Like their recent offer of 500 free miles in exchange for filling out a survey. I tried to take the survey, but a technical glitch prevented it. Today, I was asked again, only the ante -- measley already -- was upped to 750 miles. I successfully completed the survey and, in true Northwest fashion, got my reward.... 500 free miles.
Totally minor, but par for the course.
But at the first day of hearings over a temporary injunction that could keep Ridder and other former PiPress executives from working at the Strib for a year or more, the source of that confidence might seem nebulous.
In a videotaped deposition aired in court Monday, Ridder called the data he took on Pioneer Press revenues, expenses, personnel and advertisers "sensitive information." He admitted to removing noncompete documents signed by himself and other executives he aimed to hire at the Strib, saying, "I was concerned that those documents could be used to slow my progress on to the Star Tribune."
And witnesses he might have expected to be friendly offered less than favorable testimony. Art Brisbane, a former vice president at Knight Ridder testified -- contrary to Ridder's claim -- that he didn't recall verbally releasing Ridder from his noncompete agreement. Brisbane said such a move would've been a serious (and memorable) decision, and added that he recalled other conversations about Ridder's desire to challenge noncompete clauses in the contracts of others, but not Ridder.
OhSang Kwan, a partner at Avista Capital Partners, testified that Ridder assured him his noncompete agreement had been repealed -- an overt untruth. And James Finkelstein, another Avista partner, said Ridder shouldn't have taken the information: "It was clearly a mistake."
Adding to Ridder's woes, a computer expert hired to analyze computers accessed by Ridder found that around 3,300 files were transferred from Ridder's Pioneer Press laptop to a portable USB drive on March 1 and 2; on March 6 -- the day after Ridder's hire -- those files were moved to Ridder's Star Tribune laptop. These files, which took up around 30 terrabytes of information, contained "vital contractual information for 3890 separate customers," said former Pioneer Press writer Brian Lambert, who was in the courtroom.
Ridder took the stand in his own defense at noon today. In his opening statement, he said, "I talk to a lot of people in this community and I think most of them know what this is all about. They see this as a competitive battle, an effort to vilify someone for competitive advantage."
Still, prospects for a Ridder win seems slight -- or at least not aligned with Ridder's initial confidence. Especially since many legal experts commenting in past news articles have already questioned his chances. In April, Dennis Farley of the Intelligence Group, a company that investigates corporate espionage, said, the wholesale copying of competitor's files is a no-no. "For somebody to be that brazen and to leave with his whole laptop, and a competitor to feel that it's within the bounds of fair play to acquire all that information about their competitor really surprises me," he told the AP.
Not only do noncompete agreements have relatively more muscle in Minnesota than in other states, but companies here can even impose them retroactively in some cases, thanks to the state's Uniform Trade Secret Act, which provides that confidential business information is protectable as long as the information can be shown to be classified as a trade secret.And Minneapolis employment attorney Lee Watson made a prediction in an April AP story: "Mr. Ridder, being where he is in the company hierarchy, it's probably going to be enforced."
If today's hearing yields the kind of information yesterday's did, the case might have a swift conclusion. Lambert, now writing for The Rake, recalls this exchange yesterday:
During a break midway through the proceedings, I stopped Dean Singleton in the hallway and asked, "Have these guys [referring to Avista] offered to settle this thing? Because based on what I've just seen I'd be astonished if they haven't."Singleton, who walks with a cane, pivoted and looked at me. "I can't say anything about that. But if you're astonished you'd be right."
William Dean Singleton, CEO of MediaNews, the Denver-based company that owns the Pioneer Press, was in the courtroom today as a judge heard his paper's request for a temporary injunction that would prevent Ridder and two other former PiPress executives from working for the Minneapolis paper. At issue are noncompete agreements the Pioneer Press says Ridder, Strib senior vice president of operations Kevin Desmond, and Jennifer Parratt, now director of niche publications, signed when the paper was still owned by Knight Ridder. Par Ridder acknowledged he asked an assistant to shred a stack of noncompete agreements -- including his own -- on his last day at the St. Paul paper, but changed his mind. He stopped her in the parking ramp as she left work and retrieved the documents himself.
