Image via Greenwich Village Daily Photo
This past Tuesday, October 26 was a big day for me. In my own personal history, it was huge. Not quite on par with getting married (which I did on May 2, 2006) and I hope having children one day, but still pretty big. On that day, I became an insider after a lifetime as the consummate outsider.
What do I mean by this?
In practical terms, what happened is that I got the job of Web Editor of Time Out Chicago Kids. Currently the kids website is part of TOC proper, but it will soon be on its own like its NYC counterpart. The print edition will also be expanding. It’s now published monthly, but will be bi-monthly eventually. All these new pages (both digital and print) will require more content and this is where I come in I’ll also be managing social media, marketing our content more widely, growing our audience and much, much more.
In more philosophical terms, I’m finally in. After two years of knocking on the door of the media business and going through some rough times, I’ve finally been allowed to enter. I’m sure I’ll continue to feel like an outsider at times. As I wrote before, once you’ve persistently felt this way for large portions of your life, you’ll always feel it to some degree. And in this business, like in so many others, there are always other doors. Once you breach one, you will surely run into another. Still, for now this is a victory and I can bask in it.
But while I’d like to take all the credit, I haven’t gotten to this point alone and there are a few people I’d like to thank.
First and foremost, I want to thank my best friend and favorite person in the world: my husband. He is the most kind and generous person I know and has been an unfailing supporter of me in everything I’ve ever done. He has tolerated my being glued to the computer more times than I could count, surrendered me on many a weeknight evening to networking or social events, brushed off suggestions from others that maybe I should go do something else and of course comforted me in those moments when I was feeling my most despondent. At every turn, it was clear that he sublimated any other concern or need for my current and future happiness and I don’t think there are words to properly thank him for this. If you like anything I’ve done in these last two years, you can compliment me first. But Jim should be a close second.
Thank you also to my friend Brad Flora. Were it not for Windy Citizen, I might never have ventured into this industry. I’ve previously written about how I got my start while congratulating Brad on a big accomplishment, but I’ll say it one more time here. Brad has almost unparalleled integrity, vision, persistence and generosity of spirit. In the time we’ve known each other, he’s been a great sounding board, a giver of advice and a source of encouragement.
Thank you to the wonderful Megan Cottrell, another friend and frequent shoulder to cry on. I can’t believe I only met Megan in February of 2009. It feels like a lot longer and I mean that in the best sense possible. On a day that month, Brad, myself and many others attended the Chicago Journalism Town Hall. Everyone wore name tags and Megan spied mine. “Are you the Anna Tarkov that does the Daily Daley?” she asked. Yes, I answered. She went on to gush about how much she loved it. She implored me to keep it going and then she wanted to hug me. If you’ve ever been an unpaid, unappreciated, for-the-love-of-the-craft blogger, you know I hugged her back immediately. Such validation! It was quite a rush. We’ve been friends ever since and have shared many of our frustrations, hopes and dreams while trying to break into this business. Like me, Megan didn’t come to journalism through the traditional avenues and she too is now enjoying a modicum of success which I know will only continue to grow as her career progresses. She is immensely talented, passionate, kind and I am proud to know her.
Since I linked to his great Chicago Journalism Town Hall write-up while he was still at Time Out Chicago, I’ll move on to Scott Smith. If you don’t know Scott, I’d recommend changing that as soon as possible. I’m not sure if he remembers, but we first met at a Colonel Tribune tweet-up of all things. I found him dynamic and funny right away and since then, my regard for him has steadily grown. He is unfailingly helpful, always willing to listen and has a true and abiding love for the media business. He celebrates the good, points out the bad and always continues to think creatively about where things are going next. Scott is a NBB and a strong believer in the new news ecosystem overall. He fights for it daily and he does it with tremendous grace and integrity.
Along similar lines, we come to the inimitable Steve Rhodes, editor and publisher of The Beachwood Reporter. I actually met Steve the same night I met Scott. It was somewhat far from the tweet-up of course, at the Beachwood Inn in Wicker Park. Brad had told me about Steve and I was intrigued. I wanted to meet the man who wrote those wonderfully acerbic and biting words I read daily and pick his brain on whether I had any hope of becoming a real journalist. The answer, to be brief, was… not really. Steve said I should go to journalism school if I was really serious about learning this craft. He said that anyone could blog, but reporting was a different story. I was chastened, but undeterred. Since then, I’d like to think that Steve and I have become friends and that he believes I’m talented. He is most definitely a mentor for me, especially in terms of ethics. After all, not many people would willingly leave a paying gig (with little to fall back on) simply to be able to look themselves in the mirror and know that they acted on their principles. Though I’ve never had to do it as directly as he has, Steve and I both try to live what we preach.
