famous Framingham Heart Study. It is a massive, on-going and very useful project, even though it has the limit of covering only men, only in a age range, and with rebutted results in the British Medical Journal among other places. Yet is is a hook to hang a medical hat on and as such used for various guidelines.

One such is that acceptable blood pressure has dropped from 140 to 130 to 120 to 115 upper number, for example. One effect is from the study that the recommendation is that over 90% of men should be on anti-hypertensive drugs by 60.

You needn’t be the worst cynic around to question the relationship between drug companies, doctors and that guideline. Think in contrast if PCPs worked with patients to reduce body fat, up potassium intake, reduce stress and such. would the patient be better off than a remaining lifetime of one or more drugs?

What would G.I. Joe say? Maybe, “Well, we’ll never know and not knowing leaves us unprepared for the battle.”

Cross-post note: I have other medical rants here. This one will also appear at Marry in Massachusetts.

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May 2nd, 2009

Rely on projected PowerPoint or even worse embedded video and you have a good chance of looking like a bozo. I was front row and snorting several times in two places over the past two days as hopeful presenters were reduced to squeezing their big red noses.

The amusing aspect in both cases is that the folk standing up were fairly bright. They had some decent content. They were just defeated by the technologies. Mac or PC made no difference, nor did PowerPoint  or video.

Otherwise professional speakers illustrated what presentation god Edward Tufte described in a 2003 piece, PowerPoint is Evil, in Wired:

At a minimum, a presentation format should do no harm. Yet the PowerPoint style routinely disrupts, dominates, and trivializes content. Thus PowerPoint presentations too often resemble a school play -very loud, very slow, and very simple.

Sure, it’s easy to find I-hate-PowerPoint sites and I have my own aversion to people reading slides jammed with words when the audience has long since finished digesting the content. Yet, that was not the most obvious difficulty at both the Investigative Reporting/Freedom of Information workshop yesterday and the Slow Food Boston presentation today.

Some very nice people with some worthy information taxed the audiences severely. They had not tested their shows, either software or hardware in the setting. As happens all too often, video, sound or computer connections failed. The reliance on technology was yet again misplaced. It was compounded by the addition of the newish media video, sound and online material.

In the auditorium at the Boston Globe,  the workshop folk were fairly comical in their serial failures. The room has all the warmth and intimacy of a college survey-course class with a deep well up front for the professor. The telescoped focus on the speakers made the delays and blunder all the more obvious and intense.

Hot-shot Salon correspondent Mark Benjamin was one. He doesn’t need self-esteem classes, so he probably doesn’t think there was any problem, much less that anything was his fault. The showpiece of his session on getting information from the military was a grainy and often dark video shot with a helmet camera in combat. That was understandably of poor quality.

Yet he and some troubleshooters had the devil of a time getting the sound to play. The audio was even more important than the visuals.

Fumbling more were Matt Kauffman (Hartford Courant), Joe Bergantino (veteran TV news guy and now at Boston U.),  and Judy Rakowsky (free-lance after 14 years at the Globe). There were videos that wouldn’t start or those that started with no sound or that ran with one of two sound tracks audible or ran at ear-bleed volume. There were the wrong websites. There was the inability to use hotlinks in Word.

It was a technology clown car.

The delays piled up…10…20…30 minutes. The audience squirmed, giggled, and occasionally commiserated. Too many of us have given an off-course presentation and we’ve all attended them.

Then today at the West Roxbury library, a lone Slow Food lady, events volunteer  Nicole Nacamuli was caught. She’s nice. The library staff are nice. Together, they just couldn’t get their projector and her PC to put the signal and PowerPoint on the screen.

As at the workshop,  the audience watched as otherwise competent people bumbled and failed. After much delay, she admitted she had only yet another PowerPoint show. She had notes and hit the podium to do it the old fashioned way.

So, as I frequently ask my sons, what can we learn from this?

Technology Slavery

Most obvious is that hardware and software have a lot of ways to fail. The projector can fail. It’s $200 lamp can blow with no handy replacement. Your room or building can lose power. Your laptop drive can crash.

Software can be more insidious. Particularly if you’ve incorporated video with sound or count on accessing an online server, there are many ways for failure and only one for flawless presentation. Working well on your desk with built-in speakers is not the same at in a big room with someone else’s projector and sound hardware.

