A good part of the reason I started blogging was because I went to a history conference at a UT branch up between Dallas and Fort Worth and found that, contrary to belief, many well known academic historians have found community history projects to be invaluable because of their focus and details. Photos rated high. Photos with details rate high. Interviews with participants in events rated high. Interviews with older people rated high if you cover their experience and perspective.
- Prairie Weather

“Protest works. Just look at the proof”

Free MP3 sites

Be your own program director. Venture off the beaten path. Live a little.

2dopeboyz: Hip hop. (RSS)

3hive: Sharing the sharing. Free and legal MP3s from over 600 underground and undiscovered artists — new ones added daily. (RSS)

Amazon MP3 Download - Frequency: Weekly. Get the latest on Amazon MP3 music downloads - new releases, freshly ripped hits, and special deals.

Audio Drums - A blog for rare, possibly overlooked, maybe forgotten gems of music with a slight emphasis on electronic and indie genres. (RSS)

Common Folk Music - A blog about music, not just folk music, but all music ranging from indie to alt-country to bluegrass, because music is for the “Common Folk”. (RSS)

Discobelle.net (RSS)

Fiddlefreak Folk Music Blog - Folk, bluegrass, Celtic, and other music of the people. (RSS)

Fingertips Music - Free and legal music. (RSS)

Gorilla Vs Bear (RSS)

Hillydilly: Simply Good Music. (RSS)

I Rock Cleveland: Indie Rock, College Rock, Alt Rock, Modern Rock, Cleveland Rock, and Rock. (RSS)

KEXP Song of the Day: KEXP 90.3 FM - where the music matters (RSS)

Kick Kick Snare (RSS)

Line Of Best Fit - TLOBF.COM | Music Reviews, News, Interviews & Downloads (RSS)

Lipstick Disco - Deep House & Disco music blog fronted by Females (RSS)

Minnesota Public Radio Song of the Day: Music lovers from 89.3 The Current share songs with you each weekday. (RSS)

Muruch (RSS)

Music Like Dirt: Music in all its many forms, mp3’s, live reviews and photography. (RSS)

My Old Kentucky Blog - a music blog that parties with unicorns. (RSS)

Nah Right. (RSS)

ninebullets.net. (RSS)

Rollo & Grady: Los Angeles Music Blog, LA Music Blog (RSS)

Said the Gramophone: a music weblog (RSS)

She Makes Music: She Makes Music focuses on the most exciting and impressive new music created by brilliant and talented female musicians. (RSS)


Sounds Better With Reverb (RSS)

Stereogum: All the MP3s on Stereogum.com (RSS)

their bated breath (RSS)

Women of Hip Hop (RSS)

YouKnowIGotSoul (RSS)

Mourn ya till I join ya

The Wheel’s Still In Spin: Focusing on new music releases and reviews of individual albums as original, fictional short stories (RSS)

A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz - This site is just a way for me to have a little fun and share a little music. I’ll highlight some of my favorite artists that I play on the radio and try to expound upon their music in ways I can’t always do on the air. (RSS)

Aminal Sound

Audiofile: Music Blog, Music Articles - Salon.com

Crossfade: The CNET music blog

Direct Current New Music - Adult pop, rock, singer/songwriters, folk, Americana, alt-country, adult alternative, soul, world music, crossover jazz and simply those artists that make us go “hmmm.”(RSS)

GarageBand.com Folk top tracks (RSS)

GarageBand.com Hip Hop top tracks (RSS)

Flawless Hustle: Urban culture blog featuring artist interviews, music reviews, legal music downloads, street art, graffiti and more! (RSS)



The Jon Swift principle: “I will add anyone to my blogroll who adds me to theirs.” Email or leave a comment to let me know.


The Hunting of the Snark

Sites participating in blogroll amnesty day

Jon Swift aka Al Weisel, may he rest in peace. Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day

skippy the bush kangaroo (Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day) (2012)

Vagabond Scholar (2012)
Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety. Keeper of the Jon Swift Memorial Roundup (The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves)

Notes From Underground (2012)

Redeye’s Front Page (2012)

Wisdom of the West (2012)

Zen Comix (2012)

pygalgia (2012)

Mikeb302000 (2012)

The Agonist (2012)

Brilliant At Breakfast (2012)

Bacon and Eggs (2012)

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Giving Up The Third Habit

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post. A copy of this was mailed as a letter to the editor this morning.

My parents always subscribed to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, so I grew up around newspapers; they were as regular a part of our household as our cats. As a kid I’d look at the Sunday comics, and later on the 1980 Browns would prompt me to grab the newspaper every day. I first started reading “real” news in 1984, when the front page of the second section had a columnist slot called “Focal Point”. Mike Royko was featured three times a week, and when that year’s Olympics rolled around he touched off a huge controversy with a series of columns about how he and his buddies decided which of the women’s teams to cheer for based on which ones had the nicest butts. (Memorable headline from a column he wrote at the conclusion: “The Bottom Line”) When his column moved inside to the Op-Ed pages I moved with him. So yes, I first started going to the most high-minded section of the paper when my teen eyes were lured there by T&A.

In college I lived a few houses down from a convenience store, and it was my source for a newspaper in the morning, beer in the evening and cigarettes just about any time. I always thought the first of these would be a constant, though I’ve since given up the others. Instead it was interrupted by a couple of years in Tanzania, a wonderful time that unfortunately also required me to substitute my morning newspaper and coffee with short wave radio and indifferently brewed tea. When I got back to America I eagerly resumed my ritual and it has since been a fixture in my life. But it is with genuine sadness I now write that this habit will go the way of the latter two.

