A Soggy New Year

I’m back from what’s been a wet holiday in California. I spent a week in a cabin on the Truckee River near Lake Tahoe. The rain broke only one day, just long enough for me to hike into town. Upon returning home to the San Francisco Bay Area, I found the loquat tree in my front yard had been blown down. It sheared off at ground level with the remnants of the dead root still buried. The birds and the neighborhood children will miss the fruit. I count myself lucky the roof didn’t spring a leak.

A few notes will help me I warm back into the flow of blogging.

Technology consultant Dion Hinchcliffe has compiled a list of Web 2.0 software tools. The list is growing through comments so if you are a techie looking for new utilities or if you have some tool to add, pay a visit.

More useful to those at my (non-technical) level would be Jonathan Dube’s list of resources for journalists posted on the Poynter website. I tried a couple of his suggestions with mixed results.

I thought a lot about citizen journalism over my vacation, so when I plugged in this morning I was drawn to the item in Unmediated that pointed to a Chicago Tribune online column. It announced that one of the paper’s former investigative reporters, Geoff Dougherty, had started an online site called the Chicago Daily News. The new site offers to pay $100 to the contributor whose story gets the most page views in a month.

I’ve wondered aloud in this blog whether and how payment would fit into citizen journalism schemes. In any event I wish Dougherty luck with his experiment. One line in the write-up by Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Johnson made me smile. Johnson described his erstwhile colleague as “unencumbered by marriage, kids or mortgage.” He could have added “paycheck.”

By way of contrast I start the New Year encumbered — some would say enriched — by all of the aforementioned.

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media