I recently relaunched Watching the Watchers as an Utne Reader-style digest of interesting political news and commentary published on sites that permit redistribution. In the first phase, most of the content is coming from Daily Kos, which has the following license: Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified. Hundreds of diary entries roll through Daily Kos every day, and a lot of interesting stuff falls through the cracks. I only consider Kos diaries that didn't ... read more

A question this week from Annie's Mailbox, the advice column written by the editors of Ann Landers: Dear Annie: I am 23 years old and a virgin. I have never seen a naked man in my life because I believe virginity should be kept until marriage. The other day I went with my sister to watch my nephew's baseball game. He plays on a field that is uphill, so you can see the backyards of some of the houses across the street. My nephew had heard from his friends that one of the men in those yards sits naked in his hot ... read more

Neil Steinberg's column today in the Chicago Sun-Times has a surprising ending. He writes about an interesting Chicago character, Arnie Berezin, who has run a small currency exchange business for years: Neva Evans has spent most of the last decade in a Jewel shopping bag tucked away in the cluttered back room at the Ashland-Diversey Currency Exchange. Or at least her earthly remains have, ashes in a funerary jar with a mother-of-pearl finish. "Good morning, Neva," the owner of the currency exchange, Arnie Berezin, ... read more

In a discussion about journalism on venture capitalist Fred Wilson's blog, Dave Winer writes: ... professionals make plenty of these kinds of mistakes. For example last week the esteemed NY Times said RSS was software and that it was co-written by a 14-year old on a mail list. It is neither of those things. They never called me to check it out. The 14-year-old he references is Aaron Swartz, who got some nice press recently from the Times for an incredibly ballsy stunt he pulled to promote public access to ... read more

Debra J. Saunders has an impassioned rant in today's San Francisco Chronicle about how we'll all be sorry when newspapers are dead: News stories do not sprout up like Jack's bean stalk on the Internet. To produce news, you need professionals who understand the standards needed to research, report and write on what happened. If newspapers die, reliable information dries up. ... I wonder who will be around in five years to cover stories. Or what talk radio will talk about when hosts can't just siphon from ... read more

While on a trip to Washington D.C. last weekend I made my first visit to the Newseum, the museum of journalism that moved to Pennsylvania Avenue in 2008 after an extensive $450 million upgrade. The museum's $20 ticket is a lot when you can walk across the street to visit the Smithsonian for free, but as a J-school grad I spent around five hours engrossed in the six-story facility. Highlights include an emotional Pulitzer Prize photography exhibit, an exhibit on the Berlin Wall that features several sections of ... read more

One of the best jobs I ever had was working weekends on the state desk at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram during the late '80s. I took calls from correspondents across North Texas, wrote spot-news stories and spent the other 98 percent of my time reading everything on the news wire. That job had a lot in common with publishing the Drudge Retort today, with the notable exception that you once needed a journalism job to gorge on an all-you-can-eat buffet of wire stories. When you read news for too long, you develop ... read more