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Global Investigative Journalism Conference

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Code of Ethics for Politicians? 

Do politicians have a code of ethics? Journalist do and so do a lot of other disciplines.

The question occurred to me while I was reading the paper today and I thought how strange it was that the terms 'code of ethics' and 'politicians' just didn't link up in my head. I figured Google would tell me (good old google) but nothing jumps out at me even after tweaking the search a few times. I searched the Canadian Parliament web site and didn't find anything there either.

I punched in ethics.org on a whim and there doesn't seem to be anything there either. I e-mailed them and will post their response or lack of same.

Isn't it sort of a strange ommission? Journalists have a code of ethics but politicians don't?

Conflict of Interest and Post-employment Code for Public Office Holders (2003) from the Federal Government Office of the Ethics Counsellor


These are from Hal Doran:

Industry Canada Office of the Ethics Counsellor


The MP Rulebook - An outline of the guidelines governing MP behaviour


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The International Journalists' Network 

"The International Journalists' Network (IJNet): is an online service for journalists, media managers, media assistance professionals, journalism trainers and educators and anyone else with an interest in the state of the media around the world. IJNet is meant to connect journalists and media assistance professionals around the world by sharing information."

"IJNet can help you:

track media assistance efforts in many parts of the globe
identify media outlets in more than 100 countries
retrieve background information on freedom of the press in many countries
find statistics and general data on 100+ countries
locate fellowship and training opportunities through IJNet's calendar of events
avoid the duplication of training efforts"


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Friday, March 26, 2004

CyberJournalist.net: 

CyberJournalist.net focuses on how the Internet, media convergence and new technologies are changing journalism. The site offers tips, news and commentary about online journalism, digital storytelling, converged news operations and using the Internet as a reporting tool.


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CyberJournalist.net J-Blog list 

CyberJournalist.net J-Blog list claims to be the most complete list of journalists blogs on the 'net.


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News University: Training for Journalists. Anytime. Anywhere. 

News University: Training for Journalists. Anytime. Anywhere.: "News University, which was announced in April 2003 by The Poynter Institute and the Knight Foundation, is in its start-up phase. Our current focus is the development of the technology to support interactive learning and the creation of prototype courses. Our next step will be to build a custom technology platform for NewsU -- one that can also be used by all journalism associations and training organizations to develop interactive learning courses of their own."


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Homeland Security Bulletin and Terrorism news collection 

The war on terrorism touches so many aspects of our lives and our beats -- from local stories to business issues to international diplomacy -- that it's hard to stay on top of everything. The ANSER Homeland Security Bulletin is a big help.

The ANSER Institute for Homeland Security, a not-for-profit research organization, has been sending out Homeland Security Bulletins
since July 2000.

The free e-mail newsletter features summaries of and links to dozens of the most interesting terrorism-related stories and press releases from around the world.

You can also read through the archives of every
newsletter sent.

Source: Poynter Online Web Tips newsletter


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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Quitting smoking sucks 

I'm writing this so I'll remember how hard it is to quit smoking.

It's been over a week now. I've had three cigarettes. I've chewed my way through 30 pieces of the 4mg. nicotine gum. By itself nicotine gum is horrid. I mix it with regular gum. That doesn't make it good, just less horrid. Unless you try to get some nicotine with the morning coffee then the mix of coffee (which I drink black, no sugar) juicy fruit and the acrid aftertaste of the nicotine goes back to being horrid.

I had no idea how supremely irritating everyone was until I quit smoking. Especially my girlfriend Keiko, she's all sweet, considerate and supportive so in the depths of withdrawal wonderland that feels like a passive aggressive revenge plot. I get pissed off over the dumbest things. I don't like being around me right now and I don't see why she would.

It seems that I've stopped sleeping almost completely now. I get an hour or two here or there. I might sleep four or five hours if I'm completely exhausted. Sleeping was already a problem because I have been working security three nights per week and either school or freelancing three to five days a week for around two-and-a-half years now. I dozed for a couple of hours in front of the TV last night and then went to bed and read until around five-thirty. I couldn't stand being in bed anymore so I got up and had breakfast.

