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Monday, January 30, 2006

A weeping Jill Carroll still alive, still captive

Jill Carroll's captors released a video today of the American reporter dated Jan. 28 --- two days after the supposed deadline for release of Iraqi women prisoners. It just shows Carroll crying. And God knows she has good reason to cry.
We hope that her abductors will release her soon so she can continue to write, continue to enlighten our world, and continue to live a worthy life.
We're crying right along with her now.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Do newspapers have a future?

Jack Shafer has an intriguing piece at today about the possible demise of newspapers, for the all-too-true reason that they are slicing back on the very things that make them valuable and doing next to nothing to add anything new and interesting to their pages.
Shafer argues that publishers are whacking reporters, axing and shrinking comics and cutting back in the face of fierce, growing competition from the Internet. They're basically providing ever less reason for someone to toss down a couple of quarters and take home a paper every day.
Moreover, Schafer points out, journalists "can't compete by adding a few blogs here, blogging up coverage over there, and setting up 'comment' sections" to match the bonanza that exists online. "If newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters don't produce spectacular news coverage no blogger can match, they have no right to survive," he said.
While he doesn't argue that blogging can match reporting, he said that journalists remind him of "Maytag's factory rats whose jobs were poached by low-paid Chinese labor" after arguing that quality would win out. In fact, it often doesn't.
It isn't hard, after all, to argue that getting stuff for free is better than paying for it, even if the free stuff isn't as good.
I think Shafer raises a legitimate concern for the entire newspaper industry. How can you get people to pay $200 a year for a newspaper if they can easily get much of what's in it for free on their computer? The answer is, clearly, that in the long run you can't.
So the trick is finding a way to make the newspaper more valuable without making it more expensive. Is that even possible? Well, maybe.
Personally, I'd love to see my industry shake the lead out and give it a try. We're either going to fight for our survival -- with all kinds of new attempts to lure in readers -- or we're going to sink into the dust with all the back copies rotting in the basement.
At The Tattoo, we're firmly convinced that journalism remains relevant and important, for young readers as much as older ones. It doesn't need to be dumbed down or refocused on celebrity crap. It needs instead to be nourished and showcased. Newspapers need to speak to a new generation instead of doing the same old thing in the same old ways.
THe newspaper business is on autopilot and the plane is heading down. Can't we grab the damn controls and fly this baby?
I wish that some newspaper somewhere would break the mold, take some risks and take aim at becoming as critical to young readers as it was for our elders in days gone by. It'll alienate a few but it offers the only opportunity to preserve a profession that's crucial to democracy.
If news becomes nothing more than the babble of a billion bloggers, we'll live in a society ignorant of damn near everything it needs to know.

Here's the link for Shafer's column:
Not just another column about blogging

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Jill Carroll's life threatened by captors

In a video aired on Aljazeera today, the captors of American reporter Jill Carroll threatened to kill her in 72 hours if all the women prisoners held in Iraq by the United States are not freed -- something that clearly won't happen.

It appears that about half the time has already passed.

News organizations from across the world, including the Jordan Times and Aljazeera itself, have pleaded for Carroll's release and reporter groups are pushing hard as well. We can only hope they succeed.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Keeping Jill Carroll in our thoughts...

Keeping Jill Carroll in our thoughts....
Here's some of the latest news, none of which is particularly positive:

Christian Science Monitor (Jan. 16)
Jill Carroll update

Associated Press (Jan. 15)
Iraqis, U.S. officials work to free journalist

The Boston Globe (Jan. 15)
Search continues for reporter

Time (Jan. 10)
The abduction of Jill Carroll

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

News for young people? Riiiigggghhhhhttttt....

We started seeing ads for something called all over the Internet recently, a site that bills itself as "a youth newspaper with online news & entertainment."
Naturally, we had to check it out, for all the obvious reasons.
The site has the big cartoonish woman's head on the left side with a little tag line beside it that says, "Let's rock!! A young newspaper.... Lot's of hosts."
Yeah, that's what it said: "Lot's of hosts."
To the right are short news stories from a CNN feed, gossip from an NBC feed, music news from a Yahoo feed and games news from a feed.
In short, there's nothing really there.
But what we really loved was this little tidbit:

