Were these two murderers separated at birth?

When I first came upon the Jared Loughner mug shot, my mind flashed back to 1977.

That was when I was working for the Associated Press.  I was sent to State Supreme Court in Brooklyn to cover the first courtroom appearance of David Berkowitz, known previously as “Son of Sam.”

The courtroom was jammed, and he was hustled in by a bevy of court officers while chanting in a sing-song voice, “Stacy was a whore.  Stacy was a whore.”

His outburst shocked the spectators, among whom, as I recall, were family members of victims of his serial killing.  Among the families were relatives of Stacy Moskowitz.

Shocking as was his outburst, I was even more struck by Continue reading

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It’s an old refrain: Can print survive the Internet?

While Barnes & Noble now is for sale, so are its books--online, of course, above.

Maybe I’m just an old crank when it comes to my current musings about the challenges facing magazines, newspapers and printed books.

Though I live on my computer, I come from a print background.

In college, I was editor of the newspaper and, at the same, time a professional journalist with the long-defunct Hartford Times.  I went on to become a stringer for Time magazine while getting my graduate degree in communications at Stanfrod, edited a magazine for public information officers in the Navy, became a national writer for the Associated Press and was a Money magazine writer.

So, my affection for print is hardly surprising.  Yet three recent events and one insight have brought the issue (no pun) to the top of my mind.

Continue reading

NBC never pays sources for the news. Right.

Having been a traditional print journalist years ago (and now obviously a blogger and a newsletter writer), I noted with particular interest the Today Show’s coverage of David Goldman’s recovery of his son from Brazil.

The reason for my interest is that NBC chartered the jet on which Goldman and his son Sean were flown back to the United States. I don’t know whether NBC also paid for Goldman’s accommodations in Brazil or anything else, but I’m betting that the company did so.

Certainly, helping the Tinton Falls, N.J. real estate agent and charter-fishing boat captain with his exorbitant expenses must be characterized as a humanitarian gesture.  However, it was not altruistic.

No upstanding journalist will argue that it is ethical to pay a source for access, and it’s hypocritical for NBC to maintain that it doesn’t give money or other benefits to newsmakers. Continue reading