I'll work for a while, take Ewan (Keiko's four-year-old boy) to daycare because she's working, work some more and try to get some sleep this afternoon so I can do a 12-hour security shift tonight.

I've done this several times in the last 10 years, by that I mean like 15, and it sucks every time. I've tried everything; cold turkey, food, Xyban, food, the patch, candy (chocolate-covered jujubes - the heroin of sweets), shiatsu and of course the gum. I've been off cigarettes as much as I've been on them since I made my first serious attempt to quit in 1993. I gained 20 pounds on that attempt and have gained another 15 since then.

The sight of 20 pounds of pastry-induced flab hanging off my 6'-2", 165-pound bone rack sent me screaming to the gym for three years of weights, volleyball and karate. Of course I was single then and the kids had moved back with their mother so I didn't even have much in the way of parenting obligations. At least it didn't feel like much compared to raising three kids on your own full-time.

Exercise was the one thing that kept me off the smokes longer than anything else. I kept it up for a couple of years after coming back to T.O. in 1996 but school took me out of the exercise routine and working nights makes it difficult to get it back because of the aforementioned sleep problems.

I don't like to sound like I'm making excuses or feeling sorry for myself. Excuses are just a way of avoiding responsibility for decisions we've already taken. Self-pity is just plain toxic. Withdrawal, insomnia and flabbiness (which has returned with a vengeance) are the consequences of my own actions, inactions and choices. Positive action will take me through and then out of this. They are all temporary conditions that I have the power to overcome.


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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The Journalist's Toolbox 

The Journalist's Toolbox features more than 20,000 Web resources helpful to the media and anyone else doing research."


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Canada Firearms Centre 

I am considering get a firearms license so I can work at an armoured security company. Canada Firearms Centre is the federal government site that sets out the laws about gun ownership in Canada and the regulations for obtaining a permit.

With certain exceptions permit applicants have to prove they have successfully taken the Canadian Firearms Safety Course from a Certified CFSC Instructors. There are a bunch in Ontario if you live elsewhere you're on your own. Those interested in restricted firearms (like handguns) have to take a second, aptly-named Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course. The manual, 2-day course and the test run around $300.

This being a government thing we have to fill out forms. Download the forms from here.


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The Journalist's Toolbox 

The Journalist's Toolbox: "The Journalist's Toolbox features more than 20,000 Web resources helpful to the media and anyone else doing research."


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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

orkut 

orkut: is an online community that connects people through a network of trusted friends.

We are committed to providing an online meeting place where people can socialize, make new acquaintances and find others who share their interests.

PB You can only join by invitation or as they say on the join Orkut page

orkut is unique, because it's an organically growing network of trusted friends. That way we won't grow too large, too quickly and everyone will have at least one person to vouch for them.

If you know someone who is a member of orkut, that person can invite you to join as well. If you don't know an orkut member, wait a bit and most likely you soon will.

PB Background here


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URLwire - News of Useful and Unique Web Launches Since 1994 

URLwire - News of Useful and Unique Web Launches Since 1994

URLwire is aservice that sends alerts of new web content and launches


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Monday, March 22, 2004

Thank you Jerry Pournelle 

Mr. Pournelle,

I was just writing a cover letter for some clippings I was sending to someone offering editing work. This is part of what I said:

=============
Before graduating from the Centennial College journalism program I was a computer techie for 20 years... I started freelancing well before I finished school because I knew I was not interested in getting a job. I am going to live or die (in the metaphorical, professional sense anyway) as a freelance techno-journalist like I first dreamed about while reading Jerry Pournelle in Byte Magazine in the 1980's.
=============

I thought it was important to stop and express my gratitude for the inspiration.

Thank you,

Patrick Boake


P.S. Your essay on writing is right on but possibly incomplete. If we have to write a million words to become a writer, we should read five million.

