Monday, April 23, 2007

Sticking up for Atlanta arts coverage

Publisher's Weekly reports that the currently-restructuring Atlanta Journal-Constitution has cut its books editor (see story copied below). In the most recent poll, Atlanta was ranked #15 on the list of the country's most literate cities - what kind of message is the paper sending with this decision? If you are at all distressed by the prospect of replacing a local critical voice in the Atlanta paper with wire-service copy, please take a moment to sign the online petition here.

Atlanta Journal Constitution Cuts Book Review Editor Job

By Lynn Andriani -- Publishers Weekly, 4/18/2007 2:34:00 PM

Following a major restructuring of its newsroom, the Atlanta Journal Constitution has eliminated the books editor position formerly held by Teresa Weaver. However, Mary Dugenske, the paper’s director of communications, said, "We will continue to publish our arts and book section every Sunday." Dugenske said Weaver has been offered to apply for another job within the organization.

The newspaper announced impending staff changes in February, citing its desire to better support its online presence. Dugenske said that since that restructuring, more than half of the jobs in the paper's newsroom have changed. "Its not just a books thing," she said. "It’s affecting all of our editors."

The newspaper’s editor, Julia Wallace, said, "We’re not changing our books coverage" but that Weaver, "along with half the staff, is reapplying for a job."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Um, OK...

What I want to know is, how did Eddie Izzard get lumped in with this crowd? Nevermind Robert Kennedy, Jr. ...



Sanjaya to attend D.C. dinner

4/20/2007, 3:07 p.m. EDT The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Sanjaya Malakar, who was just voted off "American Idol," could meet President Bush on Saturday. Malakar is attending the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington. He's a guest of People magazine.

Bush will be attending the annual dinner.

Malakar will share a table with People magazine's other guests, Valerie Bertinelli, Zac Efron of "High School Musical," comedian Eddie Izzard and Robert Kennedy Jr.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Peace up, A-town down

It's been nearly a month since I returned from my spring break adventures abroad, so by last weekend it was about time to get out of town again - and clearly to some place warm. Where better to go than HOTlanta? (what what!) Jon graciously agreed to come with me and endured me dragging him around my old stomping grounds for a few days with a smile on his face (of course, the Atlanta Symphony and Braves tickets I threw in sort of sweetened the deal).

I've gotta say our timing was brilliant; we left town just before a mean ol' Nor'easter blew in, walloping Syracuse with about 8 inches of snow. Georgia's April weather wasn't entirely peachy all weekend (see pictures from the blustery Braves game on an overcast, 45-degree Sunday afternoon), but Thursday, Friday and Monday's restorative sunshine worked wonders while it lasted.

In summary, here are a few ATL sights for your enjoyment:

Peachtree Street, 6:48 p.m. Thursday. The interior is logoed to match.
Dude's rearview was shaking from the bass. Pretty awesome.

Looking from balcony no. 2 of Dad's new office digs at the Cobb Energy Centre,
the new venue for Atlanta Opera performances, scheduled to open this fall.

Looking at the downtown skyline from balcony no. 1 -
it's a little hazy, but it was a gorgeous day.

Braves game, Sunday afternoon. Um, it was 45 degrees. And WINDY.
But the AMAZING seats kinda made up for it. Yeah.

Reformed Yankees (Midwesterners, actually) enjoying the Braves game
despite the rather frigid conditions. Erin (Wisc.) is a senior at SU and a
fellow former Post-Standard intern whose folks moved to Atlanta in the fall;
John (Mich.) is nowin his second year of Emory Law - he said "y'all" once
in the course of conversation and it just warmed my little heart.


Jon, ever the good sport, bundled up in sundry retired Poe-family
outerwear, and me in my awesome, on-sale old school Braves hat.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Totally UN-kewl

One of the many e-newsletters in my inbox today pointed me to an article at Folio magazine detailing a new magazine aimed at the so-called "tween" demographic. Magazine launches these days are often accompanied by a prediction of how long the new titles will last, given the imminent death of the printed word and the rise of internet culture. And, although it is a lovely gesture to devote an entire magazine to 10-12 year old girls, I am vehemently opposed to this one, before even considering its content.

Why, you might ask? You only have to look at the title: KEWL.

KEWL, published quarterly, will focus on celebrities (start 'em young!) and music (better - but it's probably not good music), and is part of a multi-platform brand that will include a TV show, Everything Kewl, and an interactive website,

But the multi-pronged attack isn't the issue here. In case you're confused (and if you're above the age of 20 or so, you probably are), "kewl" is synonymous with "cool," pronounced the same way. Hypothetically, it's the same word. For reasons unknown, the former, alternative spelling proliferated when the instant-messaging craze took hold of middle school students across the nation, negating years of Wordly Wise drills and obliterating the spelling skills of American youth.

What editor/literate person thought it was a good idea to sanction internetspeak for use in the real world by adopting KEWL as a brand? (One that targets an incredibly impressionable age group, at that.) Journalists - if this counts as journalism - ought to be more responsible than this. Adults in general ought to be more responsible than this, for the sake of educated youth and the future of American culture.

"Cool" is just a small word, and one of thousands employed in the parlance of our times; but when kids either can't or refuse to spell simple, monosyllabic words correctly, prospects for the future of intelligent publications start to look pretty bleak.

Abbreviated spellings and unfortunate phonetic interpretations tailored for internet use have distorted the written teenage vernacular, resulting in a popular lexicon of un-words. I for one hope Kewl is a spectacular failure (or at least an unsuccessful launch). If writers - of all sorts - don't stand up for the integrity of words and language, who will?