Posts Tagged ‘Local Media’

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lake Placid’s Adworkshop Certifies Women-Owned

Adworkshop, Lake Placid’s employee-owned digital marketing agency, announced this week that it is now a certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise through New York State’s Division of Minority and Women Business Development (MWBE). Adworkshop, established by Adele and Tom Connors more than three decades ago, is now listed in the Directory of Certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, which is used by agencies and contractors statewide.

The MWBE certification, which is awarded by the Empire State Development Agency of New York, was given to the tourism marketing agency at the end of December. A majority percentage of the company ESOP shares are now owned by the 16 female employees of Adworkshop and Inphorm.

The MWBE program is designed to encourages equality in economic opportunities for women and minorities by seeking to eliminate barriers that may stand in the way of pursuing state contracts. Adworkshop and Inphorm join the more than 6,000 certified women and minority-owned businesses located throughout New York State.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo outlined goals for MWBE’s in his State of the State Address Jan. 5, 2011:

“Of the 1.9 million business entities operating in New York State, more than 50 percent are owned by women or minorities. The vast majority of these companies are small businesses and a critical driver of the New York State economy. To ensure that MWBE’s have the opportunity to earn their fair share of the State’s business, Governor Cuomo directed State agencies to double the current MWBE participation goal from 10 to 20 percent and ease bonding restrictions that they will face and expand the Owner-Controlled Insurance Program model to expand opportunities for small businesses.”


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dan Ladd’s Deer Hunting in the Adirondacks

Author and outdoor writer Dan Ladd of West Fort Ann, Washington County, has released an updated version of his seminal book Deer Hunting in the Adirondacks – A Guide to Deer Hunting in New York’s 6-Million-Acre Adirondack Park. This is the second printing of the book, which Ladd first self-published in 2008.

Adirondack deer hunters will want this book and I’m happy to recommend it. What you won’t find here are political statements about the expansion of the Forest Preserve, the advent of easements, and sharing the wilderness with paddlers, hikers and campers. Ladd seems to really understand the subtler history of game laws, environmental conservation, and the economics and politics of the Adirondacks as it relates to hunting. That makes this book a valuable tool for hunters (and non-hunters with an interest), and not the political polemic you might expect from some of the region’s other outdoor writers.

A chapter on the history of deer hunting in the Adirondacks is the definitive source on the subject bringing together decades of lessons from Forest, Fish and Game Commission reports with a legal history primer on the evolution of New York’s game laws. Additional chapters introduce the Adirondack region, detail land classifications, address current regulations, necessary equipment, lodging options, several chapters of tips from experienced Adirondack hunters, and a meaty inventory of state lands.

This second edition also includes the latest additions to state lands, including tracts of land along the Moose River near Old Forge and the Chazy Highlands Wild Forest in the extreme northern section of the Adirondack Park. Additional material has been added on the subjects of getting deer out of the backcountry, cooking venison and also information geared towards beginning hunters. The overall size of this edition has expanded from 168 pages to 192.

Dan Ladd is a freelance writer and regular outdoor columnist for The Chronicle in Glens Falls, The Plattsburgh Press-Republican, Outdoors Magazine and FishNY.com. He is also founder of the popular Adirondack deer hunting website ADKHunter.com. He is currently editing his second book, a collection of his newspaper columns expected to be available in November.

The new edition of Deer Hunting in the Adirondacks has a retail price of $20 and is available at local and retail outlets throughout the Adirondack region. More information is available at Ladd’s website, www.ADKHunter.com, where a mail order form can be downloaded. The book will also be distributed by North Country Books.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Andy Flynn’s Sixth Adirondack Attic Book

Hungry Bear Publishing recently released its sixth volume in the “Adirondack Attic” book series, highlighting dozens of artifacts from the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.

Author Andy Flynn, of Saranac Lake, tells 53 more stories about the museum’s collection in New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 6, bringing the story count to more than 300 for the six-volume series that began in 2004. Stories, and artifacts, come from all over the Adirondack region.

“Each story is special unto itself; however, taken as a whole, this series gives us the big picture,” Flynn told the Almanack. “Thanks to these artifacts, we now have a unique perspective on the Adirondack experiment and a better understanding of the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park, its people and communities, and how life has changed here over the past 300 years.”

