Nobody is reading this anymore now that the semester is over, so let’s talk about how much I dislike Helen Thomas.

Since Thomas is a dinosaur and has been a journalist since the dawn of man, she should know that one of the most important rules is to be as objective as possible. No matter what you are thinking about anything, NEVER let it interfere with your work. So, obviously, it’s a bad idea to tell someone your opinion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

After being outed, Thomas retired and apologized for her comments. I believe that she regrets saying what she did, because it brought her career to a screeching halt. But I don’t buy the rest of her b.s. line about her hopes for peace in the Middle East. Her public statement was clearly some P.R. garbage, while the video was what she truly felt. Saying that Jews in Israel should go back where they came from is just Thomas being her racist self.

Thanks for sharing, but maybe you should do a little reading (you know, like a real journalist would). As the video pointed out, Jews were in Israel long before Thomas’ memories of reading about Hitler in the paper, long before that old bag went to Jesus’ first birthday party, and long before Paris of Troy dumped her for the better Helen.

I’m going to skip over the major politics of the issue because there are multiple sides and it is a very complex conflict that cannot be simplified in one blog post. But “going home” to Germany and Poland is not a solution and just a mean thing to suggest, especially since Israel is the actual birthplace and home of many Israelis.

Maybe someone should tell Thomas to go back to Lebanon and see how she likes it.


Andrew Heyward, a former president of CBS News, spoke to one of my journalism classes this week. He mentioned that things in the industry have drastically changed in recent years, and cited the apprenticeship as an example.

It used to be that a young, determined reporter would start at a low position with a publication and would eventually master the craft through the guidance of the more seasoned reporters. Now, the younger employees know more about things like the Web, and so they have something to bring to the table. This creates a two-way apprenticeship – the older reporters show the younger ones the ropes and the younger reporters teach the older ones more about online journalism.

Yeah, this is great, everyone gets to learn something, blah, blah, blah. What I really like about it is that it makes room for me on the staff. If I know more about the Web or video than most of the other reporters, I have something to contribute that the publication cannot afford to pass up. It also (hopefully) makes me too important to start off as the coffee and bagel slave (although at this point, I would take anything).

With all the changes in the journalism industry, this is definitely one of the better ones. There are tighter wallets, massive layoffs, content cuts… among all that, we have something that can only benefit the consumer in the way the news is reported and delivered.

Thanks, Andrew Heyward. I feel a little better about my future. And America. Take it away, Sam the Eagle.

This isn’t the most recent video, but I thought of it after overhearing a conversation on campus. A woman told her friend that she was worried about getting cancer from her cell phone because she read a news story about how common it is and how common it could be in the future. It apparently really freaked her out. But this is not even close to being an epidemic, so maybe whatever news outlet she went to should take a lesson from Charlie Brooker.

Last night taught me more about journalism than any 90-minute class ever could.

Around 9 p.m., a pedestrian was struck by two or three cars (and died) on Nicolls Road, right next to the south entrance of Stony Brook. I was on the scene an hour later with my friend/fellow J-schooler, TC McCarthy, to get some video and a statement from the police. The only other reporter on the scene was from Verizon FiOS.

After some small talk, we exchanged information about the situation: what we thought happened, what kind of footage we got, problems we were facing with our equipment, etc. But when the Verizon reporter walked to his car for a few minutes, I mentioned to TC that I was surprised that this guy was so open with us (he had showed me video he had shot of the body and told us what the public information office had said over the phone). TC, who has a little more field experience, said that in the newsroom, journalists from different publications are enemies. But on the scene, we are friends. That is absolutely true.

The industry is headed to a really bad part of town – not the end of the line, but certainly a train station in a bad neighborhood – and it’s necessary for reporters to stick together to avoid getting jumped. And most public officials have always disliked the press and tried to prevent journalists from getting too much information. So when we are in the field, working on the story, I think we are definitely friends. We all know what it’s like to feel pushed out of the loop, to be ignored by the cops and to be given the evil eye by civilians.

I’m not saying that I would share an exclusive with journalists who have ears nearby. But in a situation like the one from last night, when we’re standing in the freezing cold, getting terrible footage and zero love from the police, why not? What goes around comes around, and you never know when you’re going to need a sympathetic journalist to tell you a few things. But once I get back to that newsroom and start gathering my own information and writing my story, there is no one I will compete against more than that other guy at the crime scene.

Now that I’m on an iPad rant, I might as well bash it. As you can probably tell, I don’t like the device very much. I think it is an oversized, overpriced iTouch, something that mostly pretentious people would buy. And it’s just impractical if you plan on doing anything useful with it. You’re supposed to be able to take it with you wherever, but it doesn’t have a USB port or an SD card reader. How are you supposed to get information from people on-the-go without those two things?

I foresee a ton of updated versions/new generations of this device after users realize how truly worthless it is. Steve Jobs probably should have taken more time to develop it the right way. Then again, maybe he did a poor job on purpose to make more money. I could go on forever, but I’d rather express myself through YouTube videos.

This is what I would like to see happen to all iPads:

And below is a video of a MadTV skit from more than two years ago featuring a new device from Apple called the (you guessed it!) “iPad.” Perhaps Steve Jobs laughed so hard at that episode that he decided to run with the name, no matter the cost in funny newspaper headlines.

Although anyone could have seen this coming, it’s still shocking to see how connected little kids are to the most advanced pieces of technology. Below is a video of a two-year-old with an iPad. Her father calls it a “toy” and gives it to her, and she takes to it right away.

