The original home of the blog known as 802 Online

Saturday, April 30, 2005

New 7 Days Blog

802 Online has a new home. Our art director/webmaster Don Eggert customized a site for me over at typepad, and I've officially moved. I haven't exported my blogger content there yet, but may move some of it. The site is still evolving, but I've started posting there, and we're officially launching it next Wednesday. Check it out and leave me lots of comments.

The site's official new address is Mine is the first 7D blog, but there are more to come, some of which are already in the works. The site will be the hub. Any suggestions you have for what we should add next are of course welcome. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Back to work

I'm back from my trip. Had a great time. Thanks, everybody, for the well wishes. I'm working frantically on my 7D site, coming very soon. Looking forward to doing more original online reporting, and expanding our understanding of what constitutes the Vermont blogosphere.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Off to Seattle!

I'm headed to Seattle for six days for a much-needed vacation. We'll be launching the Seven Days site when I return, possibly next week. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 18, 2005

More Muni Wi-Fi

"Should municipalities get in the wi-fi business?" is an article from the SF Chronicle, via Common Dreams, by Adam Werbach. He's id'd as a member of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, but he's also the guy who was elected prez of the Sierra Club when he was 23 a few years back.

So now he's advocating for Municipal Wi-fi, and warning San Franciscans about the coming PR onslaught from big biz. Here's a quote: "During the next year of planning, you're going to be bombarded with messages about how the incompetent, bloated city bureaucracy is going to chase businesses from our town and waste millions of dollars on a fool's quest." Any of this sound familiar, Burlington?

Clothing Line

Bill from Candleblog directed me to this moody short film, shot at The Clothing Line, a funky thrift store on Cherry Street. I took a few minutes out of my crazy deadline-day fog to watch it, and so should you.

Monitoring the Hall Monitor

I ran into Darren Allen, of Hall Monitor fame unexpectedly on Saturday, at the R.U.1.2? Annual Dinner and Silent Auction at the Wyndham. I think he got tired of me introducing him to everyone as "Vermont's first paid journalist blogger." But he is!

And it sounds like his site is a success. Allen says that every time he posts something negative about the governor, he gets a response from press secretary Jason Gibbs in, like, five minutes. And he stirred up a hornets' nest last week with his — incorrect, it turns out — insinuation that Democracy for America canceled a press conference with Bernie Sanders because of a story in the Bennington Banner about Bernie paying his wife and step daughter for consulting services. Apparently there was actually a scheduling conflict (and is Bernie's reimbursement of their services really that big a deal anyway? He may be occasionally obnoxious, but he's no Tom DeLay.) Allen says he got lots of angry phone calls from the Sanders people and from DFA, so apparently he's got some influential readers.

Allen says the marketing people tell him 1000 unique visitors regularly check his blog, though he's not exactly sure what that means. He estimated that so far, his daily traffic high is about 2,500. That's a lot of hits for Vermont, peeps. Candleblog gets about 100 on a great day; I get about 30.

Allen also reports that no, he's not edited, and yes, he has posted live from the statehouse via wi-fi. So my Freedomworks press conference post was probably not the first journalist blogger posting from the statehouse. Alas, are there any Vermont journalist/blogging firsts still up for grabs?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

VT star blogger

Vermonter Tom Dumont of Tom's Astronomy Blog regularly posts about all things astronomical. Here's a particularly lovely moon photo he took last night.

Friday, April 15, 2005

wicked good gay blog

Has anybody else happened upon Twenty-Something, a blog by a Vermonter who calls himself "Crash?" I linked to him earlier this week when he posted an entry about being recognized at 135 Pearl, Burlington's only gay bar. Well today he's got a post up about how he's taking a break from blogging for a little while. It's a pity, because he's a good writer.

I base this opinion on an entry he wrote last week about a tortured high school relationship and how he came out to his mom. It's good stuff. Warning: this link will take you to a site with some riveting — though sexually explicit — language.

Maybe I'll run into him tomorrow night at the RU12? Annual Dinner and Silent Auction.

Happy Birthday, Candleblog

Born April 15, 2004.

Jessamyn's Marlboro Talk

The college, not the cigarettes.

