When you think about it, the fuss over "Deflategate" - the controversy about whether the New England Patriots, in violation of NFL rules, deflated footballs below the standard pressure to gain a competitive advantage - seems pretty amusing. ESPN's reporting on the controversy? Not quite as amusing. As a former journalist, I would categorize ESPN's coverage as shoddy at best, irresponsible at worst. In fact, the hack job that ESPN has executed should be studied by journalism students as a classic case study on how to botch what might have been a compelling story. How, exactly, has ESPN messed this up? As a famous Bard once said, let me count the ways: Off to a Bad Start ..



When I was a kid Password was a TV game show hosted by Alan Ludden, also known as Betty White’s less amusing half. Like most of the great game shows of its era, it featured the opportunity to see just how smart, funny and personable some of your favorite celebrities were in real life – people like Elizabeth Montgomery, Jack Klugman, Tony Randall, Paul Lynde, and Betty White herself. And of course, Orson Bean. I even had the home version of the Password game, and it was pretty fun. The object of the TV and home versions was to give clues to your partner and help them guess single-word “passwords.” Watching and playing this game was really the only ti ..


Think puny

We’ve recently been working on a digital advertising campaign for one of our clients. The campaign includes “billboard” and “leaderboard” ads on a couple different websites. It also includes one ad designed for the tablet format, and one designed for a mobile app. That’s a mobile phone app-- you know, the size of a mobile phone screen. The ad boasts a prime position at the bottom of this particular news app’s home page, under the feature stories. It depends on the size of your phone’s screen, but on my iPhone that mobile app ad is, in real measurements, 5/16 of an inch by just under two inches. I know, because I measured it with my old ..


Duel of the Dawdlers

(This article appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine on July 13, 2014) There is one area of my life in which I always come in dead last. And I couldn't be more proud. You see, whenever I fly, I have to be the last one on the plane. No exceptions. When I look around the gate, there can be no other stragglers, no other challengers vying for the title of "Leader of the Back." I’ve had my challengers. Some have proven to be worthy opponents. But all have fallen victim to my legendary patience and fanatical desire to bring up the rear. A recent return trip from Las Vegas, however, proved to be my Waterloo. After the first four waves of passengers had boarded, I s ..