What we’re not building 

Jonathan Stray writes on the editorial products we’re not building.

A moderated place for difficult discussions. Traditionally, journalism has tried to present an objective truth that would be seen as legitimate by everyone. I’m not convinced that truth always works this way, and I’m sure that no institution today has this sort of argument-settling authority. But I do see a need for unifying narratives. Americans are more polarized than they’ve been in decades, and we fight online about everything from catcalls to tax rates. Perhaps there is a need for a safe place to talk, to know the other, with real human moderators gently tending the discussion and discouraging the trolls. When everyone can talk, the public sphere needs fewer authorities and more moderators. To me, seems a natural role for journalism.

Source: Take two steps back from journalism: What are the editorial products we’re not building? » Nieman Journalism Lab

4 reasons that May is and will be awesome

  • #BCNI15 was yesterday. It was great to meet and hang out with smart friends, old and new.
  • For my birthday present, Kate bought tickets to see FISHBOOOOOOONNE on Wednesday.
  • On the 15th, we’re flying down to Hawaii for a week. So far the plan is to spend three days on Kauai, two days in Honolulu (Kate has a conference) and end up on Big Island. I’m taking suggestions for things to do.
  • If all goes according to plan, my first long story for BDN Maine should be out by the end of the month.

‘The tyranny of the 800-word article must end’

“What people read online, when you look at the data, is shorter stuff that’s focused, creative and social with a really good headline. It doesn’t mean it’s unsubstantial. It just means it’s really clear about what’s interesting and focuses on that. A lot of the 800-word stories have been padded out with the B matter. It’s called B matter because it’s B grade, not A matter, which is the focal point of the story.”

Source: Quartz’s Kevin Delaney: Time to kill the 800-word article – Digiday

How I became a coffee snob

Sometime in 2013, while I was on tour with Elijah Ocean, I became a coffee snob.

I had grown to dread truck stop coffee, which was either burned, or too weak to have any noticeable effect on my central nervous system. I was also spending a good portion of my meager daily budget on shitty coffee.

When crashing on someone’s couch, it was a pain to rely on them for the 2 to 5 cups of coffee my body demands within 20 minutes of waking up. And when you travel with a band, rallying the troops to get everyone to a coffee shop, Waffle House, or breakfast place can take literal hours.

But! What if you could make your own amazing coffee wherever you traveled? What if you didn’t need Starbucks, McDonald’s, or Pilot?

So in Baton Rouge, I bought an Aeropress. It changed my attitude toward traveling.

Making a delicious cup of coffee became easy. I’d pick up a bag of fresh-roasted single-orgin beans and make a cup whenever I wanted. It put a dent in the tedium of touring and gave me a fun distraction (look, sitting in a van for 6 to 12 hours every day gets old; it doesn’t take much to be entertained.)

Example: Here’s my buddy Aaron on a later tour with Michaela Anne, making coffee at 75 mph:

Our fucking-around gauge reads exactly 0.000.

A photo posted by @dsmacleod on

For the next tour, I picked up a hand burr grinder, a metal filter (I don’t know if this is the one I have, but the principle is the same: no paper waste) and a cheap digital scale.

Now I have everything I need to make amazing coffee wherever I go.

Here’s my Aeropress recipe. There are myriad versions out there. This is just the one that works for me.

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 grams of freshly ground coffee
  • 210 grams of water (30 seconds off the boil)

STEPS

  1. Invert Aeropress
  2. Pour in enough water to wet the grounds
  3. Stir mixture until all the grounds are wet. Wait 30-45 seconds.
  4. Pour in water until scale reads 85 grams. Briefly stir.
  5. Turn Aeropress at 45-degree angle and spin 10 times so the grounds and water swirl together.
  6. Put filter and cap on Aeropress. Flip over onto mug.
  7. Press plunger down slowly. Stop the moment you hear a hiss.
  8. Put mug on scale, zero it out, and pour in 125 grams of water to dilute.

Here are my favorite single-origin beans:

Gnar Pow And The Shredding Thereof

Season tickets obtained for Labrador Mountain — a tiny little bump located a mere 30 minutes from our home. I’m really excited to live this close to a mountain for the first time.

We went out yesterday for our first runs in four years — and first ever with our new boards. My Burton Process is amazing. I’ve never had this much control on a snowboard.