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If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed.

If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.

 

—Mark Twain

(courtesy of Ed Weed)

One nice thing about getting to be an older man is that one no longer needs to give a damn about taking a strong position, and after just watching Trump in what was billed as his first press conference as President-elect, I’d rate him a one on a scale of ten, as he might say in commenting on young actresses.

Nice try, Mr. Trump. No, he didn’t even try.  In my 40 years of conducting scores of corporate news conferences and press briefings, I’ve never seen even the most calcitrant and abused CEO treat the press with as much open disdain as Trump did today. He courts the most intense scrutiny from the press any President has ever seen. I spent my career trying to build honest-broker relations with the press. In that respect, Trump is a total disaster, and if that is what his “base” wants to see, they are only confirming how “base” they are.

The loser in all this is not the press, it is you who are reading this, because of the questions not allowed to be asked and the questions remaining unanswered. You know, the French have had 13 governments since the original French revolution. That means they have peacefully thrown their entire government out 13 times. At this early stage of Trump’s reign, I’m sad to say it seems we may be due.

As much as I personally admire John McCormick, who heads the Trib editorial board, I have never been more disallusioned by a finding of that august group than by their endorsement of Gary Johnson for President. He seems a dimwit, even by the languishing standards of the 2016 campaigns. As does Donald Trump. Only Hilary Clinton strikes me as having the deep experience, sound judgement and overall character and competence to be worthy of election. SupportingJohnson is a cop out in my mind, and one that could deliver the Presidency to an ill-tempered fool, who might throw away the American dream in some midnight whim of fancy and retribution.

From today’s Milwaukee Business Journal:

Fans of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s print edition can take heart: The CEO of the newspaper’s owner predicts continued publication of a hard copy “for a long, long time.”
Milwaukee is the media market where Journal Media Group (NYSE: JMG) has the greatest daily newspaper penetration with consumers, so the print edition will remain safe for the foreseeable future, said the company’s CEO Tim Stautberg.
“I suspect in a market like Milwaukee, it’s a long, long time (for continued printing),” Stautberg said at a joint luncheon Tuesday of the Milwaukee Press Club and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee at the Milwaukee County War Memorial.
Stautberg has been CEO of the new publicly traded company since April 1 after the closing of a transaction involving Milwaukee-based Journal Communications Inc. and Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Co. Prior to taking the helm at Journal Media Group, Stautberg was the top newspaper executive at Scripps.
Journal Media Group consists of the Journal Sentinel, 13 former Scripps daily newspapers and a number of community newspapers.
The print edition of daily newspapers remains the preferred way of attaining news for many consumers, Stautberg said. He said 45 percent to 50 percent of adults still read newspapers.
“To me there is still a habit that is very important to a lot of folks in the communities where we operate off reading a physical product,” he said. “I like to remind folks that a newspaper is actually the first mobile app.”

Rollin Stone CoverRolling Stone magazine has got into hot water, as being widely reported today, over bad, poorly researched  reporting of a supposed gang rape at a college fraternity. I personally experienced such a case of Rolling Stone sloppy reporting some years back, when the magazine attacked the journalism school of one of the nation’s top colleges. They took quotes from the informal Q&A session following a guest lecture I gave on campus totally out of context to support the false premise of their reporter, who had it out for the college. Their story was widely picked up by other major national media, such as was the recent rape story they broke, and that Rolling Stone story could have had major reputational consequences for my organization, as the recent story did for college fraternities. The Rolling Stone’s bad reporting nearly cost my job, and only the intercession of the chairman of my board, who was a frequent skeptic of news stories, saved my position. Yet that badly reported Rolling Stone story has followed me for many years.

Rolling Stone has done some break-through reporting over the years, but their standards of cross-checking and journalistic integrity have often gone wanting, and other more diligent news media and magazine readership are wise to look more deeply into accusations made by Rolling Stone before taking their stories to the bank.  .

The latest furor over the Boston bomber is his picture on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, or rather the reaction of some retail businesses, refusing to sell this issue. It is a classical, visceral response triggered by the association of the alternative media reputation of the magazine with the attractive picture of the young man, as if it were some kind of endorsement of his deeply anti-social act.

Of course, it is and it isn’t. The cover copy describes him as a “monster.” And the same photo has appeared elsewhere, including in the New York Times. But, the combination of the appealing photo on the cover of this infamous alternative media publication seems to imply to some that he is being treated as some sort of rock star.

I have my own reasons for disliking the style of Rolling Stone, having once been personally attacked in its pages, and quite inappropriately so. But I suppose Bill McCrystal thinks the same thing about himself.

Anyway, that some companies like Walgreen drug stores refuse to sell this issue of the magazine is their own business, in my view. After all, companies are made up of people, just like magazines, and they have a right to their own views. The bomber is repugnant, and on this most agree. How we choose to treat him in the court of public opinion is up to each of us, and the private sector organizations to which we give our fealty. But what the courts do is a matter of law, not just of taste. And the taste we have in our mouths is a pretty awful one.
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Well, I’d thought the Chicago Sun-Times was a newspaper, if not a very good one at that. Now they are not, as they have fired their entire 20-person photography department saying they need to produce more video! (see story link below)

I love journalism, and was trained as a journalist, and have even taught it at the college le level. I also love the internet, and use it to stay in touch. While I can’t get direct delivery of a newspaper, I subscribe to the Chicago Tribune digitally, and see it in its print form on the screen, and can dive in and blow up stories and photos easily. Same with the New Yorker and the Economist and the Wall Street Journal.

The Sun-Times? Trash, even digitally.

http://soa.li/O3a8Qja

Chicago Sun-Times lays off its photo staff
The Chicago Sun-Times has laid off its entire photography staff, and plans to use freelance photographers going forward, the newspaper said.

The Justice Department’s overly aggressive and intrusive invasion of the Associated Press, and their stomping on the First Amendment rights of a free press, is cause for all Americans to be outraged. The checks and balances built into our democracy require active oversight by the people and their representatives. The how and why of this apparently excessive use of investigative power should be made public, and if there are substantial reasons in the public interest of why AP was invaded by the feds, the American public and the professional journalism community deserves to know.

The 50th anniversary celebration of the James Bond movie legacy was an Oscar’s highlight to me, personified by Shirley Bassey, still sultry in her 70s, and her powerful rendition of Goldfinger, emblematic of the Bond series and of an era when the power of gold still shone.

I wrote an essay rooted in those times, “All that Glitters,” which captures my own rendezvous with the gold vault at Fort Knox and the empty promises its symbolism held for me. You can find my essay by searching at http://www.chitlit.org for the title. Below is an excerpt:

“It was a cold late October night, four years later, as I hopped off the back of a military truck, my M14 rifle was handed down, and I reported for guard duty, marching the muddy perimeter fence at a mysterious place, the fabled United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox.

“A few months before, I’d completed my degree in journalism, at Bradley University. As I trudged shivering along the barbed wire-topped fence surrounding the dimly lit vault building, 50 yards over my shoulder, I could barely imagine how my own path had brought me to this odd place.

“Absentmindedly, I wondered if the inside of the nearby vault looked anything like it had been portrayed in the newest James Bond film, Goldfinger, filmed right here at Fort Knox just the year before? And, were there still mountains of 27-pound solid gold bars, some 4,600 tons worth, stacked only yards from my humble guard path, or had those billions long since been trucked away and dissipated into the world’s coffers, as had been rumored? I wondered what was true, and what was just illusion. I was so far from any answers.

“In another seven months, I’d leave Fort Knox, bringing along two very small gold bars of my own — worn on my shoulders. My little war story had begun.”

Just hit a cumulative 30,000 hits on my WordPress blog. Yeah! Not major media but more than my Hotmail and Facebook friends list combined.

Guess I have work to do to maintain this little franchise…

August 2017
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