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December 24, 2008








   God jul!

   Merry Christmas!




Posted by Julie at 3:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 23, 2008

Blogging every day

I have tried to blog every single day this month. Partly because I love traditions, and this was a variation of counting down the days until Christmas. And partly to see if I could do it. I almost succeeded, although I was wrongfully accused of cheating once, and I actually cheated once. And I even got carried away and blogged too much.

My dad blogged every day in January. He wrote he was beginning to understand how journalists feel, but that blogging every day was very time-consuming. My problem was usually that having to blog something - anything - every 24 hours got in the way of writing longer, more complete posts. Ideally, I should blog often and well, but if I have to choose between the two, I would prefer to blog really well. Something interesting a few times a week, rather than rubbish twice a day. On days when I spend a lot of time online, it's easy to just link to something and add a short comment. But days away from my laptop are a nice change, and I don't think I should be encouraging myself to spend even more time online. And although I have no problem with publishing works in progress, sometimes I want to make sure I'm happy with something important, even if that means delaying for a day.

However, I have definitely gotten into a new rhythm. I can't promise anything - blog curse and all that - but after forcing myself to post once a day, I should be able to... no, can't tell you, or I won't do it. That's how the blog curse works.

Posted by Julie at 3:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 22, 2008

Christmas traditions

I have a very low threshold for calling something a tradition. If I've done it once and enjoyed it, I'm willing to call it a tradition. (Those lucky enough to know about Moose Cap Friday know exactly what I mean.) Some of my Christmas traditions:

Posted by Julie at 3:14 PM | TrackBack

December 21, 2008

Why can't a woman be more like a man? And other mysteries

Why can't a woman be like a man? (via Elisabeth, and from My Fair Lady)

"Would I run off and never tell me where I'm going? Why can't a woman be like me?"

Online video can be such a good exam break, but I didn't want you to get carried away and distracted from your work. Now that it's all over - hopefully for most of you anyway - here's some Christmas vacation entertainment.

What's wrong with poor Mr. W? (via Anders)

And what is wrong with Maru the cat? (via Eva)

How could someone record their bad relationship on webcam? (via NRK Beta)

Is The Girl Effect the solution? (via Dad)

Mr. Higgins certainly does not think so:

Posted by Julie at 12:30 PM | TrackBack

December 20, 2008

Experiences of 2008

I finished the first semester of journalism school two days ago. I handed in my exam, and then I went to my old job and handed in my keys. Those thirty minutes gave me a wonderful feeling of finishing something and starting something potentially better. It was the feeling you're supposed to have on New Year's Eve. Sadly, there was no champagne.

I suppose this New Year's post should be posted on New Year's Eve, but really - who reads blogs at midnight on December 31st? And this way, if anyone wants to interpret the list below as a meme, they can.

2008 was not only the year I started journalism school, lived in Paris, visited Cambodia and Thailand and met a few people I hope I'll know forever. I did many things this year that I had never done before. 2008 was the year I first...

... swung by jungle vines

... actively celebrated International Senior Citizens' Day

... actively celebrated Moose Cap Friday

... got a full-body oil massage

... drank Fernet Branca

... drank sangria

... drank Coca-Cola

... happily referred to 10 square meters in a basement without a kitchen as "home"

... dated in French

... held a crocodile

... removed my bikini top at a public beach

... spoke words in Khmer

... interviewed two of the men I want to be when I grow up

... ran up and down the Champs Elysées singing along to an IPod

... ate frog

... moved to a city where I did not know a single person

... hid alcohol from grown-ups

... appreciated soup, tofu and veggie burgers

... slept in a mosquito net

... haggled over the price of paperbacks

... climbed 20 meters up a tree and jumped

... planted rice

... dipped my toes in the Seine

and more.

Posted by Julie at 7:53 PM | TrackBack

December 19, 2008

When I was your age, we had paper

Yesterday I left my keys in what was once the office where I worked as a receptionist. The company is relocating, and I will probably never again set foot in that building where I spent about an hour per day on average - and where I admit, many of my best blog posts were written.

