I got to go to the Library of Congress and see this really cool machine in the basement.
I wrote about it for The Washington Post. Read the story.
Here’s a piece I wrote for Medium about how we settle on names for tragedies like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings. It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and I was able to interview some really smart people about the intersection of linguistics and emotion.
(And for more about Medium, read this brilliant piece by my former editor Josh Benton.)
Excerpts from my interview this afternoon with Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who says “of course” he’d be game to host North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and U.S. officials for diplomacy talks in Hawaii. (Read the full story I wrote for Digital First Media here.)
"Hawaii sees itself as the anchor of the Asia-Pacific region. To the degree we can exemplify our facilities, to the degree we can offer what Hawaii has to offer the world — our aloha spirit, our sense that diversity should define us and not divide us — even a meeting place that would enable us to try to work through this in a peaceful way."
"The way we regard things here is that first and foremost you have to try and see through the rhetorical smoke. You don’t want to miscalculate. You don’t want to misapprehend… you want to avoid a hysterical reaction but in doing so you don’t want to undermine a correct understanding of what’s taking place."
"Some of this by definition is opaque in terms of your accurate understanding of what’s taking place because of the internal management mechanisms that are taking place in North Korea are not necessarily known to intelligence forces let alone the genral public.”
"There may be political intrigue. There may be internal forces — economic social and personal — that we’re not necessarily prvivy to. That has to make one very cautious in terms of what kind of reaction you’re going to have to the surface realities that appear to be out there."
"So the fact that somebody says via a spokesperson for the government of North Korea is issuing bombastic statements and threats, accusations, even what would otherwise seem to be delcaritions of war… you ahve to be very cautious about that, cautious in this sense that you don’t want to give too much credence to verbal bombast."
"As of right now, I think what we’re doing is trying to draw deep breaths, keep clear eyes and not let our hearts get beating too fast."
Turns out I wrote a lot of stories in 2012. So I went through various archives and picked a couple of my stories from each month. Let’s start from the end of the year and work our way back.
December was surreal. I spent a week in Newtown, Conn., covering the elementary school shooting there. Sen. Daniel Inouye died that week, too: "Reporter’s Notebook: Aloha, Sen. Daniel Inouye," San Jose Mercury News, Dec. 18, 2012; "Newtown to the media: You’re making this nightmare worse," The Denver Post, Dec. 17, 2012; "Newtown Residents Trace Connections to Shooter," New Haven Register, Dec. 17, 2012.
In November, I wrote about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the election, and a pop-up comedy club in Washington, D.C.: "Every Thursday, RFD becomes a comedy club," The Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2012.
In October, I tried to break down how and why some journalism Kickstarter projects go smashingly while others end up doomed: "How to make your journalism project succeed on Kickstarter," Nieman Journalism Lab, Oct. 17, 2012.
Here’s one from September about a troubled senior center in Hawaii. I’ve investigated the hell out of this place and filed at least a dozen stories about it since 2011. (Like this one and this one and this one and this one, etc., etc., etc.) I swear there’s still more to it: "Honolulu Flags Troubled Senior Center for Possible Illegal Kickbacks," Honolulu Civil Beat, Sept. 18, 2012.
In August, I took a closer look at how website traffic is circumventing the homepage, and what that should mean to news organizations: "Coming in the side door: The value of homepages is shifting from traffic-driver to brand," Nieman Journalism Lab, August 22, 2012.
In July, I had a really interesting conversation with a Yale Law School lecturer about incitement to riot statutes in the United States and Twitter: "By tweeting about a developing story, could you be inciting a riot?" Nieman Journalism Lab, July 31, 2012.
In June, I gleefully sneaked a "Back to the Future" reference into the lede of my story about how Internet-enabled appliances might affect the news industry: "Does your newsroom have a smart-refrigerator strategy?" Nieman Journalism Lab, June 6, 2012.
I finally published a series of stories I’d been working on for nearly a year in May. I did some digging into a reclusive billionaire’s bizarre real estate habits — like buying almost all of the mansions on one block and abandoning them. (Still so much more to report on this one.)
Part I: "Land Barren: Japanese Billionaire Is Raising Eyebrows, Razing Houses," Honolulu Civil Beat, May 21, 2012.
Part II: "Land Barren: Who is Genshiro Kawamoto?" Honolulu Civil Beat, May 22, 2012.
Part III: “Land Barren: Since 2005, Dozens of Violations at Billionaire’s Properties,” Honolulu Civil Beat, May 23, 2012.