Dual Loyalty

As writers and bloggers are so fond of saying; you couldn't make it up. You don't cross the Iron Curtain and come out without scars ...
· Jozef Imrich, Survivor of the Iron Curtain Crossing

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Outsourcing hits a new class of workers: Journalists

JonesTown and this article are big hits this month, tickets for the Glebe Bookshop seminar with Chris Masters are all sold and the venue at Sydney Uni is huge HC Nelson is ready to rock n roll ... The long arm of 'offshoring' reaches into the news industry

Another attempt to ease the onerous Web site registration process: A San Francisco startup called PrefPass is looking to do for this annoying everyday task what Amazon has done for online shopping: One click and you've got what you want. Helping Web surfers wipe out registration

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Conquering 'Everests of Data' - Anyone can sue anyone at any time
An excerpt from The Street-Smart Writer:

Libel and slander both are forms of defamation; defamation is the legal term for any published false statement about a living person or organization (yes, you can defame a company!) that injures the subject’s reputation. “Injury to reputation” generally is considered to be exposure to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or financial loss.

Libel is the written act of defamation, slander is the spoken act; no one can sue you for slander for what you write. Whether libel or slander, the defamation must be published—communicated to someone other than the subject of the defamation.

Defamation law is a complex subject, full of exceptions, “privileges,” defenses and the like. The following is a general overview:

Fact vs. Opinion. Most state courts recognize a distinction between statements of fact and opinion; “true” opinion cannot be proved or disproved and thus cannot be defamatory. Contrary to what many people believe, however, the mere fact that your statement is in the form of an opinion will not shield you from a defamation lawsuit. In other words, simply adding “in my opinion” to your statement is not enough, if the statement otherwise is defamatory; you must have disclosed facts to justify that opinion. WRONG: “My co-worker John Doe is a filthy cheat.” This is defamatory: an unproven, pejorative (“filthy” and “cheat”) statement about a private (non-public figure) individual. Adding “in my opinion” to the statement doesn’t help. INSTEAD: “I saw John take five toner cartridges from the supply closet and put them in his car. I believe he is a cheat.” This is your opinion based on disclosed facts, and (if true) is not defamatory.

Humor and Parody. As with true opinion, certain other statements are considered nonfactual because they are understood to be meant humorously or as satire. Authors often rely on this, but beware: If reasonable persons could find truth in the material and it would damage the subject’s reputation, it may be defamatory.

Name Calling. Under the law in most states, mere name-calling (“he’s a jerk”) is not defamatory because epithets cannot be proved true or false, and reasonable persons understand that they are not meant to be assertions of fact.

Fiction. In fiction writing, the Supreme Court interprets the First Amendment to hold an author and publisher liable for publishing a defamatory statement only upon a showing of negligence—that is, a plaintiff in a defamatory-fiction lawsuit must show that the publisher of a defamatory statement knew or should have known that a “fictionalized” character was objectively identifiable as a real person.

Public figures. If you write about public figures (politicians, movie stars, professional athletes, celebrities, etc.) you have additional protection: Public figures must show that the defamatory statement was published with “actual malice.”

Defenses. In the United States, truth generally is an absolute defense to defamation: If what you say is true, it cannot be defamatory (a minority of states, however, allow the defense only if the statement was made in good faith). Most states also have a variety of “privileges” that may protect statements made in particular contexts, such as in court or in the legislature.

Just remember this: If you want to write something negative about a person, company, or group, you either must have documentation to back up everything you write, or you must frame it clearly as your opinion that is based on facts.   