Not only does the specific job I once had literally not exist anymore - there is no desk in the reception, no kitchen for making coffee, no fridge full of soda to organize. But for the past week, I have been doing another job for this company, and I don't think anyone will be doing that kind of job by the time I have children.*

I can just picture it:

When I was your age, people used to store information on paper. Today we know how dangerous fire is, not to mention the dangers of misplacing things without being able to search for them. But way back then, in the basement of the office builidng where I worked, years of paper documents accumulated. Many of them started as computer documents, but because of this belief in the power of paper, people printed everything they thought they might some day like to read. That's right, they didn't like to use the computer for reading either. So even unfinished drafts of documents that might some day be important, were printed, read and then filed just in case anyone ever wanted to read them again. Many of these documents were not important at all, but you never know what might be useful, someday.

Then one day the company I worked for moved to a different office, and they decided they did not want to move all that paper. Suddenly, they realized that the basement full of paper was in fact completely useless to them. But even if they didn't want it, they didn't want anyone else to have it either. There might be interesting information somewhere in that basement, and just in case, it should all remain secret. So they decided it should all be shredded - that's how paper is deleted.

And that's how I earned money for Christmas presents, way back in 2008. I deleted things. I couldn't just click on the room and press shred. My job was to open all the metal and plastic folders, and take the paper out and put it in boxes. Then the boxes were moved to where the shredder was, and the folders were all thrown away. It took about a week.

Yes, for a week, this company paid a journalist to look through all their very important, very secret documents and then throw them away.

I was beginning to think that my prediction of the future office basement - without rows of filing cabinets - was too extreme. Today, while I was shopping with my younger sister, my theory was strengthened. She opened a plastic folder and struggled with the metal clasp on the inside. When I showed her how it worked, she said: "So, you just put the paper inside? Wow."

* And then I shudder. Yup, those words still scare me. I'm not quite a grown-up yet.

Posted by Julie at 7:36 PM | TrackBack

December 18, 2008

Yes, I took a day off

Yes, I took a day off yesterday, as promised. And today, my excuse is different. But I bet you would rather read a literary classic than my ramblings anyway.

What? You would rather read me than Shakespeare? Aww...!

Posted by Julie at 6:29 PM | TrackBack

December 16, 2008

Coffee stains

What is this? Find out.

Posted by Julie at 12:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 15, 2008

Anne-Cath. Vestly

The first thing that happened to me today was that I found out that Anne-Cath. Vestly is dead. She was a Norwegian author of children's books. As far as my childhood was concerned, she was the only Norwegian author of children's books.

I grew up making way for ducklings, scared and fascinated by robbers, and best friends with Anne Shirley. I generally preferred my fiction to take me to someplace long ago and far away - there was enough realism in the real world.

Norway, my home country, was long ago and far away. Except for summer (vacation, so not real life) and my parents' memories (long ago, and they were grown-ups), it was far more distant than Prince Edward Island and the Boston Public Garden.

I can't think of any other Norwegian author who meant more to me. Because, even though I didn't think about this at the time, looking back, Vestly's fiction was a window into what growing up "back home" was like.

And I'm glad that I pictured Norway the way she did. I'm glad that in Norway, families with eight children lived in one-room apartments in Oslo and still took care of their mormor* who was afraid of taking the tram through town. And that a little girl who played the violin had no father and a mother who worked as a janitor in their apartment building. And that in the same apartment building, another little girl's father stayed at home studying and eventually defending his doctoral dissertation while her mother worked as a lawyer. Although she caused controversy, Vestly's books never seemed overly political. They just told the truth about how children live and think.

The week before Vestly died, I talked about her with my family. Just this Saturday, some of her characters came up in a conversation with my best friend. Today, friends are grieving for "the end of their childhood" in Facebook statuses. I know we'll all read her books to our children.


