Lorne Matalon

Birdhouse Hosting is thrilled to welcome Lorne Matalon, a journalist covering all things Latin America for many distinguished publications:

Lorne Matalon has reported from Mexico and Latin America for “The World”–co-produced by the BBC World Service, WGBH, Boston and Public Radio Int’l–since November 2007. Based in Mexico City for nearly three years, he now divides his time between Boston, Mexico and other and Latin American nations, most recently Guatemala and Panama.

Lorne’s site is a collection/portfolio showcasing a vast archive of amazing journalism over the years, and I’m pleased to have been able to work with him on it over the past few months.


Birdhouse Hosting is pleased to welcome genderindex.org, which is actually two related sites running on two related platforms. genderindex.org runs on Drupal, while my.genderindex.org runs on Django.

The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) is a new composite measure of gender discrimination based on social institutions. It measures gender inequality in five areas: Family Code, Physical Integrity, Son Preference, Civil Liberties and Ownership Rights in 102 non-OECD countries.

Mundus Journalism and More

A ton of excellent new sites maintained by journalists and artists have been added to the Birdhouse Hosting roster over the past couple of months, including:

Angela highlights issues related to women, girls and people of color in the Bay Area and abroad, and groups that have been historically misrepresented by the media.

Bloom began working in journalism as a newspaper reporter in Park City, Utah, covering everything from the Sundance Film Festival to skiing to town hall politics.

As a science teacher, I have the special privelage of getting to know my students and enjoy every one of them for what they teach me as well as what I might teach them. The values of their parents and the raw culture of our society greet me each day as plain as the eye can see when I walk into every class.

Raise The Roof is a free iPhone app with one simple goal in mind: to get you to dance with your iPhone and have a little fun. The app gives meaning to that infamous dance move “raise the roof.”

Green Tulip designs for textiles, T-shirts and the Web are truly handcrafted one by one. The look of each design is original because each design is made from scratch. Green Tulip designs are made from materials that feel good in the hands: paper, scissors, glue. Each design is defiantly non-digital to ensure a handcrafted feel even online.

Kim Bennett is an artist and writer based in the San Francisco Bay area.

An international consortium of universities and media outlets work closely together to run the Mundus Journalism programme.

I am currently a candidate for a master’s in journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. Before graduate school, my background was mostly in print journalism. Now, I am focusing more on producing multimedia features for the Web, particularly on business topics.

“My undergraduate thesis, which began with a summer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was on connections between the Unique Games Conjecture and semidefinite programming-based approximation algorithms.”

All sites also listed at the ever-growing list of Birdhouse Hosting Sites.

Article Journal

Birdhouse Hosting is pleased to welcome Article Journal:

Article is an online journal based in the San Francisco Bay area that strives to provide a venue for heartfelt and engaging conversations about art. We believe in talking openly and assuredly about inspiration, imagination, magic, politics, ideologies, atrocities, spirituality and love. These are the elements that define what we make and how we see.

Peter Brantley, Vision Forum, Swedenborg

Birdhouse Hosting is pleased to welcome several new web sites that have gone live over the past few weeks:


This blog seeks to advance the use of network-based communications and media to develop new services and products that enable people to enrich their lives and transform our society through web and mobile technologies.


The VISION FORUM, a ministry of the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, was founded in 2008 to increase awareness of the reality of the human condition and the promise of hope and healing offered through education and the arts leading toward a sustainable, just, and peaceful world.


Finally, a lovely church site for a wonderful local community:

The mission of the Hillside Community Church is to provide a place of worship for the community and to facilitate spiritual growth.

Significant Objects

Birdhouse Hosting is happy to welcome Significant Objects, the latest brainchild from Hermenaut Josh Glenn. The project is so interesting I’m going to run the whole back-story:

significantobject-trollmouthRob Walker and I are amateur students of the “cathexis” via which significance accrues to inanimate objects, particularly ones that aren’t as obviously meaningful as, say, heirlooms, travel souvenirs, or objets d’art. Rob’s “Consumed” column in the New York Times Magazine attempts to figure out why consumers respond the way they to do particular products, from consumer items to TV shows; while a book that I coedited, “Taking Things Seriously,” asked 75 writers, artists, and other creative types to describe the surprising significance of unlikely-looking objects found in their homes, offices, and studios.

Agreeing that narrative — stories — is the vehicle through which insignificant objects become significant, Rob and I decided we’d run a test. We’d ask authors to tell stories about worthless objects that Rob and I had purchased at thrift stores and yard sales for a couple of bucks at most. Would said objects then become significant? If so, how to measure such a transformation? Rob’s brilliant/funny solution: Put the objects on eBay, using the authors’ stories as the Item Description (while making it clear that the story was fictional), then see if the objects sell for more than we paid for ’em. We’d pass along all proceeds from the eBay sales to the authors; and we’d send the item and also the story to the winning bidders.

So this spring we contacted 35 authors, some of whom we knew and admired, and others whom we just admired. The response has been very gratifying, indeed. Posted today: Great object-oriented stories by Lydia Millet, Matthew Battles, Annie Nocenti, Lucinda Rosenfeld, and Luc Sante. Coming soon: More objects, and stories by Stewart O’Nan, Matthew Sharpe, Cintra Wilson, Ben Greenman, Michelle Tea, Kurt Andersen, Rebecca Wolff, Mark Frauenfelder, and Bruce Sterling, among other talents. Eventually we hope to publish 75, or maybe 100, stories about these ex-insignificant objects.

I won’t keep sending emails, but we will post one or more new objects/stories to the website every weekday. So stay tuned! Please read the stories, leave comments, bid on objects (cheap!), and most importantly, please help me SPREAD THE WORD.

Price of Sex

Birdhouse Hosting is proud to welcome a chilling, but expertly produced new web site by photojournalist Mimi Chakarova, priceofsex.org:

Chakarova has spent more than six years reporting on sex trafficking in Eastern Europe and parts of the Middle East. The site features a series of interviews with young women sold into prostitution against their will, multimedia video pieces, reporting notes, previous work that launched on PBS’ Frontline/World, NGO resources and ways to get involved. Chakarova says:

Please spread the word and leave comments on the site. Your input is invaluable. And as always, I am grateful for your support and interest in my work.

Poor Babies, Backyard Media, Hilowbrow and More

It’s been ages since I’ve promoted Birdhouse Hosting customer sites here on the blog — but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped taking on new users! Here’s a quick list of some of the best new sites to join Birdhouse in the past six months (full list here).

As a writer and multimedia journalist, Wroth brings subjects to life with fresh and media-appropriate use of photography, audio, video and the written word. She earned a Masters from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism in May 2008. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, she focuses on food and agriculture, health, and urban renewal.

“Middlebrow is not the solution.” A Josh Glenn project site.

Kid-friendly version of the classic Archive of Misheard Lyrics.

Jaime Gross is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco, California. She writes about culture, design, art, architecture and travel—and the places where they overlap—for the New York Times; T, the New York Times Style Magazine; Travel + Leisure; Dwell; and Town and Country, among others.

Jackie and Seth are spending a couple years in Switzerland, living just outside of Lausanne in Renens VD.

“Raising Children in Mandarin and English. This site is part of my never-ending quest to find and share resources that make learning Chinese a fun and organic part of our children’s lives.”

Poor Babies
Life is Tough for the Rich and Powerful. Another Dan Gillmor project.

From journalist/technologist Dan Gillmor comes Mediactive: A Users’ Guide to Media in a Networked Age. “My goal is to help people become active and informed users of media, as consumers and as creators. We are in a media-saturated age, more so all the time, and we need to find ways to use media to our — and our society’s — best advantage.”

Tom Abate is a former small-press publisher turned newspaper reporter who lives in Castro Valley.