Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page

Farmers Market video

Another new 5-min video, this time from last Summer’s Mercer Island Farmers Market.

Like the others the City has recently posted, this one is well-produced, with video from last year’s market combined with interviews of vendors and passersby.

I think it’s so nice to see news and video like this.  I wonder who pays for this, and what the budget is for doing more of them?


Island Crest and Merrimount Video

Mercer Island continues its race into the 21st Century, with some new videos posted on Youtube.  The first one is a 5-minute overview of the situation at Island Crest Way and Merrimount.  It’s a well-done video, not just a boring head shot, with video from the intersection as well as scenes of the citizen’s panel doing their deliberations.


I have just a couple of comments:

  1. Shorten the intro to no more than 10 seconds (right now it’s a long, 30 sec). and same with the conclusion.
  2. Use wide screen and HD, instead of the SD format as posted.  They probably take the video in HD, so this is probably a consequence of posting to Youtube more than anything else.  Still, nothing beats HD quality.
  3. Where are the maps?  video of traffic accidents?  etc.  [I’m kidding!  obviously more production work would make this a very expensive video, and harder to publish]

“The best is the enemy of the good”, and I’m glad that these videos are out there in any format and any quality.  We need much more of this!

Another Snowy Weekend

Just when we thought Spring was around the corner, we woke up this morning to little white puffs from the sky.  This is what I found in my back yard:

Crocus in the snow

When will it end?

Paul Guppy at Mercer Island Library

Washington State tax revenues for the current state budget ($30B) increased this year, just as revenues have increased for each budget in past thirty years or more. That’s right – in this economy, an increase in total funding for state government, about $1.4B more to spend than in the last budget.  When you read about “budget cuts”, it nearly always means a slow-down in growth, not an absolute cut.

That’s one of the takeaways from a talk last night by Paul Guppy, VP of Research at the Washington Policy Center, a 501(c)(3) non-partisan education organization based in Seattle. 


So why do well-read people not hear more about facts like these?  and why isn’t there a more popular discussion of how to better allocate existing state revenue?  Paul thinks this is because of the narrow perspective shared by journalists in the traditional mainstream media, who in spite of their good intentions, tend to think alike, viewing and interpreting events from the limited point of view you’d expect from people who attend the same schools and live and work with the same community of journalists throughout their careers.

Paul thinks the failure of the Seattle P-I, for example, is simply the result of content competition, and the natural way people turn away from irrelevant information sources when given a choice. In a pre-internet world where news reporting was concentrated in a few hands, you had to read the newspaper – however bad it was at covering issues relevant to you.  But now, with so many rich alternatives available on line, why bother?

About 20 people showed up for the presentation last night, but I’m sure many more interested people would have come if they had known about it. To me, that’s the biggest problem in the post-newspaper world, particularly as the number of news sources multiplies and becomes more fragmented: how do you get the word out to potentially interested people who are not already on your list?  Although each individual news source may be spot-on to the information you want, it can be very hard to spread news and announcements that might be very relevant to you – but that you just didn’t know was there.

West Mercer Kids and McDonalds

This sign was posted at the West Mercer Elementary school science fair tonight.  In a class of 22 students, look how often they eat fast food:IMG_9033

Also see this report on a study of organic foods consumption among Mercer Island kids.

I don’t like to publish kids names on the internet without their parent’s permission, so I didn’t give attribution to the boy who did this chart, but he does great work!

Mercer Island Monthly

The City has a monthly TV news program.  This month’s episode includes discussion of the 40th street improvement project.

Kindda neat idea, except it’s basically just a talking head.  No video, no conversation. Just 5 minutes of somebody reading some bullet points you could have read more quickly on your own.

I like the idea of Youtube videos from the city. It’s so easy to do, and done correctly it makes for a much better way to communicate to the public.  This first episode isn’t worth watching, but it’s nice that they’re trying something new, and hopefully we can look forward to much more interesting content in the future.