Stories from Adirondack Attic 6 come from the following communities: Au Sable Forks, Bangor, Blue Mountain Lake, Brantingham Lake, Canton, Chestertown, Cranberry Lake, Dickinson Center, Elizabethtown, Hague, Johnsburg, Lake George, Lake Placid, Long Lake, Loon Lake, Lyon Mountain, Mohawk, Newcomb, North River, Northville, Paul Smiths, Port Henry, Raquette Lake, Saranac Lake, Ticonderoga, Tupper Lake, Warrensburg and Wilmington.

Flynn created the Adirondack Attic History Project to “promote the heritage of the Adirondack Park to residents and visitors through publications and programs.” As the owner/operator of Hungry Bear Publishing, he works with curators at the Adirondack Museum and other historical associations and museums in the region to tell human-interest stories about their artifact collections.

Flynn’s “Adirondack Attic” column ran weekly in several northern New York newspapers from 2003 to 2009. The stories in Adirondack Attic 6 represent the columns from 2008. Each volume includes columns from a specific year; for example, Adirondack Attic 1 featured columns from 2003, the first year of the Adirondack Attic History Project.

In April 2010, North Country Public Radio began running Flynn’s new Adirondack Attic Radio Series, sponsored by the Adirondack Museum and singer/songwriter Dan Berggren. It airs the first Tuesday of the month during the Eight O’Clock Hour with Todd Moe. For each program, Flynn features a different artifact from the collection of a museum in the Adirondack North Country Region. He uses the Adirondack Museum as his “History Headquarters” but also visits other museums to track down the objects people have made, used and left behind.

In 2008, Andy Flynn was awarded a Certificate of Commendation from the Upstate History Alliance for the Adirondack Attic History Project. He has since presented programs on his work with the Adirondack Museum to scholars at the New York State Archives Conference (2008), Association of Public Historians of New York State (2008) and Conference on New York State History (2009).

Flynn also publishes the Meet the Town community guide series with booklets for Saranac Lake, Lake Placid/Wilmington, Canton, Potsdam, Tupper Lake/Long Lake/Newcomb and the Au Sable Valley. From 2001 to 2009, he was employed as the Senior Public Information Specialist at the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center in Paul Smiths.

Flynn is an award-winning journalist, garnering merits of excellence from the National Newspaper Association, New York Newspaper Publishers Association and the New York Press Association. While the staff writer at the Lake Placid News, he was named the 1996 NYPA Writer of the Year for weekly New York state newspapers with circulations under 10,000. Before joining the VIC staff, he was a writer and editor for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake and the Lake Placid News, a correspondent for the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, an announcer for WNBZ 1240-AM in Saranac Lake, and a general assignment news reporter and radio documentary producer for North Country Public Radio in Canton. He is a graduate of the SUNY College at Fredonia (1991) and the Tupper Lake High School (1987).

For more information about the Adirondack Attic book series and radio program, call (518) 891-5559 or visit online at www.hungrybearpublishing.com.

ADIRONDACK ATTIC 6 TABLE OF CONTENTS

1: Delaware & Hudson Railroad guides

2: Camp Santanoni Gate Lodge rendering (Newcomb)

3: Long Lake fire truck

4: Snowbug and Luvbug snow machines

5: Lake Placid bobsledding cassette tape (Saranac Lake, Lake Placid)

6: Mystery of Ironshoes, the bobsled (Lake Placid, Port Henry, Lyon Mountain, Elizabethtown)

7: Nehasane Park wagon (Long Lake)

8: Republic Steel miner’s helmet (Port Henry)

9: J. & J. Rogers Company safe (Au Sable Forks)

10: Paul Smith’s hotel stagecoach photo

11: Willcox & Gibbs sewing machine (Mohawk)

12: Bonnie Belle Farm ensilage cutter (Chestertown)

13: Maple sugaring sledge (Dickinson enter, North River)

14: Acme Leader cooking stove (Warrensburg)

15: Steamer Vermont III menu (Lake Champlain, Lake Placid, Loon Lake)

16: Au Sable Forks archery set

17: Bear Pond Preserve posted sign (Raquette Lake)

18: Fire tower string map (Warrensburg, Lake George)

19: Whiteface Mt. Ski Center brochures

20: Hendrik Van Loon’s Wide World Game

21: “Uncle Mart” Moody pocket watch (Tupper Lake)

22: Civil War memorial poster (Warrensburg)

23: “Assaulted by Mosquitoes” photo

24: Bug dope in the Adirondack woods

25: Sunset Cottage (Forked Lake)

26: Frederic Remington painting (Canton, Cranberry Lake)

27: A Pleasant Day at Lake George painting

28: Picturesque America book

29: Swizzle sticks (Ticonderoga, Port Henry, Hague)

30: E.R. Wallace guidebooks

31: Long Lake church souvenir tray

32: In Nature’s Laboratory book

33: Clock Golf lawn game

34: Altamont Milk Company cooler (Tupper Lake)

35: Blue Mountain House artist’s cottage

36: North River crazy quilt

37: 18th century clay pipe fragment (Blue Mountain Lake)

38: Raquette Lake sectional rowboat

39: Ticonderoga Indian Pageant booklet

40: Lake George souvenir china

41: Sacandaga Park souvenir china (Northville)

42: O.W.D. Corporation 5-cent token (Tupper Lake)

43: 1833 needlepoint sampler (Johnsburg)

44: Warrensburg hearse

45: Lake Placid violin

46: Mystery of the postal hand stamp (Bangor)

47: Dwight P. Church’s aerial camera (Canton)

48: Civilian Conservation Corps ring (Glens Falls/Hudson Falls)

49: Tupper Lake baby shoes

50: 1929 firemen’s convention ribbon (Saranac Lake)

51: Dr. William Seward Webb mailbag

52: Brantingham Lake rustic chair

53: Newcomb Snow Plow

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adirondack Explorer’s ‘Adventure Planner’

The Adirondack Explorer has been publishing for more than eleven years. Our primary mission is to educate people about environmental issues facing the Adirondack Park, but as our readers know, we also have a strong interest in outdoor recreation.

Actually, it’s impossible to separate environmental issues from recreation. Many debates in the Adirondacks pit muscle-powered recreationists against advocates of motorized access.

The Explorer has run numerous stories that reflect the divide over motorized use. We’ve delved into such controversies as: Should all-terrain vehicles be allowed on the Forest Preserve? Should more waterways be declared motor-free? Should old woods roads be open to vehicles? Should the Adirondack Scenic Railroad corridor be converted into a bike path? Should floatplanes be allowed on wilderness lakes? Should tractor-groomers be allowed on snowmobile trails?

Although we always try to get both sides of every story, we cannot deny that we at the Explorer prefer non-motorized recreation as more environmentally friendly. This is not to say that motorized recreation does not have a place in the Park. The debates are over where motorized use is appropriate.

Every issue of the Explorer features several first-person accounts of muscle-powered recreation: hiking, paddling, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, biking, snowshoeing. We’ve published hundreds of such stories over the years, and they’ve proven quite popular with readers looking for new places to explore.

We’ve collected some of these stories in the anthologies Wild Excursions and Wild Times, but now we have begun putting them online as well, where you can read them for free.

The brand-new Adirondack Explorer Adventure Planner is a unique online resource that allows you to search for recreational stories by sport and region. If you select “Hiking,” for example, you will get a list of stories split among six regions in the Park. Select a particular region, say “Southern,” and you’ll see all the hiking stories for that part of the Park.

The Adventure Planner has been in the works for months, but we’re not done. Although it’s complete enough to show the public, we plan to add more content and features in the weeks, months, and years ahead. We also want to fix whatever bugs arise and make the site as useful and user-friendly as possible.

This is where the readers of Adirondack Almanack come in. Please visit the Adventure Planner and let us know what you think of the site and how we could improve it. You can post comments here or send an e-mail to me at [email protected]

Click here to visit the site. We look forward to hearing from you.

Photo: The Cedar River Flow by Phil Brown.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorernewsmagazine.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Commentary: Hard-Learned Local Media Lessons

Last week, The Post-Star announced that its free weekly publication ADK Talk would cease publication (naturally, the blurb was buried in the middle of its local section).

This was the Glens Falls daily’s latest failed attempt to compete with the region’s independent weekly The Chronicle. ADK Talk had replaced two separate but nearly identical Post-Star weeklies called The Glens Falls Leader and The Queensbury Citizen, an experiment which also failed. The Lee Enterprises-owned paper announced that it had abandoned the weekly experiment to “pursue initiatives online” with its website.

The demise of ADK Talk and its predecessors revealed some interesting lessons about the local media landscape.

Identity Matters
The Chronicle is celebrating its 30th birthday because it’s distinctive. The independent weekly has a very strong identity in the community. Many people swear by it. Some people people swear at it. But everyone knows what The Chronicle is all about. Personally, I used to view it with disdain but have to come appreciate the value of a venue for independent voices in a corporate media dominated culture; and a lot of other people apparently do too.

ADK Talk and its predecessors were never able to develop that identity because they were seen as just another Post-Star/Lee Enterprises vehicle. It’s certainly reassuring for outlets like Adirondack Almanack that people still place value on the concept of locally-driven, independent media.

Content Matters

ADK Talk and its predecessors ran almost exclusively light feature stories. Sources tell me that the purpose of The Post-Star‘s weeklies was to entice non-subscribers to purchase the daily product.

But stories about middle school kids going on field trips and the like may be mildly interesting but are a poor hook to convince the undecided that the daily product would provide information essential to their lives. The structure of the weeklies seemed poorly thought out.

Free Isn’t Evil
Newspaper pooh-bahs are possibly the only business people who go out of their way to publicly insult their customers. People who want/expect their news for free are regularly treated as leeches by newspaper big wigs.

“How can newspapers make money (survive) if the end user refuses to pay for the content?” they sniff, ignoring the fact that the terrestrial broadcast media (over the air radio and television) make money even though the content is free to the end user. Most weeklies are for profit businesses and are also free to the reader. Websites like Pro Publica are offering top quality journalism free to the end user.

ADK Talk and its predecessors were not merely distributed (free to the end user) at places like supermarkets and libraries. They were also mailed to thousands of local households that didn’t subscribe to the daily product. So Lee Enterprises put forth the significant expense of not only publishing the weeklies and having them trucked to public venues but also the postage of having them sent via the USPS.

When you spend that much time, energy and money to give your product away, how can you criticize or be surprised at the expectation that news be free?

Ultimately, the region will barely notice the disappearance of this advertising vehicle. Lee Enterprises was recently ranked as the most inefficient company in the publishing industry. One can only hope that the trend will be bucked here and that the money formerly poured into ADK Talk will be used to slow the precipitous demise of quality in The Post-Star‘s main product: the daily newspaper itself.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Commentary: Corporate Media Ignore Candidates

Smaller party and independent candidates like Green gubernatorial nominee Howie Hawkins feel like they hit the lottery if their names are mentioned even as a footnote in the mainstream press. It’s not surprising, but still enraging, that the corporate media has a bias in favor of the candidates of the two corporate parties.

The common rationalization for such bias is the self-serving claim that people aren’t interested in candidates deemed “fringe” by the media pooh bahs… a catch-22 if there ever was one. When I’ve pointed out this bias of ignoring non-major party candidates to media elites, a typical response has been: “when have we been biased?”

Here’s a little educational lesson: if you ignore candidates because they don’t belong to a major party, then you are, by definition, biased against non-major parties. Justify this slant if you think you can, but don’t insult our intelligence by pretending it’s not bias. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Lake Desolation’s Early Media Experimental Station

In late 1932, on a dark mountainside in the far southern Adirondacks, a group of scientists prepared for a groundbreaking effort in communications. The plan was to conduct a long-distance, telephone-style conversation with their counterparts stationed 24 miles away on the roof of the General Electric Company in Schenectady. No wires were involved. The voices of those on GE’s rooftop would be carried by a searchlight beam aimed directly at a concave, 30-inch mirror on a hillside near Lake Desolation.

This particular effort was the brainchild of GE research engineer John Bellamy Taylor. It involved a unique process he called “narrow-casting” because the tight focus of the beam differed substantially from the growing technology known widely as “broadcasting.”
Earlier in the year, Taylor had likewise communicated from the navy blimp Los Angeles floating high above the GE buildings. The effect was accomplished by making a light source flicker in unison with voice fluctuations. A photoelectric cell received the flickers, or pulsations, and converted them to electrical impulses, which were then amplified by a loudspeaker. The term narrow-casting was apt—any interruption of the narrow light beam halted the transmission.

This new attempt in the Adirondacks challenged Taylor’s abilities, covering more than ten times the distance of the dirigible effort and spanning some rough terrain. While trying to place the mirror in the Lake Desolation area, engineering crews twice buried their vehicles in the mud. Another technology—the short wave radio— was used to effect a rescue.

A second issue arose involving the visibility of the large light beam. From 24 miles away, the searchlight blended among the stars on the horizon. Instructions were radioed to blink the light, which immediately solved the problem. Further communications by radio allowed the proper alignment of the light and mirror. With everything in place, the big moment was at hand.

A member of the extensive news media of the time took part in the experiment. As Taylor waited on the distant hillside, famed newspaper columnist Heywood Broun began to interview him from atop the GE roof in Schenectady: “Do you suppose it might be possible in 50 or 100 years to communicate with Mars over a light ray?” Taylor’s reply included a bit of humor. “It might be within the range of possibility, but one difficulty would be how to inform the Martians what apparatus to set up.”

While Broun’s voice rode the light beam, Taylor’s end of the conversation was sent by shortwave radio back to Broun at Schenectady, where it was received and then rebroadcast on AM radio stations. The two-way conversation was the first ever of its kind.

In an area where few people had ever used or even seen a telephone, locals were suddenly talking across a beam of light. Old trapper James Link of Lake Desolation shared that “it’s getting mighty cold up here,” and two young women also spoke with Broun. It was a public relations coup for GE, and a powerful advertisement for Taylor’s wonderful innovation. The experiment was a resounding success, followed soon by other intriguing demonstrations.

A few months later, an orchestra played before a sole microphone high in New York City’s Chrysler Building. Pointing a beam of light at a lens in the window of a broadcast studio half a mile away, Taylor transmitted the performance to an audience of shocked listeners. Stunning successes like that would influence all future communications efforts in a variety of fields.

Among his many achievements, John Bellamy Taylor is credited with being the first ever to make light audible and sound visible, and with developing the first portable radio. Just how important was his work? The effects his discoveries had on radio, television, telephone, and other technologies are immeasurable. Due to the work of Taylor, Thomas Edison, and their contemporaries, the world was forever changed.

Top Photo: John Bellamy Taylor in Popular Mechanics magazine, 1931.

Middle Photo: Map of the historic “narrow-cast” area.

Bottom Photo: Taylor’s New York City experiment transmitting music.

Lawrence Gooley has authored eight books and several articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004 and have recently begun to expand their services and publishing work. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Commentary: APA Almost Never Rejects Projects

This year, the Glens Falls Post-Star has published several pieces detailing activities of the Adirondack Park Agency deemed dubious. All of these investigative works were written by Projects’ Editor Will Doolittle, a controversial choice since he’s been outspoken against the APA for years.

The paper’s agenda has been clear from the beginning, made all the more explicit by their January editorial calling for the abolition of the Agency.

After all the deluge of anti-APA articles and editorials, it was a bit of a surprise that the daily finally got around to providing a little balance by admitting publicly that the Agency has its defenders. Sunday’s paper ran a front page article entitled APA has critics, but also many compliments; it was written by Drew Kerr, not Doolittle.

“Discussion” of the online article was filled with the usual overheated rhetoric, including several who made the obligatory, but still pathetic, comparison of the APA to the Nazis.

But beyond the venom, one-off anecdotes and cheap Hitler references, what stood out for me was that item all too rare in public discourse: actual facts.

According to the report:

Since 1973, the APA has issued nearly 16,808 permits and denied only 136 projects… In addition, agency staff say that 95 percent of permit applications are completed before they are required to do so by law. The agency has between 15 and 90 days to rule on a permit, depending on the nature of the application.

For all the talk of power hungry bureaucrats oppressing the people and single-handedly stifling the Adirondacks’ economy for the mere joy of it, the fact is that the APA has rejected a mere 0.8 percent of proposed projects in the last 37 years.

This doesn’t mean that the APA is perfect, nor that it shouldn’t be required to show increased transparency, streamlined procedures or be subjected to more checks and balances.

What it does mean is that discussion of the APA’s future direction and policies should be based more on the big picture and actual data and less on outliers and “gut feelings.”


Monday, April 26, 2010

Adirondack New Media-Social Media Event May 7th

Adirondack region new media / social media writers and producers are invited to gather at the Adirondack Museum on Friday, May 7, 2010 from 5 until 7 pm for a networking event and backstage tour of the Adirondack Museum’s exhibit “Let’s Eat: Adirondack Food Traditions”.

Local bloggers, Twitter users, social media writers and producers and new media journalists, will be getting together in the Adirondack Museum’s “Living With Wilderness Gallery” for food, drink, and networking, before taking an early behind the scenes look at the Museum’s featured 2010 exhibit.

This event is sponsored by the Adirondack Pub and Brewery and the Adirondack Winery and Tasting Room (both in Lake George), the Adirondack Museum, and Adirondack Almanack.

Please RSVP by May 1st to John Warren at [email protected]


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Almanack Celebrates Five Years With History And Humor

The month of March marked the fifth year anniversary of Adirondack Almanack. In the past five years the site has grown to include over a dozen regular contributors. We’ve hosted hundreds of discussions (a few of them heated, others enlightening, some even funny), but through it all I think it’s safe to say the Almanack has offered its readers a unique look at life in the Adirondack region from inside the Blue Line.

I thought that on this occasion I’d take a look back at how regional online media has changed in the last five years. You might recall a similar look at the local blogosphere that I did in 2006, and again in 2008. Looking back on the events since Adirondack Almanack was launched in 2005, I think the last few years might be considered the beginning of a new micro-era in local media, one that follows the movement of local media online between 1997 and 2003.

First a little history, setting aside the earlier digital communities like Usenet, GEnie, BiX, CompuServe, e-mail listservers, and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), widespread availability of news and commentary online is now a 15-year-old phenomenon. You can see some great historical moments at the detailed Timeline of New Media History at the Poynter Institute, and a look at early newspaper online failings at Gawker’s Valleywag blog by Nicholas Carlson.

Although Poynter’s timeline cites a Columbus Dispatch deal with CompuServe in 1980 as the first online newspaper, suffice it to say that newspapers and other media outlets began going online in large numbers beginning in the mid to late 1990s. According to Chip Brown in the American Journalism Review, there were just 20 newspapers online worldwide in 1994, and some 5,000 by 2000 (almost 3,000 in the US).

That trend holds true in the Adirondack region as well. According to the Internet Archive (which is probably close to accurate), the Glens Falls Post Star was first out of the box locally when they launched their online site in 1997.

North Country Public Radio went online the following year (1998), just in time for the arrival of Brian Mann, who moved to the area to help start the station’s news bureau.

The Plattsburgh Press Republican didn’t arrive online until 1999.

Apparently the laggard of the local daily news bunch was the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Archived pages of that paper only stretch back to 2003, although it’s possible they had a simple site up before that. [Do let me know if any of these dates are wrong].

Right behind the newspapers were an early corps of online citizen journalists, diarists, and commentators. According to a short history of blogging written by Rebecca Blood, at the beginning of 1999 there were just over 20 known “weblogs” (remember that word?). By the end of 2000, there were thousands of newly dubbed “bloggers” keeping various permutations of online diaries, lists of links, and commentary.

The rise of blogging platforms like Blogger (1999, Pyra Labs; sold to Google in 2003, the same year TypePad was released), and WordPress (released in 2005), helped popularize the idea that anyone with basic internet and computer skills could publish their own content easily. In today’s new media environment everyone can be a producer of online content (print, audio, and video).

By the time Adirondack Almanack was launched in 2005 there were about 10 million active bloggers (in others words, those still publishing three months after launching their blogs). There was just two local blogs then, Dale Hobson’s Brain Clouds, begun in 2002, and Mark Hobson’s (no relation) Landscapist, begun in 2003. Adirondack Musing began on the same day as the Almanack in March of 2005. Although some purists might differ as to whether or not it qualifies as a blog, Mark Wilson began regular postings of editorial cartoons at EmpireWire.com in 2001.

Today, local media have legions of mostly unread bloggers with NCPR’s The In Box blog, begun last year, being the notable exception.

Blogs have grown in popularity in the last few years in particular with studies showing that about twenty-five percent of Americans now turn to blogs at least weekly.

In 1995 Newsweek ran an article by Clifford Stoll (hat tip to Dick Eastman), on why the internet will fail. It’s a hilarious look at the what the naysayers were offering in the early years of widespread internet access. Here are a few excerpts:

Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.

Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works…

How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach. Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure…

That was good, but here’s my favorite:

We’re promised instant catalog shopping—just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet—which there isn’t—the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.

Wonder what Stoll is up to these days? Turns out not much. His 1995 book Silicon Snake Oil is now available for 75 cents plus shipping from Amazon.com.

Here’s a prediction of my own; something I’ve been thinking about lately. Network news and cable TV in general will be dead before newspapers. The reason? The high cost of cable TV service compared to the readily available access to online video from sites like Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix. An increasing number of people are looking for TV programming “outside the box” and that trend is expected to grow dramatically in the coming year.

Another prediction: desktop computers will shift from their current look to the iPad model. Horizontal touch screens will shift our gaze from the monitor to the actual desktop, so sell your traditional computer monitor maker stock now. This shift will also hasten the end of newsprint as consumers shift to these more portable (and more ergonomic) readers.

Nine out of ten Americans now access the internet. Fifteen years from now, the way we encounter media will have been dramatically transformed.

What are your predictions?


Friday, March 5, 2010

Commentary: Some Local Media Perpetuate Lies

Yesterday morning the Plattsburgh Press Republican issued a “Breaking News” e-mail. It contained one story, “Hornbeck Nomination Denied: Senate Finance Committee cites conflicts,” by Kim Smith Dedam, a notorious anti-APA, anti-Forest Preserve “reporter.”

“Gov. David Paterson’s nomination of Peter Hornbeck to the Adirondack Park Agency Board was denied today by the Senate Finance Committee,” the first line read. The problem? It’s not true.

The Senate Finance Committee has yet to vote, and isn’t expected to vote for some time. The story was concocted by State Senator Betty Little for her own political gain and duly reported as fact, without an ounce of actual journalism, fact checking, or confirmation. The only source Smith Dedam cited in the story was Betty Little’s spokesman Dan Mac Entee. The only evidence cited was Mac Entee’s word that “Senator Little was told late yesterday afternoon that there were — at best — 14 votes in support of the nomination.” To their credit, the Times Union’s Brian Nearing debunked Dedam this morning in a follow-up on the false report.

Unfortunately the damage is already done, as WNBZ’s Jon Alexander (who cut his teeth at the anti-environmentalist, anti-APA, Denton Publications) is also now parroting the one-sided report and saying, without a shred of journalistic evidence, that Hornbeck’s nomination is “on life support.”

Neither stories mention that Pete Hornbeck’s own locally elected representatives in Minerva voted to whole-heartedly support his nomination.

The question local reporters ought to be asking is whether our local Senator is holding up the legislature’s business, as she did when she supported last year’s Republican coup that brought the state legislature to a halt.

More importantly, Kim Smith Dedam and her editors need to explain to us how this “story” – “Hornbeck Nomination Denied” – happened, and apologize, or they should resign.

Local media no longer has a place for corrupt journalism.

BTW: You can reach Kim Smith Dedam at [email protected]

UPDATE: In case you needed to know how the story plays at Denton, they’re right into the act with “Hornbeck Appointment Turned Down”. One source: Betty Little.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The 2010 Olympics at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Adirondackers are Winter Olympics junkies to begin with, watching snow and ice sports as enthusiastically as they play them. This year, with a dozen local athletes at the games in Vancouver, people here are all-out Olympic-obsessed.

One of the best ways to keep tabs on local athletes is through the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, which has sent two correspondents to cover the games in Vancouver. Senior sports writer (and great photographer) Lou Reuter is reporting on his second Winter Olympics, and managing editor Peter Crowley is covering his first. Both writers are there for the duration, and they are posting directly to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise web site each day.

Reuter has been reporting on World Cup events in Lake Placid for some 15 years, interviewing top U.S. and world athletes. He knows the local competitors well—he’s been writing about Nordic combined skier Billy Demong since he was in high school, for example, and he’s especially knowledgeable about the sliding sports, since many bobsled and luge athletes and staff are based in Lake Placid.

It is remarkable for such a small newspaper to send such a big proportion of its staff, and it’s good reader-service. The reporters and editors back home are also putting in overtime in Crowley’s and Reuter’s absence and laying out extra pages for a daily four-page special Olympic section. Reuter’s and Crowley’s reporting can also be found in the pages and on the web site of the Lake Placid News, the Enterprise’s sister paper. Both are owned by Ogden Newspapers Inc.

Photograph of Chris Mazdzer, of Saranac Lake, by Lou Reuter, courtesy of Adirondack Daily Enterprise


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Commentary: Dubious Anti-APA Series Makes Waves

Two investigative reports purporting to reveal dubious practices by the Adirondack Park Agency and environmental groups have been called into question themselves. The pieces, which ran on January 9 and 10, were written by Post-Star features’ editor Will Doolittle. Doolittle has written numerous columns expressing hostility to the APA and green groups. Why a journalist who was openly and vehemently hostile to the APA and green groups was assigned to do a purportedly objective investigation into the APA and green groups is something the paper never felt the need to explain. And my skepticism appears to have been validated.

(Note: Part one of the series is available online here. Part two is here) » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Almanack Welcomes A (Fairly) Young Contrarian

Please join me in welcoming Brian Farenell to Adirondack Almanack. Regular readers may recognize Brian as the insightful commentator at Musings of a (Fairly) Young Contrarian, where he regularly offers insights and ideas about national and local issues. His commentary on local media has been a breath of fresh air in the sometimes polluted mass media environment and we hope his regular monthly contributions here will help clear the Adirondack air as well.

A nearly-lifelong resident of Glens Falls, Brian has been involved in writing and journalism since his high school days. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Clarkson University, he spent two years in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa. Although his traditional focuses have been international affairs (he’s been published in Foreign Policy magazine) and media criticism, he has more recently gained a deepened appreciation for the Adirondack region through a new-found love of hiking. When he is not writing or hiking, Brian can usually be found biking or kicking around a soccer ball.

Brian will kick off his contributions to the Almanack today at noon with a piece on the recent controversy over the Glens Falls Post Star‘s coverage of the Adirondack Park Agency.


Monday, December 28, 2009

The Lake George Mirror: An Adirondack Insitution

The Lake George Mirror has finally found a spot on the web and has begun posting occasional selections from his archive. The paper, which holds the title of longest running resort newspaper in America, was founded in 1880 by Alfred Merrick (later Lake George’s oldest living resident). Originally the paper was published to serve the village of Lake George and had a temperance bent, a somewhat strange approach for a resort town.

Not long after founding the paper, Merrick gave it up for interest in a bowling alley, and it struggled until W.H. Tippetts came along. Tippets published the paper in order to promote Lake George as a summer resort. When he abandoned the Mirror in 1900 it was purchased by several local businessmen who turned it over to Edward Knight, editor of the Essex County News. The Knight family edited the paper into the 1960s.

A short history on the paper’s new website offers a glimpse of what the paper was like under the leadership of the Knight family:

While it chronicled the changes on Lake George – the rise and fall of the great resort hotels, the destruction of the mansions along Lake Shore Drive, and the proliferation of motels and tourist cabins – the Mirror itself changed little. For the families who returned each summer, the Mirror was the newspaper of record. It announced the arrivals and departures of their neighbors, publicized their activities, and performed all the offices of a country paper: heralding births, celebrating weddings, saying a few final words over the deceased in the editorial and obituary columns. The Mirror did not, however, neglect the year round residents – the homefolks. It championed projects that would enhance daily life in the villages and towns, such as the road over Tongue Mountain, the Million Dollar Beach and the expansion of Shepard Park. As long-time editor Art Knight recalled in 1970, “Many of the improvements we have advocated over the years have become realities and we like to think that perhaps in some small way we have been responsible for their ultimate adoption.”

Except on rare occasions, the Mirror had little interest in political controversy. It was, however, a fierce advocate for the protection of Lake George. During World War II, for instance, Art Knight editorialized: “There is one battle in which there can be no armistice …the battle of Lake George. The enemy are those thoughtless and selfish people who, with only their immediate profit in view, will take advantage of any laxity in our guards in order to save themselves a dollar.” Art Knight recognized that the lake’s shores would continue to be developed. But he also recognized that care would have to be taken if the development was to enhance and not detract from the lake’s beauty. “If we fail, then our detractions from the natural beauties… will earn for all of us the antipathy of future generations.”

Robert Hall took over the Lake George Mirror in the late 1950s. Hall had been a Washington and European correspondent for the Communist newspaper the Daily Worker and its Sunday edition editor. During a time when the FBI was conducting illegal operations against suspected leftist (including burglaries, opening mail, and illegal wiretaps) Hall grew tired of radical politics and moved his family to the Adirondacks where he eventually purchased the Warrensburg News, the Corinthian, the Indian Lake Bulletin and the Hamilton Country News. He established Adirondack Life magazine as a supplement to his his weekly papers in 1962.

In 1968, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller appointed Hall to the Temporary Commission to Study the Future of the Adirondacks, whose recommendations led to the establishment of the APA. Hall later sold the Mirror, and his other weeklies, to Denton Publications and took a job as editor of the New York State’s Conservationist magazine.

The Mirror went from owner to owner until Tony Hall, Robert Hall’s son who was raised in Warrensburg, bought the paper with his wife Lisa in 1998. Of course regular readers of the Adirondack Almanack will also recognize Tony’s name on our list of contributors.



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