VT's own rarin' librarian spoke to a group at Marlboro College last week about — what else — the intersection of libraries and technology. She's posted an outline of her presentation, "Librarian Eye for the Tech Buy: thinking about technology and libraries and Vermont all at once" on her website. Anybody interested in public computing resources at Vermont libraries should check it out.

She points out, yet again, that according to the stats from the governor's telecommunication plan, nearly 2% of Vermonters have never heard of the internet.

Attn: VT media

Interesting article from morph: The Media Center blog about the difficulties of integrating blogs into newspaper operations. Ken Sands makes some good points, among them that blogs should focus on specific topics rather than personalities.

For the most part I agree, but I think the best blogs are the ones that are very specific and allow their authors to share their personality. I like it that NTodd posts pictures of his dogs and cats on Dohiyi Mir. They humanizes the content of his site in a way that transcends the coldly impersonal nature of both print journalism and the computer experience.

I strive for that balance, too, though perhaps I tilted too far toward the personal when I wrote about my colonoscopy.

Kidding. I don't really think I was going too far.

UPDATE: From, a column about how the dynamic of "bloggers vs. mainstream media" is misleading.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Are you sitting down?

Darren Allen of Hall Monitor (and the Vermont Press Bureau) has more on his scoop about the VT Legistlature's budget for fancy new chairs. Yep, this is how they're spending our tax dollars in Montpelier.

A new hope

Who says bloggers aren't doing original reporting? I've really been enjoying Bill Simmons' updates on the Star Wars fans standing in line at Grauman's Chinese Theater. Episode III, out next month, will not even play there. You may have read about this on Drudge.

Well Bill's been calling the line-standers up on the phone. He's put their phone number on his site. And he answers some questions you might have about what the hell's going on there. May the Force be with him.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Jessamyn's last day

Last summer, I was lucky enough to discover Jessamyn West through her extremely useful librarian blog, and was delighted to find out that she's a Vermonter. Er, she lives here, anyway. For the past 20 months, Jessamyn has worked as the Outreach Librarian at the Rutland Free Library, and as a semi-celebrity blogger — she's been written up in Wired, and blogged the Democratic National Convention alongside the likes of Kos and Wonkette — has proved to be a great source for many of my technology-related Seven Days stories.

Well, today's her last day at the Rutland Library; her grant funding ran out. So she'll be teaching tech for a while as an Americorps/VISTA at the Randolph Technical Career Center. I'm glad she'll still be showing folks how computers work. I've seen her teach. She's good at it.

citizens journalists in the WSJ

Here's a story I gleaned from the Wall Street Journal (via Romanesko) that gives a great overview of how newspapers are integrating blogs and citizen journalism into their operations. They mention the innovative folks in Greensboro, NC, and former Vermont reporter/San Jose Mercury News columnist and blogger Dan Gillmor.

That's what happens when you put your picture on your blog

Crash from Twenty-Something blogs about being spotted at Pearl's. Hey, it's a small friggin' town in a small friggin' state.

It's spring in Vermont

Here, here, here and here.

Friday, April 08, 2005

professional reporters are bloggers, too

I stumbled upon Eric Zorn's oh so creatively titled blog while reading Romanesko, which I check probably more times a day than I want to admit here. Zorn writes for the Chicago Tribune. Check out his blog to see what reporters at other daily newspapers around the country are doing.

Have I mentioned that the Times Argus & Rutland Herald have a blogger, but that the Burlington Free Press has yet to jump on the bandwagon? If you could see one Free Press writer start a blog, who would it be? I'd pick Candace Page.

Here's an interesting link (via Zorn) to some demise of the newspaper stories.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

More Fake News

A widely circulated post from the folks at Essex VT-based Carpetbagger Report gives an update on the Bush administration's use of fake news reports touting the work of government agencies. Why do stations run government-sponsored news releases? Because they won't spend the money to hire reporters to tell you the real news. Which goes back to the whole pope-saturation-coverage thing I've been harping on here all week.

VT's very own rarin' librarian

Hey, looks who's this week's guest editor at, which bills itself as "The Global Home for Grassroots Media."

They let you upload and store video, music, photos, audio clips and other media-related stuff for free, forever as long as you're willing to share your work with a global audience. Read more in the FAQ. Home page shows a music video available from the Decemberists.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Illuminati Slayer

Remember last fall, when this guy ran for lt. governor? That picture of him next to Cheryl Rivers was priceless.