While the pen is mightier than the sword, many writers lack a shield [Multi-published author Jenna Glatzer and publishing law attorney Daniel Steven take you into the murky waters of the publishing industry and fill a lifeboat full of safe firsthand instructions and advice about how to avoid being scammed by publishers, agents, and phony contests The Street Smart Writer: Self-Defense Against Sharks and Scams in the Writing World ]
• · If YOU think the password protection on your MS Word file is keeping it safe from prying eyes, chances are you're wrong. The time it takes to crack password-protected Microsoft Office files has tumbled from a 25-day average to a matter of seconds, thanks to a decades-old code-cracking technique that until recently was not viable. Code cracking is the new pot of gold ; Apple is certainly not the first to try to build a product that crosses the great consumer electronics divide between the TV and all that digital video and audio content taking up ever-larger sections of PC hard drives. Others have sought to cross it, most have failed. I don't expect the same from Apple. Apple's iTV: Bridging the Big Divide
• · · Web-based mentoring: what it is, why it’s important, why it’s the next phase of learning for people, and why organizations are flocking toward it Tradition Meets Technology with Web-Based Mentoring

Sunday, October 22, 2006

All in all, there is a great deal of reason to be excited about the A ustralian Literary Review (ALR) as it is the new supplement to The Australian newspaper, appearing for the first time on 6 September. The review "explores the work of the country's leading writers and thinkers and provide a chronicle of developments in literature, culture, politics, scholarship and the arts".

Following on the heels of the decision by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to launch The First Tuesday Book Club, this new periodical represents a welcome addition to cultural dialogue in this country. The saltiest vocabulary ever heard in Gleebe Bookshop comes from Jennifer Byrnes as Jennifer has peppered Cold River with her eyes ;-) The publication is a joint venture with The Australia Council (the federal arts body which provides funding for cultural activities), The University of Melbourne and Melbourne University Publishing (which The Australian erroneously refers to as Melbourne University Press). The saltiest vocabulary ever heard in Gleebe Bookshop comes from Jennifer Good chance, real possibility, strong likelihood

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Novel Ways to Promote Your Novel: 2-to-1 chance - 50-50 odds
For most authors of fiction, the very idea of promotion is distasteful. It's not uncommon for novelists to break out in hives or develop a nervous twitch when faced with the reality of marketing their books.

As a published author, you know that you must promote your book and you scurry to find your comfort zone. You'll sign up with Amazon.com, of course, put up a website and solicit reviews through the traditional magazines and sites. Those of you with more nerve will try to arrange book signings and, uh-- maybe attend a few local book festivals. And mostly, you'll be met with disappointment. 

Hard-selling hawker  [ With news of Regan's book and TV rollout of OJ Simpson's IF I DID IT sucking the oxygen out of yesterday's National Book Awards day, one big question in the trade is whether the new circus coming to town will keep other authors out of the media ring. Included in that competition for attention is HarperCollins' own lead author for fall: Michael Crichton's NEXT releases on Tuesday, November 28--nestled right in between Fox's Monday and Wednesday Simpson interviews and Regan's Thursday book laydown. Possibly the strangest developments yet for books but will they work? Doh ; ]
• · Garcia captures the exquisite pain of leaving Cuba, too. Like all families, his was told: when you go, that's it, you are considered a traitor and you can never come back. You will never see a Cuban sunset, a Cuban beach, again. Garcia has lived in Australia with his grateful parents since 1972. He's married now, with children. He published his book in June. In July came news that Castro was ill and in August he handed over power to his younger brother, Raul, at least temporarily. I thought you'd like to know that some of the most moving and sincere feedback I have received to my book, Child of the Revolution, has come from people who grew up under Communism in what used to be the Soviet bloc.
Perhaps a little colder than tropical Cuba, but the experiences were identical. Luis
• · · Have Australians lost faith in a politics that is larger than themselves Ordinary is now the way to be
• · · · A workforce experiment at Best Buy's headquarters allows employees to decide how, when and where they get the job done. Throwing Out the Rules of Work
• · · · · John Alexander, AFR Boss, November 2006, pp.82-87. There’s more to Swedish style than Ikea or Volvo. When it comes to doing business, the Swedes are world-class leaders at calculating when enough is enough. How do these Swedish companies succeed, he wondered, with their long holidays, generous sick leave and remuneration, mandatory parental leave, endless coffee breaks, and long meetings in which decision-making was avoided? How has Sweden achieved such an impressive track record in corporate sustainability and international profitability? The Swedish message

Monday, October 16, 2006

Road rage, drug addiction, unhappy relationships, domestic and workplace violence: at the core of these lies anger. Dr. Deepak Chopra states that the most common cause of illness was anger. If so, Dr. Shoshanna is one of the world-class healers of all time
As seen on Media Dragon ;-) Stop the Fighting in Your Relationship