Thank you to Frank Sennett, the Editor-in-Chief of Time Out Chicago and soon to officially be my boss’ boss. Frank and I met via Twitter sometime ago and didn’t meet in real life until I interviewed for the job I will soon start. Though only communicating via Twitter, e-mail and Gchat, I came to know Frank as a person of unmatched integrity, intensity and unflinching dedication to his ideals and to the pursuit of truth and justice. I also learned that Frank, unlike many in this business, is a true believer in rewarding and nurturing talent, improving media overall, copping to criticism when its warranted and dishing it out when no one else will. Perhaps because we’re so similar in all this, Frank has always respected me. I can assure you that others have not been so kind. In short, I am absolutely thrilled to work for an organization that has someone like Frank leading it.
Thank you to Whet Moser, the brilliant Web Editor of the Chicago Reader. I could thank Whet for many things, not the least of them being his amazing work at the Reader, but I also thank him for something that could be said for many of the people I’ve talked about already. So I thank Whet (and all the others above) for taking me seriously. Ours is a business in which its really easy to do the opposite, especially with young, whippersnapper upstarts who seem to want a seat at the table without putting in the work that those who came before them put in. It’s always been obvious that Whet and many of his colleagues at the Reader just don’t feel that way. Their approach is more: you want to write about issues and people we care about? Great! Let’s have a look at it and maybe we’ll publish it. It is this approach that has led them to employ amazing talent like Whet, Mick Dumke, Ben Jarovsky and many others. For his part, Whet has always been unfailingly nice, approachable and willing to help. On a professional level, his ability to be in full command of certain topics is incredible. And he is among the gold standard for web editors. I hope I can do the job title justice in my new position.
Thank you to Mike Fourcher, the ambitious publisher of the Center Square Journal, Roscoe View Journal, former political consultant and much, much more. The question you may well ask is: when does this guy ever sleep? The answer is that he often doesn’t or at least not very much. But despite his busy schedule, he has found the time on more than one occasion to give me a pep talk, to assure me that eventually there will be a job that’s right for me. When no one else would even interview me, he actually offered me a job editing Center Square Journal. When some people were telling me to give it up or drastically change my approach, he convinced me to stick with it. He validated my belief that the problem wasn’t me and people like me. The problem was that the media business hadn’t yet caught up to the new way of doing things. There were entire jobs and job descriptions yet to be invented and things were moving very slowly.
For some of the same reasons, I thank Jay Rosen who hardly needs any introduction. Long before I was involved in media, Jay had been helping me and others like me without our knowledge. He was doing it by laying the foundation for the new ideas and new ways of looking at things that would become absolutely essential in the New Journalism. He was challenging the status quo long before I ever sat at a keyboard and by becoming so influential, he helped me and others tremendously as we eventually began navigating the media waters. I’m not sure how long it has been since Jay followed me on Twitter, but it was always a source of pride. He only follows 631 people (as of this writing) so it’s a bit of an honor to be included. Jay also put me on a Twitter list he compiled called Young, Smart Newsies (I wrote about it here). The list was explained thusly: “They’re the next generation: born on the Web and ready to reboot the news.” In this description, Jay acknowledges the unfortunate fact that just because we are ready to work and have great ideas, it didn’t mean news orgs are ready to hire us. I’ve always held onto this reality as an anchor and clutched it ever more tightly when Jay told me, like others had, not to give up, but to accept the fact that it might be a while before I landed a job. Now that I have the job, I will do everything in my power to prove that us young newsies aren’t all talk. I will prove that we can get results.
I know I’m going to forget people, but I want to quickly mention a few who were also tremendous sources of support, whether actual or moral: Michele Mclellan, Craig Newman, Charlie Meyerson and his lovely son Ben, Deb Segal at CBS2, Karen Kring, President of AWJ-Chicago, Sally Duros, Barb Iverson, Andrew Huff, Adam Verwymeren, Dan Sinker, Kate Gardiner, Steve Buttry, Craig Kanalley, Ramsin Canon, James Janega, Ken Davis and I’m sure many, many more people. If I’ve forgotten you here, I apologize. Whether or not your name is mentioned, you know who you are and I appreciate and value all of you more than words can say.