Related posts

* Mormor = mother's mother, grandmother

Posted by Julie at 11:22 PM | TrackBack

Exam time

Today is the first day of my three-day take-home exam for journalism school. Of course, today I want to write about everything but journalism, and my concentration has been absurdly bad. So I have decided that I won't blog today unless I do something more productive with my school work first.

This means that if I manage to upload anything substantial before midnight, you can all be proud of me. If not, well, wish me luck.


In other news: My coffee machine has been fixed.

(Photo from May 2007, writing my bachelor thesis. The photo was taken on a good day, unlike this one.)

Related posts:

Posted by Julie at 7:43 PM | TrackBack

December 14, 2008

Det er nøye

Ja, det er det.

At det var fire leserbrev fra folk som er enige med meg om akkurat det i fredagens A-Magasin, det gjorde dagen bedre.

Hvis man lever av å skrive, finnes det ingen unnskyldning for dårlig språk. Det betyr ikke at hele verden trenger å skrive feilfritt - selv om jeg skal legge en slik verden til ønskelisten min. Det betyr heller ikke at gode journalister aldri skriver feil. Men hvis man lever av språk og ikke prøver å bruke språk riktig, er det et tegn på at det ikke er språk man skal leve av.

Som det står på Facebook-profilen min under "Groups": I judge you when you use poor grammar. Du som er voksen, skriver mye, men fortsatt ikke kan skrive ditt eget morsmål riktig, du er sikkert et godt menneske på mange måter, men jeg respekterer ikke dine og/å feil. Og løsningen på det problemet er at du skal akseptere at du gjør feil og så prøve å gjøre det riktig - ikke at jeg skal godta at dine feil blir erklært riktige.

Språk er i stadig utvikling. Det er det Snakk som Julie handler om, for eksempel. Hurra for nye ord! Lån fra andre språk! Men hvorfor skal vi gjøre språket fattigere og vanskeligere å forstå?

"Fordi det blir lettere for barn med skrivevansker å skrive da" er et elendig argument. Å gjøre "Alle gjør feil, så da er det ikke feil" til et prinsipp er å ta norsk likhetsideologi alt for langt. Barn som skriver mye feil, skriver mye FEIL. Det er ikke noe å skamme seg over, men det er heller ikke noe å være stolt av.

I den grad jeg bestemmer, heter det aldri informasjoner (det er den eneste gangen i mitt liv jeg skal skrive det liksom-ordet), enda betyr noe annet enn ennå og jeg skiller til og med mellom han og ham. Og uansett hva sprakradet måtte si om det, vil mennesker som kan skrive slik jeg mener norsk skal skrives, gjøre et bedre inntrykk på meg.

Så får jeg bare håpe at jeg blir så viktig at flere bryr seg om å gjøre riktig inntrykk på meg. Og at noen sender meg en mail og retter språkfeilene mine også.

Posted by Julie at 5:48 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 13, 2008

I'll be back tomorrow

Posted by Julie at 9:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 12, 2008

Blogging 2008

I was going to take that day off I warned you about. But then I realized: a meme is better than nothing. So here's the first sentence I blogged every month of 2008:


I'm not dead.


Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy.


For spring break, my friends in Paris all wanted to travel the world, but I could only think of one place I wanted to go: home.


Since you asked, (and then in some cases, pleaded via Facebook), I will start the answers.


Since we have so little time left in this city, each day should be "miraculous", according to Julie*. (* According to this Julie, and also according to Julie Balise)


A friend informed me that my blog "wasn't working".


Three favorite tourist attractions in Oslo: (...)


Til bursdagen i fjor ønsket jeg meg bidrag til mitt kaffefond.


Jeg er journaliststudent!


This Weeks are normally a Sunday thing, but let's just say I was busy/tired on Sunday.


Jan Arild Snoen, skribent for Minerva, kommentator og USA-ekspert, skriver: "Noen må stå for den harde makten, og denne noen er USA. (...)"


December 1st marks a turning point every year.

I didn't do this one last year, but here are the first sentences of 2006.

Posted by Julie at 11:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 11, 2008

Real news, please!

