Thursday, April 22, 2004

The USA Today report on disgraced ex-reporter Jack Kelley is out, and boy, does it paint the newspaper as a grim place to work...

One reporter, whose instinctive reaction to a Kelley exclusive would have kept it out of the paper had she been an editor, described the reason she did not challenge it earlier: “The culture tells you every day that you give your superior whatever he or she wants in order to look good.” Another explained it this way: “I was told not to tell my editors because, ‘They’ll knock your head off.’

Some staff members called the News department “the House of Mean.”

One foreign correspondent expressed his doubts about Kelley’s reporting from the Balkans to a Circulation department manager, but never mentioned it to news executives. In the Washington Bureau where some reporters say they work beyond a climate of fear, one senior member still describes the culture as one in which, “People have their marching orders. If you don’t follow them to the letter, there’s not room for discussion. It’s an atmosphere where everyone plays it very, very tight. People follow orders—or else!”

One News editor, explaining to a colleague why a reporter’s complaint was not reported up the line, said, “My job is to think just like [my boss] so he knows I’m never second-guessing him.”

In an accompanying story, USA Today details a few more of Kelley's unbelievable concotions:
"In Yugoslavia in 1999, for instance, a refugee takes time to speak to Kelley even while the refugee believes dogs are trying to eat the body of his dead son." In a 1992 report from Somalia, Kelley plagarized an AP article that quoted humanitarian worker Annalena Tonelli.

In the Associated Press version, Tonelli spoke the words while "holding a frail child with glazed eyes and a runny nose." In Kelley's version, she spoke "while running from machine-gun fire with a crying child in each arm."

Oy vey...

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Wikipedia's influence spreads ... this Wikipedia article was cited as a web reference for congressmen in this House Reform subcommittee briefing memo.

Hey, you can spot me in this U.N. webcast ... I'm at the 16:30 and 20:30 minute-marks.

Wikipedia's influence spreads ... this Wikipedia article was cited as a web reference for congressmen in this House Reform subcommittee briefing memo.

Hey, you can spot me in this U.N. webcast ... I'm at the 16:30 and 20:30 minute-marks.

Interesting article from an Arabic-language translation service summarizing 18 Arab-media commentaries to Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."

Islam holds that Jesus wasn't really killed on the cross, the article states -- he was raised up to Heaven and a "likeness" was crucified in his place. Who knew?

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

So today is the five-year anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. There's a great article here on Slate on the minds of the killers:

The FBI and its team of psychiatrists and psychologists ... believe they know why Harris and Klebold killed, and their explanation is both more reassuring and more troubling than our misguided conclusions. Three months after the massacre, the FBI convened a summit in Leesburg, Va., that included world-renowned mental health experts, including Michigan State University psychiatrist Dr. Frank Ochberg, as well as Supervisory Special Agent Dwayne Fuselier, the FBI's lead Columbine investigator and a clinical psychologist. Fuselier and Ochberg share their conclusions publicly here for the first time.

I had completely forgot Harris, described in Slate as a clinical psychopath, had fantasized about hijacking a plane and crashing it into New York City.
From the April 27, 1999 Baltimore Sun:

LITTLETON, Colo. -- The two teen-age gunmen who went on a murderous rampage at a suburban high school here wanted to kill 500 classmates and neighbors, then hijack a plane and crash it into New York City, authorities said yesterday.
Davis, the spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, said Harris wrote in his diary that he and "Vodka," his nickname for Klebold, planned to kill hundreds of students. The pair then would carry their rampage into the surrounding neighborhood before hijacking a plane that would be crashed into New York City, Davis said. Other Harris entries have the two young suspects escaping to an island.
It is unknown whether the suspects hoped to carry out those plans. Davis said the evidence has yet to show they planned to hijack a plane. Davis speculated New York was chosen as a target because of " population density.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

So an article I wrote for the News was the basis for this column last year by Boston Herald humor columnist Beth Teitell. (I'm only noticing it now - the powers of googling one's name...)

She kinda questions my observational skills regarding this ring Ben Affleck wore on the fourth finger of his left hand last August while throwing out the first pitch at a Red Sox game. "The Daily News story", she writes, "was written by a man - Derek Rose - and you know how reliable those people are when it comes to ring-spotting."

