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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.

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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…

Here are titles of the 8 essays I’ve written and presented to date before the Chicago Literary Club, since joining in 2005. I will present a new essay related to the use of colors in the world of power and politics on this Election Eve, which I will then also post here. Those of you concerned about the risks of the Electoral College in this year’s elections might take a look at my essay, One Collage Too Many, cited below, for insights and ideas. All my essays are copyrighted.You can pull up the full text of each by searching for the title at the website of the club at http://www.chilit.org

French Fried – From Monticello to the Moon, October 31, 2005
Masai Mara Hood Ornament, March 12, 2007
Samuel Johnson and His ‘Clubbable’ Friends, January 21, 2008
One Collage Too Many, November 3, 2008
Breakfast with Mr. McDonald, October 26, 2009
Acceleration, November 8, 2010
All That Glitters…, November 21, 2011
Bozzy’s Last Lap, James Boswell, The Great Biographer – 1789-1795, April 23, 2012

Yes, there definitely should be a TV program called The Poll Show. You can’t watch or listen to 5 minutes of any news or opinion program anymore without hearing endless political poll results, more than often qualified with the caution that the comparitive numbers results are “within the margin of error.”

In a way, many of these broadcasts have become The Poll Show, insofar that their content is mostly the reciting of the latest political poll results and commentary about it. When did polls replace real journalism? If there is but one election, why do we need literally thousands of pre-polls to try to measure emotion?

Guess what? The election itself is the real poll. But what would the vapid, endless news and opinion “shows,” and they are mostly “shows,” rather than true programs, have to talk about if it weren’t for these polls. And how can the pollsters find new and meaningful people to poll, over and over again, when most people I know hang up on pollsters or anyone else soliciting them by phone, if they answer their phones at all?

The great “Poll Show” is everywhere’ indeed, and one of the first election reforms I’d like to see is for the so-called news media to forsake most political polls as meaningless exercises in temperature-taking that fill time for advertisers and give lazy news and opinion commentators something to talk about.

With today’s announcement that the print edition of NewsWeek will soon be no more, I lament the chance to hold it in my hand, take it to breakfast, and change out each week’s issue in my coffee table magazine piles (I guess I’ll have a lot more room soon on that coffee table).

Here’s what I wrote about Newsweek, which has been with me for 53 years, a while back on this blog:

Newsweek Should Stay

June 18, 2010 in Magazines, News Media | Tags: Literature, News Media (Edit)

As a high school civics student, I subscribed to Newsweek, and checked off every story, every week, as I read them all, from my most to least favorites. Maybe that had something to do with my getting interested in journalism; that, and liking to write and being a reporter for the school paper. But that, my friend, was 50 years ago this past spring.

I’ve subscribed to Newsweek (http://www.newsweek.com/)most of the time since, except during a short stint in Vietnam as an Army press officer (no magazines received there). I was just reading it over lunch today, and enjoying the good and relevant stories as much as ever. Now, the Washington Post has Newsweek for sale, and they say there have been some 70 bidders, including a Chinese news agency rumored to be associated with the Chinese government. Newsweek is losing editors and writers, and losing money more than anything. If the magazine itself were any thinner, it could be used for stuffing shoes.

But I think it’s still terrific, and a must-read up there for me with The Economist, Fortune, Wired and Popular Science. Editor John Meacham, a frequent guest on Morning Joe and other topical political shows, is one bright, articulate guy, even if he seems a little sad lately. I may be a loyal old softy, but in my book, Newsweek deserves to continue, in print, digitally or otherwise, but continue it should. It still informs, enlightens and stimulates, and that’s more than you can say for a lot of so-called news media.

You know those ubiquitous “news crawls” that appear across the bottom of the TV screen throughout cable news shows, often obscuring part of what you’d like to see onscreen?

Have you noticed how increasingly the so-called breaking news they were created to showcase just isn’t kept as up to date anymore? I just saw another one, reporting “breaking” news that was broadly reported several days ago. The old adage, “if you don’t have anything to say, keep your mouth shut,” could well apply here. It’s not journalism when it’s just news junk!

I can see interrupting regular programming with a news crawl when there is new, hot, important news, but just to make a screen busy and distracting is a negative. If some of these TV stations and programs don’t start investing in keeping their news crawls relevant and up to date, and boring me with old junk news, I may just retreat one step further away into this internet. How about you?

That’s right, DirecTV and Comedy Central have broken off negotiations over renewing their 7 year-old contract, over money, and so viewers of the Daily Show, the funniest, best and just about only candid and honest political TV news show on the air, will no longer get the program if they subscribe to DirecTV, like we do in Wisconsin.

If you, or someone you know and like, subscribes to DirecTV, or has any mercy on those who do, go online NOW to DirecTV and Comedy Central and tell them to grow up and settle their differences, or we’ll just have to sit out this election!

TIME used to be the weekly opinion magazine, while NEWSWEEK, that I’ve subscribed to since high school, used to be the balanced, largely non-political  magazine that was true to its name. Now, it is chock-full of opinion, and independent and very well done, in my opinion.

Tina Brown, British editor-in-chief, not surprisingly has an insightful editorial and feature on David Cameron’s relationship with Barack Obama, and an even more incisive feature on how Obama has rolled over, twice, when confronted with Bibi Netanyahu, on Palestine and Iran. We learn how the TSA is a rip-off, with nearly 4,000 bureaucrats with an average salary of $103,000 in D. C. alone, and $57 Billion in spending since 2001, stopping not one terrorist. We hear the Dharun Ravi may be a jerk, but probably  should not go to prison. We learn how Putin has swept aside reform and a move away from oil dependency in favor of a bigger Russian military budget.

NEWSWEEK a weekly must-read: thought-provoking, succinct as always, and better done than ever. Check it out: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek.html

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