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  • May 18, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Keith Olbermann, who was scheduled to speak at the Netroots Nation conference in Providence in a couple of weeks, shant be appearing. This is one gig, though, from which he wasn't fired. Olbermann's explanation, via DailyKos:

    I regret to tell you that I'm going to have to miss Netroots Nation.

    I need to have surgery - fortunately, minor surgery - and the best guy in the world on this says we shouldn't wait beyond next week.

    Read More

  • May 10, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    We've got a remarkable story from contributor James Robinson in the new issue of the Phoenix that raises questions about the 40-year-old conviction of Clarence Spivey on charges of rape, kidnapping, and assault.

    Spivey, one of Rhode Island's longest-serving inmates, was at the center of a racially charged case involving a young white woman dragged from a hospital parking lot by a black man and brutally raped in a nearby vacant apartment.

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  • May 02, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Yesterday, WPRI super-blogger Ted Nesi posted on the most recent circulation figures for the Providence Journal.

    The paper, like many in the country, has been losing readers for years. And the new numbers, which show a nearly 7 percent drop in daily circulation for the six months ending March 31, 2012 compared to the same period in the previous year, are in some respects a continuation of a long-running, depressing story.

    Read More

  • April 30, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    A.H. Belo, the Dallas-based parent company of the Providence Journal and Dallas Morning News, is reporting a net loss of 18 cents per share in the first quarter of 2012 compared to a net loss of 31 cents per share in the first quarter of 2011.

    The declining losses are due, in no small part, to cost cutting: as of March 31, 2012, A.

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  • April 27, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    WJAR-TV (Channel 10) and Cox Communications are launching Ocean State Networks (OSN) on Cox, airing Channel 10 newscasts around the clock, along with Cox broadcasts of high school and college sports - including Providence College basketball. The move will mean the end of Cox Sports as a standalone station.

    "It is exciting to be part of this project,” said Vic Vetters, WJAR's general manager, in a statement.

    Read More

  • April 25, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    We've got a great cover story in this week's Phoenix on Providence's failure to embrace native son H.P. Lovecraft, a horror writer who died in relative obscurity, but has become an international icon and inspiration to the likes of Stephen King.

    Why only a gravesite and a little noticed plaque on the Brown campus? Why not a walking trail and a gift shop selling Cthulu thongs? The puacity of local tributes to the man is particularly curious in a city that has gone to such great lengths to market itself as the Creative Capital.

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  • April 19, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Actually, there's nothing criminal about Matt Jerzyk. Not since he cut off that ponytail, anyway. I was just smooshing together our two main features in this week's Phoenix.

    Jerzyk is a (formerly ponytailed) activist-turned-insider: a lefty bomb thrower and shrewd political organizer who now holds a key post in Providence Mayor Angel Taveras' administration.

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  • April 19, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    In February, as you may recall, there was a bit of a flurry over the shooting of a film chronicling then-RISD student Shepard Fairey's breakout performance in 1990: plastering his "Andre the Giant" figure over a Buddy Cianci-for-mayor billboard.

    The erection of the billboard left some wondering if, perhaps, Cianci was making an improbable political comeback.

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  • April 09, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Netroots Nation, the lefty bloggers convention, is coming to Providence in June, as the Phoenix first reported (toot! toot!). And it's come into sharper view today with the release of the panels and speakers.

    There is some of the building block stuff - a session on building a political base for elections, for instance.

    Read More

  • April 05, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Media nerds are familiar with The Baffler, a smart, satirical, lefty magazine that has had a few stops and starts in its history. Well, it's up and running again and in this week's Phoenix we've got a very amusing excerpt from writer Jim Newell on his teenage exploits with the uber-nerdy Fed Challenge, lionizing Messr. Greenspan before his fall from grace.

    Read More

  • April 02, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    I had a nice, long chat with Bob Plain - head honcho over at the newly revitalized RIFuture blog - this morning over hot chocolate at Small Point Cafe downtown. I'll have a longer piece on him in the next week or so - interesting guy. But one bit I wanted to note today.

    The lefty blog has, in recent memory, been known as a place for commentary.

    Read More

  • March 21, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Anyone who tunes into Buddy Cianci's talk radio show may have heard me on the air from time to time. For years, the Phoenix appeared on Buddy's show (and for a time, Dan Yorke's) every week in exchange for advertising in the paper.

    Well, the station's newish corporate owner, Cumulus, doesn't do this sort of trade relationship, as a matter of policy.

    Read More

  • March 16, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Providence Journal faces its share of criticism these days - some of it in this space. But the paper's hard-hitting coverage of the unfolding Institute of International Sport scandal - much of it penned by veteran reporters Kathy Gregg and Mike Stanton - shows the enduring value of a diminished media outlet.

    No other news organization in the state has the depth of talent and resources that the paper claims.

    Read More

  • March 15, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    In this week's Phoenix, on the newsstands today, I've got a piece on the Providence Journal's decision to spike a controversial "Doonesbury" series on a Texas abortion law and use an alternate Doonesbury series on our anti-social tendencies in the Digital Age.

    Well, today, a wrinkle: the paper ran the fourth strip in the abortion series - by accident.

    Read More

  • March 12, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Providence Journal, it appears, is among the newspapers that are declining to run a controversial Doonesbury comic strip this week lampooning a Texas abortion law.

    Turn to page D10 today, and you'll find what appears to be a substitute Doonesbury - an inoffensive confection about life in the digital age. I've put in a call to executive editor Tom Heslin, but Journal management never comments on the paper's operations.

    Read More

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