Another gratuitous Winooski post

So this is what other people think of my new hometown. From Diabologue.

Incidentally, 5 people have applied for the vacant Winooski City Council seat. That's suprising, in a good way. Nobody challenged Ben Clarke for the seat when he ran in March, but now that he's leaving, all these people want to take his place. Cool. Deadline to apply is April 8.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Only a blogger could care

About handcuffs in the mens' john at the statehouse.

License to blog

This is a little weird. Kos reports on San Francisco trying to legislate the blogosphere.

More BFP and the pope

This is interesting. If you look on the BFP website today, it looks like the top story is about the suspect in the Scoville killings. There are only two pope stories in the "top stories" section on the website.

But the main headline in the newspaper says "'Our beloved John Paul: Mourners view late pope; Vatican prepares for funeral, conclave." The story dominates the front page. And there are actually 2 more full pages of coverage inside, along with another mostly pope-filled page. So that's a total of roughly 3 1/2 pages of pope coverage. Section A only has 8 pages. And there are only three stories in the whole section written by BFP staffers. Two of them relate to the pope.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

John Paul, our pope

Whenever I think of Pope John Paul, I recall the words of the liturgy I grew up with in Michigan. Every Sunday at Mass, there was a part — it's been so long now that I have trouble remembering just when it occurred — when the priest would ask us to pray for "John Paul, our pope." The words come to me from memory, like phrases from the Nicene Creed — no longer my creed, but still embedded in me so strongly I don't want to escape them. I feel a visceral sadness at the pope's passing, and I do honor the ways in which he embodied the best things that Christianity and Catholicism have to offer — peace, humility, forgiveness, love for our fellow human beings.

But the little teaser box on the cover of today's Free Press still bugs me — "5 Pages of Coverage Inside." There are only 12 pages in Section A, and the last page is taken up with a weather map and ads, and has room for only one very short story. Pope coverage takes up 2/3 of the front page, and 5 additional pages inside. There are actually only 2 articles in the entire section A written by Vermont reporters (and one pope-related sidebar, missing a byline, that has a Vermont angle.) One of the stories is about Vermonters' reaction to the death of the pope. Another, buried at the bottom of page 1A, is about a UVM scientist who falsified research and is facing federal fraud charges — on any other day, probably the lead story.

And yes, I'm a little concerned about the coverage of President Bush praising the pope. The AP article that appears in the Free Press doesn't mention anywhere the pope's strong disapproval of capital punishment or the war in Iraq. They weren't exactly two peas in a pod, our president and our pope. Is it accurate to link them so prominently without mentioning their disagreements?

And how do non-Catholics feel about all of this coverage, especially queer people? This pope adamantly opposed homosexuality and gay marriage (and women priests). He called my civil union "evil." Frankly, that's difficult to ignore.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Profits and the Pope

This morning, I, like many other Vermonters, woke up and thought, "I wonder if the pope died last night." The first thing I did when I got out of bed was turn on my computer. While it booted up, I went downstairs and plucked my Burlington Free Press off my porch. It said the Pope was still alive. But maybe he died last night, I thought. So I looked online.

Then, convinced that the pope was indeed still breathing, I read the paper. I found a mammoth above-the-fold photo of Catholics crowded into St. Peter's Square beneath klieg lights, praying. The headline reads: "Vatican calls world to pray." The pope package includes a whopping 7 stories — 2 on the front page, and 5 more inside, listed on a menu bar just below the fold.

Why the saturation coverage? I mean, I care about the pope, but frankly, his death won't have much of an impact on my life. Could it be that covering the pope is easier than devoting the energy and effort to understanding the state's Medicaid crisis, or the new pension bill? Anybody can Google the papal election process, or provide an overview of the challenges the next pope will face (two of the inside stories in today's paper). But it takes a really dedicated reporter to get in-depth coverage of government bureaucracies. Of course, of the 7 stories, 5 came from either the A.P or the L.A. Times.

This analysis I read this morning, from Howard Gold's Fighting the Tape at Barron's Online, draws the connection between Gannett's high profits and its lack of hard-hitting investigative journalism. Investigative journalism is simply not profitable — BFP managing editor Geoff Gevalt said as much in a panel last week at Johnson State College. Fewer investigative journalists in the newsroom means more coverage of the pope, and less coverage of issues that really matter to Vermonters.

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