The continuing adventures of Beau Yarbrough

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In Other News: Reporters on Reporting

Friday, August 5, 2016, 7:48
Section: Arts & Entertainment, Journalism

Originally published on Goodreads:

In Other News: Reporters on ReportingIn Other News: Reporters on Reporting by Stephanie Forshee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Note: Turn to the last page of the book, and there I am, a Kickstarter backer of this book.

“In Other News: Reporters on Reporting” fills a valuable role for new or prospective journalists, particularly reporters, looking for some career guidance. As newsrooms have shrunk, which nearly all of them have, so to have the number of available mentors, in part because even would-be mentors often find themselves too busy to help out, even when they want to.

So this book fills that gap, with interviews with a dozen journalists from across the United States, and at a mix of print, online and broadcast outlets. Stephanie Forshee and Rosie Downey also interviewed a good number of female journalists and journalists of color, the latter of whom are still in woefully small supply across most outlets, and whose voices are especially needed by new journalists looking for advice.

The interviews tend to be about their career paths, and include other voices from the journalists’ paths, although in the cases of particularly interesting pieces they’ve worked on, the interviews may end up focusing on a particular story or series instead.

The book’s not perfect. It could use at least one more good edit, for one thing: The first interview uses “self-admittedly,” which would cause most copy editors I’ve known in the past 25 years to scream, and the last piece includes quotes from a former co-worker of the subject, but never gives their first name or an explanation why it’s not included. But those errors are a lesson for new reporters, as well.

And despite the fact that the two authors both work for smaller outfits themselves, the book is entirely focused on larger, more famous publications — I think all of the newspapers mentioned in the book are in the top 25 in the nation by circulation, despite the fact that there are more than 1,200 newspapers being published today. That gives the unfortunate impression that these larger market publications are what “real” journalism is about and that it’s what new journalists should aspire to, despite the fact that most of the journalists at those publications aren’t going to be leaving any time soon (and if they are, there often won’t be a job opening left when they do), and that there isn’t any good work being done at small publications. (Daniel Gilbert of the 39,000-circulation Herald Courier in Bristol, Virginia, won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, and my colleagues won the Pulitzer for Local Reporting in 2015 while at the 57,000-circulation Daily Breeze in Torrance.)

But those, honestly, are quibbles, and maybe something to be addressed in a second edition. Because this is a book that new and aspiring journalists should be reading, especially those who weren’t born with a passion to become a journalist or who didn’t take the route through a prestigious undergraduate journalism program and an expensive graduate degree program. There are journalists in this book, some of them household names, who didn’t decide on journalism until decades into adulthood and many others who took circuitous paths to get to where they are today. The big lesson of this book — that there’s no one “right” way to make it in journalism — is one I think every journalist at the start of what is still an immensely satisfying, if challenging, career path ought to hear.

View all my reviews

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Los Angeles News Group breaking news coverage of the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino

Friday, January 15, 2016, 16:06
Section: Journalism

Initially created for internal use, but probably interesting to others. It was a pretty grim exercise reliving all of this over the course of two hours or so.

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iPod Top 100: 2015

Friday, January 1, 2016, 19:18
Section: Arts & Entertainment

“Daddy, what’s an ‘iPod?’”

“It’s like an iPhone that could hold a fraction of the data, only contained songs and was controlled by a plastic wheel.”

“Be serious, Daddy.”

At this point, the name is tradition, though.

