Al Jazeera America to shut down

Sorry to hear that Al Jazeera America is shutting down. I liked the kind of journalism they did. Perhaps they were too truthful?

On the bright side, perhaps Al Jazeera will become available again on the FTA satellites.

Al Jazeera America, the American cable news outlet owned by Qatar-based Al Jazeera, plans to shut down less than three years after its much-ballyhooed launch, unable to overcome low ratings, operational problems and a lack of advertisers.The cable news network will be phased out by April 30, according to a memo that was emailed to staffers Wednesday.

Source: Al Jazeera America to shut down

N&O loves broken links

Wow, I’m surprised this is still an issue. I’ve complained for years how the N&O loves to break links to its older stories whenever it updates its website. Surprisingly, the company still hasn’t learned.

I found links to the Officer Boyd column N&O Columnist Josh Shaffer wrote last February. The original link, no doubt sent around the world to thousands, now goes nowhere.

Nowhere as in 404. It’s dead, Jim.

Yet, the story still lives online at its new address.

What drives me nuts as a system administrator is that it isn’t too difficult to write a script that points the old links to the new links. Doing so preserves the links that millions have passed around. Not doing so means the N&O forfeits potentially millions of advertising page views that could be helping to keep the lights on over there.

I did some work a few years back on the website of USA Today. Did you know that links to USA Today content that’s several years old still lead viewers to the correct stories? It’s not rocket science, and any website worth its salt will work to keep their site from suffering link rot.

I first mentioned this five years ago. (actually six years ago). Some things never change, I guess.

15 for ’15: Counting down to Top 5 online

A friend alerted me to this tweet that the News & Observer sent out this afternoon, prominently featuring Hallie:

Hallie represents tenacity in the N&O top stories list.

Hallie represents tenacity in the N&O top stories list.

It turns out her lawsuit story was the second most-read story on the N&O website. Pretty stunning, especially coming so late in the year.

We’re all still a bit surprised that Hallie’s activism has gotten as much attention as it has. If it helps change minds and get the state moving in the proper direction again this would be enough.
Contine reading

What really attracts business to North Carolina?

Flag-map_of_North_CarolinaThe front page of the News and Observer trumpeted that North Carolina’s population has finally exceeded 10 million. The story, written by Charlotte Observer reporter Ames Alexander and News and Observer reporter David Raynor, quotes a number of experts for their opinions about what brings them here.

Gov. McCrory says it’s the economy and quality of life (and he even works in a cheesy mention of the new state marketing motto):

“With our growing economy, great colleges and universities and quality of life, from the mountains to the coast, nothing compares to North Carolina,” Gov. Pat McCrory said.

Chuck McShane works for the Charlotte Chamber and should know what attracts people here:

“People are flocking for jobs, opportunities, mainly to our urban areas,” said Chuck McShane, the director of research at the Charlotte Chamber.

These two probably hear a lot from the companies that move here, so it’s understandable they were quoted. But then the reporters slipped this in (emphasis mine): Contine reading

The North Carolina town that’s scared of solar panels, revisited – Vox

Vox’s David Roberts takes an excellent closer look at Woodland’s solar vote.

On December 8, a modest local newspaper, the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, published a story that ended up going viral, bouncing from Reddit to more than 220 other sites. It caused such buzz that even Snopes checked it out.

The story was about a town council meeting in Woodland, a North Carolina town with just over 800 residents. The council was considering whether to make a zoning change to a piece of land just outside town, to allow a solar farm to be built there. It would have been the fourth solar farm permitted around the town.

Source: The North Carolina town that’s scared of solar panels, revisited – Vox

Woodland gets hammered over public solar opposition

A story that ran last week in the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald reported that the town of Woodland, NC voted against a rezoning request for a solar farm after citizens opposed to the farm were concerned the solar farm would suck all the energy from the sun. Wrote News-Herald reporter Keith Hoggard:

Bobby Mann said he watched communities dry up when I-95 came along and warned that would happen to Woodland because of the solar farms.

“You’re killing your town,” he said. “All the young people are going to move out.”

He said the solar farms would suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not come to Woodland.

Jane Mann (Bobby Mann’s wife), also weighed in:

Jane Mann said she is a local native and is concerned about the natural vegetation that makes the community beautiful.

She is a retired Northampton science teacher and is concerned that photosynthesis, which depends upon sunlight, would not happen and would keep the vegetation from growing. She said she has observed areas near solar panels where vegetation is brown and dead because it did not receive enough sunlight.

She also questioned the high number of cancer deaths in the area, saying no one could tell her that solar panels didn’t cause cancer.

Contine reading

Wake judge rules against teen facing off against NC on climate change | News & Observer

News and Observer reporter Anne Blythe wrote a follow-up story on Judge Morgan ruling against Hallie’s climate change petition case. Perfectionist that she is, Hallie was really nervous about how she thought her interview went but was pleased with the final result.

I was also glad that Anne’s story mentioned the outrageous attacks some have launched against our daughter and her efforts. Hallie could truly care less about them and Kelly and I find them sad. I really only mentioned them here in my blog because I think these folks really don’t understand how this makes them look. I’m sure their parents taught them manners, so they would certainly be above spewing hate towards a kid.

The truth is that Hallie is a tough, determined young woman posessing more self-confidence than many adults. She can handle herself just fine. And besides, when you pick a fight with a kid you’ve pretty much already lost, right?

Hallie Turner, the 13-year-old girl who took North Carolina to court over climate change, received disappointing news the day before Thanksgiving.

A Wake County Superior Court judge ruled against her effort to overturn a December 2014 decision by the N.C. Environmental Management Commission.

But with the pluck of a teen wise beyond her years, Hallie said Friday the ruling from Judge Mike Morgan had not deterred her.

“It’s an issue that I’m always going to continue trying to make a difference in,” Hallie said during a phone interview. “There’s lots of next steps that can be taken.”

Hallie, an eighth-grader at Ligon Middle School who has been marching and rallying against global warming since the 4th grade, is one of a number of teens taking their states and politicians to court over climate change.

Source: Wake judge rules against teen facing off against NC on climate change | News & Observer