In a legal filing on June 19, the Star Tribune argued that the data Ridder took wouldn't damage its crosstown rival. In its legal brief, the Pioneer Press said "[t]hese individuals were top executives with firsthand knowledge of [the Pioneer Press'] business strategies, customer relationships, and overall strengths and weaknesses."
The exterior skin of the houses will be peeled off and used to create the narrowing spiral as it progresses eastward through the small central hallway connecting the two buildings and exiting through a small hole into an adjacent courtyard.
"I think he needs to be caught. I’m totally about peace, but I’m totally about justice too. I wouldn’t kill him. I’d just beat him up."
Sorgatz: Looking at the online media landscape right now, I see one sector that no one has really figured out: local. There are good publications around every single vertical market imaginable, but there are only a handful of good local blogs. If you follow this industry, you've read about some of the attempts at local citizen journalism. American Journalism Review recently had a story about the failure of the more prominent citizen journalism sites. But all of those failures have one common characteristic: they were started by former Big J newspaper people. And that reveals the other quality that is required to make "placeblogging" work: sexiness. It's a crass way to think of publishing, but it's an essential quality. City Pages in the early '90s, The Strib in the early '80s -- these had a certain kind of sexiness. (My definition of sexiness: hot content with a strong voice that leads to people talking about the author and engaging with the publication.) I just don't know if these new citizen journalism projects will have the sexiness to gain audience. It's like old media dressed up in new media clothes.Thanks for the chat, Rex.
It looks as though a lot of recently unemployed newspaper people are trying to move online. Of course they should, but I worry they won't create anything that feels fun, that has the vigor and excitement of Facebook, that thinks about itself like Digg, that has a relationship with its audience like Newsvine. I predict they will all make the same mistakes: they will talk to their audience rather than with it, they will view "comments on stories" as their big statement about cracking open journalism, and they will vainly try to move the newspaper model onto the internet. And they will likely fail for not understanding the power of the medium: networked communities creating a collaborative news experience.
On January 1, 2007, Sao Paulo's rightwing populist mayor made a striking proclamation: no outdoor advertising anywhere in the city. Suddenly, the city of 11 million people had no visible billboards, illegal street posters, kiosk ads, or neon signs -- not even the Goodyear Blimp could pass muster. " Within months," as On the Media put it, "the city has gone from a Blade Runner-like vision of the future to a reclaimed past." The "visual pollution," in the mayor's words, was erased. The imagery, captured in a Flickr pool, is truly amazing.
I checked out the opening of Dessert at First Amendment Arts Saturday night. The show features 100 or so collaborative artworks created by six-year old Cohen Morano with artists like Barry McGee, Shepard Fairey, Gary Taxali, Kaws, and others. We ran into Witt Siasoco from the Walker, hip-hop graphic designer (and Cohen's onetime collaborator) Cey Adams, and Burlesque of North America's Wes Winship, as well as Cohen and his dad, Aye Jay. The artist and his dad were gracious and warm. Aye Jay told us about his new project, the follow up to his Gangster Rap Coloring Book, The Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book:
Headbangers get the chance to color legends like Metallica, Danzig, and Pantera; help get Spinal Tap through a backstage maze; complete the Black Metal word scramble and hair metal crossword; and solve heavy metal Sudoku.The opening featured music by DJ Mike the 2600 King (shown below beside Cohen's skateboard designs and a print of Che-bacca by Aye Jay) and an ice cream sundae bar complete with chocolate-covered gummi worms.
