Friday, October 16, 2009

Flu Shot

Took Aidan to get his H1N1 flu shot today.Monroe County Public Health had a flu clinic, and there was a good-sized crowd of people there. Mostly babies and little kids getting the shot.

A second shipment of flu vaccine arrived while we were there, so I think there was plenty for everyone who was there to get it today.

Aidan did really well. He wasn't scared or anything. He got a little upset when he got the shot, but by the time we were out the door, he was fine. After we went and got an ice cream cone, he totally forgot about it.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Non-profit News

I disagree with this article on Slate about non-profit news.

The piece discusses the rise of foundation-backed not-for-profit news organizations, warning that philanthropists will dictate the content of the news.

I spent more than a year writing for Iowa Independent, and it was a great experience. Probably one of the most enjoyable jobs I've ever had. Being paid to be a blogger is awesome, obviously. Add to that a once-in-a-lifetime Iowa Presidential Caucus free-for-all, and you have a journalist's dream job.

The downside was that they didn't pay well at all. But that's the only downside, really. It was awesome.

So I suppose I have as good a vantage point as anyone to comment on the Jack Schafer article on Slate, which has as its basic premise that the benefactors of non-profit news organizations are behind a curtain, pulling the strings of their writers. Here's the main point, citing somebody named Harry Browne of the Dublin Institute of Technology:
"both nonprofit news and commercial news often find themselves constrained by the hidden agendas of their masters. Just as commercially supported journalists often find themselves dispatched to investigate the owners' hobbyhorses, nonprofit newsers are frequently assigned to 'chase after the idiosyncratic whims of funders.'"

I can only speak for myself and my own experience with Iowa Independent, but I must say I was always really free to cover just about anything I chose and write however I wanted. I was assigned to cover agriculture and rural stuff, but that's a pretty normal beat. And you can still go to Iowa Independent and look up any of the stories I wrote.

There were, of course, several times when subjects were suggested to me from above as a possible story idea. Nothing out of the ordinary, though, and I always appreciated the help with ideas. Our story ideas were always bounced around in conference calls, but that's no different from any news organization's editorial meetings. And just like a newspaper, there were copy editors, too. But for the most part the copy editors only fixed mistakes and improved the language of my articles rather than the gist.

I was never told I had to write any story. Now we certainly had a progressive point-of-view as a news organization, and by the way, there's nothing wrong with that, either. There's nothing wrong with having a unique voice in journalism. Every news organization has one. It is what it is. And there's always plenty of room for more voices in the public discourse.

A newspaper or a radio station or a website or any news organization, whether it's a for-profit business or a foundation-funded non-profit, has a point-of-view. What's more important is whether it builds the trust of the public -- and that can only be accomplished by presenting the facts honestly and building a reputation of fairness. The age-old question still must be asked by the audience: Is this information trustworthy or not?

I say there's a need for lots of different forms of journalism in the world, and lots of different ways to fund it. As we move further forward into the Information Age, the old systems must evolve. More people are empowered every day to share in the free flow of info. That's a good thing, I think.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thanks to the Fence Crew

Todd, Josh, Big Guy, Mike...Many thanks! Here's a photo:

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I thought I'd give that new show Community a chance. It looked promising. But unfortunately it's not that great.

From CDC: Symptons of the Flus

How do I know if I have the flu? Learn the symptoms of H1N1 and Seasonal Flu: Please RT

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Few Bullet Points

A few bullet points I would like to share regarding the last week, in no particular order:

  • The Obama health care speech was the best hour of TV I have seen in months.
  • It's really expensive to replace shingles on a house, but we're very happy with our new roof.
  • I'm not totally sold on Twitter yet. It's hard for me to find the time to keep up with it.
  • So Republicans don't think kids should be told to work hard and stay in school. WTF?
  • I generally prefer AE dairy, but Yoplait sure makes a fine line of yogurt products.
  • Republicans should knock off the nasty. Just a thought, maybe it would improve their self esteem if they turned those frowns upside down.
  • Wow. South Carolina is a really wacky place, politically.
  • That Glenn Beck dude is totally creeping me out. Is he for real?
  • I am not looking forward to having two of my teeth pulled in November.
  • The Obama health care speech is even better on the second viewing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Okay I'm back

Going to start posting random thoughts on here again. And I mean random. I don't write professionally anymore so I'll just post stuff whenever I find the time and motivation. I finally took the time to figure out how to connect my blog posts to Twitter and Facebook. Should work pretty well.

Here are some thoughts for today:

Senator Ted Kennedy's passing is a sad but inspiring moment. He was the ultimate senator...a man who accomplished so much and made better the lives of millions of people. So many positive things we just take for granted in America today can be directly attributed to him.


Our dog Ariel hurt her leg on Sunday. She was playing out in the yard with Steva and Aidan when she just stopped in her tracks and fell on the ground yelping. Steva took her to the vet and the diagnosis is unsure at the moment, but it's possible that she's torn a ligament in her leg. She's got some painkiller pills and she's supposed to basically sit still for about two weeks. If she hasn't improved by then, she may need some kind of surgery. Poor puppy.


Aidan and I had a fun afternoon today. We stopped in Albia for Mom's Travel Iowa stop. It was fun to take Aidan along and see Mom and my grandparents. Here's a link to the post on the Travel Iowa blog.
There should be some photos of us on there soon.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Testing 123

Check Check Is this thing on?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


This is an experiment

Smoky Hollow blog has obviously been neglected for quite some time. After changing jobs and having less time for this kind of thing, I've basically just done Facebook for a while.

But there's a lot of stuff on Smoky Hollow and the Aidan & Ariel blogs that I don't want to let go, so I'm experimenting with an app that should connect by Blogger blogs to my Facebook page.

I've also started using Twitter, which will also show tweets on Facebook.

Just checking to see if this works.