what if im addicted to twitter?

since Friday i have been without my phone. my girlfriend is more uptight about that than i am.

WHAT IF THERES AN EMERGENCY she asked as we drove to Inglewood last night to get some ribs.

then i die.

have my ashes sprinkled among the ashes of Hollywood.

the day before we went to Target and she did not let me leave my phone at home in case we got seperated in the two story store in Pasadena.

now its lost somewhere in this house, locked, and trust me when i tell you last night when i gleefully told her i dont care where it was she about blew a gasket.

things i miss about my phone are minimal. i miss calling my mom when i go on long drives. i miss having it tethered via bluetooth to my car’s Alexa so i can say hey alexa play Tsar

but other than that it has been a pleasant separation and im sure my phone feels the same way about me.

but this twitter. holy moley, i had no idea.

it all happened saturday night, as per my previous post. i watched Josie get arrested and via twitter and my iMessage i was able to alert some of the people she works with. Lord knows i was not going to sit on my hands as she wa being driven to prison because of some weirdo goal to be off the grid.

but as the conversations got weirder and weirder on Twitter regarding her case, the first amendment and the plausibility of a pro journalist jumping into a law enforcement scrum like some modern day Leroy Jenkins i began seeing why i love social media so much.

often times it’s an interesting conversation, but moreso it’s debating with people who are so different both politically and otherwise that it’s eye opening that we can both be looking at the same half full glass of water and they say

not only is it half empty but because of Obama it’s undrinkable.

theres many things i should have studied at UCSB than poetry, namely: Spanish, coding, and apparently Philosophy. I flunked two courses in school, a cinema class on Buster Keaton because i refused to over analyze his slapstick comedy because i didnt want to ruin future viewings, and the philosophy of Berkeley because apparently im dumber than i look.

in that class we had one book. it was a paperback called The Philosophy of Berkeley. It was about 75 pages. I couldn’t get through 5 of them.

im someone who was able to read much of The Bible, Finnegans Wake, and The Sound and the Fury in college. while distracted by the beach, the ladies, and my real goal: writing 100+ articles for the Daily Nexus a year. but those who understand philosophy is something i really admire because it was so foreign to me.

Give me Faulkner’s crazy, trippy, stoned, drunk run on sentences and Joyce’s Ulysses (which I tried to read on shrooms) any day over philosophy.

I read Milton’s Paradise Lost as an ice cream man on summer vacation, for fun but i bombed big time with Berkeley which is why i appreciate trying to conversate with these twitter people with their American flag icons in their bio about what a good journalist can and cannot do.

and yesterday i went on twitter to see the rest of the debate AND TODAY I DID IT TOO!

partially i did it because two of my stories for Los Angeleno were published over the last few days an i want people to read them.

the first was about diversity at the Oscars and how their new rules can be easily gamed

and the other is about diversity at the LA Times and how they really should bite the bullet and let Angel Jennings have full on veto powers otherwise she will be frustrated as merely a token.

going forward i have no other excuses.

but here is the biggest problem i have with twitter: i learn s much. i follow about 1,300 people. about half of them are fully alive on the platform, tweeting out and retweeting fascinating things. news breaks and theyre on it.

who doesn’t love breaking news?

who doesnt want to talk about the president visiting california and saying that the global warming will just disappear? who doesnt want to talk about the Bears’ crazy comeback yesterday or the Cubs’ no hitter or a thousand other things?

i do i do i do!

the greatest thing about being the blog editor of the LA Times was being able to bounce from desk to desk and talk with some of the greatest writers and editors of those sections about the stories theyre working on and how we can make the ones theyve recently published get seen.

it was like going to college and being given an All Access pass to every classroom, all the star students, and all the best professors. every day i learned so much.

twitter is a tiny version of that. oftentimes the journalists will tell you in real time what they are working on or what their recently published stories are all about. and the best ones will answer your questions. you do not need to be a Philosophy major to chat with them because they see the half full glass of water and will talk all day with you about it.

using their real names.

using links to support their point of view.

and often the people who follow them are also interesting and educated people who also want to learn.

so why am i giving that up for even a week?

because all addictions should be put under control.

even if they are fulfilling and wonderful and incredible.

at least for me.

you’ll never feel at home in LA unless you keep moving

LA is huge.

imagine the biggest place you’ve ever been in and quadruple it.

that will just be the Valley, which you need to know if you are really to get LA.

then quadruple it again and you’ve got South Central,

which is where the secret soul of LA is. the actual heartbeat.

the fakers fly right over south central via overpasses or freeways , but if you live here long enough

and if you start meeting the right people you will go to a house party off Crenshaw

you will get your haircut on Florence,

you might even find yourself at a sample sale near Carson.

LA goes all the way to Long Beach and inside the weirdest dead ends of downtown.

everyone hikes Runyon, but if i was the failing New York Times and their laughing stock of an LA bureau here’s what i would do:

there is a stretch of LA from Santa Monica to DTLA thats as wide as Pico to the south to Sunset to the north.

i would refuse to run any stories from that stretch an zero from downtown.

i’d also ignore anything happening in the upper crust of Malibu, Manhattan and Redondo Beaches.

why? because unless we are talking about crime, 90% of so-called news and features by the mainstream press happen in that narrow band.

the Pulitzer Prize winning Jonathan Gold is beloved in LA because he uses the entire canvas, not just the same beaten path

he ventures, he explores, he speaks Spanish, he talks to people of all skin colors and religious beliefs.

LA is the home of more religions than any other city in the world.

it is the 2nd largest Spanish speaking city on the planet.

if all of your sources and all of your stories are about white folk, if all of your touchstones and goals and ideals are based in Caucasian ideals of the 1960s

then you aren’t really telling the story of LA of today.

i once dated a girl from canada who was blown away that so many billboards and handmade fliers were in Spanish

and how many brown skinned people there were on the streets

and Asians

and Jews.

she said, this isn’t what it looked like in “Clueless”.

if you truly want to cover this city, and most of all, if you really want to love this city, you have to move out of West Hollywood

you have to break up with your boyfriend,

you have to stop taking taxis

and most of all you should start driving for Lyft.

then you will start to see the real story that is this beautiful city of angels.

current events: Mike Brown’s killer won’t be tried

mike brown

one thing ive noticed when i occasionally go back in the archives is i have strayed away from talking about current events on the busblog.

in the spirit of Nothing In Here Is True and the fact that my gigs at LAist, LAT, and KPCC made me think exclusively about current events, I stopped writing about them in here.

my current gigs however dont care about breaking news, so here we are back again talking about what CNN tried to talk about last night

racism and how an unarmed black kid was shot to death in the streets of Missouri and how the prosecutor didn’t want to prosecute the cop so he put on a lousy case for the grand jury of mostly white ppl and the grand jury said yeah lets not make this cop stand trial.

what do i think of all of this?

i think we rely way too much on guns in the USA and there will be a day when blacks will get tired of being shot by white cops and they’ll start carrying guns too.

like lots of guns.

and then we will have huge problems.

because sure it’s not cool to shoot a cop, but what if he’s shooting at you and you don’t feel like he should?

and what if he is shooting at you in a way that could kill you?

dont we have the right to bear arms to protect ourselves?

can you see where this is escalating towards?

how about we try to do this without guns and the professional lawmen call in backup when a teenage boy wont cooperate.

and how about we dont shoot to kill them. how about we use teamwork and skill and technique instead of bang bang bang bang bang


we have enough dead people in this beautiful country.

how about a few of us alive people figure out what is working and whats not working, and im sorry but this grand jury of one isnt convinced that guns are working out.

left nyc as the sun was setting


flew across the country and because al gore is amazeballs i got to see the dodgers beat the cards

from my seat in the plane

then got to watch the congress stop acting like pouty little crybaby idiots

then got to watch the pouty little whiners on fox news complain that the president spiked the football

because he omg said lets not legislate by crisis anymore.

hannityduring my job interview the other day they asked me what news shows i watch on tv

and because i didnt wanna sound like sarah palin i resisted saying ALL OF THEM even though that is the correct answer

but my favorite thing to do is to watch Fox when the GOP bungles and watch MSNBC when the Dems f up

i like bob shaeffer on cbs on sundays followed by stephanopolis because george will cracks me up

fox n friends on the weekday mornings makes me laugh because theyre cartoon characters, right?

muppets. animatrons.

people forget that when i was in college so was sean hannity.

and i was one of the few who argued that he should have a daily show on kcsb

because even though it was the era of grunge we pretended that we were an alternative radio station

my argument was whats more punk rock and alternative than this crazy conservative kid ranting about clinton?

instead they played it safe and didnt give him a show, and yay we got a few more hours of reggae that no one listened to.


the correct answer is i tivo the daily show, rachael maddow, bill maher and cbs2 because paul magers and pat harvey relax me

and theres no finer weather caster than jackie johnson and jim hill is my homeboy.

pretty much the best local LA lineup since fritz n fred colleen and john beard in the 80s.

but because all of that was spinning in my head all i said instead was

The McLaughlin Group.


today i am a freelance journalist, xtx


its hard to believe that two of the oldest and sexiest LA bloggers are unemployed this summer

but xTx and i are making do with this perfect weather and more time to spend with our families.

in a perfect world that Amazon CEO who bought the Washington Post would buy the LA Times, Chicago Trib

and hire me to corral 100 news and not-news blogs and put together a

content strategy

for his ipad killer, the amazon kindle, so people would have a wide and varied collection of

interesting words pictures and videos right there on their tablet.

and heart.

thats why you buy the Post with 1% of your net worth, right, so it can provide news to your customers

all around the globe, via your (relatively) inexpensive handheld device. right?

well why stop at just one east coast paper, why not get a midwestern and a westwestern paper

and then a blog meister to fill in the gaps.

in the meantime im freelancing when and where i can. today it was for cnbc.

they asked me to put together a slide show and interview companies about their logos.

so i politely agreed and whoop there it is

10 tips for news websites in 10 minutes

fuck you forbes

these tips are so simple i probably wont even have to spend 10 minutes on it but i need a time limit so i dont rant all night and call your parents names

1. when someone clicks a link to your website, do not welcome them to your site with a complete page takeover and some crappy ass quote of the day that no one asked for. heres a quote of the day “you suck at the web. stop sucking.” if i was an advertiser i wouldnt want  an ad on such a page because the prospective customer is now pissed off. just give them the dumb story they wanted to read and sell them an ad somewhere on that page.

2. if you build your entire business model on stealing other peoples pictures and making funny jokes around them, do not use the smallest type size that you can to “credit” the source. not only are you being a prick, but you inspire other people to your douchey behavior. Here’s an idea, if you really want to throw some love back at the people who’s pictures you jacked, how about linking the entire picture to where you got it? It’s very easy. Ask an intern to show you.

3. when you tweet some news, don’t say “more coming”. we assume that unless you are killed in action there will be more. St. Ev only gave us 140 characters in which to rock, dont waste them.

young kurdt4. speaking of Twitter, stop pretending you dont know that there are URLs to tweets. if theres a story on your site and you are citing a tweet… link to the tweet or embed it.

5. speaking of linking if your story is all about how a reporter at a newspaper broke the biggest story of the year, you have no excuse when all the links about the story (except one at the bottom) goes to other pages in your site as opposed to other pages on their site. you are being a very bad person. and you know it. knock it off.

6. back to giving credit, dont ever say Credit YouTube or Credit Twitter. thats like if the NYT broke a story and you wrote “Credit Newsprint”. Both YouTube and Twitter are merely platforms, they’re not people, Mitt. Credit the user’s name or the username and then via Twitter. so if you wanted to credit a genius tweet of mine say Credit Tony Pierce (busblog) via Twitter. you are journalists: you have all these beautiful standards when you publish on fishwrap, use the same standards when you publish on the interwebs.

7. DO NOT BREAK LINKS. when you make a redesign, when you make an edit, when you see a mistake, when you change leadership, when you change servers, when you do anything MAKE SURE THE URLS DONT CHANGE. all of the hard work you are up to today deserves to be seen tomorrow, next year and next century. you are a massive asswipe if you break those links. this blog post from 2007 has 4 links to 3 different major news sites. only one link works today. totally unacceptable.  you want people to link to you. Google rewards you when people link to you. the web is the web because of links, many of which go to you. let them live.

8. have comments. on every page, new york times. on every story. when you dont have comments thats like saying lalalalalala i said something and i dont want to hear what you have to say lalalalalalala. its not professional, its not kosher, its not courageous, its not transparent, its not respectful. knock it off and let the people – your freakin audience – have their say.

9. just because you have given up on your sales department and you can put up a paywall doesnt mean you should. the people making these decisions are the highest paid people in the company: earn that money by being creative. paywalls are not creative.

10. and finally, link to your previous stories within your stories. the news we read today didnt just appear out of thin air. theres context to them. link to that context. stop being in such a freaking rush to OMG END THIS NIGHTMARE THAT IS THROWING THE STORY ON THE WEB and pretend that most of the people are going to read your masterpiece on the web. pretend that because you listened to #7 your hard work will live on forever on the web… so give people context to other rock solid stories on your site (and other sites) with the magical device called hyperlinks. odds are you wrote those other stories. link to them! and if you are using web producers, dont waste their time researching the writers’ old stuff, have the writers link to their own stories.

the web is like mexico. yes its very close to the US. yes many of the principles are the same. but once you realize it’s got its own thing going that you cant learn in 5 minutes in the airport, the sooner you’ll stop looking like an idiot. respect it the way you respect the old school. hire people who know what they’re doing, be patient as they guide you through this new world, and work together to bring the fundamentals of the old world with the breakthroughs of the new. otherwise the kids will just run you right the hell over.


6 things CBS LA can do to look like the good guys vs Time Warner cable

jackie johnson tonight

6. When the Dodgers are in town, broadcast Jackie Johnson’s weather on the Jumboscreen before the bottom of the 5th. When the Angels are in town, do the same at their stadium. Apparently she is very popular. Have her say, “Hi Dodger fans, some of you may, unfortunately, get your cable tv from Time Warner… which means you can’t see me. Well here I am! Tomorrow will be sunny and warm and…” I bet people cheer.

5. Film the 10pm KCAL news from a different, popular venue each night: CityWalk, The Hollywood Bowl, LA Live, The OC Fair, 3rd Street Promenade, Ventura Blvd., The Grove, Hollywood & Highland and provide lots of seating so people can watch the news live.

4. Next Monday rent out the Cinerama Dome and show UNDER THE DOME at 6p, 7:30p and 9p. Have some actors be at each screening, give away some free popcorn, expect people to love you forever.

3. Shoot the Price is Right at Grand Park in DTLA so that lots of people can watch.

2. Tape the Late Late Show with Craig Fergie Ferg at The Orpheum so that a huge audience can show up. Get a huge audience by nabbing some big musical acts. If you, CBS, cannot get a week of huge musical acts, then TWC is right, you don’t deserve $2 per viewer.

1. Get a few thousand $2 rabbit ear antennas. Give them to Paul Magers, Pat Harvey, Suzie Suh and some other anchors and reporters and let them hand them out on medians around LA freeways. Have some oranges handy if people want those.

im an insane person

hollywood and highland

but when theres lots of pissed off people, tons of police, and a hollywood setting,

i think: this is something that viewers might like to watch on television.

last night though, the local news didn’t seem all that interested in showing it.

right after the trayvon martin jury let george zimmerman retrieve his gun and go back to a life of hiding,

the good people of LA said they would march onto the freeway and stop it for a little while.

yesterday afternoon they did just that, but because it didn’t happen while the news was on,

the news decided not to break into regular programming, nor fire up the copters and show it online

where gazillions of people might actually enjoy watching it

via their computers or tablets or phones or xboxes or yada yada

instead they waited an hour and then seemed disinterested even while packs of people were marching down this part of town

and that part of town, and festering with rage on that other part of town.

because im an insane person i think that would be something the internet would sit through some commercials to view

they might even share it on facebook

or tweet it or something.


the worst part was when the hollywood people marched down hollywood blvd to the freeway and got turned around by police

so they went to the W and realized they werent far from the CNN building

so they marched over there.

but CNN hadn’t even tweeted in 5 hours, they werent home.

the most interesting story of the day walked to a news organization’s front door

and nobody was there.

and im the insane person.

because im a man of leisure i woke up today exactly when CNN gave this breaking news

and got to watch this whole thing unfold while still in my pajamas. here are my thoughts:

1. whenever you have three people at a crime scene with TV cameras locked on them and a huge BREAKING NEWS label beneath them, they have to say something that rationalizes their existence at that location so either they will be forced to speculate or their producers will feel pressure to feed them “news”.

2. this is bad.

3. once upon a time long distance phone calls cost a lot of money. i imagine satellite feeds once cost lots of money too. back then you only made that phone call or opened up that sat truck IF YOU HAD SOMETHING NEW TO SAY, which hopefully was verified. but that seems to have changed.

4. broadcasters in all arenas (blogs, radio, tv, twitter) worry that their audience will go away. they shouldn’t worry. THE AUDIENCE WILL GO AWAY. either because they die, something more interesting comes along, they turn off their device, or you lost their trust because you didnt trust that they’d be loyal to you so you said stuff too quicklykent's korrections that turned out not to be true. i know this is impossible, but pretend, like i do on this blog, that there is no audience other than your mother and she loves you and you love her right back. so only give her the best of the best because Lord knows shes gonna tell all of her friends in a panic.

5. we need to put Breaking News, Exclusive, and Scoop in timeout for a while, because those words do not help any more, in fact they may be part of the problem. Those words can come out of the lock box when the US elects a gay brownskinned female athiest potsmoking stutterer with a goatee. to a second term. until then things are just news, sports, traffic or weather.

6. if you insist on labeling everything Breaking News despite the fact very little of it is either, you should also label things Speculation.

SPECULATION: The suspect may be a lone wolf working for an unnamed group who used a remote triggering device that also had a timer. also, he had a Coldplay tshirt on.

7. if youre a tv executive you shouldnt whine to Politico about how social media is the 5th estate that watches the watchmen and says OMG WTF when the correct reaction is, indeed, OMG WTF.

we are saying OMG WTF because we love you and you made us doubt that love as being foolish. apologize.

8. the best fuel for Twitter is television. the super unleaded is when something fucks up on tv. once you understand that, tv executive, you wont point at the people who are pointing at your people. your people are usually the ones doing the pointing, btw. and get paid handsomely for the privilege.

9. it’s ok to leave the story if there is no new news. seriously, we’ll we respect you in the morning.

10. when you make a huge gigantic error online, like this


you dont get to just write through it on the same URL


you have to put a correction on that page to acknowledge that the last time they were at that page it was an entirely different story.

online journalism is not just a whiteboard you point to and then erase when you fuck up like nbd.

some of us treat the web with as much respect as you treat the things you actually respect.

11. in online news be transparent, use new URLs, and tell us when you goof.

12. otherwise we have no other choice but to go somewhere else, which is annoying to us too.

Update: 13. Chartgirl plotted out today’s oops beautifully

top ten things i thought when i read this

1. are they warning or advertising?
2. but i thought Thousand Oaks was filled with conservatives?
3. is he still on the loose because he’s hard to find?
4. are there that many crossdressers in TO they have no likely subjects?
5. i wonder if i’ve been to that mall.
6. was the skirt tasteful at least?
7. i wont click the link i wont click the link
8. if i retweet favorite this because of its absurdity will someone think i endorsed it?
9. i bet he isnt black.
10. i thought this only happened in 70s movies.