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Transcript of a CNN panel discussing President Whitmore’s speech given on July 4, 1996 concerning an alien invasion

President Whitmore is speaking. He’s in a tiny box in the corner of the TV screen and the chyron reads “President tries to put mishandling of alien invasion behind him, outline new focus.”

“… vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on, we’re going to survive. Today we celebrate our independence day!”

Cutaway to the studio as Whitmore finishes and before crowd’s cheers begin

Wolf Blitzer President Whitmore has just made another attempt to revive his failed plan to save humanity. Will his speech change opinions of a skeptical, war-weary public? Is it too little, too late?... More

Leaves you with nothing, mister

On a lovely early fall day in 1992, I was walking across campus.

It was move-in day at Eastern Illinois University. I’d just unloaded my meager possessions from the back of my aging beige hatchback and was wandering around taking in the sights.

The day was warm and the leaves had not yet started to change. Dozens of students were wandering around. Families were disgorging belongings from the backs of minivans and trucks.

Posters and fliers covered buildings and bulletin boards. The ‘92 election was a couple months away, so Bill Clinton placards were up all over.

The opening notes... More

One, two, three, four, I declare an adblock war

It’s the ad-block-apocalypse.

When iOS 9 was announced this spring, the feature that allowed for the creation of ad blockers was barely mentioned, let alone touted as one of its headline features.

Thanks to the Streisand effect, it’s the story of iOS9 launch weekend. Many users are finding out about ad blockers for the first time thanks to the kerfuffle.

Notably, Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper1, introduced Peace, an ad and tracker blocking app based on Ghostery. It quickly shot to the top of the App Store charts despite its $2.99 price.

In a move that... More

In which I engage in self abuse

I’ve become Internet famous in the past few days.

I’d always hoped it would be because I pulled a really good internet prank. Turns out it was because I wrote a blog post.

So far, it’s be tweeted out or linked from Harvard’s Nieman Lab and included in their e mail newsletter, it made Neiman Labs’ Fuego, and has been shared by, NewsWhip, PBS Idea Lab, PBS Mediashift and by countless editors and designers. Tweets about the post have been linked to, favorited and retweeted more times than I can count. As of this... More


I got a text message a few hours ago from a longtime friend.

“Denis just turned in his resignation”

It wasn’t a surprise. It was still a gut punch.

The text referred to Denis Finley, editor of The Virginian-Pilot, a man I worked for most of my professional career, a man I admire, faults and all.

I first met him in 1999, when he was design team leader. He’d just been named DME for presentation, and I was to interview with him for a spot on The Pilot’s design team. He was tall, nicely dressed, and – my gearhead... More

The news business

I was in an uncomfortable chair sitting through another boring quarterly meeting led by our publisher and his PowerPoint deck.

Some astute member of the newsroom had coined the nickname “Mojo” for him, partly as a play on his name, but more as a comment on his dreary lack of charisma. It was all EBITAs and P&Ls.

Well, not so much Ps as Ls.

He showed a 10-year chart of company earnings and it looked like an EKG right before the nurse called for a crash cart. I returned from the meeting, and a newsroom friend asked how it... More

I fled the news today, oh boy

I’ve worked at newspapers since 1987.

Seems like every job that can be done at a paper, I’ve done at least once. I’ve been a reporter, copy editor and page designer.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a team that created and launched a new daily newspaper. It started with an all-day secret skunkworks meeting in my apartment. I designed the paper from scratch, so I’ve had a rare chance to make a newspaper exactly how I wanted to make it.

I even paid for my first two years of college by working as a janitor – at... More