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  • March 09, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    If you care about the media and where it's going, there is no story more fascinating at the moment than Kony. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I command you to watch the video at the bottom of this post - a 30-minute, high-concept documentary on an obscure African warlord that has given new meaning to viral, absolutely blowing up the Internet and unleashing a fascinating debate about 21st Century activism and politics and paternalism.

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  • March 07, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Manufacturing is all the rage these days. Factories are creating jobs for the first time in 20 years, nationwide. And pols from President Obama to our own Congressman David Cicilline are placing big bets on the sector.

    So, can manufacturing really save the state?

    I spent the last couple of weeks walking the factory floor, talking to CEOs and policymakers, and poring through the data in a quest for the answer.

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  • February 27, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Providence Journal's long-anticipated paywall finally arrives tomorrow.

    The news has brought plenty of carping about the digital product it will front: an interactive pdf of the print newspaper, available in a free trial for the past few months, that seems out of step with the iPad age. But that critique, if valid, largely misses the point.

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  • February 24, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The conservative think tank, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, is launching a web-based journalism project - the Ocean State Current - with Achor Rising founder Justin Katz at the helm. From the press release:

    The website, OceanStateCurrent.com, is expected to launch next week, and will feature articles and other media that break news and address topics not covered elsewhere.

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  • February 16, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    That's right. My cover story this week is on the Nads, the Rhode Island School of Design's club hockey team, and their mascot Scrotie - a giant, randy, foam-and-nylon penis.

    This one, I must say, practically wrote itself: tales of Scrotie's tortured relationship with Clammy, the giant, vulva-like mascot of the rival Clams hockey team; stories of former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci coaching for a night - brandy snifter in one hand and cigar in the other; I won't give away anymore.

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  • February 16, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    A couple of weeks ago, we ran a piece in the Phoenix by Malcolm Burnley, a Brown University student and occasional contributor, who had uncovered a long-lost speech by Malcolm X at Brown in 1961. "Few audio recordings, if any, exist of his public speeches prior to 1963," Burnley wrote, "and this one is particularly compelling — offering a glimpse of the anti-colonial, internationalist agenda that would characterize his later talks."

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  • February 14, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Yes, that's what you think it is. Actually, it's a replica of what you think it is.

    Back in 1990, then-RISD student Shepard Fairey bombed a Re-Elect Cianci billboard with his Andre the Giant meme. It was the first high profile splash in what would turn into an illustrious career in street art.

    Some RISD students recreated it yesterday, behind the First Baptist Church on Benefit Street, in connection with a film project, which I'll have a bit more on later this week.

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  • February 13, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Providence Phoenix is just back from the New England Newspaper & Press Association's annual awards gala at the Boston Park Plaza hotel - $8 beers! - and we've got a nice little haul of awards to report.

    Yours truly took first place in health reporting for "Reefer Medness," on the coming shift (since short-circuited) in Rhode Island's medical marijuana culture; second place in the general news story category for "The Stunning Demise of Gay Marriage"; third place in the social issues feature category for "Agents of Change," on the transformation of urban peace corps City Year and what it says about race and public service; and third place in education reporting for "Not Waiting for Superman," for a look at Teach for America and its big push to transform education in Rhode Island.

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  • February 10, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    And it's on.

    A couple of days ago, in this space, I pointed readers to a blog post by my Boston Phoenix colleague Carly Carioli calling out New York Times executive editor-turned-columnist Bill Keller for his hard line on copyright violations - and noting that the Times, just a couple of days before, had apparently violated the Phoenix's copyright: uploading a pdf of an article that ran in a Phoenix predecessor, The Real Paper, and linking to it from a Joe Nocera column.

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  • February 09, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    In case you missed it, take a look at this amusing, slightly bizarre, and apparently short-lived WJAR-TV newscast promo. I'll let it speak for itself.

  • February 08, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    My colleague at the Boston Phoenix, Carly Carioli, lights into New York Times columnist Bill Keller over copyright law and an apparent Times violation of the Phoenix's copyright. It's worth reading the whole thing, but here's a wee taste:

    Bill Keller: I heard you like copyright. You wrote one provocative print column about it on Sunday, one blistering blog followup on Monday, and pointed to a third Times op-ed piece from Sunday (headline: "Perpetual War: Digital Pirates amd Creators") that says basically the same thing.

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  • February 07, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    A long-awaited piece in the New Republic on Rhode Island's voter ID law has landed. The story, by Simon van Zuylen-Wood, asks why black liberal politicians here supported the bill and suggests anxiety over growing Latino political power - among elected officials black and white - is to blame.

    The story recounts several "tales of corruption" - anecdotal stories of voter fraud cited by the bill's supporters - and concludes:

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  • February 06, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling will be at a Game Stop in Bellingham, Massachusetts at midnight tonight for the release of his video game company 38 Studios' highly anticipated first title, "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning."

    The game has won positive early reviews and, as the Providence Journal reported this weekend, industry analysts are expecting sales of at least 1 million, which would make the game a moderate success.

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  • February 02, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    For years, WJAR-TV was one of the only local television stations in the country - perhaps the only one - to employ an ombudsman, an independent arbiter of journalistic practices who weighs in on fairness in coverage, conflicts of interest for journalists and the like.

    But no more. Back in July, the station dropped the position.

    Read More

  • January 31, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Providence Journal had a front page story today on the budget proposal Governor Chafee will unveil, tonight, in his "State of the State" address.

    A leaked budget proposal is not unprecedented. But the story has angered some in the State House press corps, who accuse the Journal of breaking what is known, in the biz, as an "embargo" and unfairly beating them to the punch on the story.

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