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The Headmaster

A secret aspiration of mine is to one day serve as head master, preferably of Lawrenceville, my alma mater. This desire stems from my own inquiry into Lawrenceville’s history and the epic deeds of the great men and women who built that academy, as well as numerous others across the country. Thanks to the wide and relaxed gaze of John McPhee, this archetype even has a literary canon – The Headmaster, his 1966 monograph on Deerfield’s Frank Boyden, a book that grew out of a New Yorker article on the same topic. McPhee’s Boyden resides in a mythical plane that seemed to be frozen in the era just before secondary school leaped into the modern era, complete with legalistic student handbooks, culture clashes, and nonstop fundraising. Boyden exercises that magnificent sleight of hand only available to the truly powerful – his humility is not quite a cloak, but it’s also not quite genuine. His tireless vigil at Deerfield caused it to survive and thrive, in a way that could have surprised even Boyden and his mentor, Lewis Perry, headmaster of Phillips Exeter. I first read the profile in the spring of 2007 as I was preparing to leave for King’s Academy – the school had hired away Deerfield’s headmaster, Eric Widmer, himself also a disciple of Boyden and very much an academic made in his image. Great book.

By the way, you may have noticed I used both “headmaster” and “head master” in this post. The spaced style, head master, is AFAIK unique and indigenous to Lawrenceville, where the principal was supposedly “first among equals” and therefore simply the “head” master.

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Thoughts

Lenfest Institute and Digital First Media?

What if Alden let another organization manage its newspaper assets as a blind trust? It would lose a great deal of flexibility in using DFM assets to leverage other companies it owns, but it would be able to wash its hands of the growing public relations crisis. Furthermore, it would give space for the strategic direction of DFM to be explored and pursued without the added baggage of hedge fund cross-percolation.

Notes on dynamic meters

Notes on newsletters

Notes on the membership model for news

Penn State Campuses Lose University Recognition After Risk Analysis Review

Essays

Capturing Shawmont Station before its $1,000,000 preservation begins – the oldest extant passenger rail station in America

Originally a 18′ by 36′ stone house (Wissahickon Schist), the structure wouldn’t have stood out from the other country homes in this part of Philadelphia, at the tip of the Manayunk Reach, situated at the end of today’s Manayunk Canal Towpath.

Testing WordPress Gutenberg on a high volume news site

Water, sand, and societal change

Apple releases MapKit JS just as Google Maps pricing about to change

Starting July 16, the cost of using Google Maps at scale will increase substantially, so perhaps it’s no coincidence that Apple quietly introduced MapKit JS amidst last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. It’s very possible that I’m missing a key assumption or two in this modeling, but if the pricing differences are even close to the scenario presented above, we are witnessing a tectonic shift in maps as service.

EverQuote and patent medicine

In a thread begun October 2016, Washington Post technology director Aram Zucker-Scharff tweeted about the shady advertising practices of EverQuote, a Boston-based startup. Since then these ads have become prolific on the web (and nearly as prolific are Aram’s tweets documenting the malfeasance).

Lenfest Institute and Digital First Media?

What if Alden let another organization manage its newspaper assets as a blind trust? It would lose a great deal of flexibility in using DFM assets to leverage other companies it owns, but it would be able to wash its hands of the growing public relations crisis. Furthermore, it would give space for the strategic direction of DFM to be explored and pursued without the added baggage of hedge fund cross-percolation.

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