Just in case you haven't seen this yet (it's from 2007, and I found it in my old unpublished draft posts):

Posted by Julie at 12:51 PM | TrackBack

December 10, 2008

"We love learning. We hate school."

Excerpts from the text to go with the video, A vision of students today by Mark Hanson:

One of the most thoughtful and engaged students I have ever met recently confronted a professor about the nuances of some questions on a multiple choice exam. The professor politely explained to the student that he was “overthinking” the questions. What kind of environment is this in which “overthinking” is a problem?

How did institutions designed for learning become so widely hated by people who love learning?

Texting, web-surfing, and iPods are just new versions of passing notes in class, reading novels under the desk, and surreptitiously listening to Walkmans. They are not the problem. They are just the new forms in which we see it. Fortunately, they allow us to see the problem in a new way, and more clearly than ever, if we are willing to pay attention to what they are really saying.

While most of our classrooms were built under the assumption that information is scarce and hard to find, nearly the entire body of human knowledge now flows through and around these rooms in one form or another, ready to be accessed by laptops, cellphones, and iPods. In short, they tell us that our walls no longer mark the boundaries of our classrooms.

And that’s what has been wrong all along. Some time ago we started taking our walls too seriously – not just the walls of our classrooms, but also the metaphorical walls that we have constructed around our “subjects,” “disciplines,” and “courses."

I wish I couldn't relate to this, but I can. When school doesn't command my full attention, my mind wanders - sometimes so far that I miss information from my teachers that I should have gotten. As I wrote here, "I have this theory that if my brain isn't busy enough, it will start searching for something to do." Maybe it's a sign of the times, maybe it's just me. And yes, many students don't concentrate because they can't be bothered. And many students don't work unless the teacher constantly controls them and watches them, and this controlling involves the lazy students actually showing up for class. But these students don't belong in college at all.

I know that I can learn so much more with an Internet connection, a library card and permission to cut class than I can if I go to school every day. If teachers have to force their students to show up to lectures, isn't that a sign that what's happening in the classroom is less than interesting? It's time for a change.

Posted by Julie at 4:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 9, 2008


I got a little carried away and blogged twice today! And I had decided one blog entry per day until Christmas.

I guess that buys me one day off before the 24th.

Posted by Julie at 11:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Kildekritikk av kildekritikk

Sarahs bilder 1 075

Ettersom det finnes lite solid og uomtvistelig bevis i tilfelle Kambodsja, er mulighetene for manipulasjon åpenbare. Amerikanerne, taperne i krigen, har sine motiver for å diskreditere sine beseirere. De har også grunner til å forsøke å skjule sin egen terror fra lufta bak Pol-Pot-regimets gjerninger.

(...) Fortsatt vises disse hodeskallehaugene i vestlige medier. (...) Hvem kan vite om disse hodeskallene ikke stammer fra vietnamesernes egne felttog eller torturkjellere, eller fra amerikanernes bombetokter? Det kan også være et viktig moment at revolusjonen i Kambodsja var en ekstremt radikal agrarrevolusjon. (...) Det kan være gode grunner for makthaverne i [Sør- og Øst-Asia] og andre med interesser i området, til å bruke Pol Pot-regimet som en advarsel: Se hva dere kan vente dere.

Egil Fossum og Sidsel Meyer i Er nå det så sikkert? - Journalistikk og kildekritikk

For å forklare journalistikkstudenter hvor viktig det er å være kildekritisk, viser forfatterne til eksempler på uenighet om antall døde og dødsårsaker i Kambodsja under Pol Pot fra 1975 til 1979. Eksempelet får stor plass i bokens tredje kapittel. Meyer kommenterer også i forordet til bokens tredje utgave at eksempelet fortsatt er med selv om det er historisk, fordi "vi mener det også i dag er relevant."

Relevant, ja, men la meg nå være litt kritisk til pensumkildene også.