The laptops and projectors and sound systems are almost ubiquitous. We like to think they just work and keep on working. Yet, think back to how many times you’ve been in a room when something went wrong.

So, we can learn not to use the technologies unless they really add to the presentation of the content. We can learn to have an alternate way of delivering the show, as the Slow Food woman did. Perhaps most basic, we can learn to be there in advance and test our laptop and show with the visual and audio system in the room.

Eyes AND Ears

My PowerPoint and other presentation rants include, “Do not read your slides!” If the only thing you can do is recite your bullet points verbatim, give ’em a handout and don’t bore them. You can be pretty sure they can all read on their own.

At the FOI workshop, too many speakers relied on squint-making slides with lists of URLs or other resources. Those belong online or in a handout.

After being in too many presentations, I found the memorable ones never, ever use crowded slides. Instead, they put ideas up in a few words or a graphic. Then they use the slide to open the glorious box of related ideas and facts. Oral is the operative word.

On the other end, Tufte‘s best work can present elaborate and analytic material brilliantly, sometimes even with presentation software. Most of have never had his resources, much less his keen design understanding. We simply can’t wow with brilliance.

What we can do is talk to the slides.  A graphic or phrase on a slide will give the audience something to watch will you spin your magic web of words, data and concepts. They’ll love you for it, particularly if you make the real presentation available online or on paper.

Who’s Good Looking?!

September 3rd, 2008

Right down there with the shallowest of defects is goofing on someone’s physical flaws. Coming up!

First note that I’m not unobservant about myself. I have abnormally large shoulders and chest, with bones like a bison maybe. Numerous times, particularly in high school, other guys drew those to my attention and not too kindly. One football player insisted that I was always inflating my chest and sucking in my gut to look bigger. Others asked if family members were built like that. My sports were first wrestling and then swimming. Neither, especially the latter, did anything to hide my upper body.

That acknowledged, let’s get down on Cindy McCain and body image.

Pix tricks: Click on a thumbnail for a larger view. This opens in the same window, so use your browser’s back button or command to return.

Following a Vogue photo feature this year, many have made much (particularly women) of her saying she wears a size zero jeans. That brings up it own issues:caroljohn.jpg

  1. Sizes vary from manufacturer and store. When you can find a size 8, it is much bigger in a store that sells to wealthy women. They don’t mind such pretense.
  2. Size zero means no butt to speak of. That suggests either an extreme ectomorphic somatotype or the lack of hormones to produce such secondary sexual characteristics as breasts and hips.
  3. The myth and social meme that one can’t be too thin is flat (so to write) wrong. Nancy Reagan, whom many women said they admired for her build, has long suffered from anemia. She’s thin more by chemical imbalance than choice.
  4. The destructive and anti-feminist marketing of women as lithe, even boy-like objects doesn’t help them and makes me wonder about men who would seek them.
  5. John McCain left one thin wife, a swimwear model in the 1960s, for his current one. He returned from imprisonment in Vietnam to find Carol (shown with him in good times) had been in an extreme car wreck. After numerous operations, she was chubby and four inches shorter. Forget that he was also on crutches, couldn’t raise his arms, and was a mental mess. He saw her and was shortly out of there — for another scrawny model type.

cmlong.jpgA media manipulated meme is that squeeze (but don’t crush) number two, Cindy, is gorgeous. We can set aside as reasonable disagreements of taste that some people, men and women, like to look at undeveloped and emaciated looking women. I’m not in that camp, obviously.

However, as someone with his own physical anomalies, I find myself reveling in Cindy’s startlingly obvious major defect. Her neck just screams for attention, and not of a good type.

A few giraffe-necked or swan-necked women trade on the trait as elegant and graceful. Cindy knows better. Consider her multiplicity of pretty successful distractions and cover-ups as below.
Not every ploy is a winner though. Beads, even huge ones, don’t necessarily hide or distract. Low-cut or open tops down to her undersized attributes and no pecs don’t either. She’s best when she turns to turtlenecks.cmlevy.jpg

Yesterday’s Daily Show even had brief fun with Cindy’s cervical tricks at the end of this clip. Jon said that in response to Hurricane Gustav, Cindy has brought “…her very own neck levies. Nothing’s getting past these bad boys!”

So, we can praise Cindy for sparing us the overt disclosure of freakish anatomy. She clearly is aware of the problem and does what she can.

