I was saddened to learn today of the death of yet another journalist friend — David Bird, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He had been missing since Jan. 11, 2014, when, according to police reports, he left his home in Long Hill, N.J., for a brief walk through nearby wooded trails. David was a liver transplant recipient and in need of regular medication, and his disappearance led to an extensive search and the creation of a website — finddavidbird.info — devoted to his safe return. Dow Jones and Company, the Journal’s parent, even offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his whereabouts.
Police announced at a news conference that a body pulled from the Passaic River this week was positively identified through dental records as David’s. (This disclosure comes a little more than a month after my friend David Carr of The New York Times died suddenly at work.)
I guess you can say that I learned to do journalism with David. He and I both attended Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., and were in many classes together. We also both wrote for the school’s newspaper, the Rider News.
David was a standout at school — funny, smart and probably the best student in my classes. I always thought he was destined for great things and never dreamed he’d someday be the subject of a national news story himself.
David loved journalism and yearned to make it big in the industry. He once wrote about the other David Bird, a staff reporter for the Metropolitan section of The Times whose byline occasionally made it to the newspaper’s front page. (The other David Bird, incidentally, got his start working for The Trenton Evening Times, not too far from Rider, while in college; he died in March 1987 of cancer at the age of 61.)
After graduating from college, David and I went our separate ways professionally — he to the Dow Jones new service, and I to The Associated Press. We reconnected in the early ’90s through a mutual friend. David had “won” a party at a Midtown bar, and I was invited. We stayed in contact for a year or two, but then lost touch again. I heard little about him until last winter when I read about his disappearance in the news.
It’s not known exactly how David died or whether foul play was suspected. Either way, it’s a tragic way for a life to end. My only hope, really, is that his family can find at least a modicum of closure.
After more than two months of uploading reams of content, then tinkering, and tinkering some more, I thought it was finally time to unleash my new professional website on the search engines. (The site was “live” from the start, but I kept it “hidden” from search engines while building it.)
And so it didn’t take long for the website rankers to take notice. That very high number you see to the left is my SEO (search engine optimization) ranking according to Nerdy Data, a self-proclaimed “Search Engine for Source Code.”
It was far better, actually, than the even lower ranking from Alexa, the Amazon.com subsidiary that provides commercial web traffic data — its global ranking was 23,477,497.
I’m not looking for a rush of traffic, really, just some interesting projects to work on. Still, I’d be curious to see if these numbers improved in, say, the next six to 12 months.
I’ll keep you posted.
After an epic, two-and-a-half-hour commute from work during a snowstorm (You don’t wanna know!), I had this little beauty waiting for me, the culmination of three years of challenging work, scripted, of course, in traditional Old English font.
I can honestly say that enrolling in the Interactive Media program at Quinnipiac University some three years ago was one of the best decisions I ever made, both professionally and personally.
Granted, it took me a year longer than most other students in the program to finish, but I have enjoyed (make that: savored) every step of the way. I’ve learned to code, animate, edit video, and create special effects and visual designs. I am now able to analyze web design through information architecture (I’ll never look at a website the same way again) and understand the role of a project planner. Along the way, I’ve also met a diverse group of talented people from around the country, both professors and fellow students. Everyone, regardless of age, background or profession, had something salient to offer.
Interestingly, my favorite classes, which I seemed to excel at the most, were the more technical ones that I had initially feared. They fostered creativity while helping to develop problem-solving skills – often that meant toiling ‘til the wee hours of the morning to get a code or special effect working properly, and loving every minute of it.