Nå skal jeg ikke påstå at jeg er noen ekspert på Pol Pot fordi jeg har lest en halv bok om hans politikk eller fordi jeg har tilbragt en halv dag i et av fengslene hans. Men jeg tror ikke jeg innbilte meg verken hodeskallene, blodsporene, torturinstrumentene eller de endeløse rekkene med mugshots av arresterte - og i praksis dødsdømte - barn. Jeg tror heller ikke de var plassert i Tuol Sleng-muséet for å skremme meg fra revolusjonstanker.

For all del, man skal ikke bli så forferdet over hvor grusomt noe er at man glemmer å være kritisk til hvordan detaljene fremstilles. Og det er lov å betvile Pol Pots grusomhet - ytringsfrihet gjelder, og spesielt i vitenskap som historie. Men forfatterne går så langt som å skrive at det ikke finnes overbevisende dokumentasjon om hvordan kambodsjanere døde på denne tiden - om det bare var sykdom og sult eller om folk faktisk ble henrettet. De går fra usikkerhet omkring antall døde til å antyde at hele historien om tvangsarbeid, tortur og henrettelser er overdrevet på grensen til propaganda. Det er for drøyt, spesielt i en pensumbok som egentlig handler om noe helt annet.

Kildene her - pensumforfatterne - burde vite at den gjennomsnittlige norske student på første året ikke har mye kunnskap om Kambodsjas historie. Vi er dessuten for unge til å ha fulgt med på debatter på 70-tallet. De fleste av oss har neppe lest de gamle nyhetsoppslagene som forfatterne kritiserer før vi møter dem i pensumboken. Så kildene vet at vi er ganske lett-påvirkelige, og de har nok en interesse i å påvirke oss med sitt syn på Pol Pot og Kambodsja.

Fossum, tidligere redaktør i Klassekampen og tidligere medlem i AKP (m-l), virker ganske gjennomtenkt om sin fortid i dette Brennpunk-intervjuet. Så jeg vil ikke tillegge for mye politisk agenda i pensumskrivingen hans. Men Pol Pots politiske program kan man ikke si noe positivt om. Å kriminalisere utdannelse og utenlandsk innflytelse - spesielt når man selv er utdannet i Paris - er galskap, ikke et fornuftig prosjekt som dessverre gikk litt galt. Vet Fossum og Meyer det?

Thaibodsja 008 

Thaibodsja 013

Thaibodsja 016

Thaibodsja 019

Sarahs bilder 1 055

Sarahs bilder 1 063




Fotografier fra Tuol Sleng, juli 2008: Sarah Krusholm Johannsdottir (1, 6, 7), Julie Ragnhild Andersen (2, 3, 4, 5) og Tonje Celin Fonn (8, 9)

Flere bilder fra Tuol Sleng

Posted by Julie at 9:33 PM | TrackBack

Window shopping

You may have pennies in your pocket and not a prospect in the world, and only the corner of a leaky bedroom to go home to; but in your new clothes, you can stand on a street corner, indulging in a private daydream of yourself as Marlene Dietrich. - George Orwell, 1937

There is something to be said for retail therapy. It does not work in the long term, but pretty things have an immediate calming effect.

The one time I actually bought something on a retail therapy shopping trip, it was my one (!) pair of painful shoes, and it was after a disastrous macro economics exam. They made my feet bleed, but they're still shiny and low-cut and go with everything (silver and gold goes with everything!)

The safest and most enjoyable window shopping is after the shops close. I recommend Avenue Montaigne at night. But browser-window shopping is more convenient, and still safe if you keep your credit card in another room. And so... some fashion links.





In addition to recommending D2 and The Guardian Fashion here are the style blogs I subscribe to right now:

Posted by Julie at 12:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 8, 2008


my espresso machine

My espresso machine didn't work this morning.