I can continue trying to explain these concepts to you, draw my little pictures, employ my weird (often pop-culture drenched) analogies… all to get you closer to understanding these concepts.
Or, you can just admit (and hopefully be okay with) the very strong possibility that you may never really understand.
But, also, realize that it’s not about you… it’s not about you understanding.
That spending time on trying to have you understand, so you can approve, has delay and hurt us for SO MANY YEARS. We can’t afford that time any more.
Please know that you have a very important role here, but trying to be the visionary when you don’t understand is not that role.
Take that leap of faith by putting your trust in the people who are just as passionate, concerned, obsessed about journalism as you are… trust those “Web people.”
While this is my favorite part, please read the entire post by @webjournalist. I’m glad someone finally came out and said it. Others have of course said it as well. But this kind of crystallized it perfectly.
Like other experts, reporters become immersed in their beats and lose track of what it was like for a newcomer to the subject. They begin to identify with the most sophisticated users of their work, which is a tiny portion of the actual market.
The Jay Rosen post that this snipped comes from is on one of my main pet peeves about news reporting today.
Jay talks about the example of the financial meltdown and how difficult that was to explain, but there are of course many other topical areas where this is a problem.
Since I’m interested in politics and have reported on it, I run into this issue a lot. And since I live in the Chicago area, a very political town, I get asked a lot of questions by confused people who are not reporters.
Over the years, it’s become clear to me that people have a very hard time making sense of political reporting and that it does little to enable them to be more effective citizens.
In the Chicago media, there have been some notable exceptions. But they are not usually at the major newspapers and thus not widely read.
What can be done about this? I wrote about some ideas recently: http://www.annatarkov.com/what-is-it-about-the-weather Do you have anything to add?
6. If you really want to succeed at Twitter, you should be a famous person. If you can’t manage that, just act like one.
As you can see #6 is the one I pulled out. But please read the whole list. You won’t be sorry
To show you what I mean, #7 reads as follows: “If you just make shit up on Twitter, it’s not lying. It’s a sitcom.” ***
As an educator who spent over 15 years working with teenagers, I know how damaging the sort of attitude that Kelly espouses can be. Marie Claire is a magazine targeted at young women in their most impressionable and vulnerable years. They might think that cheeky little pieces like Maura Kelly’s are sassily provocative, but what they are is the propaganda of hate. Its okay to revile overweight people, because of course, it is just an issue of having some self control! That they don’t seem to care that it gives permission for others to embrace that very intolerance, can feed into the culture of bullying that is so prevalent today amongst young people is irresponsible and extremely disappointing.
Image via Reuters
Something about major weather developments, whether they are real or over-hyped, has the ability to bring us all together. More importantly, it focuses people’s attention like almost no other news event. What is that special magical quality?
Today it’s the “Chiclone.” Search Google and you’ll find over 6,400 results (18,000 results by the time I finished writing this :-)) The hashtag #Chiclone on is trending in Chicago and the United States as a whole. The latter is somewhat surprising. Yes, these storms are affecting more than one state. But a top trend in the entire nation? Really? Does anyone know that there are, oh, I don’t know, some political campaigns going on? If politics isn’t your bag, there are bound to be some album releases today (this is Tuesday after all). Or how about some tech news?
Weather trumps it all every single time. The question is why and how can we apply these lessons to rally news consumers around other news?
So far as I can see it, weather is news that interests almost everyone because:
In addition to a high level of interest and demand for this news, people love to talk about it. It is a common experience that almost everyone in a certain geographical area has shared. People may have nothing else in common, but if they went out that morning and it was raining they both used an umbrella.
So how can we use what we know about why everyone likes weather news to promote interest in other topics?
If you know me at all, you probably know I am a politics junkie. And like every other addict before me, I lament the lack of interest among many people on matters of public affairs, policy and elections. I am not alone. Every politician (with some exceptions), every activist, every pundit, every political reporter and every high school social studies teacher would like you to be more engaged in the political process.
We all want you to understand issues beyond basic talking points. We want you to think carefully about who you vote for. If you don’t vote, we’d like you to start.
