Recently in newspapers Category

villagevoice.jpgRonnie, The Situation and Vinny break out their pecs on the latest cover of New York City's alt-weekly Village Voice. The boys are up in arms, though, because that's not the only thing "out" in this issue.

Turns out the cover story is on Guidos on the down-low. Translation: Italian-Americans of the "Jersey Shore" ilk that lead secretly illicit homosexual lifestyles.

There is a situation, indeed.

The New York Post reports MTVs gymed, tanned and laundered studs are saying they were duped into posing, but not told it was for the publication's annual gay pride issue, headlined "The Guido Ideal" -- a story about "gay Jersey guidos on the down-low."

There's been no official reaction, but Ronnie's probably ready to knock some kid out with one shot over this one.

As if Robert Green's nightmare soft goal given up to the United States weren't replaying on a repeating reel in the English goalie's head already, now he's got this to deal with.

The Guardian newspaper has been running a series of World Cup highlights done in Lego animation, and the fateful U.S.-England draw has made the cut.

The dribbling goal line fumble by green somehow seems even sadder when recreated in molded plastic. So as the U.S. takes on Slovenia Friday morning in Group C play, try to pick out the next moments to be immortalized in brick.

Ahh the heyday of media in the 1980s, when experts like Roger Ebert could magically beam Star Trek-style into your cocktail party for your personal edification.

A kind soul was good enough to post these gems to YouTube, complete with bad suits and big hair. And advertising budgets. Those were the days.

Thanks to Brad Flora's Windy Citizen for highlighting the find. Go vote it up, people!

Think of the worst wedding experience you've ever had. Got that picture in your mind? OK, now imagine this statement being made after said wedding and take some time to reevaluate your grade:

The gunman, a 33 year-old Chechen man, insists he was sure that he had emptied the pistol's chamber of every bullet and says he only wanted to enliven the wedding. But local police do not believe him and have opened a criminal investigation into the tragic incident.

Because nothing ... NOTHING enlivens a wedding like a little game of Russian roulette. Especially when you leave a rubber bullet in the chamber, as the London Telegraph reports happened at these festivities in southern Russia. The report offers up this gem:

Russian weddings are notoriously drunken and sometimes violent, with fist fights not uncommon.

And sure enough, nobody seems all that concerned. Maybe it's all the $3 vodka, but there's just not much urgency when the piece appears.

The unlucky contestant is apparently fighting for his life.


barnes.jpgPeople do stupid things for love. They also do a lot of stupid things while driving. It must be a natural progression of the human race that the two truths would one day coexist.

And Megan Mariah Barnes is the culmination of that latest leap on the evolution chart. Sure, lots of folks shave in the car. Few, however, do so in the genital area. While driving.

Megan Mariah Barnes is clearly not like most people.

She was pulled over by Florida cops following a two-car wreck, in which they say she was shaving her "bikini area," according to reports in the Keys News. Her ex-husband, in the passenger's seat, was steering while she groomed the uderbrush when the couple smashed into another car in the Florida Keys, according to Florida State Patrol:

"She said she was meeting her boyfriend in Key West and wanted to be ready for the visit," Trooper Gary Dunick said. "If I wasn't there, I wouldn't have believed it. About 10 years ago I stopped a guy in the exact same spot ... who had three or four syringes sticking out of his arm. It was just surreal and I thought, 'Nothing will ever beat this.' Well, this takes it."

Of course, it gets better. She probably had no business driving, razor or not, when you consider her record.

Just one day earlier, Barnes had been convicted, reports, of DUI with a prior and driving with a suspended license and was ordered to impound her car, and her driver's license was revoked for five years. After the five years, she must have a Breathalyzer ignition interlock device on any vehicle she drives - including the 1995 Thunderbird driven in the wreck. Barnes also was sentenced to nine months' probation.

Good luck with that. She was charged with driving with a revoked license, reckless driving, leaving the scene of a wreck with injuries and driving with no insurance. And she faces a year for her efforts on the probation violation alone.

If that ain't a kick in the freshly shorn crotch.


In the first round of the staredown, Rupert Murdoch seems to have made Google flinch.

The omnipotent, omnipresent search engine giant announced in a blog post Tuesday.

"Previously, each click from a user would be treated as free," Google senior business product manager Josh Cohen said in the post. "Now, we've updated the program so that publishers can limit users to no more than five pages per day without registering or subscribing."

Under the new plan, newspaper publishers will be able to set a limit on the number of free news articles people can read through Google, the company has announced. And users will be routed to payment or registration pages if publishers join the First Click Free plan.

Participating publishers allow the crawler to index their subscription content, then allow users who find one of those articles through Google News or Google Search to see the full page without requiring them to register or subscribe. The user's first click to the content is free, but when a user clicks on additional links on the site, the publisher can show a payment or registration request.

Google also plans to allow for crawling and indexing of summary content - basically a headline and short index item - of pay content.

We will crawl, index and treat as "free" any preview pages. This means that our crawlers see the exact same content that will be shown for free to a user. Because the preview page is identical for both users and the crawlers, it's not cloaking. We will then label such stories as "subscription" in Google News. The ranking of these articles will be subject to the same criteria as all sites in Google, whether paid or free.

The concession from Google comes as the clarion call of content publisher builds to a crescendo as the news industry searches for an answer to a business model failing to attract or hold advertising revenue. Users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages.

Media tycoon Murdoch had earlier accused firms such as Google of profiting from journalism by generating advertising revenue by linking readers to newspaper articles. Some readers have discovered they can avoid paying subscription fees to newspaper websites by calling up their pages via Google and Murdoch has moved to take content from The Wall Street Journal, among other of his multitudinous media properties, of the Google search index.


Fraser Robinson III, Marian, and their children, Craig and Michelle - now Michelle Obama.

The New York Times reports the fascinating story of Michelle Obama's slave heritage back to a 6-year-old slave girl named Melvinia in pre-Civil War South Carolina.

The Times story covers the first lady's history to her great-great-great-grandparents, the lone girl and an unknown white man after she had been willed to a family near Atlanta a few years before the Civil War. Born from that coupling was Dolphus T. Shields.

The exploration of family roots by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times -- bears out longstanding family rumors about a white forebear, the former Michelle Robinson said.

The Times reports that it's unclear who the actual father of Dolphus Shields was once Melvinia became the property of Henry Shields in 1852:

It is difficult to say who might have impregnated Melvinia, who gave birth to Dolphus around 1859, when she was perhaps as young as 15. At the time, Henry Shields was in his late 40s and had four sons ages 19 to 24, but other men may have spent time on the farm.

"No one should be surprised anymore to hear about the number of rapes and the amount of sexual exploitation that took place under slavery; it was an everyday experience, " said Jason A. Gillmer, a law professor at Texas Wesleyan University, who has researched liaisons between slave owners and slaves. "But we do find that some of these relationships can be very complex."

Just as interesting is the family tree the Times has put together as the Robinson family history has pieced together, The Family Tree of Michelle Obama: The First Lady. It traces her family steps through tattered paperwork and faded photographs back to that 6-year-old slave on a Carolina plantation. It also serves to illuminate the mixed-race background of the first lady's heritage and discusses how that's becoming a much more common reality in a nation made up of so many races and heritages.

Much like a report in the Chicago Sun-Times exploring the family tree of Barack Obama, the Times report illuminates a rich, multi-ethnic background for the first lady, though Michelle's history is far less well-known.

When Melvinia died in 1938, her death certificate marks "don't know" in the space asking for the 90-year-old's parents name, so the retracing ends with her.

Famed Chicago Sun-Times Page 1 Editor James Smith has been on Oprah. He's posterized President Obama. He's even hung out with Muhammad Ali.

But it's his musical taste that sets him apart.

In this first installment of what will be an occasional series, we take a look at what he's rocking on his iPhone, the radio, TV or, in this case, YouTube.

Today's choice: "'65 Love Affair," the classic Paul Davis epic that marked his departure from garbagey country ballads to garbagey pop.

Enjoy, we know you will be rocking the white man overbite before you know it!

