Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth

August 29, 2007

“Death by Chocolate” Cookies Recalled Because They Might Actually Kill You

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andy Carvin @ 11:46 am

It seems we can’t get through a day without yet another recall announcement. And today, I saw this recall notice by Bella Cucina foods. It seems that one of their brands of chocolate cookies might accidentally contain bits of walnuts, which can cause deadly allergic reactions to some people. “People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to Walnuts run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products,” the recall notice says.
What’s the name of the brand of cookies, you might ask? Death by Chocolate. Let’s just hope that it’s not a self-fulfilling prophecy. -andy

August 28, 2007

Behind the Scenes at NPR: the Talk of the Nation White Board

Filed under: Media & Politics — Andy Carvin @ 1:51 pm

IMG_2560, originally uploaded by Blog of the Nation.

I was pleasantly surprised this afternoon when I saw that Talk of the Nation had posted a photo of their “board” on Flickr. For those of you who’ve never visited NPR, each of our shows utilize a white board to display what’s on tap for each day of the week. Text written in a black marker identifies a specific program segment, or “slug.” To the right of each slug, you’ll see the initials of the producer that’s handling that segment. Any name written in blue represents a confirmed guest, while the red text adjacent to each name identifies the time they’ll be on air, and their physical location, such as NPR West in Los Angeles or in studio 3A with host Neal Conan here in DC.They also blogged about today’s show, in case you’re looking for more details on each topic listed in the photo.

What’s really cool about this photo is that it gives you access to the same daily summary that the rest of us see at NPR headquarters, whether you go to the show’s offices or look it up on our Intranet. (Actually, the automatic photos of each white board displayed on the Intranet – the “boardcams,” as they’re known – are generally a heck of a lot harder to make out than this particular photo.) I’m not sure if my friends at TOTN are planning to do this on a regular basis, but I hope they do. -andy

August 26, 2007


Filed under: Video — Andy Carvin @ 5:45 pm

Montage of some of the hundreds of exotic butterflies living at the Brookside Gardens butterfly pavilion in Wheaton, Maryland.
Formats available: mp4, iPod, mobile

August 21, 2007

Hurricane Dean Video

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andy Carvin @ 10:43 am

So Talk of the Nation executive producer Sue Goodwin decides to get away from it all and go to Mexico’s Playa del Carmen for some R&R, and instead finds herself in the middle of Hurricane Dean. Here are a couple of video clips she shot of the monster storm and its effect on the coastline:

Thanks for sharing the footage, Sue – now keep your head down! -andy

August 2, 2007

Journalist Shield Legislation Amended to Cover Only Commercial Bloggers

Filed under: Blogging,Citizen Journalism,Media & Politics — Andy Carvin @ 7:29 am

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee yesterday approved an amended version of HR 2102, also known as the Free Flow of Information Act. The purpose of the legislation is to create a federal shield for journalists so they could not be compelled to reveal their sources except in extreme cases, such as emergent national security situations and the like. Advocates of bloggers had fought hard to extend the bill’s coverage to the blogosphere, but the amendment passed yesterday might not please everyone who might feel they should be covered.
The bill defines journalism as “gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.” By this definition, many bloggers could easily argue that they, too, would be covered if the bill were signed into law. The intention of this language was to get away from the notion that journalism is solely an occupation in which one works for a media entity of some sort, has an editor, etc. Instead, it defines journalism in terms of actions rather than as an occupational status.
Yesterday’s voice vote, though, complicates matters a bit for some bloggers. The Bush administration, as well as some members of Congress, expressed concerns that the bill’s original language could be used to create an enormous loophole for people engaging in criminal behavior. For example, someone who participated in a crime or assisted a criminal could point to a hastily crafted blog and claim that they were researching a story to obfuscate the fact they were engaging in a criminal enterprise or obstructing the law.
As a compromise, members of Congress decided to refine the definition of who would be covered as a journalist. To be covered, you would have to derive “financial gain or livelihood” from your journalistic activities. In other words, if you could prove that you use your blog to generate income, you would qualify as practicing journalism and thus fall under the shield law. But if you published a blog without any financial benefit, you wouldn’t be covered by the law.
I’m not surprised that Congress would offer this up as a compromise. But I also won’t be surprised if some advocates of citizen journalism take this compromise as exclusionary, since it favors those bloggers who are in a position – or make the decision – to blog commercially. I would surmise that the vast majority of bloggers make no income from their activities. Granted, many of these same folks would never consider themselves as engaging in acts of journalism, but where does that leave those who do? I know many bloggers who choose to keep their blogs advertising-free so they don’t appear to have any conflicts of interest. Does this make their acts of journalism less deserving of protection than those who decide to make money off their blogging activities?
I keep wondering how this provision would apply to me, for example. I wear a variety of blogging hats. I get paid by PBS for my contributions to, for example, but I don’t derive any income from my personal blog. And while not all of my writings on my personal blog qualify as journalism, other posts certainly do. Would I not be covered by this legislation regarding any acts of journalism I conduct for my personal blog?
More generally, will this bill lead to a wave of bloggers adding advertising to their blogs just to be covered? And if all it takes is for a person to derive some income from their blog, even if it’s paltry, won’t that mean the loophole hasn’t really been closed?
This is definitely gonna be an interesting debate. -andy

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