How can we accomplish this?
Using the weather as a guide, how can we make politics more easily observable? How can we make the effects on you clearer? How can we make it easier to see why things happen; if this, then what?
With these lofty goals in mind, I have a few ideas. Please feel free to add your own in the comments.
1. EASILY OBSERVABLE: News organizations should provide streaming video of local government meetings.
This speaks to the goal of making politics more observable.
Every news organization has a website. Instead of making people rely on the reporter’s write-up the next day, offer video of the meeting to all who come to your site. Your reporter can still write a story, but now citizens will be able to see exactly what the reporter saw. For instance, In many suburban municipalities in the Chicago area, residents are able to view their local city council meeting on TV at home. The city governments do this, not the local newspapers.This is helpful, but not the same as offering the same video on the local news website. Not everyone knows about the channel or will watch it, but most people will visit the newspaper’s website. If you have a print edition, point readers to the video online at the end of the story that came out of the meeting.
Also, not every meeting has a story written about it. The video should still be available in those cases. Just because the editor or reporter didn’t think there was anything newsworthy doesn’t mean individual citizens will feel the same way.
The reporter at the meeting can also host a live chat alongside the video using CoverItLive or Twitter. That way, citizens can chime in with questions and the reporter can answer them on the spot. Many people do not understand the way these meetings are run. If they’re even going to the trouble of watching them on TV at home, they may not understand what’s happening.
Surely not every community videotapes the proceedings. A local news organization could fill that role and make the videos (and live chat transcript) available later on in case someone wasn’t able to participate live.
All of this would make political events more observable and more of a shared experience. It’s not exactly like looking outside and seeing rain, but it’s a vast improvement on the current way things are done.
2. AFFECTS EVERYONE: More needs to be done to explain how policy decisions directly affect citizens’ lives.
When it rains, everyone gets wet. When a city council enacts a new policy or when the U.C. Congress votes a bill into law, what happens? The answer is often unclear to the average person.
When things seem too complex and when the cost of understanding an issue is perceived to be too high, people tune out or allow opinionated pundits to form their opinions.
I think this can be dealt with as simply as sometimes using more plain language in a news report. Here’s an example where a local government announced a new policy regarding residents’ water bills:
The Water and Sewer Department would like to make residents aware of a new policy.
There had been some debate when it came to their water forgiveness policy.
If residents had a leak, or something to that affect that caused a significant increase in their water bill, the committee would decide, case by case, whether to reduce the bill or not.
Due to legal obligations, they are no longer allowed to forgive the water portion of your bill.
They will however be able to review each case, and if necessary, be able to reduce part of the sewer charges if needed.
Spelling and grammatical errors aside, did you understand after reading that what the new policy is and how you will be affected if you live in this community? I read it three times and I still don’t understand it. Still, I’m going to take a crack at re-writing it in a way that may have been more effective:
Currently, a resident is able to appeal their water bill to the city Water and Sewer Department. The department decides in each case whether it will reduce the bill or keep it as is.
Under the new policy, residents can still bring their bills to the department for review. However going forward, only sewer charges will potentially be lowered. Water charges can no longer be lowered due to new [are they new? what are they?] legal obligations on the department.
Now imagine if there was a chart accompanying the story which showed some typical families’ water bill and how they will be affected (or not) by this new policy. Some people have a hard time understanding words and sentences, but everyone understands dollar amounts
On a national level, much more of this kind of thing needs to happen. The Washington Post took a very complex topic and distilled it into an interactive infographic. Everyone, no matter their income level, could now see how exactly they would be affected by proposed taxing policies. Not every news organization can produce these kinds of things, but they need not all be so grand. Simple visual representations (like the aforementioned water bill chart) can be just as effective.
3. CAUSE AND EFFECT; Show a direct link between a policy and its effects.
Closely tied to #2, this goal also means being more direct with readers/viewers/listeners.
The trouble with this (and I think the reason we see so little of it in the press) is that doing it requires a fairly deep understanding of the policy in question and a great deal of research in many cases. Thus it often falls to think tanks and university professors to study the effects of government programs or lack thereof. Their work isn’t available to the general public as readily as newspapers and magazines so most people will never see it. If they do see it, they will likely find it impenetrable. Reporters’s clear duty is to explain things to people as simply as possible. Why can’t this be done with public policy?
