Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Wecht Trial -- A Sampler

Today is Day 13 of the Wecht Trial and while I've been blogging about the details from courtroom, I've also been writing about it here in my personal blog in the months leading up to it. They provide an interesting look into the thinking behind the questions that prosecution and defense attorneys are asking in the courtroom.

Here's a sampling of those posts. If you click on the pictures below, they'll take you to the individual entries.

Meanwhile, there are some interesting developments at the other end of Grant Street. Pittsburgh Comet Citizen journalist Bram Reichhbaum did some liveblogging himself from City Council chamber on the digital billboard controversy.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Is The Next Steve Jobs A 'Burgher?

Pittsburgh Bloggers godfather Mike Woycheck shared this information about a Pittsburgh Technology Council event for budding entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, and technology startups. The EnterPrize Business Plan competition starts on Wednesday with the first of eight workshops. The people taking part go through three phases of competition and judging, with $80,000 dollars in awards, networking, and coaching feedback along the way.

Mike says the goal of the competition is to support local technology entrepreneurs and stimulate economic growth in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Here's a link with more information:

There are two categories to the competition. One is for absolute startups: new businesses with no employees, no money raised... nothing more than an idea.

Even the other category -- existing businesses -- can't have been around for more than three years. The full details are on the site.

Cognitive Dissonance
, Pittsblog and Burgh Diaspora have blogged about the competition in more detail.

Here's a link to a Trib story about it.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Digital Democracy -- You're Invited

Digital Democracy is a special event happening here in Pittsburgh next month. This is a project I've been working on for months and I'm excited to let you know about it now.

It's a conference that will explore how the digital revolution -- including blogs, online video, websites and social media -- is changing traditional news media coverage and citizens' access to the political process.

The event includes national-caliber speakers who are coming to town on Saturday, March 15.

Its website is now online at:

Our speakers include:

• New York Times Online Politics Editor Kate Phillips, who writes for and edits The Caucus, The New York Times politics news blog.

• Executive Editor Matthew Sheffield

• Senior Fellow & Director of Special Projects Paul Waldman

• Hearst-Argyle Director of Digital Media Content Jacques Natz

• J-Lab Executive Director Jan Schaffer

• Media Bloggers Association President Robert Cox

Other speakers include former USA Today reporter Toni Locy, who's topic is "Subpoenaed For Her Sources". She's the subject of a contempt-of-court request for her refusal to identify sources who provided her information about the 2001 anthrax attacks and the subsequent investigation.

There will also be sessions on "Bloggers as Journalists and Journalists as Bloggers", on new media skills and digital literacy for reporters, and on Open Records laws.

Digital Democracy is a Society of Professional Journalists regional conference, hosted by the Pittsburgh chapter. Region 4 covers Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, but the event can draw from beyond. Its something for all journalists -- and you don't have to be a member of SPJ. In fact, given the theme, bloggers, students, and others with an interest and involvement in the conference theme are welcome to attend. The Digital Democracy website has links for online registration and there's a special rate for students and SPJ members.

If you've been wondering why I haven't been blogging as much here on the Busman's Holiday for a while, it's because I've been working on this event. I'm program chair and have been lining up the speakers. I also created the website for the event. I know some fellow journalists check out the blog here, and I want to encourage you to join us and to spread the word. This is a professional enrichment event intended everyone in news organizations across the region. Links to more specifics are on the website. I hope to see you there.



Sunday, February 10, 2008

CD Cover Art Meme

Hat tips to Rachel of That Night and Cynthia Closkey of My Brilliant Mistakes, whose album creations seem much more intriguing than mine. I'm not on Flickr myself, but here's the link to the CD Cover Meme group.

The premise:

"About CD Cover Meme

Always wanted to be in a rock band?

Well, here's your chance...sort of. Make your own CD Cover with the following steps and rocket yourself to multi-platinum status and start fending off the groupies.

The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover."

My random Wikipedia article: "K&H Bank or Kereskedelmi ├ęs Hitelbank is the second-biggest commercial bank in Hungary, owned by KBC Bank of Belgium".

My random quote: "There is no moral precept that does not have something inconvenient about it." -Denis Diderot, French author, encyclopedist, & philosopher (1713 - 1784)



Saturday, February 2, 2008

Obama & Spam

It appears that the presidential primary campaigns are getting into gear here in Western Pennsylvania. The e-mail exchange below pretty much speaks for itself. I didn't mind the sender's honest mistake, though I thought it was best to blog about it since my work e-mail address is now publicly circulating on a campaign mailing. This implies no disrespect for the Obama campaign. I'm an old-fashioned reporter who doesn't take sides and loves learning about all sides.

Does this mean I should accept the Facebook friend invitation I've received from a conservative speaker I've booked for the event? I suppose the alternative to maintaining public neutrality by not being on any group's mailing list is to be on a wide variety of groups' lists instead.

From: Bob Mayo
Sent: 02/02/2008 11:19 AM EST
To: [Name & E-Mail deleted for this blog post]
Subject: Re: PA Supporters - OBAMA needs your help this weekend

[Name Deleted],

I'm a reporter for WTAE, and apparently my attempt to reach a media contact for the national campaign some weeks back resulted in more than one of my e-mail addresses being put on campaign e-mail list for intended for supporters instead. I was letting it ride for a while, to see when -- if ever -- an actual person would contact me. You're the first, but unfortunately it was not in response to my request. I was trying to arrange for reps of the various Democratic and Republican campaigns to speak on a panel at an upcoming regional conference of journalists here in Pittsburgh.

Could you do me a favor? Please let whoever provided you with my e-mail address know that it belongs on a media contact list and not a volunteer or fundraising list. Please also let them know that I'm still waiting for an answer to my original phone calls and e-mails.

(Reporters sometimes don't mind being on organization mailing lists, if they provide a window into what the campaigns are doing. That's why I wasn't in any hurry to stop the spam from the national campaign. It was disconcerting to see my e-mail address visible on a local mailing intended for supporters, however. That's through absolutely no fault of yours. )


Bob Mayo
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

----- Original Message -----
From: [Name & E-Mail deleted for this blog post]
Sent: 02/01/2008 07:56 PM EST
To: [A long list of e-mail addresses appeared here. It was visible to everyone on the list.]
Subject: PA Supporters - OBAMA needs your help this weekend

You are receiving this email because you have previously shown support for Senator Obama. He needs your help now. Please volunteer a little time this weekend and come sign his petitions. [The message continued with the details.]

A footnote: As I was typing this, a new spam arrived from "David Plouffe, Campaign Manager, Obama for America" asking me to help get out the vote on Super Tuesday. This one was addressed to my G-Mail account. Argh.

Inclusion of the Monty Python "Spam" YouTube video above does not necessarily imply either endorsement of or disdain for quirky British humor in any form.