If you know me at all, you know what that means. In case you don't:

Last time a coffee machine didn't work in my kitchen, I called my parents in a panic, waking them up at what apparently was too early in the morning (too lazy to take care of me in a caffeine crisis!). I completely forgot the existence both of a French press on one of my kitchen shelves and of coffee shops on my way to work. They haven't let me forget that incident, bringing it up whenever they need to prove how high maintenance I am. To be fair (to myself) that coffee machine EXPLODED. No, seriously, it was scary. Suddenly all other appliances in my kitchen switched off and I had hot water and random coffee machine parts all over my kitchen counter.

However, I didn't love that machine. I love this one. When I told friends that I was suddenly moving to Paris about a year ago, they said: "But... your coffee machine..." as if they were saying "... your child..."

And this morning, a morning which for a long list of reasons was not a good one to begin with, I turned on my coffee machine, ground my coffee, flipped the switch and this happened:



Of course I'm only posting this in the hope that once I have, I will wake up tomorrow to a perfectly happy, obedient, working coffee machine. I will realize that nothing is wrong, that it was all my mistake, and that this whole entry is an embarrassment. But I will gladly humiliate myself online for good coffee.

In the meantime, I'm glad I have friends in high places. High places that repair espresso machines.

And just to prove how obvious my love of coffee is, as I write this, my friend Brittany in Washington D.C. posts this photo on my Facebook wall, with the message "This was in the nyt and i automatically thought of you, of course.":


Posted by Julie at 10:11 PM | TrackBack

December 7, 2008

Christmas Wish List 2008

Oppdatering 8. desember: Siden Qvakk først har tatt opp temaet i kommentarfeltet, linker jeg til...

Ønskelister er imidlertid noe jeg lager for folk som vil gi gaver av den tradisjonelle materielle sorten og som ikke vet hva de da bør gi meg.

Posted by Julie at 11:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 6, 2008


SPISE UTE. Mehfel er favoritten, restauranten jeg tar med utenlandsbesøk til, og det første stedet i verden der jeg har likt suppe. Dinner kan gjøre utrolige ting med noe så enkelt som spinat. Ylajali startet mitt kjærlighetsforhold til espresso crème brûlée. Jeg tror det bør bli mer restaurantblogging her...

KLIPPE SEG. Alltid hos Mette på Bygdøy.

SE PÅ BØKER. Engelsk roman-avdelingen i andre etasje på Ark på Majorstuen og Norlis Antikvariat.

BADE. Fra badehuset til foreldrene mine på Malmøya.

Sommer i Oslo 2008c 006

BEUNDRE UTSIKTEN. Ekeberg-restauranten.

Innovation 230908 69

HANDLE BRUKT. Paris. Ikke Oslo.

MENGE MED KIDSA. Jeg er en av kidsa.

ROCKE BYEN. Jeg rocker folks leiligheter.


Og jeg opera-er Underwater.

DRIKKE KAFFE. Tim Wendelboe. Men det er mye annet som også er bra.

Via Frøken Makeløs

Les også:

Posted by Julie at 5:54 PM | TrackBack

December 5, 2008

Anything paper can do...

... the Internet can do better.

Det ser ikke ut til at jeg har praksisplass på digi.no. Eneste fordel med det er at jeg nå kan linke til utgavesjef Anders Brennas innlegg om nettaviser vs. papiraviser uten at det ser ut som jeg bare smisker.

Papiravisenes eneste fordel er at de er gamle og etablerte. Utover merkevaren som dette gir, så har de ingenting som ikke nettavisene også kan gjøre. Papiravisene har rett og slett ingen ting å lære bort.

Andre journaliststudenter lurer på hvorfor jeg vil jobbe på nett. For et spørsmål. Fordi jeg vil ha jobb i fremtiden selvfølgelig.

Posted by Julie at 12:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 4, 2008

December 4th

I am blogging every day this December. I feel that I can finally admit that that is a plan, now that I have blogged three very different things the past three days. So far, so good. Call it a Christmas countdown, or adventskalender, if you want to. I won't tell you what I'll be blogging later this month, or blog curse will set in. But there will be something every day until December 24th.