Now that I have the diploma I am well on the way to getting through that first million words and becoming a writer. My head sometimes boils with ideas for the science fiction stories I eventually want to write and I jot them down in my Palm Pilot and then try to get back to work. Then I get distracted by ideas for articles that will hopefully make some politicians (and their media relations people) uncomfortable and other ideas for a publication I want to launch. I write them in my Palm Pilot too and then try to get back to work. Writing them down is the only way I have found to make the ideas leave me alone long enough to get anything useful done which I sometimes do:

Online Clipping Sample

The third one on the list is the most recent and one I am very happy with.


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Shinola Naming and Branding Awards 

The Shinolas are given to the 10 best and worst product names in various categories.

The Shinola Awards are produced by A Hundred Monkeys, a naming and branding company in Sausalito, California. We created the Shinola Awards as a way to start a conversation out in the real world about names, brands, and the naming process.

And besides, if we internalized this nonsense any longer our heads would explode.

PB - Be warned the web site is really bad but the concept is funny.


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RFC 1855 (rfc1855) - Netiquette Guidelines 

RFC 1855 (rfc1855) - Netiquette Guidelines

This almost 10 years old and still worth reading.


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Bare Bones Guide to HTML 

Bare Bones Guide to HTML

Version 4.0 Formatted -- February 1999

The Bare Bones Guide to HTML lists all the tags that current browsers are likely to recognize. I have included all the elements in the official HTML 4.0 recommendation with common attributes, as well as Netscape and Microsoft extensions.

The Guide is designed to be as concise as possible, and therefore it doesn't go into any detail about how to use the various tags. A few tags link to notes that address frequently-asked questions. If you're looking for more detailed step-by-step information, see my WWW Help Page.


For official information about HTML and its development, see the World Wide Web Consortium site.


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Editorial Photographers (EP) 

Editorial Photographers (EP)

Editorial Photographers (EP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the business of editorial photography.

We maintain an internet discussion forum on business issues with more than 3000 subscribers participating from over 30 countries around the globe where photographers exchange information on business practices, copyright and contract concerns.

On EP's web site photographers can find useful resources such as sample business forms, publisher contract reviews and more.

Our mission is to educate photographers about business issues and in the process to raise the level of business practices in the profession. EP advocates fair contracts from publishers, and promotes the position that both photographers and publishers must seek win/win working relationships for either side to profit and prosper. In the face of the rapidly changing editorial marketplace, EP's goal is to
find positive solutions to problems within the industry.


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Sunday, March 21, 2004

CBC News: Deadline Iraq - Uncensored Stories of the War 

All materials Copyright © CBC 2003

Excerpt:These are the stories that weren’t told by the media during the Iraq war. CBC NEWS goes straight to the source, to journalists, camera operators and photographers from news organizations around the world, who reveal the lethal risks they faced, as well as the untold horrors they witnessed.

Excerpt: INTRODUCTION

There were two wars in Iraq. One featured soldiers. The other featured journalists. News organizations competed with one another, and the resulting risks journalists took to be first on a given story sometimes got them killed. The fact is that journalists and journalism were often front and centre in the stories that came out of the conflict. Embedding versus unilateral. The high mortality rate of journalists. Criticisms surrounding the soundness of the coverage. The unprecedented speed and immediacy of transmitting words and pictures of combat.

Now that the war is "over", journalists and journalism are still making headlines. Christiane Amanpour of CNN has stated that the coverage of the war, particularly in America, was too driven by patriotism. John Burns of the New York Times recently said that the Iraq war highlights how corrupt journalism has become. His colleague at the Times, Judith Miller, has herself been accused by some media observers of being corrupted by Pentagon influences. The controversy around Tony Blair and the BBC's coverage of the war continues to boil.