Hey Beth - you shoulda checked with your own photo staff! Check out this photo by Boston Herald photog Tara Brickling.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Usually Fox does a good job on the national sports broadcasts -- better than CBS anyways -- but jeez, not tonight. They had the score wrong in the second inning, had the number of outs wrong ... had this annoying "Scooter the Knuckleball" animation that they at first displayed with no sound. The second time around, viewers missed a play because of the stupid thing.

Come on guys, just show us the game!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Oh my gosh ... I got totally taken in by this Harvard Lampoon paraody of H-Bomb, this Harvard University sex magazine coming out soon. The Lampoon sent me a copy because I had written about H-bomb when it was first announced. I totally bought into it & showed it around the office ... thankfully didn't write about it ... actually I passed it onto Lloyd Grove to see if he thought it was worth anything. oops.

Monday, April 12, 2004

These Iraqi blogs springing up are very interesting ... this post is a few days old, but still worth reading:

It’s the day that brought me back to life. It’s the 9th of April and I’m free, and they will not steel my joy again and they will not silence me. A year ago at the same date, the thieves and criminals prevented me from celebrating my freedom in the open air, and today thieves, criminals and fanatics are doing the same, but they will not steal my happiness that is making my soul fly and dance with joy and they can’t stop this.
Yes, it’s the 9th of April. I lit the 1st candle today to celebrate my 1st year, as a free man and no one will prevent me from celebrating. I, who the earth is no longer enough to contain my feelings, I who have wings now, and I don’t have to carry an ID…I’m Iraqi. I have the right to wander through my country southwards and northwards, without being stopped by someone to ask me who I am and where I’m going. I’m the son of the 9th of April.

CNN just had something about how Republicans are trying to make John Kerry's website the top result for "waffle" I just happened to be on Google when they did their report, though, and couldn't find Kerry in the top 12 pages of results for a waffle search.

So my comments last month about former USA Today reporter Jack Kelley, unmasked as a fraud, created a small stir. Here's what I said on Romenesko:

Apologies for Jurgensen, Moon?
3/20/2004 2:09:31 PM

From DEREK ROSE: One wonders if all the people who so nastily attacked USA Today editor Karen Jurgensen and publisher Craig Moon here on Poynter will offer them a public apology.

That means you, Lance Gay ("newsroom management must have had other perverse motives"), Matthew Kalman ("a rather vicious and unethical witchhunt"), Mercedes Cardona ("sacrificing good journalists for the sake of office politics"), Liza Koon ("Jack's been treated very badly ... he is no Jayson Blair") and Clara Frenk ("The so-called 'managers' basically ... smeared one of the best reporters I've worked with").

None of them did apologize publicly, though, as best I could tell. I got a couple of interesting emails about it, but none from any of the authors.

(I maybe should have cc-ed them on my email to Romenesko so I could be sure they read it -- but they were posting to the site, so I think it's fair to assume they were readers -- and at the time I thought that would be obnoxious.)

My letter was also picked up by Atrios.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Very interesting NYT magazine article:

Yet what really merits outrage about DDT today is not that South Africa still uses it... It is that dozens more do not. ... Independent malariologists believe it kills two million people a year, mainly children under 5 and 90 percent of them in Africa. Until it was overtaken by AIDS in 1999, it was Africa's leading killer. One in 20 African children dies of malaria, and many of those who survive are brain-damaged. Each year, 300 to 500 million people worldwide get malaria. During the rainy season in some parts of Africa, entire villages of people lie in bed, shivering with fever, too weak to stand or eat. Many spend a good part of the year incapacitated...

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Okay, so I kinda redesigned the blog, added a comments section. I also have new windows for my bedroom! Fuzzy webcam image:

Friday, April 09, 2004

So far today I've received 26 emails to my "anything at" email address... and 25 of them have been spam.

Thankfully - most of them have been filtered succesfully into my Outlook "spam" subfolder thanks to Spam Bully, my Outlook ad-on ... it cost $30 but I think has been well-worth it. You have to "train" the filter; this week it's been 93% accurate.

Blog of one of our cute interns...