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Getting Personal

Here you'll find columns with my personal take on journalism, the news business and what one writer has called life, the universe and everything.

Amid the Spectacle of London's Olympics, Appreciating Simple Pleasures
Amid the Olympic Spectacle, Learning to Appreciate Simple Pleasures

Why So Much Senseless Anger? Maybe it's Our Sense of Entitlement
Why So Much Senseless Anger? Maybe it's Our Sense of Entitlement

10 Years Later, Pondering the Meaning of Sept. 11, 2001
Where was I when the planes hit the towers?

Amid London's Riots, a Simple Plea for Peace
London was burning. Riots that began in a neighborhood where police had fatally shot a man would, over the next few nights, spread not just across the capital but to several other cities in England.

From One Generation to the Next, Learning Lessons About Life from Harry Potter
Nothing has captured the imagination of an entire generation like the Potter books and films, which chronicled the trials of the orphaned boy wizard who must face death, time and time again, at far too young an age.

The Technology of Journalism Improves, But Young People Still Ignore the News
All the geek-speak loses sight of a more fundamental problem: With each passing year, young people grow less interested in the news, regardless of how it's delivered.

A Farewell to a Friend From a Newsroom Long Ago
Born with a body that was fated to never work quite right, he traveled a rockier road than most, a long, tough climb that always pointed uphill. Because of this I imagine he possessed a greater sense of his own mortality than those of us who were lucky enough to be healthy, a sense that time, and the times we have with the people we meet along the way, is fleeting indeed.

Arianna Huffington Pockets Millions, but What's Left for the Newsroom Grunts?
For all her high-profile involvement in the news business as co-founder of Huffington Post, Huffington herself has never been much for paying the people who actually produce what's now called content, what some of us still call journalism.

In a Classroom of Would-Be Reporters, Looking for the One With Curiosity
There's one quality in particular that's common to nearly all great reporters, one that unfortunately is lacking in some of my students - curiosity.

Those Who Watch Only Cable News Have a Skewed View of the News Media
The vast majority of news media in this country are not sensationalist, and yet the perception persists that we are awash in sensationalism. Why is this?

Not Every Journalist Can Be an Entrepreneur
Am I the only one who's tired of being lectured about how all journalists need to be entrepreneurs?

Dismiss Michael Jackson's Music? Think Again.
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I discovered that, yet again, on a drive home this afternoon, with the radio on: “A-B-C, It’s easy as 1-2-3, as simple as do-re-mi, A-B-C, 1-2-3, baby, you and me girl,” the young Michael Jackson sang.

Predictions About the Future of News That Turned Out To Be Wrong
It's not just that some of their predictions have proven to be wrong; it's that a growing number of thoughtful observers are pushing back against the very foundations of their thinking.

Why Can't Paywalls Work?
Remember way back about 15 years ago, when the Internet was emerging from its primordial ooze? Remember how newspapers everywhere were convinced to create websites where they gave away their content for free, based on predictions from so-called "experts" that online ad revenue would be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

Why Are Newspapers Still Important?
Newspapers haven't done a very good job of promoting themselves to a public that's conditioned to getting so much information online for free. They need to start. Now.

The Return of Legendary Philadelphia Sports Columnist Bill Lyon
For as long as I've lived in the greater Philadelphia area (the Delaware Valley to the locals), I've been a fan of Bill Lyon. For many years he was THE sports columnist in a city that has no shortage of them, a city that's as sports-crazy as any I've ever seen.

Amid the Changes Roiling Journalism, Excitement About Working at Newspapers
With print circulation continuing its long decline, real worries about how to support online news remain.

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