Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to interview a victim humanely--Today Show

In December, I posted a video/blog post critiquing the disturbing interview of a victim on the Today Show. It was pretty awful, and riled a lot of you up.

This morning, I'm happy to report the flipside, on the same show. Watch how Ann Curry handles the end of this interview with a rattled mom, whose son committed suicide. I just clipped the end of the interview, so it runs just about 20 seconds:

Look how the mom reacts. She really needed that. She has a tough road ahead, and that moment could make a huge difference to her recovery. Having her pain and her actions validated that powerfully, and that publicly mean the world to many people in that situation.

Ann could have done it off the air, but then the woman's friends would never see it. She would not see it herself when she watched the tape again. For her, what happened on-air is the historical record. That is crucial.

Every reporter does not need to end every interview this way. It's a matter of instinct. And when your instincts say, This person needs support, give some.

I've learned a lot about empathetic reporting as a fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, which is part of the Columbia Journalism School, and the Dart Society, which is doing outreach. Click on their sites to learn more.

(I'm going to do an event with the Dart Society in Tucson in a couple weeks, about reporting the recent tragedy there. I'll have more info on that soon.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Want to stop HIV? Gayguys needed for Microbicides study

I was so overwhelmed by the response to my 'It's inside you now' post about my stint in an HIV vaccine trial, that I was inspired to promote this different line of attack.

Microbicides are one of the most promising areas for HIV research.

Vaccines have been futile so far, and we'll never get everyone to use a condom every time. But if we can find something to slip into the lube that gay men are using anyway, and straight women are mostly open to using . . . that would be a lifesaver.

So most of us were taken by surprise a few years ago when the first studies began to show that might actually work.

Of course we need to test the hell out of this stuff. If you're a gayguy, that's where you come in.

I just got an email from ProjectGel, looking for volunteers for a big study in Boston, Pittsburgh and Puerto Rico. It's sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, so that's good enough for me.

This study is limited to gayguys under 30 for some reason. But there are so many studies on so many approaches going on all over the place.

Here's a map to one group of vaccine trials. Click for info or call 1-800-448-0440.

Someday, there will be a cure. Help make it sooner.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I lost the five pounds. More, please

Back in January, I posted about New Years Resolutionaries and my goal to lose five pounds, the slow way. (A pound every week or two.)

Damn. It's still the best approach, I think, but I'm restless. I'm down from a peak of about 194 right after Christmas, to 188 now, so I've lost the five, plus one, in eight weeks. OK, so maybe I needed to lose ten or fifteen. Haha.

Seriously. First, my waist is not where I wanted it to be. It has crept down from an even 36 to an even 35, but I think it needs to be 34. All of this is tricky though, since I'm also working out more, trying to pack on muscle. (And I've started an abs class twice a week, which also hits obliques and lower back, and I think I'm working against the tape measure.)

And I have to confess, I do not like this slow bit.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Upheaval in Bahrain: hitting home

I was a little surprised how upset it made me this morning. The lead headline on the New York Times site was/is:

Unrest Grows in Bahrain as Police Kill a 2nd Protester
"Home" may sound like a stretch. I only lived there for three months, back in 1993-94. But for that stretch, it was home.

(I was a computer systems and management consultant for Arthur Andersen, and I led a project at GARMCO: Gulf Aluminum Rolling Mill Company. Khatar, another consultant, and I moved into a furnished apartment. Home.)

I adored the place, and the friends I made there. It will always have a place in my heart.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Raising my shoes at Mubarak in solidarity with crowd in Tahrir

 Mubarak's speech was unbelievable—and endless. An endless, whiny, incoherent speech casting himself as martyr and refusing to leave. The oddest part was the translator, who kept groaning audibly, and sounding terribly annoyed. I've never heard anything like that. He was channeling my emotions precisely.

How infuriating it must have been to watch it in Tahrir. The protesters are raising their shoes at him, their ultimate insult. I'm raising mine, too.
Wish I could do more.

The crowd is enraged, apparently marching on palace (but that's 5 miles away).

NY Times story here. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ground Zero—today, in pictures

I went down way to the bottom of the island Monday for a meeting to plan a fundraiser for The Dart Society Monday. I took the long walk back to sign copies of Columbine at a Barnes & Noble, and passed by Ground Zero.

What I saw:

I was walking uptown (i.e., south to north) on West Street, with Ground Zero to my right/east. This first shot is facing north, a new building with the superstructure already in place:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The breakout novel of 2011?

Every year, we see one or two breakout novels by new writers that suddenly capture the public's attention.

These are notoriously unpredictable, but here's my prediction anyway. The novel with the best shot at that title is just released this week: 

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore.

The novel is narrated by the world's first chimpanzee to speak. He tells it from prison, where he's been detained for murder. 

Here's what I wrote about it last month for The Hipster Book Club, in an entry titled Five Gems You Haven't Read (scroll down toward the bottom for my entry):

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Great report, and historical perspective on Egypt

I'm getting more cardio done the past week, because I can't pull myself away from the Cairo TV feeds on the elliptical.

I have been tweeting the best print pieces I've seen, and here is one of my favorites, just up on Slate:

We Are Making Our Future

A dispatch from the massive protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Congratulations, Charlotte. Enjoy

A few minutes ago, Michelle Obama sent an email announcing the Democrats would hold their 2012 convention in Charlotte, NC.

That gave me a big smile, and a reminder to send a big thank you your way for supporting of my book, Columbine. (More on that below.)

I still lived in Denver when it came to our city in 2008, and what a week. Whether you are Democrat or Republican, you are in for a treat, and I hope you enjoy it. (Same to residents of Tampa, where the Rs are convening.)

I never managed to get into the convention center, but thousands of fascinating people descended on the city, and milled about at parties and other gatherings all week. I was surprised to discover how many friend-of-friend connections I had that got me into a few of those, which led to others.

And then I got really lucky.