1. “We Only Come Out at Night” - The Sugar Stems
2. “I Wanna Get Better” - Bleachers
3. “Renegades” - The Young Evils
4. “Bridge to Hawaii” - Tacocat
5. “Pedestrian at Best” - Courtney Barnett
6. “All Your Favorite Bands” - Dawes
7. “West Coast” - Lana Del Rey
8. “Life Rips” - Mommy Long Legs
9. “California Nights” - Best Coast
10. “Shambala” - Three Dog Night
11. “I Love L.A.” - Randy Newman
12. “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” - Ruby Friedman Orchestra
13. “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party” - Courtney Barnett
14. “Ex’s & Oh’s” - Elle King
15. “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” - Old 97’s
16. “Black Magic” - Prom Queen
17. “A New Wave” - Sleater-Kinney
18. “Back to the Shack” - Weezer
19. “Feeling Ok” - Best Coast
20. “Restless Year” - Ezra Furman
21. “Go!” - Public Service Broadcasting
22. “R U Mine?” - Arctic Monkeys
23. “The Fish Aren’t Biting Today” - David Allen Coe
24. “Simplicity” - Macroform
25. “Stalking Legs” - The Shivas
26. “Hammerhead Shark” - David Lee Roth
27. “All I Want is to Be Your Girl” - Holly Miranda
28. “I Wanna Be Yours” - Arctic Monkeys
29. “TV” - Colleen Green
30. “7:30 A.M.” - Slothrust
31. “Paul Newman” - The Fontaines
32. “Laughing in the Sugar Bowl” - Veruca Salt
33. “Arabella” - Arctic Monkeys
34. “Over the Ocean” - Best Coast
35. “Honeymoon” - Lana Del Rey
36. “Sugar” - Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
37. “No. 1 Party Anthem” - Arctic Monkeys
38. “In My Room” - Best Coast
39. “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)” - Courtney Barnett
40. “I Love Beach Music” - The Embers
41. “Moment” - Ever so Android
42. “Don’t Wanna Lose” - Ex Hex
43. “Papaya” - Quitapenas
44. “Why Go to War” - William Onyeabor
45. “Knee Socks” - Arctic Monkeys
46. “Feeling of Love” - Best Coast
47. “Aqua Profunda!” - Courtney Barnett
48. “I’m In Your Mind” - King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
49. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” - Lorde
50. “De Día y de Noche” - Los Straitjackets
51. “Stoned and Starving” - Parquet Courts
52. “Do It” - Tuxedo
53. “I Want It Tall” - Arctic Monkeys
54. “Violent Shiver” - Benjamin Booker
55. “Fine Without You” - Best Coast
56. “Midnight In Her Eyes” - The Black Keys
57. “Country House” - Blur
58. “Gangsta” - Bushwalla
59. “Dead Fox” - Courtney Barnett
60. “Oh Well, Pt. 1 (Live)” - Fleetwood Mac
61. “High By the Beach” - Lana Del Rey
62. “Magia Blanca” - Los Straitjackets
63. “Wildfires” - Mariachi El Bronx
64. “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero” - The Mountain Goats
65. “Wagon Wheel” - Old Crow Medicine Show
66. “Valle Moreno” - Quitapenas
67. “Summer Nights” - Van Halen
68. “Snap Out of It” - Arctic Monkeys
69. “Sweet Little Angel (Live)” - B.B. King
70. “Make You Mine” - Best Coast
71. “Debbie Downer” - Courtney Barnett
72. “Baker Street” - Gerry Rafferty
73. “Just Call Me” - Gospel Machine
74. “Nightclubbing” - Iggy Pop
75. “Hey Lupe” - Los Straitjackets
76. “Return Back” - Macroform
77. “The Race for Space” - Public Service Broadcasting
78. “Me Llevaba” - Quitapenas
79. “Dim the Lights” - Wild Ones
80. “One for the Road” - Arctic Monkeys
81. “2^25,000:1 Against and Falling” - Beardyman
82. “When Will I Change” - Best Coast
83. “Hard Row” - The Black Keys
84. “There’s No Other Way” - Blur
85. “Parklife” - Blur
86. “Elevator Operator” - Courtney Barnett
87. “You Are Doing” - Macroform
88. “Gagarin” - Public Service Broadcasting
89. “Os Quitapenas” - Quitapenas
90. “The Commander Thinks Aloud” - The Long Winters
91. “Fireside” - Arctic Monkeys
92. “Heaven Sent” - Best Coast
93. “No Trust” - The Black Keys
94. “Depreston” - Courtney Barnett
95. “1/2 2 P” - The I Don’t Cares
96. “Loco Te Patina el Coco” - Los Straitjackets
97. “Seeing in Purple” - Macroform
98. “Sputnik” - Public Service Broadcasting
99. “Guayabo” - Quitapenas
100. “Mad Sounds” - Arctic Monkeys

Previous editions can be found here: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Books read, 2015

Friday, January 1, 2016, 17:41
Section: Arts & Entertainment

So, this is an improvement over the last two years, but only just: I managed to read 15 books in the last year. Let’s see if I can reach the dizzying heights of 16 books in a single year in 2016.

Jan. 27: The Frood by Jem Roberts
Jan. 27: Declare by Tim Powers
Feb. 27: Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers
March 13: Swords in the Mist by Fritz Leiber
April 22: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas
July 21: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
Aug. 29: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
Sept. 1.: Swords Against Wizardry by Fritz Leiber
Sept. 28: Realms: The Roleplaying Art of Tony DiTerlizzi
Sept. 29: Doctor Who: 12 Doctors, 12 Stories
Oct. 13: Doctor Who: City of Death
Oct. 16: The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
Nov. 27: Gnomes by Wil Huygen
Dec. 14: Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Joseph Fink
Dec. 30: Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

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Inland Regional Center memorial in San Bernardino

Tuesday, December 29, 2015, 17:46
Section: Journalism

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