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Writing a Marathon

Like most writers, there are times when I shake my head and think, "What am I doing?" This usually happens after a string of rejections, or when the final few dollars from last month's checks have been spent and I'm scrounging for new ideas and assignments. At those times a nagging voice deep within me begins to shout, "You can't do this! You're not good enough! You'll never finish this!" Learning how to deal with that voice is one of the most important lessons I've learned as a writer, and for me that lesson came from the most unlikely of places.
You are ... how old ;-)

By the way, Tim Flannagan might as well ask ... of Buz Luhrman Are you character driven or Cold River escape driven?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Black Friday and game of Trivia with creative minds of Chris, Johns. Trevor and Gayle caliber mix rather well on this very hot night in Sydney ;-)

Daniel Pink thinks the creative types shall inherit the earth. Pink -- author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future (Riverhead) and plenary speaker at ABA's upcoming Winter Institute -- says a sea change is already taking place in our business and personal lives. We are moving from the Information Age (where lawyers, programmers, and accountants ruled) to what he dubs the Conceptual Age (artists, inventors, and designers, your time has come!) Winter Institute Speaker Daniel Pink: Right-Brainers to Rule the Future

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Like it's Media Dragon's fault that Google didn't just buy this blog for a cool billion ... Are we capable of exacting the worst kind of revenge on Google if enough of our blogging life is ruined or taken from us by missing on such amazing opportunities ;-) I don't have a ton to say about the Google acquisition of YouTube. That's because to me, it's more an eyeball landgrab than a search development ... Google's decision to splurge $1.65bn (£880m) on the video site YouTube will no doubt have critics of the new dotcom boom rolling their eyes in disgust If you can't beat 'em ...Beginners discover blogs easy as 1, 2, 3 Blogosphere probes 'GooTube' deal News that Google has bought video-sharing website YouTube has set the blogs chattering. Among the questions being asked are how the deal will affect the two companies, what the copyright implications will be and whether Yahoo will follow suit with a similar deal Google bets big bucks: Google boss lost in tide of blue rinse

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Golden Age of Gobbledygook: Google Idol
Brin and Page initially took over the garage when Google had recently been incorporated with backing to the tune of $1 million from investors ... bringing the most-used parts of MySpace, eBay, Craigslist, YouTube and Google into one!

To all those Google users out there -- how do you feel about the web search giant becoming your personal librarian? In fact, the company is already heeding this call for many millions of Google users all across the globe these days (and nights). This blog entry over at ZDNet discusses a quote from Google co-founder Larry Page, who said this at the introduction of the "Google Books" project that aimed to scan every possible book into digital format: "Even before we started Google, we dreamed of making the incredible breadth of information that librarians so lovingly organize searchable online."

It's getting quicker to get a billion: Google's place as a personal librarian [There's California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on a summer evening newscast, boasting about the state budget he had just signed. There he is again, minutes later, featured on a video clip of the broadcast posted online by his political opponents. It highlights the 11 words Schwarzenegger regretted declaring that day: "Uh, no, there really is no plan to end the deficit." Political hopefuls exploit gaffes online ; Is news that Google is buying video sharing website YouTube for $1.6bn the silliest deal since eBay bought Skype for over $2.6bn? Jason Stamper's Blog]
• · There were red faces in the Googleplex yesterday after the company was forced to admit that the Official Google Blog had been hacked over the weekend. Hackers post fake notice on Google blog ; Google has added an 'Interesting items for you' module to the personalized home page interface as noted in the Google Operating System blog Recommend Searches, Pages & Gadgets
• · · In his blog, Matt Cutts of Google explained that, "PageRank is computed continuously; there are machines that take inputs to the PageRank algorithm at Google Google Updates PageRank ; Is the 'New New Internet' really new?
• · · · Like it's my fault that Google didn't just buy this blog for a cool billion YouTube, me jealous; The ambitious today are all on the Web. Writing words, posting pictures, uploading video. It's all about visibility. It's all about being there, being seen in all the right places. Get Published To Get Ahead
• · · · · Irony Behind the Google Click-to-Call Hoax ; Google is not alone in recognizing the power of local ad revenue. ... states that provide user-generated content, photos, local calendars, blog communities, and yes ... Local is crucial for online newspapers
• · · · · · As Hurricane Rita approached Houston in 2005, the Houston Chronicle set up a weblog in which its science writer gave up-to-the-minute updates about the storm's status and in-depth information about the science associated with Rita. Blogs changing journalism, Mattingly tells BP journalism faculty ; It already has its own Google Video site, but still trails YouTube, which recently announced that ... News of the talks was first reported on the Techcruch blog. Google May Be Vying for Site