Putting aside the validity of the Splasher's objectives, the art blog Eyeteeth has suggested that it's worth analyzing the Splasher's techniques in the context of other art movements such as "the Dadaists acts of destruction, Jackson Pollock's drip paintings, the Francis Alys work where he punctured a can of paint in a museum and wandered with it throughout the neighborhood, dripping all the way and ended up nailing the empty container to the gallery wall." Though Eyeteeth writer Paul Schmelzer ultimately condemns the Splasher's agenda as "hokey," he notes that street artists might "relax a little" and "reconsider the tenuous canvas they're using."That seems to simplify my argument, making me sound a bit more easygoing about the Splasher's efforts than I really am. So, to be clear, this passage from my post fleshes out Gehrke's sample:
Such readings seem far too generous for work that's over-wrought to the point of feeling like an art-school prank. The critique is too easy, taking only a few seconds to accomplish and with little personal risk, and it's mean-spirited instead of mischievous, like the Dadaists it refers to. At the bottom of each wheat-pasted poster accompanying paint blasts is a warning (which those who've seen the posters first-hand say is bogus): "The removal of this document could result in injury, as we have mixed the wheat paste with tiny shards of glass."All that said, thanks for the link-up, Utne friends.
Given this, the Splasher's anti-art sentiment reads as anti-artist.
The home, according to an architectural walking tour that once made its way through Minneapolis' Kenwood neighborhood, was the first home of another newspaper man, Plumleigh Rogers, who edited the Daily Market Record. But it's likely that another news icon, former WCCO anchor Paul Magers, who owned the home before moving to Los Angeles in 2004, added amenities like a golf-simulator (if, like me, you haven't played simulated golf, it must be something like this). The realty listing also boasts a heated in-ground pool, gourmet kitchen and a "lavish master suite with great views." The Rake's media critic Brian Lambert is convinced Ridder bought the property, which sold on May 14 for $2.73 million. The taxes this year are just shy of $42,000, according to Hennepin County records. (The May sale and the home's new owner have not yet been recorded with the county.)
The realty link made it to my inbox with a note from a former Pioneer Press newsroom employee who took a buyout, along with 21 others, last December: "Apparently, Par isn't too concerned about any judge's ruling that might encourage him to leave town anytime soon."
Ridder's former paper is suing him and two other former executives who took jobs at the Star Tribune for, among other charges, violating the contract clause that prohibits them for working for the competition within a year of leaving St. Paul. If Ridder has indeed bought the mansion, he's probably fairly confident that Ramsey County District Judge David Higgs will not prevent him from keeping his new job at the Strib. The next phase of the suit is a June 25 hearing over a temporary injunction related to the hiring of Jennifer Parratt, a PiPress executive the paper says had a non-compete clause in her contract. The injunction has kept Parratt from working at the Strib.
"The pricey house is another statement on how well people at the top are doing in big business these days, while the rank and file continue to lose ground," said the former Pioneer Press newsroom employee.
While the bottle clearly describes it as “combination” of cucumber and cola, there just isn’t much cola flavor to it. The drink takes on a somewhat sweet and fruity flavor, but the artificial cucumber flavor is noticeable, in my opinion. It’s interesting for a few sips, but then the artificial cucumber aftertaste kicks in, making it pretty nasty.
In Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, you wrote about the cultural, econonic, and political conditions in the Bronx in the late '60s that gave rise to hip-hop culture (you called it the “politics of abandonment”). Here in Minneapolis, like elsewhere, we're seeing record-breaking home foreclosures, inner-city school closings, and a spike in violent crime in our urban neighborhoods. How is today like that seminal period in the Bronx? Is there a creative counterpoint to all this bad news?
Well, I would never want to suggest that we need to have social upheaval in order to create beautiful art. In fact, often societal turmoil does not lend itself to progressive work, but to xenophobic, constricted cultural production. What I can say is that it’s deeply human of us to want to make beauty and truth in the face of despair. Hip-hop, in its most vital forms, lives close to these stories, and can tell them more truthfully than most of what we are confronted with in this ether of globalized, corporatized images and narratives.