One of the problems is of course that a discussion of a policy’s effects can itself be politicized. If it must, a news organization can present all the competing viewpoints. But it would be much more useful to the reader if a reporter searches for the truth and concludes that a certain viewpoint is the most likely one.
Another issue is that reporters themselves don’t understand the policy, thus they cannot explain it to readers. I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions on how to fix this problem.
Beyond all this and I’m repeating myself, WRITE IT PLAINLY. If a new policy will have immediate effects on your readers, perhaps that should be in the lede. If the effects are not yet known, talk about all the possibilities.
You can also tell readers exactly what action they can take, if any. So many times, citizens have no idea a policy change was even being discussed. Now it’s too late and the impact on their lives will come whether they want it or not. News organizations are complicit in this, but they should not be. Again, not everything has to be a full story. Post the agendas of governmental bodies’ meetings and indicate exactly how a citizen can oppose or support a policy, which elected officials to contact, etc. I’m going a bit off track here, but I don’t care News organizations should directly enable, as much as possible, active citizenship. Currently, people are mostly passive observers of their political bodies and both the politicians and the newspapers seemingly want it that way.
All of this speaks to the point that I’ve long tried to make. News organizations cannot just tell people what happened when, who said what, etc. They need to explain why it matters. Everyone understands why a hurricane or tornado matters. We must seek to convey the same kind of clarity in matters of politics and public policy.
Neither of us have particularly good histories of working for other people, our prospects were grim, and so we decided that we would make the kind of site people we know would like to read,” Mr. Sicha said of Mr. Balk and himself. Strong voices and a literate sensibility made The Awl an attractive, sticky place.
This is from a NYT article about the Awl (http://www.theawl.com). Apparently they are making money and whenever this happens in media, especially online only, it warrants an article
This tidbit early on re-teaches the lesson that we should already know. When it comes to building a successful online content business, you don’t necessarily need to focus on a specific niche. You just need to have a strong voice and a clear idea of who your readers are.
Chicagoans, does this sound familiar to you? It probably does if you ever read GapersBlock.com. There is no niche focus there either, but like The Awl, it has a strong voice and a certain editorial sensibility.
One of the things I learned at a recent conference for local news websites was just how important it really is to know your target readers. And in the online news world, a target reader is not “urban male 25-35.” No, no, no. You have to get much, much more specific. An imaginary reader now might be… “a woman in her early 20’s who lives in the city and loves politics, hates pop culture, is interested in fashion, but not in celebrities. She is passionate about education, but had no children of her own. She is single and career-minded, but is looking for someone special.” And one could even get a lot more specific than this. What kinds of shows does this person watch on TV? What movies and music do they like? What segment of the left or the right do they call home politically? As you can see, this can be nearly never-ending.
The founders of The Awl obviously knew their readership intimately, instinctively and they were able to serve them extremely well. Of course a large readership is not necessarily followed by a large profit. But it’s a darn good start.
Image via CafePress
Today the Washington Post published this report about the state of the tea party movement. One of the questions they were obviously seeking to answer was whether all the groups and organizations that have sprung up have anything in common.
They concluded that the answer was, sort of:
If anything tied the groups together, it was what motivated their members to participate. Virtually all said that economic concerns were a factor, and nearly as many cited a general mistrust of government.
Nowhere in this report was there mention of any other unifying ethos. Tea party members themselves said there is a lot of disagreement.
And yet on the same day, also in the Washington Post, Charles Murray asserted that there was indeed something all tea partiers agreed on:
The tea party appears to be of one mind on at least one thing: America has been taken over by a New Elite.
Murray then goes on to grasp vainly for a way to define this group of Americans. Some of the things he mentions as defining the “New Elite” are:
If I were to use these things as a litmus test of whether I am a member of this elite, I would score only 5 out of 7. It’s more than 50%, yes, but hardly decisive.
These idiotic characterizations aside, Murray seems to base his conclusions mainly on studies done on the graduates of Ivy League schools. He cites statistics like these:
When they leave college, the New Elite remain in the bubble. Harvard seniors surveyed in 2007 were headed toward a small number of elite graduate schools (Harvard and Cambridge in the lead) and a small number of elite professional fields (finance and consulting were tied for top choice). Jobs in businesses that provide bread-and-butter goods and services to individual Americans, which make up the overwhelming majority of entry-level openings for aspiring managers, attracted just 1.7 percent of the Harvard students who went to work right after graduation.
