Selected clips


Growing up, I found music more interesting than sports.

I devoured every issue of Rolling Stone and Musician in between sessions at the piano or on my guitar. My classic rock sensibilities followed me through my classical music studies as a music (and philosophy) major at Duke, where I interviewed guitar legend Richard Thompson (page 18) and a host of jazz luminaries (page 3 — and yes, Clint Eastwood was there). I wrote about my percussionist days, and I still harbor dreams of being a bass player in a semi-progressive rock band.

So I have plenty of music posts at my personal blog, Mostly Modern Media. You’ll also find some fun reads on television and comedy. My friends at the entertainment site Popdose also let me write.

I’ve also had some brutally honest reflections on my occupation, journalism, starting in 2000 with my grad-school projectThe Changing Face of News in the Information Age. I warned of journalists sacrificing accuracy and context to be “first” with the news, and I worried that readers would personalize their information to the point of ignoring everything that doesn’t fit their world view. I hate being right.

And I’m not just a sports-and-rock guy pontificating about journalism. I spent much of my career on news desks. At Duke, I covered the sentencing of the “bogus baron” and wrote opinion pieces on letter grades and academicese. At Ozy, a couple of decades later, I wrote about Millennials spurning small towns in a piece that was picked up at NPR.

But the biggest non-sports piece I’ve ever written was a Guardian piece on the revival of Flat Earth theory. Written in 2016, not 1716.

Projects and indexes

Recent music

Latest at Mostly Modern Media 

  • When to ask the tough questions and when not to
    Had a legitimately interesting conversation on Twitter yesterday, starting here: What you’re describing is stenography. Not journalism. Your continued failure to acknowledge your role in this mess is why you continue to be a grave embarrassment. — Imani Gandy … Continue reading →
  • Star Wars NEVER made sense. Get over it.
    Oh no! The Last Jedi ruins our sense of canon! Why would Luke act that way? (For the record, Mark Hamill has walked back some of his misgivings:) I regret voicing my doubts & insecurities in public.Creative differences are a common element … Continue reading →
  • A response to “Liberals Need to Take Their Fingers Out of Their Ears”
    Dear Mr. Edsall, Please forgive me if the salutation is too formal. I was brought up in the South to say “yes, sir” and “no, ma’am,” and while I have modernized a bit depending on context, I felt it appropriate … Continue reading →
  • Europe vs. America
    I spent the first 27 years of my life in the United States, most of it on the East Coast. I had never been across the Atlantic. I’d never been farther west than Texas. The East Coast, I’d covered. I … Continue reading →
  • Holiday giving idea: Support journalism
    News organizations generally aren’t nonprofits. Their owners have ranged from somewhat benevolent people with a genuine interest in journalism to your basic everyday robber barons. So, under ordinary circumstances, none of us would suggest adding a news organization to your list … Continue reading →
  • To interview or not to interview a Nazi
    You probably know this by now: The New York Times ran a story on a … white nationalist? Nazi? They were accused of “normalizing” Nazis, prompting a thoughtful response from the editor and a strange, defensive response from the reporter, who seemed … Continue reading →
  • Unraveling the Confederate flag
    Our town has a pretty big Halloween parade, and it’s an annual tradition to toss blankets and chairs along the parade route to stake a good viewing spot. Yesterday, I saw this: Yes, that’s a Confederate flag blanket on the … Continue reading →
  • Anarchist/antifa philosophy and tactics just a wee bit counterproductive
    Attention conservative or “yes, Trump is evil, but when will the Left address the other side” people: Most people I know on the “Left” (whatever that means) want nothing to do with these idiots and have done a far better … Continue reading →
  • What about whataboutism?
    Like a lot of bullying tools, “whataboutism” is powerful because there’s a bit of logic to it, however twisted it may be. In fact, on the meta level, it’s easy to use whataboutism to fight complaints about whataboutism. Most people … Continue reading →
  • A few links about Charlottesville
    I’m not to the point of writing something that’ll put everything in context. But let me just share a few things here that demonstrate two points: A lot of Republicans are far more willing than the president to stand up … Continue reading →

Full clips by topic: music, tv, reviews, academia, books