Mediabistro suggests that this is the way kids will learn how to read in the future. It sounds like it’s straight from a Michael Crichton thriller in which all future humans are half-robot. And I think it’s sad. I believe that the reason books are still hanging on is because we all learned how to read with them, holding the words between our fingers and feeling the excitement of flipping the page. If the next generations do not have that, they will not feel a connection to books the way we do. And that might cause a complete shift to e-books. I hope it does not come to this, but it very well could.

And books would definitely stick around longer than newspapers and magazines and other journalism publications. So if books are gone, the journalism industry will likely be entirely digital already. Common sense tells us that this would have happened eventually anyway, but this little girl has just made it seem much more immediate than I had originally estimated.

It’s amazing to me how many negative things I end up writing about the New York Times.

This time, the “paper of record” apparently forgot that April Fools’ Day does, indeed, apply to everyone. You are not exempt just because you’re gullible, nor because you are an adult. In fact, I would argue that the greatest targets for an April Fools’ joke are the ones who feel that they are immune for those very reasons.

In any case, regardless of the day, it is the responsibility of a journalist to check and double-check all information before publication to make sure it is accurate. And then triple-check. So either the New York Times does not employ journalists, or everything I have learned between grade school and the end of college has been a lie. Actually, my guess is that it is somewhere in between – stress-induced apathy.

But I don’t care how overworked you are, how tired you are, how much your boss is breathing down your neck. If you’re going to do this job, you have to do it right, or else all that reporting and writing is worthless. There will be times in an emergency when you have to get information out there as quickly as possible, and that’s when it becomes difficult to decide what to put into print. But what truly amazes me is that the story wasn’t even that important. And the writer ran with it on the word of a single source. That’s not journalism.

And it’s especially moronic because another Times writer published a story the day before about “Separating April Fools’ From Fraud on the Web.” Perhaps NYT employees should read their own paper.

I used to admire the New York Times. But the more I know about it, the less I like.

According to an article from TechCrunch, more than half of bloggers consider themselves journalists. I think as a general rule, people tend to think of themselves as better than they actually are, and only someone with a third-party perspective can determine the truth. In this case, I am that someone.

Telling your friends that Ben Affleck was all smiles on the red carpet, and he is so cute and dreamy and tra la la, does not make you a journalist. Punching out a few words on why you think Obama’s health care plan would be bad news for your teddy bear, who is suffering from jaundice, does not make you a journalist. Regurgitating information you read on TMZ and/or commenting on it – say it with me, folks – does not make you a journalist.

Blogging is just the new way people gossip, and free blogging sites are just that new bar in town that doesn’t kick people out once they’ve gotten out of control. Pour him another drink, he’ll tell you all about Britney Spears’ rumored love affair with Mr. Whipple!

The people who are calling themselves journalists obviously have no idea the weight of the word. Journalists don’t publish information because it’s juicy and because someone heard from someone else that it’s true. Journalists talk to multiple credible sources to make sure the information is good. Journalists find the news and deliver it as quickly, efficiently and accurately as possible. And then, if things go wrong, which sometimes happens, journalists stand behind their work. It is a public service of news, not a public gossip machine. And just because you are the first of your friends to know that Bennifer is no more, and you go on WordPress to blog/rant about it, does not mean you are a journalist.

I should be writing about more important things.

But I can’t, because the New York Times set aside almost 600 words (precious space!) in today’s business section for a Brad Stone article about Steve Jobs sporadically e-mailing Apple users.

Are you kidding? Why is this a story? This article is an excellent example of why I can’t stand the Times or Apple.

This is pretty much just free advertising for Apple and feeds into that mysterious front the company puts up in order to seduce the public (kind of like the Fonz, but not as good a friend). “Steve Jobs sent a one-word e-mail to you? Wow, he is so aloof and awesome. Let’s go buy that piece of crap iPad for hundreds of dollars more than it is worth and show off the Apple logo on the 4 train.” Writing about young people flipping their lids over getting contacted by a CEO does not qualify as news.

I wouldn’t say that this isn’t Steve Jobs himself (if it was an assistant or a robot, there would be a heck of a lot more e-mails). But I would bet a lot of money that Steve Jobs is sending out these e-mails as part of an advertising strategy – responses every once in a while gives it a personal touch, and the news spreads within the Apple-loving community like wildfire, thus making people more interested in the company’s products. So, my thanks to this “quality” newspaper for contributing to corporate branding.

Bonus: one of the people interviewed is a total creep. One of the guys who got an e-mail from Jobs said, “I kind of pictured him writing that while he was going to the bathroom or something.” Wow.

I wrote last week that Google and the Chinese government were arguing over censorship and that the company was contemplating pulling its search services out of China. Well, in one of the ballsiest moves since that lady tried to escape the “Speed” bus, Google started redirecting users in mainland China to uncensored Hong Kong Web pages. The Chinese government is furious and is already starting to limit access to the H.K. search engine.

I have to give Google credit for this – what a pair of cojones! But it’s obviously not the best business move. If you had a friend whose hubby/wifey was a total control freak, you wouldn’t spite that freak by taking the friend to a strip club (well, maybe you would if you were on “Jersey Shore.” But nobody here fits that description because following this blog requires the ability to read). So why would you anger the communist Chinese government by taking its subjects (or, in this case, property) out for an information joyride? Google is possibly shutting itself out of one of the most influential markets in the world.

While it’s awesome to see morals defeat money for once, this seems more like a fed-up kind of gesture. But either way, I’m sure Joseph McCarthy is looking up at us, smiling. Another blow to the commies.