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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 8/13/16 edition

August 13, 2016

Can we all agree, that with Ledecky, Phelps and Biles leading the way, the US team’s performance has been nothing short of unbelievable?

Can we all agree, every Baby Boomer has noticed that the average age of Olympic athletes has been creeping up for the last few years, but now the athletic senior citizens are actually winning medals?

Can we all agree that the Simone Manuel story could be the best of the first week?

Can we all agree that Hope Solo, losing goalie for the ousted US women’s soccer team, would be better off keeping her mouth shut?

Can we all agree the nationalistic back-and-forth over drug use by Olympic athletes really masks the fact that the IOC has bungled the issue for years?

Simone Manuel looks at her time in the 100 meter freestyle event in Rio. (NY Times photo)

Simone Manuel looks at her time in the 100 meter freestyle event in Rio. (NY Times photo)

Can we all agree that NBC has sabotaged their own ratings, particularly on the West coast, by forcing viewers to watch taped events when we all know the results?

Can we all agree the more interesting stories, may have been the real-life look at what goes on that TV cameras don’t show, and some that come across in living green?

Can we all agree, if Donald Trump had not refused to release his tax returns, the details of Hillary Clinton’s return would have been much bigger news?

Can we all agree the top news story of the week should have been the Federal report on the inner workings of the Baltimore Police Department?

Can we all agree that if the new leadership at Fox News was supposed to mark a new beginning, the Murdochs have come up empty?

Can we all agree that, in case there was ever any doubt, Facebook’s decision to force ads on to user’s pages, removes all doubt about who their real customers are? (Hint, it’s not the 1.71 billion active monthly users.)

Can we all agree that if reincarnation is real it might be nice to come back as the Greenland Shark which can apparently live for over 500 years?

Can we all agree that Mr. Trump’s  explanation that he was being sarcastic when he called Mrs. Clinton and President Obama founders of ISIS, rings pretty hollow, especially to his supporters who tried to defend him for two days before he changed his tune?

Can we all agree his ISIS accusation may be a calculated attempt to take attention away from his horrifying statements on what ‘second amendment people’ should do about Hillary Clinton – even before she is elected?

Can we all agree, no one is surprised that the NRA continues to back Mr. Trump?

Can we all agree that Mr. Trump has totally lost any chance to criticize the latest batch of emails from Mrs. Clinton?

Can we all agree it’s distressing to know that gun control supporters in the US seem to have the same opinion of our gun laws as ISIS?

Can we all agree it’s pretty frustrating to debate Mr. Trump on policy, since most voters don’t understand the subtleties of statements on topics like economic theory?

Can we all agree that even Mr. Trump seems to believe he’s going to lose the election? Of course he thinks it’s rigged although polls show him losing swing states by double digits.

Can we all agree the GOP move away from Mr. Trump has turned into a stampede?

Can we all agree that every Democrat in the country is worried about the hacked DNC emails that will probably be released between now and the November election?

Can we all agree that the debate about who was sitting behind which candidate shows just how far the  presidential campaign has sunk?

Can we all agree we really didn’t need any more examples of how reckless our police departments are with their firearms, but we got two more this week?

Can we all agree, it’s tough to know what the DEA was trying to do in their announcement this week, declining to reclassify marijuana?

Delta passengers waiting for answers. (Reuters photo)

Delta passengers waiting for answers. (Reuters photo)

Can we all agree that when a simple power outage can cause the cancellation of over 3,000 flights, you really don’t understand the meaning of ‘backup’?

Can we all agree it’s hard to believe that the Japanese emperor needs permission to retire?

and finally:

Can we all agree, if this story doesn’t make you emotional, you can officially consider yourself jaded?

And, for all my journalism fans, two stories that might restore your faith in newspapers?

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Would You Reprint Charlie Hebdo’s Cartoons?

January 13, 2015

Ever since the attack on Charlie Hebdo last week I’ve been wondering what I would have done if I were still an editor at a newspaper.

The day after the attack, I was consumed with embarrassment for my profession when so few papers, who reported the murders, printed any of the offending cartoons.Madonna-Uses-Paris-Shootings-Je-Suis-Charlie-to-Promote-Her-Album-469566-2

As part of their coverage some publications in Europe did print a cartoon, but except for the Washington Post, I’m not aware of any major US publications who printed an example.

Even the Post printed the cartoon on the editorial page leaving the news columns free to describe the artwork. They, like the New York Times and other publications, claimed the actual drawing ‘were not relevant’ and their message could be communicated in words.

Clearly the cartoons were relevant, and just as clearly, mere words could not describe why the cartoons led to the attack. In truth, after looking at a sampling of the cartoons, I found many childish, insulting and tasteless, but I would still defend their right to publish them.

Almost every religion came under attack, but according to some, only the Muslim faith specifically prohibits depictions of their prophet.

My outrage, was tempered by a good friend, recently ‘retired’ from a small local publication, who noted that if had been editor, he’s not sure if, as a married father, he could take the risk of publication, even in a small hometown weekly.

Would the emotions of any editor be any different. Presumably they could all be the mothers or fathers of young children, and publication would open them up to the same fate as Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists.

I guess my anger was more rooted in the excuse that the cartoons “were not relevant” to the story. I just wish the editors would admit they were scared and, while they knew that failure to publish meant the jihadists had won, they would be honest about it.

I had the same thought this week when the new cover of Charlie Hebdo was released and the announcement in my email, only showed half the drawing.

I still don’t know what I would have done, were I still the editor of a newspaper or even if I should use a cartoon to illustrate this blog post?

But I hope I would at least be honest with my readers.

Maybe, if somehow everyone published the cartoons, there would be strength in numbers like the 1 million French citizens who marched in defiant solidarity in Paris last weekend.

 

 

 

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Local, World Politics

August 24, 2011

Filed under: Coaching,Journalism,observations,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 4:22 pm

You never know when international news will make its way into your life.

I just got back from my local bank. It’s the only branch, in what qualifies as ‘downtown,’ in my little community of 5,000.

I had a bunch of checks to deposit and since there was no one else in the building, I listed them on the deposit slip  and asked the teller to do the addition. While he was adding, I noticed his name looked Middle Eastern, and when he counted the checks in French I asked if he came from Northern Africa.

I guessed Morocco, but to my surprise he said, “Libya,” then added ,”It’s a good day to be Libyan.”

I couldn’t help but ask how felt about what was going on and it was clear that he was both proud of his native country and a bit worried. “I am very happy, not just for me, but for my father. He never thought he’d see the day…” His father is here with him but he admitted they were already thinking about when they could go back, at least to visit.

I asked what he thought would happen next and he offered,”It depends who takes control. If it’s a Muslim country – meaning the majority is of the Muslim faith, then it will not be a problem. But if the Islamists get a foothold and take over, it will be as if, a certain dictator never left.”

I asked about tribal conflict, which the Western press has been harping on, and he said, ‘The tribes are not a problem, It’s not like Iraq. The tribes are families, but they are all Libyan.” I wished him well and he offered his hand and a heartfelt,”thank you.”

You may think that international politics is far away, but to paraphrase Tip O’Neill “it’s all local.”

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Arianna and Patch.com

February 7, 2011

Filed under: Journalism,Management — Tags: , , — admin @ 4:21 pm

I’m a big fan of Patch.com and their local news gathering operation – even if they are owned by AOL. It was interesting to hear Arianna Huffington being interviewed today about the puchase of her Huffington Post site by the AOL content empire (at least in their own eyes).

The only AOL division she chose to name while answering question on The PBS Newshour was Patch.com. I’m not sure if it was a random thought, or if I should be nervous that Ms Huffington will start monkeying around with what has become a pretty successful formula for local news gathering.

AOL and Arianna had conference calls with all the AOL properties which will be under her control but singling out Patch.com would make me a bit nervous if I was one of their local editors. I’m not the only one expressing concern.

Only time will tell, but I really hope I don’t wind up reading local news as dictated by the folks in Washintgton D.C.

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