Three good things I read this week

Google Maps Is Changing the Way We See the World
Evan Ratliff, June 26, Wired magazine

Since Google relaunched the software in June 2005, the stand-alone Google Earth program has been downloaded more than 250 million times. The program’s seamless zoom-in feature has become ubiquitous on television news shows. And there are dedicated sites — such as Google Sightseeing and Virtual Globetrotting — built for scouring and saving odd and interesting finds from not only Google Earth but also competing 3-D globes like NASA’s World Wind and Microsoft’s Live Search Maps. Scientists, students, and government agencies use Google Earth layers to display their data to the public … (via Journerdism)

Quest for Maps, in which intrepid multimedia reporter Ron Sylvester relates his newsrooms forays into use of maps.

‘Get to a Newspaper,’ at

Dicker: “… You can take a look at these newspapers blogs. The bloggers seem to me, Pete, to be basically opinionated stenographers, writing basically for shut-ins. I can’t imagine who would spend their time reading these things except a very rarefied, small group of people.”

Hamill: “I don’t read them, because life is too short. But I advise the young journalist, don’t waste your talent on blogs. Get to a newspaper, no matter how small, where there’s an editor who will look at your copy and say this will be better if you do this. Go somewhere where you learn the craft. Most blogs are therapy. But they’re not journalism. People who write them, except for the professional propaganda blogs, are there for therapy.

“Writing for shut-ins”? Wow, where does that come from? So the 80-year-olds reading the printed newspaper — they are the vibrant lifeblood of society? And all you blog readers out there — you’re a bunch of lumps on a log, do-nothings, hardly worth consideration.

Just last week, I was e-mailing some student I’ve never met and telling him to start a blog rather than waste his time trying to sell his travelogues to established online media. It would be great to have the tutelage of a good editor, no doubt about it. But I have to wonder what your chances are, nowadays, of getting a good editor at a newspaper. Maybe there is a good editor, but will he or she have any time to work with you?

Plus, one really great list of resources and sites (from Video Toolbox: 150+ Online Video Tools and Resources — I love/hate lists like this, because it will take me some time to explore all the leads! Lots of stuff here I haven’t seen before.

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2 Comments on “Three good things I read this week

  1. Mindy,

    It’s amazing to see the hostility towards blogs. Yeah, some bloggers are nothing more than shills for their perspective causes (typically politically oriented), but a lot of other bloggers provide a real service to people and serve as conversation starters.

    The chances of getting any quality time with an editor these days is very little. Newspapers are understaffed and interns have little hope to learn much from editors who are too busy to do much more than occasionally assign them something to do.

    Btw, I interviewed you last year for my journalism honors thesis at Lehigh University. You can check out my blog at

  2. Not that anyone reading this page is likely in need of another data point in favor of blogs, but this post by Rebecca McKinnon is worth considering.

    China has a thriving blogosphere (or several, depending on whether you divide it by language), and it’s become a major source of news in the country. McKinnon has her own reasons why international reporters do and should pay attention to blogs, to which I’d highlight one: There are so many story lines at play here, requiring so much specialized knowledge (media, business, translation, for example) that bloggers are best suited to fill those niches.

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