Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

I live!

July 3, 2008

I made good on my threat to buy a domain. Come see me at http://readwriterachel.com. For now, the focus is more on cataloguing my clips than blogging for its own sake, but I do have a separate ‘blog’ category, here (and it has its own RSS feed though of course I’d rather you subscribe to the full feed)

As I figure out how to remake that space, watch for “Like Affair With Words”-esque posts about books and strange words. I don’t think we’ll ever have good times as good as they were, friends, but let’s have a go at it anyway, shall we?

*groan*

February 25, 2008

The student editors of a University of Colorado newspaper were wrong to publish an opinion column written earlier this week that said all Asians hate white people and should be captured and “hog-tied,” CU officials said Wednesday. [DUH] [Original Column]

Yeah, yeah, first amendment rights and freedom of speech…but I’ve always held the opinion that if you’re going to make racist jokes, sexist jokes, whatever, your jokes had damn well better be funny. In other words, bad jokes are just bad jokes unless they’re bad hateful jokes, in which case the “but I was trying to be funny!” excuse doesn’t really cut it.

One more resolution for ’08

January 2, 2008

I will never mention LOLcats again. If we have a LOLcat bible and LOLcode there is nothing more that I can add to this conversation. So with a heavy heart, for the last time I say K, THX, BAI.

Alexandria (Va.) Times sold

December 28, 2007

I know I said I’d not be posting on my vacation, but the last couple of days have been kind of rough. The last straw was waking up and finding that the Alexandria Times, where I’ve freelanced for the past few months, had been abruptly sold to NewsUSA, a company that rewrites press releases and then places them in newspapers across the country. As in, every “article” is promoting a product.

I met the CEO of NewsUSA at the Times’ holiday party two weeks ago–a party where many of the guests were not employees of the paper or even advertisers, but people who were unsure how they had landed invitations at all. We speculated that these invitees were people the publisher hoped to turn into advertisers, but now I’m fairly certain that the party was for interested buyers. It feels kind of low, but I don’t have all the facts and can’t speculate.

What I do know is that a talented staff of three (editor, reporter, and photographer) were let go without so much as a two weeks’ notice, and that my fellow freelancers and I are shut out into the cold. I know that a damn good paper–not a great one, but a good one, especially considering the shoestring budget on which they operated–is gone, replaced by a sham. Again, the Alexandria Times was never the Washington Post, but they didn’t aspire to be. They filled a different niche.

When I first met the publisher, John Arundel, I told him that I believed if any newspaper would survive the tsunami sweeping our industry, it was the community weekly. It would survive in a much different form, perhaps, but it would survive because community papers cover things that big papers can’t or won’t cover. The Alexandria Times had those stupid pictures of Girl Scouts winning awards and church bake-offs and neighborhood parades. But they also told some damn good stories. There was the one about the only two Alexandria basketball players to make it to the NBA–they’re good friends now; there was the one about the Alexandria Vietnam vet who, on returning from his tour of duty, visited the Vietnam Wall to find his own name. There were all those articles about hidden, hole-in-the-wall eateries (but, as the author of most of those columns, I admit bias). Anyway, it was a decent little paper and it’s now gone.

I want to draw a moral from this about paying for news or about being a conscious consumer of media or something, but I can’t. It’s just so absurd; such a random, tragic event–like a hit-and-run or like being hit by a stray bullet meant for someone else.