Saturday, July 19, 2008

Time Mag Moves To Become Hotspot For Politics Discussion

Time magazine is introducing a sort of point/counterpoint (only point-point) page for Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain to write a weekly essay on an issue of Time's choosing. The page will be called "In Their Words."

This'll be nice. Brilliant move on Time mag's part. Hopefully the speeches will actually be written by them and not policy aides/wonks. I'm more inclined to think Obama's will be his own and McCain's, well, I'm not sure.

Info from, quoted from Time:


Two weeks ago, we presented dueling essays by the presidential candidates on the nature of patriotism. This week, Senators Obama and McCain face off on their strategies for Afghanistan. Their essays inaugurate a regular feature called In Their Words, in which the candidates will share a page and debate an issue of our choosing. Every week, we give you great reporting and analysis on the presidential campaign, but now we're also offering you the unvarnished and unfiltered views of the candidates so you can compare them side by side.
...Go on

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hey Now. You're an All-Star

Anyone watch the All-Star game tonight? I tend to watch sports in spurts. Watch an inning, then flip to something else on a commercial.

Nevertheless, two comments. What was with the display of man love for Steinbrenner during the pre-game? I think I saw Yogi slip the boss some tongue. Secondly, are ball players genetically disposed to chronic spitting? What the hell are they eating? I haven't seen as many spitters since the women walking the streets of Philly.

Comments? To those in New York, what was it like? Atmosphere? Noise factor? Affect on transit? ...Go on

Race For Blanco

As a child (and arguably as an adult) my art skills weren't even good enough to elicit platitudes comparing my work to abstract. I remember going to my grandma's house and coloring. For school and at home, I had the standard box of eight crayons. But when I went to my gram's I got to choose from 64, everything from sky blue to fire red and those sparkly ones. The rainbow in a box also had a white crayon, which had hardly been used.

As I fill out applications for internships and job openings I am increasingly irritated. In addition to causing posterior pain, the self-identification section is hurting my self-esteem.

In an application I can't mark any of the good boxes. I'm a fully abled, non-veteran male who is able to work legally in the U.S. with no prior felonies. If that weren't bad enough, I'm also "white." Every other group gets better options, like Pacific Islander. I'd hire a Pacific Islander solely on that fact.

Obama gave his race speech. Here is mine. I want a race option that's better than a non-color. Thanks to my sister, who is an artist and coincidentally able to color inside lines, I learned that white is not a color. I want something with a hyphen. Whoever makes these applications usually sticks "white" at the bottom of the options. So, as I'm going through the application I'm reminded of all the things I'm not.

Furthermore, none of the other groups are defined by color (or non-color in my case). But what are the alternatives? Caucasian? Cracker? Honky? All viable options, but none of them sing to me like a Pac-Islander.

In my paranoia and attempt to explain why I don't get called for interviews I deflect all personal responsibility. I do what most "white" people do. I pass the blame.

...Go on

Monday, July 14, 2008

When Life Is But A Framed Picture

So us reporting interns got a second managing editor at our Philly newspaper this week. If first impressions are all they're cracked up to be, then this guy has got a pretty big ego. What's the tip-off? His framed certificate for best AP reporting in the state.

Now, in all fairness, this is certainly a recognition of efforts that is something to be proud of. However, I think it's more than a bit much when on your first day at a new job, you carry the framed certificate with you into the conference room where you're meeting the reporters - who would ideally respect you for your work and not your accolades - who you'll be working with. It also seems odd when that same framed certificate finds a permanent home on that editor's desk, right next to the computer, exactly as if it were a framed photograph of his family or kids.

This seems counterproductive to me, even after I take a moment to try and give him the benefit of the doubt. He appears to be a good person, and seems to want recognition and respect, extending his pride and joy simultaneously with the first handshake. Yet respect comes not with titles and awards, but with mutual effort and a strong [in this case, work] relationship. Seemingly identifying himself so conspicuously with his material accolades kind of sabotages, or at least makes more difficult, a clear understanding and mutual respect between editor and reporter.

On top of that, he seems to be big on cutting large portions of our stories in favor of succinctness because "it's AP style." This is in contrast to the other managing editor's approach, which is straightforward and concise without infringing on the reporter's style and voice. He actually explains his thought process behind the edit and the explanation is more rooted in readability and clarity than a book of rules.

What do you guys think? Perhaps some perspective will help. ...Go on

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Media Reacts To Being Duped

The Chicago Tribune, along with many other papers, were quick to print corrections Friday for the missile photo printed and posted Thursday. This article provided some context to other video manipulations circulating the web, while the Trib also ran this as a news piece highlighting the differences between the real and allegedly altered photos.

Benderoff interviewed Bob Steele, journalism professor at DePauw University.
"We're not only gullible but we're becoming greedy as consumers," said Bob Steele, an ethics professor for journalism at DePauw University in Indiana. "We want more and more information and we're willing to believe anything these days.

"That greed is manifested in putting out a lot of information that is not properly vetted and verified. That's dangerous. Not only does it erode the credibility of news organizations, but it also erodes the confidence of our society in what we see."
I was reading Thursday about Australian media and there was an essay regarding representation. I had read a similar argument earlier in a media criticism class, but it goes something like this: photos and videos are merely representations of the real and can never equal the real. There's some mention of simulacra and simulacrum, both of which ultimately confused me at the time.

This argument is of interest especially as our society's insatiable hunger for content, regardless of credibility, continues to grow. As Professor Steele had said we demand increasingly more information. But these images and videos that we demand, despite being limited representations of an event, carry the ability to influence actions and attitudes.
...Go on