I think papers are best for analysis, investigative pieces and long-range, trend-related reporting. Basically anything that can’t be summarized in two minutes gives newspapers an advantage over TV and online reporting (which may end up with its most popular use in the “email the headlines to my Blackberry” model). They seem to be going in the opposite direction though, trying to “prove” they can summarize news as quickly as their electronic competitors. To me that’s a losing game since newspapers will never be as immediate, and it’s a shame that the industry seems to be so rattled by the “gee whiz” novelty of the Internet. A newspaper is an astonishing piece of technology and can deliver a certain kind of news very efficiently. Its basic form hasn’t substantially changed for several centuries for good reason. There seems to be no confidence left in that fact.

Instead they have engaged in a race to the bottom. In the same week the LA Times announced its latest round of cuts the PD gutted itself and called it a redesign. The result is almost literally unreadable. The sports pages seem least affected (make of that what you will) but there is now a single forum page. Competing for space on it are letters, editorial cartoons, editorials, charts, statistics, and syndicated writers. Even distinctive in-house voices like Elizabeth Sullivan’s are increasingly banished to remote electronic outposts. The front section now has lots of little stories delivering little news. Business is a Potemkin section with a front page and nothing behind it, and Arts & Life is a reduced and chaotic mess. Start to finish I now go through the paper in about fifteen minutes.

Over the weekend the public editor wrote “[n]ewspapers do not have the luxury of standing still…The challenging part of that responsibility is that it often runs headlong into a reality that every newspaper editor learns early in his or her career: Readers Hate Change.” His slightly condescending tone seems to put those of us objecting to such wholesale diminishing of the paper with, say, the cranks who were pissed off when Marmaduke was dropped.

Rightsizing” seems to be the trend, though, and what ails the PD is ailing most newspapers now. But clearly these new models are not designed with people like me in mind. I may well be a dying breed - someone who wants to sit down at a table and spend at least a half an hour every day reading articles (not summaries) and interested in hearing a variety of voices on lots of topics. Maybe the vast majority who plunk down money for a paper want it packaged to go, as convenient to hold and consume as an Egg McMuffin. If papers have no other choice, if they can no longer cater to my kind, I understand even if I’m not very happy about it. But they won’t have me along for the ride anymore either.

Please cancel my subscription.

Reader Comments (7)

Having grown up with the Los Angeles Times and watching its rapid decline, I feel the same way. We have gone from a weekly subscription to a weekend only, primarily for the Arts and Culture listings.

And still the quality deteriorates. I used to a take a leisurely Sunday to work through that day's paper. I am now down to 40 minutes, and much of what arrives on Sunday is advertisement. We used to be inundated with weekly calls for subscription renewals, to which I told them how the paper was deteriorating before my very eyes. It won't be long before we cancel the weekend only.

The greed and short term thinking of today's Titans of Industry are destroying the very goose which laid their golden eggs.

July 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTom Paine

Thanks for writing Tom. Sounds like we're in the same boat. It's hard to believe that even a market as big as LA may not have enough like-minded readers to support the kind of daily we're used to.

July 10, 2008 | Registered CommenterDan

I grew up a hundred miles east, in Erie PA, and as young person there, the local paper took about 15 minutes to get through. It's now down to about 5, getting pretty close to the Greensheet and Penny Savers that arrive unsolicited in my mailbox. They've ceded coverage of all but local news to electronic broadcast.

I now enjoy the LA Times, but it too is in decline. In part due to some blockheaded columnists (Jonah Goldberg et. al.), but mostly due to cutting the quality, it's rarely worth the 50 cents invested, and so I usually read a second hand copy found occasionally in restaurants.

The real problem is the audience. The number of people who want and are willing to pay for the lengthy presentations that newspapers (used to) do well is declining, and so papers are faced with either cutting the quality, or coming up with some other business model.

If a local paper is the public forum for that locality, then this speaks much about the quality of civic engagement. One more sign of our decline as a nation.

July 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteralyosha

I've watched with sadness as the once proud San Jose Mercury News commits slow suicide. Management has responded to financial difficulties by cutting the staff who write the content that made the paper worth reading in the first place. These days the Merc seems to serve mostly as a vehicle for "Mr. Roadshow", a fun column on local traffic, which has floated from back pages up to A2, as the rest of the paper has sunk. I find it inexplicable that, as a McClatchy paper, they haven't even run McClatchy's own special reporting on Guanatanamo, one of the few bits of great American reporting these days.

On the upside, I can now read the whole paper, front to back, in about three minutes.

July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDN


The number of people who want and are willing to pay for the lengthy presentations that newspapers (used to) do well is declining, and so papers are faced with either cutting the quality, or coming up with some other business model.
That's it in a nutshell.

July 11, 2008 | Registered CommenterDan

My own local paper, the Allentown Morning Call, has been sliding downhill fast for several years. In the last week, it has gone off the cliff with a redesign that eliminates all but a few traces of national and international news. The news that Senator Stevens had been indicted was buried inside the paper; the front page that day was devoted to 3 local, rather trivial, stories. The editorial pages are gone, only LTEs are left with a note that readers can go on line to read op-eds. Yes, the idiocy has reached such heights that the paper is paying to put on line op-eds that one could read any number of other places. The sports section remains intact, and there are twice as many large ads.

We need newspapers, but papers such as these deserve to die.

August 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersmintheus

Thanks smitheus. I've noted the same thing - saying "we don't have it in the paper anymore, but you can see it online" is practically an invitation to cancel the subscription.

August 3, 2008 | Registered CommenterDan

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