Ebola Fear
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News Culture of Fear

Over on Google+ today, Chris Sewell posted as an image of a tweet from New York Times columnist Nick Bilton. Nine days ago I wrote about fear, not contagion, being the real threat Ebola poses. Nick’s point is scary itself. Happy Halloween to you, too.

For the supposedly freest country in the world, fear enslaves America, and the news media helps forge the chains. How stupid is that? In the past 12 hours, I have seen two people in my neighborhood wearing full-face masks—the fleshy colored material used to wrap up an injured knee. The masks covered from below chin to eyes. That’s the culture of fear. [Read more]

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In News Reporting There Is No Truth, Just Perspective

On Oct. 17, 2014, I received my membership card to the Society of Professional Journalists, which had been on my “maybe join” list for years. What flipped me forward: The organization’s Code of Ethics, which official revision released September 6. I had observed, but not participated in, the process to produce the new guidelines, which, while overreaching, are worthwhile.

However, while the changes contributed to my decision to join SPJ—being a journalist who blogs rather than a blogger—my ethical priorities differ somewhat from the new Code. My book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers is all about ethics and how the Internet changes them. The tome makes trust, rather than truth, the news gatherer’s top ethical tenet. [Read more]

iPhone 6 Plus
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Journalist sets Standard for Follow-up Gadget Reviews

Whenever I receive loaner devices, I ask to keep them for months because long-term use reveals much. Initial reviews often miss important usability benefits or problems only prolonged usage reveals. No one can get to every feature or receive all the benefits in one day or week.

Something else: As I often say, in news reporting, or reviews, bias is inevitable. Time helps extinguish the new thing glow that can bias reviews and make them more favorable than the products deserve. As the glow darkens, sounder perspective brightens. [Read more]

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What I miss about the East Coast

As Halloween approaches, I long for the autumn colors that paint the Northeast landscape. Strange how distance and time changes perception. On Oct. 30, 2005, I started shooting with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM lens attached to the 20D. I regarded these pics as disappointing then, but find them rather appealing today. For sure, the bokeh produced by the lens-camera combination is breathtaking. I shot the trees from our Kensington, Md., front yard.

Abe App

In September, my wife and I received emails offering a year’s digital subscription to the Washington Post—that’s web and mobile devices—for $29. I signed up without hesitation and am now a regular reader.

As an editor and journalist, I am fascinated watching how the Post presents stories in the iPad app and on the web. The photo of Abe, from a superb story on selfies in Washington, is attention grabbing. The one above is from the app, but the web version below has the more compelling headline, which would move me to click over the other. [Read more]