Get your Sunday DC comics on Wednesdays

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By Misha Davenport

Even though it's Wednesday, it sure feels like Sunday. We blame DC's new Wednesday Comics (DC, $3.99).

Beginning today and continuing for the next 11 weeks, DC is publishing a weekly 16-page, broadsheet newspaper featuring 15 stories. The project makes us long for the days when the Sunday funnies were that many pages instead of the more common four to six pages they are today.

Alongside the weekly exploits of famous characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, lesser-known characters like Kamandi the Last Boy On Earth, Metamorpho and Adam Strange are getting their moments to shine.

A host of A-list artists and writers are working on each of the strips, including Chicago-based comic book author Brian Azzarello (who is co-writing the Batman strip with Eduardo Risso). Azzarello's debut strip is particularly grizzly and concerns the kidnapping and seemingly senseless murder of an investment banker.

Our favorite this week: Iris West (by Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher), a "Mary Worth"-like look at the shortcomings of being married to a superhero. Despite being married to the Flash (the fastest man on earth), her hubby is frequently late to dinner or canceling plans altogether. In the debut strip, Iris has finally had enough.

The use of Benday-dot printing in that strip is particularly effective, recalling the art style of 1960s romance comic books.

Look for Wednesday Comics in your local comic book store starting today.


At 9:30 this morning at Pace University, in the New York Times' former headquarters, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the Kindle reader we've been waiting for.

No. Really. It's pretty sweet.

• 9.7-inch E-Ink screen (1200 x 824 with 16 shades of gray)

• 1/3 of an inch thick (10.4" x 7.2" x 0.38")

• 4GB Storage for 3,500 books (a bump from 1,500)

• Unspecified but "long" battery life

• Native PDF support through built-in reader

• Automatic landscape/portrait text rotation

• Navigation buttons moved to right side of screen only

• EVDO (of course) for 60-second book transfers

You may know it as the Kindle DX moment - the time when print publishing as we know it may have changed for good, though you'll have to wait for a summer release date to find out for yourself.

The always-fun Gizmodo crew liveblogged the event.

What's the big deal about a new $489 Kindle, anyway? It's literally in the word "big." The real highlight is that this is a reader made for the print media industry.

In case you were wondering how we, the aging, crusty bastards of the news gathering world are adapting to the realities of Web 2.0 journalism, well, it's going just ducky, thanks!

In fact, in this video you can see how one of our hardscrabble scribes is living after entering the slick world of the blogosphere. And let me tell you, it's about time those mashup-loving Web nerds get an injection of good, old-fashioned, muckraking journalism.


Thanks to @ericasmith and @gabehartwig for digging this up, by the way, on their new-fangled Internets.

So, you may have heard our corporate parent, Sun-Times Media Group, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday. Many people have taken this to mean we're a dead media provider walking.

Not true! And here's five reasons why ...

1. City government

Look, those people down at Daley Plaza are here for one reason only - to mess with you. Without our expert reporting on the deals, scams, names and numbers, how would you know who was taking what out of your pocket - from a city government standpoint? Covering the city? You can't leave important Chicago stuff like that to the Trib.

2. Oprah

If the Queen of Talk - and pretty much everything else in the world - says we're a great paper, who are we to disrespect by going out of business? By the way, O, you may have heard we're for sale ... cheap.

3. Cubs, Sox, Hawks, Bears, Bulls, etc.

Look, there's enough misery spread amongst our sports teams that our struggles hardly register as a blip on the radar. I mean, 100 years since a championship? The Dollar Bill Wirtz years? The cavalcade of mediocre quarterbacks, etc., etc. We've got a long way to go before we can approach that level of futility. On a related note, we do have baseball hats and team shirts for sale in the store ...

4. No more Mariotti!

We've never been more popular than since the "tell-it-like-it-is" windbag left for AOL Sports. Our inbox instantly changed from a holding tank for hate mail to a fountain of joy for our readers. You might hate him, but you love us.

5. Conrad Black is still in stir

The mastermind behind our financial issues is still making license plates, blogging and learning the shiv arts behind bars in Florida. As long as His Lordship stays put away, we've got a halfway decent shot at holding onto the cash we have.

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