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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Comments: enlightened dialogue or a cesspool of vitriol?

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Fair warning: Between my gloomy morning ritual of reading the newspapers and blogs, and the Senate's repeal of the Racial Justice Act, I'm feeling forlorn and grouchy today. Plus, explaining the Indy's comments policy can get my dander up. But at the risk of sounding shrill and schoolmarmish, here goes: Comments can be enlightening, smart and insightful. They can also be ignorant, punitive and hateful. In other words, they're a bitch to moderate. People will say things on a website that they would never say to someone's face. I think that's cowardly, but it's a fact. We've mulled over whether...

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Your notes please: How to get detained at Walmart

Posted By on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 12:01 PM

This week looms Black Friday, a bizarre ritual in which people inexplicably camp out all night in front of department stores like Walmart and get jacked up on 2-liter bottles of Coke with the very real possibility that, at opening, they could be cudgeled or clawed, bitten or beaten as they rush the shelves for the last box of LEGO Mindstorms. Walmart: There’s a new one on Martin Luther King Parkway in Durham where a lush swath of trees used to be. But the fact that Walmart routinely gorges on tracts of green space is not the only reason I...

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How do I get the Indy to cover a story?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 7:48 AM

Let's be candid: News journalists are crusty, cynical curmudgeons whose bedtime reading consists of grand jury indictments and toxic release inventory reports. We traffic in bad news; our currency is injustice. Conflict gets us out of bed in the morning. So do malice and malfeasance, lying and greed. This is why we're a hit at dinner parties. Music, film and culture writers have slightly sunnier dispositions, but only because they get a lot of free stuff in the mail. So, confronted with these daunting and admittedly dark scenarios, how do you—event organizer, concerned citizen, struggling restaurant owner, metal band from...

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to freelance for the Indy

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 9:22 AM

Three freelance writers stand before me, but I have only two résumés in my hand. The name I do not choose must pack his bags and return to writing in his personal journal. "How do I write for the Indy?" It's the second-most common question I field. (The first being "How do I get my event in the calendar?") First, your academic degree is meaningless to me, regardless of the number of letters after your name: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., Ph. D, J.D., Y.A.W.N. That's not to say it's worthless, but your diploma alone doesn't indicate whether you can write....

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Election Day, Herman Cain, sexual harassment and the asteroid

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 10:15 AM

At 8:40 this morning, I was Voter No. 39 at Rogers-Herr Middle School and, with the exception of the poll workers, the only soul in the gymnasium. Early voting turnout for this year's Durham general election was double that of the October primary (5,039 to 2,298) but still pitiful considering there are 133,452 registered voters in Durham County. The percentages were similarly low in Wake County, even though the turnout is twice that of 2009—and this is an election with municipal races in 11 towns and cities, plus the District 3 school board runoff. Will Orange County redeem democracy in...

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Whose headline is it anyway? Plus Rapiscan, David Price and X-ray scanners

Posted By on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 10:09 AM

"Light my faucet" "The pun also rises" Headline writing is an art—a lost art, thanks to Search Engine Optimization and the Internet—but those of us still living in the print world know that crafting a compelling "head" (or "hed," in journo shorthand) can be tougher than polishing 1,000 words of prose. At the Indy, the section editors and I generally write the headlines, although occasionally a writer will come up with a pithy, punchy one. "Light my faucet" introduced a story about the environmental dangers of fracking; and how could a story about the pun championships carry a headline other...

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Safety on the American Tobacco Trail

Posted By on Sat, Nov 5, 2011 at 12:30 PM

During the day, the scene at the 2-mile mark on the American Tobacco Trail is occasionally dicey, but rarely dangerous. I once had to sidestep a scrum between an angry man and woman to avoid a wayward punch, but in general, I just smile at the guys getting lit on Stack at 11 in the morning. I mentally note the colorful bikini underwear lying trailside as if it were an exotic leaf. It's the city. I expect a certain grit. No big deal. Saturdays are usually my day to hit the trail, walking (briskly—I’m trying to preserve my knees)...

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Friday, November 4, 2011

The inaugural edition of the Indy editor's blog

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 11:09 AM

It's 6:30 a.m. and I feel like it's the first day of school. Lunch packed. Teeth brushed. Hair more or less combed, like that would do any good. And here's the inaugural edition of For What It's Worth, the Indy editor's blog. By nature, I'm a news reporter, not a columnist, which is why I've been tarrying about starting a blog. But I'm into it now and I imagine it to accurately reflect my personality: informal, conversational, irreverent and occasionally vulgar. You've been warned. In FWIW, my goal is to demystify the Indy by explaining how the editorial department chooses...

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Twitter Activity


ProudlyUnaffiliated.....Well You sure wrote a fkn mouthful about shit unrelated to this story and added your political twist and felt …

by Tony D on Why did Craig Hicks kill three Muslim students? Because he lost his humanity. (Editor)

Chris, I used a zoom lens!

by Lisa Sorg on Durham is a city of things unnoticed: Such an odd find at the Jack Tar Motel (Editor)

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