- TNR/McCaughey watch. As mentioned here numerous times, starting 14 years ago, The New Republic made Elizabeth McCaughey a public figure in 1994 and has been trying to mitigate the damage ever since. Concluding installment, under the circle-closing headline "No Exit" [also the title of McCaughey's original article], from Michelle Cottle here.

- Unknown gigantic cities watch. In my story last year about the surprisingly intense struggles within China to improve environmental protection, I mentioned a visit to Zibo, a coal-and-ceramics center in Shandong province. Zibo is one of countless cities in China that few outsiders have heard of but that are larger than, say, Chicago or Milan. The always interesting Moving Cities site, a Beijing-based effort to document urban design in fast growing cities, recently took a trip to Zibo to show what it looks like. Description and four photo essays about Zibo can be found here. (Note: for me, the Javascript on this site always stalled with Firefox. Worked OK with IE, Chrome, and Safari.)

Downtown view, with housing from the 1980s onward -- horizontal black bar is part of the site's convention for presenting photos: 


On the way into town:


Alley that I've walked down myself, with pre-1980s housing:


- Problems of the press watch. I am grateful to Jake Seliger, of The Story's Story site, for a retrospective of my 1996 book Breaking the News. He makes the discouraging but, I think, accurate point that the arguments and criticisms from back in that era are all truer now. I have thought several times about revising or updating the book but have held back for two reasons. One is the shark-like instinct that it's worth always moving ahead to new territory. The other, that the central points to make remain the same; the details would differ and be more depressing.