It remains amusing though that the media seem so intent on portraying her as highly attractive, even beautiful. She does carry the trappings — clothes, makeup, hair color, jewelery — for the conventional checklist. On the other hand…

I’m not all politics and religion.

Globe Squelches Biz Smarts

June 25th, 2008

The birthday box from New Mexico arrived yesterday, including a sheaf of Corporate Curmudgeon columns. Like scones popping with raisins, those clips brim with wit and business savvy — stuff to amuse and stuff you can use.

Cross-Posting: This appears at Marry in Massachusetts too.

The Boston Globe decided you don’t need those. Instead, they run their tired set of cliché mongers and shameless local boosters. Along with the other major daily, that paper is desperate for black ink. In that effort, it is dropping the good stuff and buying out the good writers. We get the junk food but not the sustaining goodies.

Dale would fit in with the edict from Inc. Magazine founder Bernie Goldhirsh. He was brilliant, but a befuddled character, sometimes pressed to translate his instincts into useful words. When I worked there, he used to tell our all-hands meetings things like, “I want an MBA education wrapped in the cover of my monthly magazine.” Unlike Globe columnists who tell you how to scold a coworker who uses too much bad cologne or touting local companies, Dale’s weekly piece is a concise, often amusing and very readable business-school lecture.

Tepid Disclaimer: I apparently was instrumental in getting the Globe to rent Dale’s work, with a one-person email, letter and telephone campaign. Afterward, he sent me a free copy of his The Laughing Warriors book. You’ll have to buy your own.

We had access to his work from January 2006 through this April. The business editors (Caleb Solomon to Shirley Leung about a year ago) apparently use the failure-prone network-TV trick of shifting Dale’s columns. By moving him to the new Sunday classified circular (pretending to be a business supplement), they effectively buried the column out of sight. I suppose, like broadcast bozos, they gambled that sacrificing a popular feature would boost ad readership elsewhere. Certainly too as business sorts they should know that the tens of dollars a week for a great column is a ton more effective than paying a staff columnist, a boring, predictable staff columnist.

You have surely noticed the Globe similarly flounders with its Sidekick and other special sections. Honk. Wrong. When something continually doesn’t work, stop doing it!

I’m likely one of the few in our burgh who gets these columns. They appear in both major New Mexico dailies in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. My sister clips and sends them. Many end up in the hands of friends who likewise don’t care for the local pap but do like solid brain food.

If you were a regular reader wonder what happened, you might address a note to the business editor over there, Shirely Leung. I get my Dauten fix on the side. How about you?

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Rolling with an Idiot Grin

June 16th, 2008

A current meme of MSM and blogs has to do with things bicycling. A necessary angle to a gas-crisis story is more people on bikes. More cyclists give folk chances to vent about the effrontery of those who would share streets with drivers.

Meanwhile, I am at least temporarily giddy with bonhomie after a ride through JP/Roxbury/Chinatown/Financial District and home again. I promise that I have not been into a pile of Reader’s Digest.Jolly cycling

Instead, I’m back with the waves and grins of indeterminate sincerity.

I have been inspired by the hate notes to cyclists that I commented on recently. Isn’t it peculiar that so many folk in public fora would claim justification for plowing down cyclists with 3,000 to 4,000 motor vehicles — metal and plastic weaponry?

Instead, I’ll be biking with sappiness, hoping to disarm them. Eye contact, a wave, a grin and always respect is the mix. My devious hope is that motorists will think that here’s a cyclist who’s nice to them, so perhaps they’ll be likewise with a cyclist.

It seems to work when I drive. It’s not hard to tell when another Boston driver is threatening with a vehicle. It often mean too much speed and too little space from the back or to the side. The race to wait at the red traffic light is more than sport for many. I have been entering traffic with a wave of thanks and a smile for those who can see me. The assumption appears to be that I just know they were being nice and yielding to me. Inside, I suspect that they had no such intentions, but the smile and wave just may make them think that being nice is, well, nice.

It can vary a bit on a bike. Some drivers have the electric-shock look. They seem to look at me on the bike the way one watches a wild animal on a forest path. The drivers may race into the intersection over the crosswalk, only to stop at the last instant, wary of what this crazy cyclist might do.

They are also ripe for a wave and a smile. They too likely had only one thought, how quickly can they get into traffic. Yet, pretending they were being safe and considerate is harmless theater. It might just work for the next cyclist.