How about, oh, everyone else who has gone to college and/or graduate school but not done so at an elite institution like Harvard? Murray is mute on that demographic which is surely quite large. There is, after all, a lot of light between Harvard and a community college or a public university. And what of people who did not attend college at all? Are they automatically in the non-elite category? Even if they have attained wealth, status or at the very least a fairly comfortable middle class lifestyle?
His other source of intelligence on the “New Elite” is even more tenuous. It is that definitive barometer for the rest of the nation. Yes, the New York Times marriage announcements section:
When the New Elite get around to marrying, they don’t marry just anybody. One of the funniest and most bitingly accurate parts of “Bobos in Paradise” was Brooks’s analysis of the New York Times’s wedding announcements. Go back to 1960, and the page was filled with brides and grooms who grew up wealthy but whose educations and occupations did not offer much indication that they were going to set the world on fire. Look at the page today, and it is studded with the mergers of fabulous résumés.
I know what you’re thinking. But wait, you’re saying to yourselves, a particular section of a New York newspaper is not really an effective way to generalize about a large group of people. Congratulations. You’re already smarter than Charles Murray.
An acknowledgement of the lack of some sort of hard facts is actually made, but then swiftly brushed aside:
It is hard to get numbers — no survey has samples large enough to calibrate precisely what’s going on with the top percentiles of the population that I’m talking about — but the numbers we do have, combined with qualitative data provided by observers such as Brooks, Florida and Bill Bishop, in his book “The Big Sort,” are persuasive.
Here’s a newsflash for Murray: anything can seem persuasive when you are ready and willing to be persuaded. If you go looking at statistics and anecdotal evidence expecting to find something, you’re probably going to find it.
As mentioned above, I may or may not be a member of this “New Elite” that Murray has imagined, err, described. In case I am a member, allow me to answer the charge that myself and my compatriots are out of touch with ordinary Americans.
To be blunt, I disagree entirely that we are out of touch, in a bubble or whatever other description of detachment someone can come up with.
I categorically reject the notion that if one is not themselves part of a certain lifestyle, one cannot understand it. Interestingly enough, no one ever claims that those who are not elites cannot imagine what life is like in the upper echelons of society. Presumably, if one is poor one can imagine what life is like if one were rich. If one is poorly educated, one can imagine what life is like with a good education. If one lives in a rural area, one can imagine city life, and on and on. If all this is true, is not the reverse possible as well?
What has all our education, reading and learning amounted to if not an ability to understand the plight of others? And if we have, as Murray claims, used all our knowledge to build an edifice of willful ignorance around ourselves, then why are so many people engaged in trying to better our world? If we were really only aware of ourselves and no one else, wouldn’t we be content with simply slogging through life and doing nothing to help our fellow man?
Indeed, there are people like that. There are also people who only work towards social justice for their own self-aggrandizement. For those people we have terms like self-absorbed, shallow and selfish. There’s nothing “new” or “elite” about that.
There are questions that don’t get answered, like citizenship and his birth certificate,” Stevens said. “I don’t know why questions keep popping up all the time. If something is irrefutable, the questions wouldn’t keep popping up.
The full WaPo piece is good, but this particular quote struck me as amusing.
There are many questions which are irrefutable, but keep “popping up” nonetheless. Just a few examples:
1. The Holocaust – there are many people who still believe it didn’t happen
2. The existence of God or a supreme being in general – both people inside and outside of various faiths continue to ask these questions and many questions associated with the topic
3. Evolution – see above
4. The U.S. Constitution – Some things in there seem darn near irrefutable and we continue to discuss them nonetheless and question what was meant, how to apply it, etc.
The man quoted by the way is 68 years old. I don’t want to disrespect my elders, but where did he learn his ability to reason? Oh yeah, he never did.
This is FANTASTIC.
My favorite part was where they tell you how exciting a fire is to report. Then they caution you that it doesn’t happen too often
Also: “Women find it difficult to compete with men in general reporting jobs.” How much has changed… and how little.
Finally: “Some feature writers started out writing about their hobbies.” Hmmm, does that sound familiar to anyone? The same could be said of many bloggers today.
What did you find the most amusing and/or depressing?