Brown Moses, his alter ego Eliot Higgins, and the rise of the self-trained journalist

Brown Moses, his alter ego Eliot Higgins, and the rise of the self-trained journalist


The term “citizen journalism” gets thrown around a lot, used to refer to everything from people tweeting in crisis zones to high-school students covering city-council meetings. But for me at least, one of the people who best epitomizes that term is the blogger Eliot Higgins, better known by his nom de plume Brown Moses — a man who took an aptitude for painstaking research and used it to turn himself into one of the leading sources of information about the conflict in Syria.

I’ve written about Higgins before, and described his somewhat miraculous transformation over the past couple of years, from an unemployed accountant to a pioneering war blogger — one whose research is relied on not just by aid groups and government agencies in Syria but is praised by established journalists like New York Times war reporter CJ Chivers and others. But I was reminded again of how…

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Reading List May 2014

Rebecca Plotnick Photography

It certainly doesn’t feel like May with the weather we are having in Chicago. Spring should be popping in the next week or so. I am looking forward to walking my neighborhood and having the streets lined with blossoms. Here is Paris during the magic hour walking towards the eiffel tower.

_MG_6600 small Paris during the magic hour

I loved this article about Paris Solo. My first trip solo was to Paris and I am grateful I had the courage to go four years ago.

How much french do you need when going to Paris? Find out here 

The top 5 ingredients to make your kitchen more Parisian from David Lebovitz 

Paris vs New York courtesy of the New Yorker

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Learn how this hospital is using the internet of things to improve health

Learn how this hospital is using the internet of things to improve health


We spend a lot of time on the podcast discussing the theoretical benefits of real-time tracking of things or people, but Celebration Health, a hospital just outside of Disney World has actually implemented such a system, using gear from Stanley Healthcare. In this week’s podcast we chat with Ashley Simmons, who is in charge of performance improvement at Celebration Health, about what the organization has done so far and what it has learned in the three years it has been building out a connected hospital.

If you are considering tracking your operations, your people or just using data to help make your company more efficient, the second half of the podcast featuring Simmons is a must listen. And in the first half Kevin Tofel and I try to parse the future of fitness tracking, talk about our experiences with voice recognition on the Toq watch and with the Ubi…

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The New York Times website redesign is great, as far as it goes — which isn’t very far


Having worked for many years on the web side of a large national newspaper, I know that a website redesign is a huge undertaking — and it must be even more gigantic and time-consuming when you are the New York Times, with all that that implies. Not only are there hundreds of moving parts, but everyone is watching you, ready to criticize at the drop of a hat, or the tilt of a typeface. So let me begin by saying that the New York Times site looks great: it’s clean and fresh and has some new features, and that’s great.

What it isn’t, however, is ground-breaking or innovative or even experimental in any way, with the possible exception of the introduction of “sponsored content.” But even that is more of a sign that sponsored content has hit the mainstream, rather than a sign of something new. In a laudatory…

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