I have been thinking of this on my longer rides, particularly on weekends. In some of those same newspaper and blog comment sets about cycling there is the occasional musing about the decreasing camaraderie of fellow spinners.

It is certainly true that even a decade ago, cyclists used to nod to, wave at, and even call out to other bike riders. Now that’s rare. The Spandex crowd of both genders and a wide age range seem a sullen bunch in the main.

I’m waving and nodding to them too.

Bloggers as Reporters #3

October 26th, 2007

You may have noticed the increasing proliferation of narrative articles in big and little daily newspapers, and even weeklies. Rather than just the facts, Ma’am reportage we see real stories. There are colorful images, lots of detail on the people, scenes and objects related to the article. The good guys, and the bad guys too, get verbal portraits to tell by showing and entertain us as well as inform us.

At last weekend’s Nieman Foundation Making the Most of Your Local Advantage seminar, two sessions addressed aspects of this. I had a conflict with the St. Petersburg Times’ Lane DeGregory’s Ordinary people, extraordinary profiles. However, I did get to her co-worker Ben Montgomery’s Writing the short narrative on a deadline.

He had good stuff for bloggers as well as weekly reporters. Many of us bloggers don’t have time for a lot of reporting and many don’t have experience at it. We can be shy about intruding and interviewing. Montgomery is young but has gotten over any of that he felt.

He has quickly adjusted to being a pro at what he needs to do to educe and observe enough and well enough to create that narrative from what most people would miss or forget. He chock full of tricks and techniques.

Reporter’s notebookThe notebook. His slim reporter’s notebook is more of a tool for him than for most of his peers. Montgomery leaves it in the back pocket of his jeans or in his jacket when he starts talking to a source, which avoids seeming pushy or in too much of a hurry. Then when he hears a remark he’s sure he’ll quote, he whips the notebook out, says, “That’s great. I’d like to use that,” and puts the notebook back. He says that often the source becomes increasingly eager to say something good to make him pull out the notebook again.

Across the table. Montgomery says he never eats with a source. He eats before he goes. He then buys the meal, but keeps his hands free, his mind focused and his mouth filled with words instead of food.

Pulling out a story. He aims to get the source to tell a story, not just sketch basic facts. He likes to ask questions that get them to connect to the situation as it happened. Moreover, he says a key to the narrative is to keep an eye out for any real emotion that the source shows and follow up on that. The hardest aspect would be if the source is hesitant and wants to avoid talking about something. There again, gentle questions asking for details on that subject often yield the best images and recollections.

Framing. Montgomery suggests visualizing the people and scene as you might be doing a video. Literally looking with that kind of cold eye can help frame the article and provide the best details and insights at writing time. He even suggests reporting the scene just as you would the source or other characters. Use observable detail to develop the city or the specific scene as though it is a character.

One in the audience asked how we can avoid a narrative becoming a formula. Montgomery didn’t see that as a problem. His pretty contagious enthusiasm suggests that so far, he is not in a writing rut.

I confess to a negative connotation from a previous professional life. Formulaic writing is often a sort of hand clasp between writer and reader. The readers know what to expect and have come to like it.

I think specifically of my time as a writer (senior editor on the biz card read) at Inc. Magazine. Its feature-article formula has been humming along for three decades. It works, but many of the writers got real tired of it.

The basics run like this:

  • Start with a sensory image, like the protagonist walking through a field of hops or sitting on a sailboat deck on a sweltering day. Image is all.
  • Jump into a business crisis. Ideally the protagonist was one of those who caused the problem.
  • Detail the situation and show how the company was on the edge of bankruptcy or having to sell to a competitor or such humiliation.
  • The protagonist (usually the company founder) explains how an analysis or insight produced the innovative solution.
  • Ta da! The protagonist saves the company and shares the technique with readers.

Inc. founder Bernie Goldhirsh used to tell us he wanted it to be an MBA inside the covers. By the end of the year, the reader will be smarter and more capable than at the beginning. That attitude from my boss’ boss’ boss was pervasive. We writers churn them out. It’s not difficult to tailor a non-fiction piece that way, but while the readers continue to love these entrepreneur-as-Superman tales, the formula can wear on the writers.

More from the seminar: Coverage of finding the time to do the meaningful stories is here. Also, more general talk about bloggers as reporters is here. Finally, a personal tale of white folk at Black papers is here.

