Today Boston alt-weekly The Boston Phoenix announced that it was publishing its final edition. Here’s longtime former employee Dan Kennedy’s first take.
I do not know what will happen to the paper’s website or archives. Like Jason, I hope that they remove the tag on each page that prevents the Internet Archive from indexing their site and saving it for posterity.
— Jason Scott (@textfiles) March 14, 2013
Also, Reuters social media editor and journalist Matthew Keys was indicted on charges of allegedly conspiring with Anonymous to hack the website of the LA Times.
As with Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide, the federal prosecutor has charged Keys with crimes that carry 30 year prison terms (here’s Larissa MacFarquhar’s heartbreaking piece on Aaron from the New Yorker, which I still haven’t been able to force myself to finish). Many people, me included, wondered if the charges were being used as a way to bully Swartz into pleading guilty (why charge him with a 30 year term if, as reported by the Boston Globe and elsewhere they were willing to accept a plea bargain for as little as six months in jail? Why the big gap?)
Al Shaw of ProPublica wrote this fascinating piece on “Outsider CAR,” regarding people and projects that use computer-aided-reporting (CAR) techniques but do not share the culture or conventions of a newsroom.
“What struck me about his presentation was that he was using the vocabulary of Computer Assisted Reporting, but was using data collection, analysis and presentation methods he had come up with himself. Obviously, the Feltron Report isn’t a work of journalism. But it’s close.”
Projects and ideas that might be described as “journalism adjacent” but not journalism per se are almost always the ones that are the most interesting to me.
Today I attended a board meeting of the New England Center For Investigative Reporting. Here’s a story they did on the only publicly-funded “virtual school” in Massachusetts. It’s on the verge of closing down because students are scoring lower on the state standardized tests than students in traditional schools. I wonder: are the kids who opt for virtual school did so because they were not doing well in traditional schools? It seems the virtual school is on the verge of being shut down.
After all this sad news, it seems like a nice time to introduce something that, if not beautiful, is at least harmonious. Here’s a simple Processing sketch. It demonstrates a “for loop” — like the Phoenix, the virtual school, and, perhaps even federal prosecutors, it repeats itself again and again until it no longer works or reaches a stop point.
Here’s the code. This code should run just by cutting and pasting it into the freely downloadable Processing IDE; it doesn’t require any images, API keys or external libraries.