Statement from the news staff: "We like daily news articles for young people to be short and precise.We don't want boring hosts, but a colorful newspaper for today's youth.Yet our latest articles are all selected from trustworthy news sources.This is to provide the best possible daily youth newspaper online of today. Have a good read!"
Young people are, of course, attracted to short and colorful glop. Everyone knows that. Surely they wouldn't be attracted by real news that, hhhhmmmmmm, takes teens seriously?
In its way, you have to admire the sheer gall of whoever set this ytribune site up. It has nothing original, just newsfeeds from other sources that are readily available in, oh, maybe a million other places on the web.
But what's most insulting isn't that it pretends to be a news site. It's the underlying philosophy that basically says young people are too stupid and their attention spans are too short to absorb something as complex as, say, a genuine news story.
We're proud to think differently at The Tattoo.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Stefan Koski on the radio Tuesday, Jan. 17th

Moving on the PR newswire this morning --

Teen Author Stefan Koski to be Interviewed on WAPJ 89.9FM Torrington
Teen author Stefan Koski will be interviewed on "Between the Covers" with Joseph Monetbello on WAPJ 89.9FM Torrington about his first book, "Miscellaneous Philosophy: The Underclassman Years," on Tuesday, January 17th from 2-3pm EST.

Terryville, CT (PRWEB) January 16, 2006 -- Teen author Stefan Koski will be interviewed on "Between the Covers" with Joseph Monetbello on WAPJ 89.9FM Torrington about his first book, "Miscellaneous Philosophy: The Underclassman Years," on Tuesday, January 17th from 2-3pm EST.
Koski has previously been featured in The Litchfield County Times and, where Willie Elliot picked "Miscellaneous Philosophy" as one of his top ten reads for 2005. He has also achieved international recognition, being featured in the MaltaMedia Online Network and the Saarlander Top 100 Books for Saarland, Germany.
"Miscellaneous Philosophy" tells the funny story of one day in the life of a high school sophomore. Koski, now a seventeen-year-old high school senior at Terryville High, wrote the book during his second year of high school and used many of his real-life experiences from his freshman and sophomore years to fill the pages. It was recently inducted into the prestigious Litchfield County Writers Project, which honors such authors as Arthur Miller and Bernard Bernstein.Tamara Tragakiss of The Litchfield County Times says "Miscellaneous Philosophy" is, "smart and well-organized... an intelligent but nonetheless boy's-eye view, if you will, of the real high school experience."
Joe Keo of The Tattoo says, "Though the events he faced were localized, the lessons and discoveries he derived from them were written in a humorous, sarcastic, and witty enough way to make any teenage high school student laugh and read on."
Monetbello is a former editor and creative director for HarperCollins Publishing and hosts "Between the Covers" every Tuesday from 2-3pm EST on WAPJ 89.9FM in Torrington, CT.
"Miscellaneous Philosophy" was published by Hats Off Books in February 2005.
Stefan Koski is the author of "Miscellaneous Philosophy: The Underclassman Years," a humorous satire detailing a day in the life a high school sophomore. He has been featured in The Litchfield County Times, The Bristol Press, Radio-Uncensored, CBS News Blog, MaltaMedia, The Saarlander Top 100, The Tattoo Teen Newspaper, The Tattoo Blog,,,, and He lives in Terryville, Connecticut.
Miscellaneous Philosophy: The Underclassman Years
Hats Off Books (February 2005)
Trade Paperback, 189 pgs.
Retail: $16.95
ISBN: 1587364115
# # #

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Tattoo blurbs used to market games

Proving once again that Out of the Box -- a game maker -- often knows what's good, its web site now offers several excerpts from The Tattoo's reviews of its games.

"If you're looking for a fun and easy game to play at your next get-together, run to the store and buy Apples to Apples, a game of fruits and fun."
Justin Skaradosky and Kate Haire, The Tattoo, USA

Apples to Apples reviews


"Unlike other word games...My Word! doesn't require the players to be English majors in order to win."
Stefan Koski, The Tattoo, USA

My Word reviews


"[Squint] sparks conversation, arguments, and a good time for all players, regardless of if you win or not."
Katie Haire, The Tattoo, USA

Squint reviews


"You come to expect certain things when playing trivia games...Whad'Ya Know?, based on Michael Feldman's public radio quiz show by the same name, has a habit of breaking all these stereotypes."
Zach Brokenrope, The Tattoo, USA

Whad'Ya Know? reviews

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Pray for Jill Carroll

A freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor reporter, Jill Carroll, was kidnapped in Iraq on Saturday in a sophisticated operation that left her interpreter dead. There's been no public word yet of Carroll's fate.
Carroll, 28, a University of Massachusetts at Amherst graduate, has been reporting from Iraq for more than two years.
Radio talk show maven Rush Limbaugh said today that Carroll's capture is further indication that journalism is more dangerous than mining.
He meant it in a scoffing way, going on to poke fun at reporters for supposedly lacking any real-life skills or savvy. Journalists only know how to type, he said, and are so gullible they welcome the enemy with open arms.
Limbaugh, as is so often the case, is full of shit.
Carroll, like her Fourth Estate colleagues in Iraq, is trying to tell a crucially important story under occasionally horrific conditions. She no doubt knows, as we all do, that understanding what is happening in Iraq is vital for our democracy to make the wise decisions that our future depends on. Without her and others like her, we would have nothing to go on but the superficial assurances of the government that things are getting steadily better.
In truth, perhaps they are.
But we know they are not better for Carroll, who is in the hands of ruthless, dangerous men in one of the bleakest places on the planet. Yes, she knew the risks. Yes, she chose to be there. But she is there not as a representative of the American government -- which probably shares Limbaugh's view -- but as the eyes and ears of the American people. That is a fundamentally different role and one that should, in a better world, give her the safety of neutrality in the war that is ripping apart that ancient land.
Those around the world who value freedom, especially those who respect the necessity of a free press, should do whatever we can to rally around Carroll, to push for her release and to pray for her safety.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

More movie reviews & 2 new Tattoo writers

Tattoo writers are checking out the cineplex so you don't have to go see something awful.
Check out our new reviews of "Brokeback Mountain," "Munich" and "King Kong."
Tattoo newcomer Dan Mecca tells why you shouldn't miss "Brokeback Mountain" and another newcomer, Yaffa Fredrick, finds an interesting angle on "Munich."
Tattoo veteran Teague Neal yawned a bit at "King Kong" but still found the big beast worthy.
But don't take our word for it: go read their reviews at

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Catching up with Amanda Lehmert

The Fall 2005 issue of Bristol's Main Street Community Foundation's "Main Points" newsletter contains a front page article on our very Tattoo alum Amanda Lehmert. Though the story won't win any points for journalistic accuracy, it's still nice to see Amanda featured.
Here's the link to the PDF of the newsletter:

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Our first pieces of 2006!!

Just published online are two new movie reviews.
Rachel Glogowski, in her first published piece for The Tattoo, takes on the fourth of the seemingly never-ending Harry Potter series while Liane Harder gives the lowdown on Memoirs of a Geisha (hint: the book is better).
Check them both out on The Tattoo's growing web empire at:

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Where readers hailed from in December 2005

Readers hailed from 83 countries, but those with the most were...
1. United States - 65 percent
2. Canada - 7 percent
3. Great Britain - 4 percent
4. Germany - 3 percent
5. Netherlands - 2 percent
6. Australia - 1 percent
7. Hong Kong - 1 percent
8. Brazil - 1 percent
9. Singapore - 1 percent
10. Sweden - 1 percent

1. California - 8 percent
2. Connecticut - 7 percent
3. Ontario - 5 percent
4. New York - 4 percent
5. Texas - 3 percent
6. Illinois - 2 percent
7. Florida - 2 percent
8. Pennsylvania - 2 percent
9. Massachusetts - 2 percent
10. Virgina - 2 percent

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Most-read Tattoo pages in December 2005

1. Tattoo home page
2. Hurricane Journal
3. Teen Suicide page
4. The Tattoo blog
5. The Issues page
6. When death strikes a boy of 16
7. Children of the corn
8. Urban dream capsule is life in a fishbowl
9. Awards page
10. Fun and Games
11. Picking the perfect senior prank
12. The agony of navel ring removal
13. Review of 'Family Guy' movie
14. Leaving an ancient school
15. Touring the Mark Twain house
16. On the first base line at the World Series
17. Limerick's danger worry teens
18. Green Day rocks the Mullins Center
19. Teachers find rewards in El Salvador
20. Dwali, Hindu festival of lights, brings joy

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

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