However, I have spent my blogging hours today writing first drafts of longer posts and trying everything I can think of to make that radio clip available to all of you. I see a lot of website work in my near future. Of course, I also see exams and Christmas preparations in my near future, but I prefer to be busy. So this is my sorry excuse for a December 4th post.

Posted by Julie at 5:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 3, 2008


Jeg har brukt mesteparten av dagen på å lage radio. Du kan høre resultatet her. Programmet er en del av journaliststudiene. Vi kaller oss Velmenende Kvinnfolk, fordi det var det TV-læreren mente vi var. Programmet dere hører er julespesial. Jeg er blant annet stemmen i Velmenende Kvinnfolk Løser Mysterier. Programleder Maria og julekakespiser Peter er tatt opp live i studio. Det hele varer i 20 minutter.

English: I've spent most of the day making a radio show, which you can listen to here. Most of it is Norwegian, but we do have an American guest in our studio. The name of the show, Velmenende Kvinnfolk, translates to "Women who mean well". That's what our TV-teacher called us; he thought we were too PC. This show is our Christmas special. I'm the voice in the segment called Velmenende Kvinnfolk Løser Mysterier - that's the part that starts with the MacGyver theme, or what Maria calls "a little something about Santa". Maria and our American guest Peter are recorded live, and in total the whole thing lasts 20 minutes.

Hope this works, and that the link takes you to the radio show. Let me know if it doesn't.

Update December 5th: The link now takes you to my wiki, where I've uploaded the file. It should work now.

Posted by Julie at 10:43 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 2, 2008

Nothing is off the record

When everyone is a blogger, nothing you say is off the record. A New York-based Belgian blogger and bartender served a politician, got some information and blogged about it. And then she got fired.

News like this starts complicated internal debates about media ethics in my head, but there is no time for a lengthy discussion right now. When I'm doing journalism for school or any publication that isn't my own blog, these rules apply. Blogging however, is not the same thing as journalism. We do not yet have a common set of rules for what is off the record in blogging. We do have common sense (at least the writers worth reading do).

I think of my blog as a snapshot of the part of my mind I allow people to read. And I think the internet is just like real life. And in real life, when you're talking to strangers, you can't really expect things to be off the record.

Off the record is the exception to the general rule. That's why people promise to keep peoples' secrets - doctors don't talk about their patients, friends don't talk about their friends, employees don't give away their companies' secrets, and I've been asked not to blog about things. How many times have you started a conversation with "This is not a secret. Tell someone else if you want."

And like I wrote here, this isn't new. Information is spread faster and further now, but the same principles apply: don't do stupid stuff, and if you must, don't tell strangers about it. Especially if you're a politician. Because - even within "real" journalism - the public has a right to know.

P.S. If I ever open a bar for journalists, I'll call it "Off the Record". What happens there, stays there.

Posted by Julie at 10:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 1, 2008


December 1st marks a turning point every year. Before this date, anyone who gives me Christmas candy becomes an instant enemy, I have black coffee weeks rather than buy milk in Christmas-themed cartons, and if I hear a Christmas song, I panic. It's more than just a protest against Christmas products for sale in October - any Christmasy feeling at the wrong time of year must be avoided at all costs.

My first winter in Norway gave me such an intense Christmasy feeling that no other December can ever compete with it. For the first time I could remember, everyone around me was celebrating Christmas in the same traditional Norwegian way. No one wished me Happy Holidays or made me decorate a paper holiday tree. Instead we sang actual religious songs in class, counted down the days of December before school started and spent most of class time preparing for our end of semester Christmas show. And Christmas was gloriously, definitely white, not "green" which really means gray and brown.

These days, we prepare for exams instead of singing for our parents. And if I use up my Christmasy feeling in mid-October, when it starts to feel cold and drunk people start singing Christmas carols at me when I walk home, then there won't be any left by the time I'm falling asleep over my text books and worrying about having time to buy - let alone affording - Christmas gifts in mid-December.

Starting today, I feel Christmasy without any guilt. Let's hope it lasts.

Posted by Julie at 8:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack