Friday, December 31, 2010

The most popular horrible columns of 2010

The following are the most popular columns of 2010 which were written by a horrible person named Ivan Lajara.

1. Sexy study has no sexy pictures
2. Halloween costumes that shouldn’t exist 
3. Bitter news for high-fructose corn syrup
4. Facebook likes to 'unlike' your privacy

5. The best toys you should never give
6. Social media here to stay (call the cops)
7. What’s the fracking problem?
8. Hand wash police have dirt on you
9. Four Loko ban bad for horrid hangovers
10. ’Tis the season for the War on Christmas

The Daily Freeman's 10 most popular entertainment stories of 2010

1. Kingston to get a taste of Anthony Bourdain on Sunday
2. John A. Coleman Catholic High School braces for 'Phantom'
3.  Group looks for ghosts at The Chance in Poughkeepsie
4. John Fogerty performs in Saugerties Sunday
5. ALBUM REVIEW: Stick Men’s ‘Soup’ is hot and nourishing
6. Trolley Museum the set for controversial play 'Dutchman'
7. Cyndi Lauper to sing the blues in Kingston
8. Barenaked Ladies head to Kingston looking to future
9. Wall Street Jazz Festival returns to Kingston
10. Jeff Beck set for Kingston

The Daily Freeman's 10 most popular Life stories of 2010

OK. That last post was a total downer. Here's something better: The most popular Life stories of 2010:

1. Germantown couple gets it right with 'Raising Eyebrows'
2. A budding mystery: Anonymous benefactor brings joy to High Falls
3. Kingston eatery returns a favor
4. At the Egg's Nest in High Falls, the art of cuisine
5. Making waves: Radio morning shows serve up laughter, music
6. Her place, her food
7. Town of Ulster couple looking for answers
8. In Kingston, a cocktail corner
9. Levon Helm to the rescue
10. At Christina's Restaurant in the town of Ulster, Kyriacous serve up Greek hospitality and home-style cuisine

The Daily Freeman's 10 most popular stories of 2010

This (downer of a) list only includes full stories and omits wire stories and listicles (election results, news briefs, etc.)

1. Head of Ulster County drug prevention program caught with heroin, chief says
2. $1 million welfare scam busted in Kingston
3. Computer parts company appears to be closing; 100+ jobs in jeopardy
4. Man kills self at town of Ulster convenience store
5. Friends mourn teen who died in cliff accident
6. Man, 21, shot dead on Kingston street
7. Saugerties girl, 13, critically injured in Catskill crash
8. Woman dies in head-on crash with school van
9. Kingston homicides still stir painful memories after 15 years
10 Felony charges for woman accused of deliberately sending children to wrong school district

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My favorite (kind-of) Freeman videos of 2010

And here are my favorite videos produced or edited by yours truly this year. This is what happens when you give a crazy camera and crazy software to a crazy person.

2011 is going to be a great year.

Videos inside.

The best viral videos of 2010

Here's my short list for what was a great year in viral videos.

Feel free to add yours and I'll add them here.

Videos after jump (All the way across the sky).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Community Media Lab introductory meeting, replay

JRC Chat live at 5 p.m.

Members of the Journal Register Company Idealab (yours included) and anyone interested are going to be holding a Twitter/CoverItLive chat at 5 p.m.

We'll share our not-so-secret journalistic tricks, how to improve our use of Twitter, and how to help train our fellow journalists.

If you are interested in the future of news, you might want to check it out.  The feed is also posted below.  Don't forget to bring your links.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mid-Hudson Valley Snowpocalypse photos

Also, Jessica Hastie sent us an e-mail this morning with some photos of the Uptown parking lot in Kingston, wondering, "So the Mayor want us to pay to park here now?"

Introducing the Community Media Lab

The Daily Freeman's Community Media Lab is a community-focused program which aims to partner Mid-Hudson Valley residents with the Daily Freeman. We are having an introductory meeting in the Freeman's offices, 79 Hurley Ave., Kingston, on Tuesday at 6 p.m. to talk about this new venture.

What you have to do ...
1. Have an interest in improving your community;
2. Be willing to dedicate time to write about the issues you feel are important to area residents;
3. Be willing to exchange ideas with Media Lab participants.

What we will do ...
1. Give you a larger audience and a stronger voice.
2. Provide you with guidance and tips.

If you are interested in being part of the DailyFreeman's Community Media Lab, contact me at (845)-331-5000, ext. 502 or via email at

What do you say? Are you coming?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Kingston fire, from across the Hudson River

Photographer Carolyn Marks Blackwood took this amazing photo of the fire at the former St. Peter's Elementary School at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

SOUND OFF: About publishing the name of a man who tried to jump off a bridge

The following selected comments are all from the story: "Town of Ulster cop stops man from jumping off bridge":

wherewlf wrote on Dec 19, 2010 3:29 AM:
" The freeman never reports the persons name when they succeed in jumping so why on earth do they need to report it when he doesn't succeed? Obviousley this man has some issues and the last thing he needs is to have his name in the paper. "

Photos of St. Peter's School Fire in Kingston

All photos provided by John Bechtold.

St. Peter's School Fire in Kingston

Rest assured we'll be providing you with the latest information as we get it. In the meantime, here's what you have to say about it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

JRC Chat live at 5 p.m.

Mmembers of the Journal Register Company Idealab (yours included) and anyone interested are going to be holding a Twitter/CoverItLive chat at 5 p.m.

We'll share our not-so-secret journalistic tricks, what  new web tools we're using, ideas that didn't work and our visions for 2011.

If you are interested in the future of news, you might want to check it out.  The feed is also posted below. 
Don't forget to bring your links.

Too cold to watch the winter solstice lunar eclipse? Watch the (recorded) livestream

Don't worry if you missed it. The next winter solstice lunar eclipse will be in 2094, according to Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory, who inspected 2,000 years of eclipses.

He told NASA:

"Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21," says Chester. "Fortunately we won't have to wait 372 years for the next one...that will be on 2094 DEC 21."

Monday, December 20, 2010

OMG! Every town in the mid-Hudson Valley is the 'new Brooklyn'

Many a twittering/facebooking person sent me a link to the New York Daily News real estate feature in Kingston on Friday, which called the first capital of New York "Brooklyn north."

I read it with some interest and amusement (It's nice to see people you know or cover featured on big dailies). But there was something off.

I could have sworn I'd seen this type of story before.

Note also that in the photo, 'Downtown' looks a lot like Uptown.

I'm am not trying to say this is not good publicity for the city, or all the other communities involved. But I'm getting a little - just a little - bothered by New York City dailies' condescending tone and the overall tone of the pieces.

All have the same elements.
So here's how to make your "x town is the new Brooklyn" story.

* Feature a hipster who has recently moved to the area (I mean that in the best of ways, unlike this).
* Imply that the town is a crappy place to live.
* Imply that the town is vibrant and cool now because said hipster moved there.


In short, Kingston is not the new Brooklyn. Kingston is the new Kingston. And we should all be proud of that. (Also, what is Midtown, the new Harlem?)

Anyway, kudos to the Kingston Digital Corridor - whose members are meeting tomorrow in an event in conjunction with the Ulster County Musicians Network. I'll be dropping by to livestream some of it (it's a fundraiser for the Queens Galley, and it's at Keegan Ales in the city, so there will be beer).
So I'll see you there.

SOUND OFF: Monday, Dec. 20, 2010

G.Colburn wrote on "Kingston lawmaker wants talks on term limits"
" I don't think the Mayor should have to worry about term limits. I'm sure he'll be ousted come November. "
citizen K wrote on "Sottile touts completion of sewer pipe replacement project"
" Problem identified, funded, worked on, completed.
Very good. That's the basic grunt work in cities... hard to do, not a lot of parades and credit, and it needs to be done.
Thank you for the work, thank you for the article. "
citizendave wrote on "Governor fined $62K over Yankees Series tickets"
" if it were a mets game, it would have only cost half as much "

A revolutionary year at the Daily Freeman

Journal Register Company CEO John Paton's message to employees (and the world) this morning, "What a difference a year makes," includes a video (I want that video editor, btw) that sums up his message pretty neatly.

In short, we sucked before and now we rule (I think I'm paraphrasing). And yes, I am very well aware it's been difficult.

If you look pretty intensely and paused the video a lot (I really mean a lot), you can see half my blurry face for half a second:

You can also see my blurry face for less than a tenth of a second:

What's my point?
I am an egotistical maniac.
Now that we've established the obvious, let's share some cool accomplishments:

Here at the Daily Freeman, in the 10 months since Paton took over the parent company:

* We've gone from offering zero videos (that's 0 for the numerically inclined) to 866 and counting.
* The website has been transformed from a static reproduction of the paper to an organic, ever updated site, and you have noticed. Our monthly unique visitors have grown more than 50 percent. We had close to  200,000 monthly unique visitors in November, our best month to date.
* We've upgraded our systems and equipment by leaps and bounds, from this (note the MiniDisk slot on the 1990s PowerPC):

To this (note the iPad, netbook, Flip camera, laptop, tiny toilet behind them):

* Our reporters have published a gazillion stories (that's the technical term), many right after news happened and from the field with an Android, an iPad, a netbook or laptops. And we've published more stories than before: Five and a half million stories since February (compared to 3.3 million for the same period a year ago).
* Our roster of bloggers went from four to 38 and counting (we added two more last week).
* Our engagement efforts have multiplied dramatically. The Freeman itself wasn't even on Facebook a year ago. We've actually used your help to create some stories, in many cases, in new and innovative ways (check out the crowdsourced path of Billy Joel in the Hudson Valley)
* We've used new tools to complement stories, including live video streams, live twitter coverage and have published primary documents with Scribd.
* Have I ever mentioned the Idealab?

There's tons that I'm forgetting. But the good part is, there's tons more coming. And sooner than you can say "you're a crazy egomaniac!"

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Lights 2.0

Our upcoming map of holiday lights, which you can see but can't read at right (MUAHAHA!), will once again feature an interactive map online of all the entries, not just the ones in the route.

New, this year, however, is the introduction of a Quick Response code which will allow you to map your own course, if you are inclined to do so.

Small recap: QR codes are images you can scan with a smartphone that will take you to a web feature. Below are some free apps that allow you to do this:

iPhone:  Red Laser. QR app;   Neoreader; QRCode.
Blackberry: QR Code Scanner Pro; BeeTagg;  ATT Code Scanner.
Android: Barcode Scanner; Goggles.
UPDATE: I'm told I've neglected Palm: QR deCODEr

Anyway, here's a demonstration:

The feature will be published on Sunday.

SOUND OFF: Dec. 17, 2010

pasnyder wrote on "Kingston closing trash site temporarily"
" It's bad enough that the City has forced us to wait every second week for yard waste pickup. Now we can't bring the refuse to the transfer station (like I have) on those alternate weeks??????

Come on folks. We have to do something about this. Lets not accept these plans. "
fez wrote on "A budding mystery: Anonymous benefactor brings joy to High Falls"
" Wonderful! "
Butch wrote on "Bill preventing big tax hikes heads to Obama"
" Take a look at the pork in this pig! And they have the nerve to be put out because people would like to keep their own money!!!!!
Our government is like an abusive spouse.."but sometimes it's good." The question is, "How much crap are you willing to eat to get a Oreo once and awhile.?" "

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to organize a Twitter chat without even trying

Attention tweeps, members of the Journal Register Company Idealab (yours included) will be holding a Twitter/CoverItLive chat on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 5 p.m.

We'll be divulging our not-so-secret journalistic tricks, and will be sharing what  new web tools we're using, ideas that didn't work (so you don't have to go through that path) and our visions for 2011 (I'm still waiting for the hovercar).

If you are interested in the future of news, you might want to check it out.  I'll post the feed in this blog as well.

Don't forget to bring your links.

Below is most of the Twittersation that created this beast. It's posted chronologically from newest to oldest, so you might want to start from the bottom.

The Hudson Valley Twittosphere

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

SOUND OFF: Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Today's Sound-off features the $31,000 question, a revolution IN ALL CAPS and candy, man!

19uchvny wrote on "Ulster County trash agency boss getting $31,500 raise"
"I don't even make $31,500 in a year "
ulsterhome wrote on "White House seeks drilling OK before hydrofracking study is complete"
" IF THIS IS TRUE...then its time for the people to take the streets - REVOLUTION. DO NOT ALLOW HYDROFRACKING IN THIS REGION WE WILL DO WHATEVER - WHATEVER - WHATEVER IT TAKE TO STOP IT. YOU destroy our land, our property, our values and you will not believe how hard we fight to protect it. HInchey - You and Obama Administration Are Now Officially On Notice! "
AMORRIS wrote on "The candy man can: Michael’s Candy Corner in Kingston makes 3,000 candy canes daily during the Christmas season"
" Great Story for the Holiday. Great work in keeping a tradition alive[ local town business men are a rare sight to see] "

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SOUND OFF: Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010

Today's sound off is brought to you by happy feelings:

Viking1946 wrote on "EDITORIAL: Dutchess darkness"
" Your biased hypocracy is impressive. When will you comment on the gerimanderd district of maurice Hinchey that starts in Woodstock, dips down to pick up SUNY New Paltz, then scoots across the mountains to get SUNY Binghamton, then turns north to get the colleges in the ithica area.