Bloggers as Reporters

October 24th, 2007

newspaper reporter sketchHow amusing it remains that some TV talking heads, as well as newspaper reporters and even columnists, continue to denigrate bloggers. They often phrase that disingenuously as a blanket assertion that bloggers are not reporters.

To those of us who came out of journalism schools and newspapers, that is to laugh a bloggy laugh. They might ask more reasonable and more easily answered questions, such as:

  • Do some bloggers do reporting?
  • Are bloggers’ analyses and comments any less worthwhile or insightful than a paper’s columnists’?
  • Do blogs fill in the ever widening news and reporting gaps that ever penurious newspapers leave?

Dummy Down

Let’s get real, boys and girls. Consider the TV news anchors. We pretend that the teleprompter blurbs they read are real reporting. Yet, the last major TV anchor who reported was Roger Mudd, over 20 years ago. While he later ran Meet the Press and did essays on PBS, his ouster tells us too much about mainstream media. He was the rational replacement for Walter Cronkite, but one of his networks chose the much inferior Dan Rather and another the very LITE Tom Brokaw.

I occasionally wonder if Mudd didn’t have such a long, horse face and had been more of a pretty boy, if he would have gotten his deserved spots. MSM news coverage would be much better off if he had.

When I interviewed Mudd while he was still on CBS, he stood out from his TV peers. He said that he would never report a story on the air that he had not done the original work on or vetted personally. He was a reporter and from doing that had the insight the rest of TV news lacked then and lacks even more so now.


Blog bashing is an amusing sport played by MSM. Yet, some bloggers are ignoring that and doing their business. As a result, you likely get coverage of events and ideas from blogs that either never appear in MSM or received the lowest-common-denominator treatment days, weeks or months later.

One of the most encouraging trends in the future of news and analysis is the increasing number and quality of how-to sessions for bloggers.

You don’t have to think too deeply to notice that the criticisms of blogs has a very defensive tone in general. Considering how newspapers and broadcast have decreasing staff and thus fewer and fewer meaningful stories, it’s not surprising that they knock the much more numerous bloggers who do report and do analyze. Increasingly, some bloggers have the interest and focus that strapped MSM lack to notice and cover local events and trends.

Die Hyperlocal!

That written, I confess that hyperlocal gives me the willies. I suspect this trend will play itself out badly and quickly, even though its intentions are good enough. The concept is that the bloggers go down to the neighborhood, block or house level with coverage.

The effect too often is to present trivia as substance. It resembles a facebook page or the far too common ain’t-my-kitten-or-boyfriend-cute blog. That kind of self-indulgence gets real stale real fast, and consequently drives most viewers away quickly. The Internet makes hyperlocal coverage possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile.

Doing It Right

In contrast, consider community journalism. If you don’t know what that is, click over to H2Otown and see it done right. There, dedicated and savvy bloggers and other volunteers do play Jimmy Olsen. Some want to grow into paid reporters elsewhere. Others have a passion for reporting the unreported news, what they want to see in MSM and local weeklies but don’t.

You don’t have to go that far or treat blogging as a separate career that burns all your spare cycles. Yet, for those who didn’t come out of a reporting background, some smart groups have recognized that:

  • Community journalism and reportage on blogs can only help us news-hungry sorts.
  • Knowing how to go about it makes it much easier and more effective.
  • You can teach the little that folks need to know.

In the past couple of years, I attended several such sessions, as conferences or seminars. I’ll do more when they appear. Even with my background, it didn’t hurt me and I learned things. Moreover, ye olde networking is great at these. I spoke with and have contacts with professional and blogger sorts from the commonwealth, region and country.

In particular, I cite the Media Giraffe/New England News Forum conferences in Amherst and Lowell, and last weekend’s Nieman Foundation seminar in Cambridge. The former blended MSM and new media sorts such as bloggers. The latter was mostly weekly newspaper reporters and editors. (I may have been the only blogger there.)

There’s a far amount of coverage of the NENF conferences in this blog, including this. I posted one personal view of the Nieman one here, and shall do one or two more on the sessions last weekend.

Meanwhile, the key concepts for those new to news is that you can do this. You don’t have to quit your day job or even stop your regular blog posting. You can pick a topic, do a little research and interviewing, and voila! you can be Jimmy.

Cross-posting: This also appears on Marry in Massachusetts.