Where Have All the Reporters Gone? To the Internet Every One

“The Internet, put simply, is a low-cost communications network. Everything else, like the web, builds on top of that. And having so much information online can be a gold mine for reporting . . . Silicon Valley is a caldron of innovation.

But all of the big issues surrounding technology impact on the world – like automation, economic opportunity and income disparity – are playing out outside the tech hubs, across the $20 trillion American economy. Tons of research is being done on those subjects, and it’s all online . . . What it means is that you can test your assumptions for any trend or explanatory story . . . The other similar change is the ease, speed and cost of one-to-one communication means you can talk to far more people, wherever they are, on any given story. (NY Times, 6/28/18).”

So it’s all about the innovation and change. But that may not be the information people are looking for. It seems that a lot of Americans (not the majority) felt that the country had to be made “Great Again.”

Ray Myers

P.S. Happy Fourth of July. Enjoy the holiday “week.” Will be back on Monday, July 9th.

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Cartoonist Plans to Trump White House Tweets

I am a fan of political cartoons that taunt and tease political leaders. Particularly in the case of over-bearing, pompous, and presumptuous elected officials who believe they are beyond reproach. I think you may have known one or two, but if you don’t, please take a look at the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Rob Rogers, a political cartoonist with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for 25 years, recently lost his job for not being politically correct in the eyes of the newspaper’s owners. Here is how he described his ouster by the owners: “I was trained in a tradition in which editorial cartoonists are the live wires of a publication – as one former colleague put it, the ‘constant irritants.’ Our job is to provoke readers in a way words can’t. Cartoonists are not illustrators for a publisher’s politics.”

Rogers promises that: “The paper may have taken an eraser to my cartoons. But I plan to be at the drawing table every day of this presidency.”

Ray Myers

Fighting Against Trumpism and Racism – Not a War of Words

It’s just too easy.  We can write blogs, tweet our anger about the state of affairs in the U.S. today, but do you often wonder about who is really listening or who really cares. It is all so easy and self-satisfying to let people know how angry and upset we are.  But at the same time, do we really begin to ask ourselves whether this is all having any impact?  Mere words may not be enough.  

I think the Bully-in-Charge (a.k.a, the so-called president) really has the upper hand.  He uses Twitter to communicate with all his adoring fans, and they really like it.  Nothing is really complicated – just listen to my harangues and we will all feel a lot better.  He will lead us in making America Great Again.  Just read and believe!  He is tweeting while “Rome burns,” and very few seem to really care.  I am sure we can all write statements in opposition to all this “fake rhetoric” but what have we really accomplished?  Many worry that ceaseles statement -writing is sucking us dry.

In a New York Times’ opinion piece on Sunday Tiya Miles wrote: “I doubt my own courage and wonder each day whether I could deploy my body beyond the relative safety of marches approved by permits.  But I am certain of this: The change we seek to make won’t be accomplished by words alone.”

Ray Myers

I Tweet, Therefore I Am

With acknowledgement to Rene Descartes, a seventeenth century French philosopher, I am borrowing this title phrasing from one of his original works entitled The Principles of Philosophy.  In Latin you may say, “cogito ergo sum,” but not many people speak Latin any more.  In English, it means “I think, therefore I am.”  But strangely enough, we now have a “so-called President” in the United States who likes to “Tweet” (not “think”) both day and night, sharing his pithy thoughts with anyone whom may be interested, or just plain curious?  So it appears that he is not really thinking too much about how accurate his tweets may be, but more about how frequently, and most recently, how angry they can be.  

“It must be partly a matter of bad timing.  Mr. Trump came along just as the mainstream media, especially newspapers, were trying to come to terms with the Internet.  Hoary concepts like “objectivity” and “balance” were giving way.  This was a good thing, believe it or not.  Reporters no longer had to pretend that after spending weeks or months on a story, they had emerged with no opinion about it.   The word ‘I’ could now be used to refer to oneself, rather than ‘a reporter.’   Mr. Trump, already dislikable, became the first test case of the new mindset (Kingsley, NY Times, 4/30).”

“With his use of Twitter as a sort of brain dump, exposing his thinking to the world at all hours of the day and night, he has made social media almost a part of our constitutional system (Kingsley).”

Ray Myers

P.S.  Thanks for all the birthday wishes over the weekend.

Trump is the Darling of the Heartland – Changing the Media Landscape

Trump knew where his message would have the most appeal, Heartland, U.S.A.  And please don’t try to sell subscriptions to the “New York Times” or “Washington Post” of you are traveling there.  No one is buying anyway.  Now these media mainstay publications, along with others, have been looking for an Internet age strategy, but “nobody has found it.”  Why browse through a newspaper when you can just “order up” the news you want to read online and forget about the rest.  That seems to be what most of middle America has been doing this election year.  Just get on the Internet and find something you like (it takes so long to read those old print news articles anyway).

I guess the proof is in the fact that he won the Presidential election with the overwhelming support of midwestern Americans.  They elected a man who has rarely traveled west of the Hudson River his entire life (well, okay, New Jersey and Philadelphia to broaden his world view :).  One adventuresome online news service based in New York City, ProPublica, is now trying to establish some Midwest roots.  It is expanding into Illinois with a 10-person editorial team – laudable to be sure, but it can’t begin to make up for vibrant local papers with dozens of beat reporters, statehouse bureaus and investigative teams.  Even with a move to the Midwest, “many in the news media believe that news organizations must rebuild relationships of trust with citizens, even Trump supporters.”  Now if only I am able to figure out how that trust was lost?  Is that really what happened?

So the suggested strategy is for the Democratic Party to change the media landscape (good luck with that).  I think in most cases, people will read what reinforces or confirms their perspectives on the world in general.  To learn more about your world takes more than just reading your favorite newspapers or listening to your favorite newscasts.

Ray Myers

All the News That’s Fit to “Media-ate”

So how do you get you local news these days?  And are you really that interested?  National and international news reporting is becoming increasingly Internet or social media-based.  If you are really connected to your local community the old-fashioned way, you might be getting the local news from neighbors or merchants that you meet on a daily basis.  But I don’t think that is happening so much today.  Local news is being eclipsed by twenty-four house news cycles on television and the Internet.  Our first stop in finding out what is happening in our communities seems to be our favorite media news outlet, but your local news will not be the headline stories.  Remember when local or regional newspapers would land at your doorstep every morning and national and international stories would be updated on the evening news TV broadcasts?

I guess my age is really showing.  Why would any one have to wait?  The world is much “closer” now.  We can get the news any time we want, pretty much anywhere we may be.  But I believe that there is something in print news reporting that often can not be replicated by the media alone.  A well written news story that provides more background and context around current or past events can provide us with deeper understanding of the “news.”  I think that even the reporting about current presidential campaigns in the U.S. is becoming more a story about campaign conduct in general than about the candidates’ speeches or political positions.  Perhaps the media itself is creating this message more than they even realize (or they do realize in “selling” the news).

Maybe it is all about being entertained, and the electronic media knows how to do this best, and eagerly becomes its messenger.  Unfortunately  it takes time to read the newspaper, and if you do, you might find yourself becoming more interested in what is happening nor only around the world, but in your own backyard as well.

Ray Myers