That dilutes the votes of every resident that is your readership with transient students and the known liberal people that make up college environments. "

ulsterhome wrote on "Sex with Hyde Park teen lands man in prison for 12 years"

" What in god's name is WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

We need to re-evaluate 'sex offenders' and NOT EVER RELEASE THEM BACK INTO SOCIETY. The Orange County murder by the un-registered sex offender, the missing girl in VA, this case...We need to get Islamic on these perverts and either 'cut it off' upon prosecution or lock them up on pervert island where they can just clobber each other until none are left. This is disgusting and the problem is worse than ever. "
kingstonian wrote on "Sottile signs 2011 budget into law"
" Once again the Mayor and his band of idiots has failed us. They could find no where to make cuts to get the tax rate to zero like the County did? So every department is running at top efficency and there is no waste anywhere? Hard to believe. "

Monday, December 13, 2010

SOUND OFF: Monday, Dec. 13, 2010

Today's Sound Off, a selection of Daily Freeman comments, is about UFOs, criminals and a guy named "Barrack":

hurleyguy wrote on Area "UFO support group offers place to share questions, experiences"
" Anyone who questions the veracity of this article, who doubts that extraterrestrials walk among us, and that past abductees eschew meat, has merely to visit Woodstock on a Sunday afternoon. Besides, the interviewee has a Doctorate of Metaphysics. You can't get much more authoritative than that! "

geezer wrote on "Four arrested in Woodstock home invasion case"
"These crimes are being committed by locals...I moved here to escape this crap...time to lock doors and keep the old 12 gauge handy...very upsetting!"

Viking1946 wrote on "Federal judge in Virginia strikes down health care law"

"Great news, thankfully it was not heard by the 9th circuit court in San Franscisco. Take that Barrack, the Constitution still has meaning for today."

Friday, December 10, 2010

The production god is dead. Long live the Internet

As you know, it's been a hard but transformative week for the Freeman, having moved print production to Troy. Yes, our mailroom and press employees were let go as a result. I've know many of them for many years and it has been difficult to see them go.

But along with that difficult move comes a ray of inspiration. Our future is looking bright and I'm glad I get to be a part of it.

If you need a refresher, here's Publisher's Ira Fusfeld addressing our future and an illuminating interview by the Watershed Post with Managing Editor Tony Adamis, which addresses "how to make the transition from being a newspaper – which is a good thing to be -- to being a multimedia journalism company."

I'll let Journal Register Company CEO John Patton explain why we are doing what we are doing.

O+ boy! O+Festival donates money to Angel Food East, Queens Galley

From your friends at the O+ Festival

Tonight, towards the conclusion of the Uptown Holiday Open House,  The O+ Festival will present more than $1,000 of their first-year proceeds to two local charities in Kingston. The amount represents a 10% gift that O+ board members agreed to disperse to charities on an annual basis. This year, O+ will recognize Angel Food East, a hot meal program for people living with HIV and AIDS in the Hudson Valley, and Queens Galley, an Uptown-based program that provides awareness, education, relief and prevention of food insecurity in America, for their contributions to wellness in Kingston and the Hudson Valley, and their active commitment to fostering healthier communities. Representatives from all three organizations will be present for a brief, informal ceremony under the Christmas Tree on Maxwell's Patio, commencing at 8:10 p.m. Please join us!

The remaining 90% of O+'s 2010 proceeds are currently going to support the 501-c3 application process for non-profit status, the O+ book project, a music/health event in spring 2011 (more info to come!) and the second annual O+ Festival, Columbus Day Weekend (October 7, 8, 9)  2011. 

Director Maciek Godlewski recently completed a 4.5-minute mini-documentary of the first annual O+ festival 

Keep up with news at O+'s recently relaunched website at (which touts a great feature on the fest in the current issue of Businessweek magazine) and follow O+ at

Thanks for your support in 2010. And please join us tonight in thanking Angel Food East and Queens Galley for making a positive difference, and Uptown for a very great year.

Alexandra Marvar
O+ Media Coordinator


Stolen Borrowed from your comments at the Daily Freeman

Snarky wrote on "Ulster to reappraise possible changes to senior meals program":
" I guess it's easier for Kingston to find ways to get funding for things like parades and fireworks. Oh, yeah, things the people REALLY need. I'm sure the town won't go without their St. Paddy's Day Parade or 4th of July stuff. But the elderly, poor and disabled go without. "

Winslow40 wrote on "Sottile says he supports budget changes recommended by lawmakers"
" Lets lay of some politicians bet we can save a boat load of money... "

beachgirl wrote on "Kingston heeds call to fix City Hall sidewalk"
" Great job! Now if we can get the lines painted on Broadway in front of the YMCA...St. Patricks Day is just around the corner, maybe the AOH people can do it when they paint the lines green for the Parade!! "
 Care to comment? This blog is open.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Daily Freeman rolls off Kingston press for the last time, video

Nice video editing job by WoodstockNick1 means that WoodstockNick1 is really good at video editing. So I would hire him, but he works here already.