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 good economic results happen to bad presidents
    Washington Post headline: Jobs in manufacturing are indeed up and we have no idea how to fit this into the narrative that the world is about to die under Trump. (Or something like that.) I wish the story had pointed … Continue reading →
  • Fascism and the free press
    Let’s take a look at a couple of concurrent things … First: Many news organizations have fought back against Trump’s anti-journalist incitements.  A Poynter roundup opened with a good statement of purpose. Yes, the Trumpistas will simply yell and scream … Continue reading →
  • Goodbye Twitter, at least for now …
    I’ve been harassed on Twitter. Not to the extent of Sandy Hook families or female journalists. But just enough to know what it’s like. I can hardly imagine what other people go through. And it’s clear — from the Rose … Continue reading →
  • Best 100 TV episodes of the century … sort of
    I got one-third of the way through The Ringer’s list of the top 100 TV episodes of the century and figured I should do a post on it. So as I start this, I have no idea what’s to come … Continue reading →
  • gniksam sdrawkcab fo noitanimaxe nA
    Two posts this month, each one a reaction to an Ultimate Classic Rock post. Maybe I need to diversify my reading? This one is on backwards-masking. Remember that? Remember when millions of kids played Led Zeppelin backwards and grew up … Continue reading →
  • Reviewing the “Every Rush song ranked” article
    I thought I took on a massive task when I reviewed every Rush album through 2008 (see most of the “rush” category here). I didn’t realize until today that I’d forgotten to review Clockwork Angels, so I’ll do so here: It’s … Continue reading →
  • The “Life of Brian” debate, nearly 40 years later
    Having spent a day on the soccer fields and being ready to think about anything other than soccer, I watched something I’ve been meaning to watch for years — a legendary BBC program in which John Cleese and Michael Palin … Continue reading →
  • Every recap of The Americans, ever
    I watched the first couple of episodes of The Americans and was quite impressed. But it’s a little too intense for me, especially given what happened to these families in real life. But I’m interested in what happens. My hope is that … Continue reading →
  • Review: “Last Days of Knight” is flawed but essential
    Cross-posting at  ESPN is gambling these days. The new “30 for 30” documentary, Last Days of Knight, gambles on three levels: It’s being shown exclusively on ESPN+, the company’s new pay service, a good way to draw attention to it … Continue reading →
  • Jenna Fischer’s wonderful new show … and why it won’t last
    I checked out the first episode of Splitting Up Together today, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That said, I’m not sure I’m interested in watching another episode. Of course, I’m *rooting* for it because I just love Jenna Fischer. She … Continue reading →

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