In an an interview about Total Chaos, you said, “Name your genre, and I can probably tell you how hip-hop has changed it.” Ok: Crocheting. Kidding. But what about, say, mainstream media? Or country music? Is there a far-flung genre you can name that I'd be surprised has changed because of hip hop?
Mainstream media–er, Don Imus? OK, very bad example. Country music–Big & Rich?! How about modern dance? I’m still surprised at how choreographers like Rennie Harris have transformed the ways in which elite dance critics now discuss Black social dance.
Not many details on this one, so I'm not sure if it's a genuine modification, a weird advertising campaign or even an art installation. Anything’s possible. I like to think though, that it's a Hungarian motorist who places sustainability as a higher priority than comfort, speed, handling or self preservation.
Thanks to his dad, Aye Jaye Morano, who took his son's watercolors on the road while doing book-signings for Gangsta Rap Coloring Book, Cohen now has more than 100 joint works to his credit. The pieces will be on view at Minneapolis' First Amendment Gallery (run by the principals of the design firm Burlesque of North America, formerly of Life Sucks Die magazine) at an opening June 16. Images, via Mumble Magazine, are by Barry McGee, Doze Green, and Winston Smith.
A January 2006 BBC report says the six-year development plan was never funded or implemented.
"It is really poetic: a river of ice slowly disintegrating, quite discreetly, quite invisibly. Sheets of ice are constantly slipping off, huge bits cracking, moving very slowly.
"It is sad to see a vanishing world."
FACT is proud to strike a blow for freedom by making available this CD of circumvention software and instructions, plus MICT’s most current and past secret blocklists ('the owner’s manual’–want to see what they don’t want you to see?) and links to FACT’s website and petition. “Put the petty bureaucracy of senseless censors to bed.” “Censorship is a totalitarian system used as a tool of oppression against human rights and civil liberties, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, academic freedom, media freedom, the free exchange of ideas and freedom of thought. Censorship acts against democracy. Censorship suppresses dissent. Censorship is terrorism.”
FACT’s CD is already spreading virally from user to user in Thailand and will also remain available on FACT’s website; dozens of software vendors at computer venues have already begun selling FACT’s copyright-free CD. In addition, FACT’s “Beat the Censors” CD is available internationally on BitTorrent peer-to-peer networks.
FACT calls the CD its first “weapon of mass instruction”. In fact, the disk is applicable for use in any censored country. Unblock the world!
“Beat the Censors–Unblock ICT!” features 41 software applications to circumvent Website-blocking by Thai censors. Tor, Ultrasurf and many browser add-ons from websites and weblinks blocked by Thai Internet censors are made available in a complete, virus-free installer package for the first time.
"I invented this for my mother. I wanted her to shower comfortably," says Ma Yanjun, of Qiqiao village, Shaanxi province. Ma's invention features 66 beer bottles attached to a board. The bottles are connected to each other [with plastic tubing] so that water flows through them.Sunlight heats the water as is passes slowly through the bottles before flowing into the bathroom as hot water, reports China Economy Network. Ma says it provides enough hot water for all three members of his family to have a shower every day. And more than 10 families in the village have already followed suit and installed their own versions of Ma's invention.
In a project that "will astonish the commuters of Liverpool," sculptor Richard Wilson has turned part of a building's facade inside-out. As if learning from Gordon Matta-Clark, Wilson sliced an "egg-shaped section" out of the building's facade – "fixing the eight metre diameter piece on a pivot" so it can spin
Shown: The food expenditures for a family in a refugee camp in Chad, above, is $1.23 per week. Below, a four-member family in North Carolina spends $341.98 per week, and a family in Cuernavaca, Mexico, spends $189.09.
Via Information Aesthetics.
"The work I've done in the last couple of years has been my own personal exploration of finding that better way, that sweet spot between the best things about journalism and the best things about blogging," he said. "I don't make any claims that I've located that spot, but I've enjoyed the search, and I'll continue searching for it."
One big question remains, though: what'll happen to the successful blog he leaves behind at the Strib?
Eric is expected to post on these topics at The Big Question any minute now.