Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas

I'm currently sitting in a Princeton McDonalds attempting to fill out graduate school applications, internship applications and browsing the social networks. Chris doesn't have internet or TV, so this is my best option. I've hit a point with the applications and whatnot where I simply need a printer to finish anything, so I think I'm at a standstill. What better time than now (amidst a group of teenage boys staring and screaming babies) to blog about Christmas.

I spent this Christmas with Chris, mostly because my parents decided they would be ultra Christian and not celebrate it this year because it's a "Pagan" holiday. Instead, I get a week in October where I'll get presents. Yeah, I don't understand it either. Alas, we spent Christmas together, and it was a good time.

I made my very first dinner.


I got an iPad for Christmas.


I got Chris WWE Smackdown tickets to a house show.


Now, it's New Year's Eve. Chris has to work, and I'm stealing internet. Not ideal, but I guess I'll make it work.

Update 1/2/10: After I left the Princeton McDonalds, I was able to see Chris. We went to Danny's, a nice little bar in downtown Princeton. It's probably one of my favorite bars because it's very chill and relaxing. It's not a super young crowd, and I can appreciate that.

On New Year's, though, they had a DJ, and there were some younger people, but it was a very nice time. After the bar, we went to the Omelet Spot. Since it was the only place in Princeton open on New Year's, it was packed. We waited two hours for our food, but it's not like we had anywhere better to be. I really enjoyed just spending time with Chris.

I'm now at home, and I plan on finishing all my applications. My birthday is Thursday (I'll be 22), and Chris will be back for that. I'm hoping for a nice dinner and movie. I think I've hit the point where I no longer have fun birthdays, aka I'm getting old, so I'm satisfied with a nice evening instead of a party.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Anonymous Comments

Anonymous commenter
A big debate in the ever-changing world of journalism and the worldwide web is the use of anonymous comments.

Pros: They encourage debate. They let people speak while hiding.

Cons: While a journalist has to tack their name to a story, an anonymous comment can remain hidden.

As a journalist, I hate anonymous comments. I personally think it's unfair to have my work ripped apart by people who won't even name themselves. Cowards. Some editors have spoken up for them, though.

However, I do see that for very limited reasons, some people need to stay anonymous. Sometimes those people can add something to the debate. It's the people who have no constructive criticism and simply want to complain for the sake of complaining. Somebody is angry about something, and they can say it because they're not held accountable.

It's unfair, but it's the route I've chosen to go at The Daily Athenaeum. We have unfiltered, anonymous comments every day. Why? Because there is that small chance of getting a news tip from somebody who couldn't reveal themselves.

Is it worth it? Not yet. Will we continue to use unfiltered, anonymous comments? Maybe not. But, it has definitely forced me to deal with the negativity of people. We do delete the comments containing profanity or ones where commenters just yell back and forth at each other.

But if someone comments that I wrote a terrible article, I should fail school and they hope I die ... it stays.

Many newspapers are changing this, though. The Charleston Daily Mail has a wall, and all comments are filtered before approval. They say:

"NOTICE TO ALL USERS:
We value your comments, but we're changing the way we allow comments to be posted on our site. Rather than allowing comments to flow onto the site unfiltered, we are going to check the comments first for approval. So, readers who use the comments function may experience a lag before actually seeing the comment on our site. Personal attacks, remarks in poor taste or those overly critical will not be published. We believe the result will be a more thoughtful, civil website."

Readers hate this, but it seems to be the trend. This is eventually where I'd like to see The Daily Athenaeum go. But for now, I think it makes us more transparent, which is key to any newspaper or media outlet. I also allow anonymous comments on my blog, simply because it encourages debate and hosts that open forum for discussion.

Some other helpful links on the topic: