Archive for January, 2011

Some archives of No Train, No Gain are available through the Internet Archive.

Thanks to Bill Bradley of Philadelphia, who pointed this out in a comment on my earlier blog post about the demise of NTNG, a resource for newsroom training materials, for which I volunteered for several years.

I haven’t explored it fully, but it doesn’t appear that all of the pages have been archived. But I am pleased to see that some have been. Some of my old workshop handouts I have found (most probably in need of updating): (more…)

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One of my former newspapers, the Omaha World-Herald, has posted one of my best stories online. I wrote a 1997 narrative of the rescue of 3-year-old twins Jennifer and Kourtney Woracek. The story from the World-Herald archives was republished Sunday as a related link to an update on the twins (now 17), written by World-Herald columnist Mike Kelly, a friend for 18 years.

I don’t know what was my best story ever, but this one was close, if not the best. This was a story about heroic police and medical workers saving 3-year-old girls (both doing well now, as Mike reports).

In the years since I wrote that story, I have used it on occasion as an example in teaching narrative journalism. So I’ll repeat here some of the lessons that I learned or practiced in this story: (more…)

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Update, December 18: Kat started high school this fall and is doing well.

Update: We visited Kat in the hospital yesterday and today. Her recovery is going well. She will be in the hospital a few more weeks, then will be an outpatient staying at the Ronald McDonald House another week or two, then return home to Vermont. She still has months of outpatient treatment and isolation in Vermont after she gets home. But she’s on schedule and heading in the right direction.

Update: Kat’s transplant went well and she is having a good day and playing with Legos at the hospital.

I may have to eat at McDonald’s a time or two during this weekend’s trip to Boston.

Kat Devlin

I’m not a fan of fast-food, and the most ubiquitous fast-food restaurant chain is perhaps my least-favorite of that genre. Actually, I do like their fries and breakfast sandwiches, but the doctor did say I needed to lose some weight. But I’ve always admired that company’s most prominent charitable cause. The Ronald McDonald House has helped my sister’s family immeasurably. I wrote several blog posts in 2009 relating to the illness and death of my nephew Patrick Devlin. His eulogy still gets occasional traffic, which gives me a little comfort. (more…)

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I’ve been pleased with the response to my accuracy checklist. I want to call your attention to two follow-ups by Craig Silverman and Stephen Colbert: (more…)

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I don’t generally use a to-do list unless something is really important.

If I’m taking off on a long trip and need to be sure I don’t forget something, I’ll make a list the night before. If I forget something, adjusting on the plane or the road can be difficult or impossible. But I don’t start the workday with a to-do list. I know the day is going to throw me some surprises, and what’s important by the end of the day won’t be the same as what was important in the morning. So I don’t bother with a list. I just start the day, do what’s important and figure I’ll get a lot of important work done. Most days I do.

When I heard Craig Silverman talk about how effective checklists are in preventing errors, I decided I needed a checklist. After all, what’s more important than accuracy? (more…)

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I already did my own review of my blog for 2010. It was pretty self-indulgent. And WordPress apparently recognizes the self-indulgence of bloggers (or at least this blogger) so it sent its own review of the year on my blog (my comments in boldface italics):

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health: (more…)

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