CBC News: Deadline Iraq - Uncensored Stories of the War


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Chasing down an out of control driver ends in surprise 

I worked my way through J(ournalism)-school as a private security officer. Now that school is over, I am trying to build a freelance business but I am still doing security. At the moment I am a mobile supervisor for a smallish Toronto company. I drive 150 - 200 kilometres a night all over the Greater Toronto Area and come across all kinds of weird behaviour by both the drivers and the cops that are supposed to catch them.

The other night I am northbound on the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) when I see a green GMC van that looks like it's heavily loaded weaving around in the centre lane and sometimes the adjoining ones as well. I mistakenly call Toronto Police Services (TPS) dispatch number. I say mistakenly because the van driver doesn't exit to the 401 but continues north. Once TPS radio realises this they delay until he is north of Steeles Avenue (the northern city limit), promise to pass the call to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and hang up. I have been caught in cross-communications between TPS and OPP before and it has never worked.

Trusting fool that I am I await the call from OPP. I watch fearfully as the van driver weaves back and forth so much that a little bubble of traffic forms behind him as people try to figure out how to pass him safely. At the 404 and 16th Avenue he almost goes off the road into the middle median nearly taking a young lady and her car with him. I decide to call the OPP myself.

This entailed describing the whole thing again and convincing the communications officer to pass me to the radio operator who would direct the cop to eventuall pull this guy over. Meanwhile the van driver nearly stops on the highway, brakes for no reason, turns his four-way flashers on then off and continues to ignore the paint.

At this point you might be asking why, if I am in a rather cop-like uniform and a vehicle with security decals all over it, don't I pull the guy over? The short answer is the cops are paid to get shot at and I am not. Also denting up the only mobile patrol vehicle we have would make the ops manager draw herself up to her full five feet two inches, scowl and talk at length in politically correct corporese. I like her and all but that makes me sigh just thinking about it.

Security officers don't have any more power than anyone else. We are just trained in things like Citizen's Arrest and the Trespass to Property Act which, used properly in combination allows us to cause all manner of problems for people on the _private_ properties we're contracted to protect. I have no jurisdiction on the highway and cops will attest the traffic stop is one of the most dangerous things in their routine duties.

OPP radio tells me the cop is waiting at 404 and Bloomington Side Road and I should put on my four-ways when the subject vehicle gets there. I don't see how this is going to help because I am following at a distance of 100 feet or more but I do it and tell the radio operator hoping she has patched the call through to the cop. The cop seems to get the message and starts to follow the green van. Unfortunately the cop made no attempt to conceal himself and the van driver knows he is being followed. The cop pulls him over anyway and OPP radio asks me to pull in behind the cop car to give a a statement.

The cop approaches the van on the passenger side, talks to the driver for a minute and comes back to my vehicle with a copy of the Toronto Sun in his hand and a funny look on his face.

"You want a paper?" he asks and hands it to me. "This is what he was doing."

The van driver is a Toronto Sun contractor. Remember how I said the van was heavily loaded? He picked up his load of papers and was on his way to service his paperboxes - passing the time by reading the paper.

The cop walked away and waved me on in disgust. I'll never know if the half-hour I just spent will make a difference. I am going to let the Toronto Sun distribution manager know by e-mail.



SIDEBAR: You can dial the OPP from a cell phone by dialling *OPP (*677). You can dial 911 from >any< cell phone whether or not you have an account. That's the law, in Canada anyway. Throw your old cell phone in the car of someone who doesn't have one so they can call for help.

Alternatively you can donate that old cell phone to women's shelters and others who need them by giving phones to organisations that will refurbish and recycle them like;

http://www.pitch-in.ca/Pitch-In.html

http://www.charitablerecycling.ca/CA/home.asp


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Cell Phone Recycling Donation - Donate Old Used Cellular phone to Recycle 

Cell Phone Recycling Donation - Donate Old Used Cellular phone to Recycle


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PITCH-IN CANADA - Litter control, recycling, reduce, reuse, beautification 

PITCH-IN CANADA - Litter control, recycling, reduce, reuse, beautification


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