Archive for the 'stepnoStories' Category

Checking in, February 2021


Thanks to the powers that be for keeping this blog around for historical purposes…
It was one of the Manila blogs at the Berkman Center that migrated to WordPress years ago.
Meanwhile, after defending my doctorate while frequenting Berkman blog meetings, I went on to teach at the University of TennesseeĀ  and at Radford University in Virginia, where I have since retired.

I still write online at and, both of which have fully functional “About” pages.

Here is a history page about the Berkman Center and the history of blogging:

Project Information

Getting more


For a lot of recent 2007 bookmarks, see my bookmark list. I’ve finally gotten around to uploading a few hundred old bookmarks, too. That leaves only about 2,000 to go. šŸ™‚

Is your news over-“balanced”?


Columbia Journalism Review’s “Blinded by Science” article from last summer
may come in handy in my news writing class discussion of fact-checking, multiple-sourcing and public relations.

Likewise New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent’s recent “It’s Good to Be Objective. It’s Even Better to Be Right,” which builds on his earlier “Analysts Say Experts are Hazardous to Your Health.”

(Note to past readers & RSS subscribers: Because I can access this Manila blog from home, office or lab, I’ve decided to use it as a parking space for “may come in handy in class” links, whether they are “breaking news” or several months old, like the CJR one.)

More about writing for the Web


I used this space last week for a first draft of a page that I’ve moved to my main weblog here.

Berkman regulars will notice links to a few of the usual suspects.

More about writing for the Web …

Web and Politics Survey


Why do people go online looking for political information? Where do
they go?

I have some ideas on the subject, but my
colleague Barbara Kaye at UT Knoxville and her research partner at
Southern Illinois
University-Carbondale are trying to be scientific about it.

They conduct an annual online survey that examines
the motivations for
accessing the Web, weblogs, chat rooms, bulletin boards and other
Internet resources for political information. (The survey has been
approved by the University of Tennessee institutional review board and
is being conducted for academic purposes

Knowing that I do not say
much about politics here, Barb thought my blog might be a way to reach
a few readers (and bloggers) who have broader interests than
just politics, such as, say, the Berkman Center

So here’s Barb, explaining what she’d
“We are specifically looking for individuals who connect
to online
political information to fill out our survey. We are wondering if it
would be possible for you to link to our survey. All we are
asking is for an icon that directs your readers to the survey

“Your help would be greatly appreciated and we would be more than
willing to share our findings with you.”

The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Survey URL:

Web and Politics Survey …

Beyond the Esplanade


One of the last best things I did in Cambridge was to go see the July 4 fireworks from the bank of the Charles with blogging friends (Thanks, J!), getting closer to the flash and crash than my previous years’ vantage point in a crowd of neighbors atop Prospect Hill, a mile or so from the sound and smoke.

This weekend I was watching more pyrotechnics from atop another hill, the one I live on now. I’m so new here that I don’t even know if the hill has a name, but it gave me a new perspective for a fireworks show that competes for excitement and audience with Boston’s Independence Day.

Knoxville calls the Labor Day event Boomsday. A sponsor also calls it “the biggest single-day event in the state of Tennessee and the largest fireworks show in the southeast United States.”

Whille Boston fires its rockets from a barge in the river, these fireworks are launched from a high bridge over the Tennessee River — a bridge that just happens to be anchored to my new hilltop. Down along the river, the city closes a stretch of highway, turning it into a midway for the day, stretching off toward the university stadium. Hundreds of thousands of people join in the fun, and the “Tennessee navy” drops anchor in the river — about 200 powerboats that stay for Sunday’s Big Orange football game.

The Boomsday show doesn’t include the Boston Pops, Stars & Stripes Forever or the 1812 Overture cannons… but I read that there was some Gershwin broadcast to coincide with the most elegant part of the display, and at a more climactic point I did hear a few people singing along with Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” Next year, maybe I’ll find a seat closer to the sound system.
Beyond the Esplanade …

For newcomers to RSS


For students who first heard about “Really Simple Syndication” in my
class at UT this week, the “Read what I read?” menu item on the top
right corner of this page is an example of a “aggregator” page that
republishes “syndicated” news summaries from news sites and weblogs.

Free places to build your own RSS subscription lists include, and

For a lot more than you need to know about RSS, go here.

Crimson to orange: Settling into new home, job & computers


My “Other Journalism” weblog is serving as to-do list, moving-to-Tennessee narrative, and parking place for links I want to share with news-writing students… at least until I decide how I’m going to use my new home page ( and the Blackboard course-management system.

As long as this one is still here, perhaps I’ll post a note from time to time for any Cambridge, Somerville & Boston friends who wonder whatever became of me.

So far teaching in Knoxville is full of surprises — having the school director who encouraged me to apply for the job decide to quit the week I got here… and then starting the first day on the job with a power failure and ending it with my face on the evening news!

I did find the local contradance (small, but enthusiastic) and lucked into a class schedule that lets me sleep late the morning after it. A next door neighbor plays mandolin and banjo, and there’s a bluegrass and oldtime radio station to take the place of WUMB.

So far so good. My Thursday nights are still a little on the empty side, though…
Crimson to orange: Settling into new home, job & computers …

Another Blog on July Hiatus…


This is a month for (pick one or more)

  • Mystery (audio)
  • Vacation
  • Travel
  • A new job
  • A new car
  • Reading entire books, not just newsfeeds
  • A new place to live
  • A haircut
  • A new color scheme
  • All of the above
  • All but the haircut?

Another Blog on July Hiatus… …

Thanks for all the feeds


Dave Winer’s farewell feed, his last Thursday dinner meeting as
organizer of the Berkman blogging roundtable, was captured on what used
to be film
by Dan Bricklin — not only a fine programmer, but a fine
(and fast) photographer. 

(And I’m so glad I wore the Hawaiian shirt.)

Bloggercons I and II, the Thursday night sessions, and this growing
crimson community of weblogs are a fine legacy for Dave to leave behind as he
moves on to new adventures… providing not only RSS feeds, but plenty of food for thought for those of us trying to sort out the relationship of blogs to our lives or, in my case, to professional journalism.

Here’s one more try:

Journalism at its best can give you a snapshot of accurate facts,
thoughtful interpretations, with honesty, ethics and clarity. Blogs can do
all of that too — but their more personal (even emotional) nature can
be like another filter in front of the camera lens. Before the burglar
got my Leica, I remember having a set of filters — some added color or
removed color — but some just cut through UV and haze.

Dave, for one, has the brass to take a more personal and emotional
risks with his blogs than many folks carrying the reporter’s notebook.
His writing and the things he links to pass through a filter that is
personal, colorful and opinionated. That risk-taking is rarely my style, but I’m glad it’s his, and that he lets us all watch and learn.

Blogging at its best can do what journalism does… but I’ve learned in the past year that with those
personal filters — and an occassional Thursday night out — it also
can find you new friends.

There has been a sincere
“Thanks, Dave” in the right margin of this blog since the beginning,
but I think it’s worth repeating it here — appropriately using the “edit this page” space Dave created for us and swiping the headline for this item from Jessica, who I hope gets to help keep the Harvard blog sessions going.

Thanks for all the feeds …