Sunday, October 01, 2006

There are no solutions, just better managed risk ... I gather that is why every working writer needs a holiday at the Blue Mountains. It is such a joy to show Mal the spots I love to visit like the sweet cottage at Boronia Street at Bullabara where donkies and parrakites (sic) punctuate the landscape. To go and sip wine at Fairmont of Peppers Fame is rather divine especially when the stories are told by Dr Cope.

If writing a book was a challenge imagine getting involved in the film project, however, Terry has me hooked on 60 scenes and as I am rarely afraid of failures, except for relationship failures, most of my weekends will be creative - no doubt about it ;-) as I am told that Cold River, in short, a filmmaker's dream ...

The Sun Screen Song via Ray of Coolum fame - one of my favorite songs, is commonly referred to as "The Sunscreen Song".  It is what sounds like a commencement speech, set to music.  In fact it is not a real commencement speech (though it should be!), but rather a column that appeared in the Chicago Tribune on June 1, 1997 entitled "ADVICE, LIKE YOUTH, PROBABLY JUST WASTED ON THE YOUNG" by staff writer Mary Schmich Solong! Pay the street corner muscians and encourage them. For some reason, music on an early morning brings untold connectedness

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: We need everyday heroes
Jim Owen, now a partner and director of corporate values for an Austin, Tex. investment firm, said he drew on cowboy ethics for his book because “we’ve confused rules with principles. “Does Wall Street need more rules? No.

Jim Owen, now a partner and director of corporate values for an Austin, Tex. investment firm, said he drew on cowboy ethics for his book because “we’ve confused rules with principles. “Does Wall Street need more rules? No. We need people of principle who will say ‘Here’s where we draw the line.”
Instead of examining every issue to see if it is legal, we need to look at “Is it the right thing to do,’” Owen said.
“In our society we have people in leadership who have not earned our trust,” he said. “...Many of us learned our values from early Western movies. The question was always ‘Are you a person someone can count on?’”
The American obsession with winning has warped the country’s ethics, Owen believes. Many companies have a code of ethics, but most such statements “are just words,” he said. “Cowboys are about action, not words.”
“We need everyday heroes: the single mom in Oklahoma City with two kids who holds down two jobs and helps her children with their homework at night...The person with cancer who has the courage of thinking how to handle the future...

The answer is winning at life, not winning at business [ The Tapeworm is my nickname for the insider system that runs our current political economy and financial system ON THE TAPEWORM TRAIL ; Antony on My Israel ]
• · Promina chief executive Mike Wilkins says the group remains in search for possible acquisitions though the company has no immediate takeover plans. Promina said net half year profit fell 5.7 per cent to $216 ... The notions of justice, of pursuing and protecting the common good by treating all people fairly — or as we say in Australia, “giving everyone a fair go” — are deeply embedded in the Australian psyche. ;-) Mike Wilkins ;
• · · The extraordinary expansion of company legislation and corporate governance codes across the world since the collapse of Enron, the energy trader, has had many unintended consequences. One of the more paradoxical is the damage that has been done to business ethics. When compliance is not enough ; The saddest thing about Don Chipp's death is that he passed away a disillusioned man. The idealistic politician who founded the Australian Democrats to "keep the bastards honest" concluded that the bastards had won. Like John Hatton, Don did not seem the type to rattle easily. A gravel-voiced politician who talked to everyone even this bohemian blogger ... Don Chipp died believing the bastards had won