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Here is the lead from the recent story in the New York Review of Books by Russell Baker: “The American press has the blues. Too many authorities have assured it that its days are numbered, too many good newspapers are in ruins. It has lost too much public respect. Courts that once treated it like…

Goodbye to Newspapers?

Here is the lead from the recent story in the New York Review of Books by Russell Baker: “The American press has the blues. Too many authorities have assured it that its days are numbered, too many good newspapers are in ruins. It has lost too much public respect. Courts that once treated it like a sleeping tiger now taunt it with insolent subpoenas and put in jail reporters who refuse to play ball with prosecutors. It is abused relentlessly on talk radio and in Internet blogs. It is easily bullied into acquiescing in the designs of a presidential propaganda machine determined to dominate the news.”

Reporters are no longer considered heroes led by a noble idealism. “Instead of heroes, today’s table talk is about journalistic frauds and a Washington press too dim to stay out of a three-card-monte game.”

Posted by Joel on July 28 2007 • Journalism

Canadian Libraries are Hot

Winnepeg has a population of nearly 600,000, of which 413,513 residents have library cards. Traffic at the city’s Millenium Hub has increased 50 percent in just the past year, reaching 1.5 million visitors. Winnepegers can’t get enough. Why? According to Winnepeg blogger Morley Walker, in part its because of the recent renovations to the library building itself, but it’s also due to the fact that the library is turning int a true information hub of the modern age.

“It also has a lot to do with the astonishing volume of information libraries now make accessible, largely through the computer,” writes Walker. “Less than a year ago, the WPL added something it calls the Canadian Newsstand to its online database. This gives library-card holders free access to the digital archives of 19 Canadian newspapers, including the Winnipeg Free Press, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. Another service, the Canadian Reference Centre, provides full-text articles from 150 Canadian and 400 international periodicals. The Rosetta Stone service offers online courses, complete with illustrations, in 30 languages. For Chinese speakers, there’s Dragonsource, a database of Chinese-language newspaper and magazines. The Naxos Music service provides streaming audio for 165,000 tracks from classical, jazz, pop and folk CDs. The Auto Repair Reference Centre provides detailed instructions on some 23,000 makes and models of cars.

“All this is free with your library card — which itself is free to all city residents.”

Posted by Joel on July 21 2007 • Current Affairs

The Joys of NOT Being Published

Beth Webb has a good bolg entry at The Guardian considering the pros and cons of publishing. She asks, “Why bother to go through all the heartache and hassle of fighting to get your precious memories or thoughts into mainstream publication? Your own PC, printer and digital camera are waiting to make someone’s day. If you really want to go big and produce a novel, there’s the internet or print on demand (no surplus stock there!).

“Getting published by a mainstream company is great, but in all honesty, how many of us can really afford to give up the day job, even when we’ve signed that contract? Such a long, heartbreaking haul for what? The joy of writing should be just that - the writing.”

Posted by Joel on July 01 2007 • Books