Posts tagged: journalism
Good evening, Netizens…
As I told Jeanie earlier this afternoon, on June 30, the end of next month, we will both have a reason to make special note of the day, for that will be Editorial Page Editor Doug Floyd's last day at the Spokesman-Review before his retirement. According to nearly everyone I have spoke with, Doug has been working for the SR for over 40 years which, by itself, is quite an accomplishment, given all the changes to the newspaper he has seen take place during that time.
According to Doug and others I have spoken with in the recent past, the art and trade of newspaper journalism has never ceased its technological march, from a bastion of typewriters in the news room years ago with huge print presses that vibrated the sidewalks out in front while devouring printer's ink to modern-day computer software. This brings us to the question, what of the future? In his own way, Doug Floyd is a quasi-historian of the newspaper business, as he has seen all the changes unfold in his years as a journalist.
Jeanie, and her father before her, both have enjoyed a close working relationship with Doug over the years, and I am hopeful Jeanie will jump in and tell us all more about her father who, like Doug, once worked at the SR long before computer technology began revolutionizing the business of putting out a daily paper. As Doug quickly pointed out in our conversation, computers and all that implies will never change journalism; only the method(s) by which we create things people want to read.
Fortunately I have learned a great deal from my association Doug Floyd, simply through my involvement with this blog.
However, given the rapid evolution of the Kindle and other alternatives to traditional newspapers, who can tell what the newspaper, much less the blogs of tomorrow will resemble?
Good morning, Netizens…
It is grimy, gray and drip-dry outside this morning, and typically by now I would have already posted stories and comment, as that has typically been my daily regimen for nearly three years. However, those steps will be delayed today, mostly because a band of miscreants, people who were once told they were banned from the Spokesman-Review Blogs because of repeated violations of policies and procedures.
Instead of resting up for the long week ahead of us, first Jeanie and then myself began a protracted study of how several banned users were able to log on and post vitriolic messages, often posting as more than one person. We both began reviewing IP addresses for the suspected users and matching them to user names, and suddenly we stood up together, and with the assistance of Ryan Pitts, we began purging users who could not, for whatever reasons, to be honest and forthright about their identities.
As a result of our efforts, Roger_Young, Fuscia and Uptight_Spokanite all were exposed and their user accounts removed. That is only the edge of the iceberg, because if they attempt to return using different IP addresses or other user names, we will sniff them out. In fact, upon review of the policies and procedures, we may begin enforcing some new rules for those attempting to establish user accounts.
All this because of a few people. Neither Jeanie nor myself are paid employees of the Spokesman-Review but serve as volunteers. We don’t need this kind of time-consuming mind games filling up what little disposable free time we have. Nuff said.
Good evening, Netizens…
As stated earlier, I spent a portion of the week with Mary Carr and her delightful band of Russian journalists who headed on their 18 hour flight home to Moscow quite early this morning. Loathing prolonged air flights as I do, I couldn’t help but feel some pity for them, even allowing for the fact they will be changing planes three times.
However, the highlight of the entire week for me was the meeting with them at Franky Doodles Friday morning to discuss Blogging and journalism. Present were the four journalists, translator Larissa Kulinich, Marty Hibbs, Mary Carr and myself.
Although I had no preconceptions about our meeting, I did wonder in the dark corners of my mind whether or not the Russian journalists were under any constraints about what they could say, whether or not they were being censored, as in the former days of the KGB.
Toward the end of our meeting, when I could no longer hold it back, I sprang with the question whether there were any constraints upon what they could or could not say. When the answer to that question was affirmative, I barely waited for the translator before I asked whether any of them had ever been told they could be imprisoned or executed for writing something objectionable to the Russian Government. Once again, the answer was yes.
I walked away from our discussion of Blogging with a much-clearer understanding of the freedoms we take for granted here in the United States, compared to Russia. As one of the members of the group said, “It is getting better.” However, from my perspective, they have a long way to go before they can freely express themselves, and that their Blogs, such as they are, have a long ways to go before they will enjoy true literary or journalistic freedom. However, so long as there are endeavors such as those undertaken by Mary Carr, there is always hope for the future.
Good afternoon, Netizens…
David Horsey’s cartoon hit it on the head again, for some.
When I began this Blog over a year ago, I admit freely I had some preconceptions of what I was committed to, because for over a decade, I had written in Usenet News on the Internet every day, sometimes four or five times a day. For those who are unaware of it, Usenet news is a similar forum to that of the Blog; the only major difference is Usenet originated with long and sometimes even scholarly treatises written by subscribers. Over time, that degenerated into an exchange of opinions, if you’ll pardon my making light of what later became known as “flame wars” and then amateur (and in some cases professional) pornography took over the alt news hierarchies, and the descent into societal pigsties began.
Today’s Usenet news bears little resemblance to its historical self. I can vividly recall the first time I sat down (on a mainframe terminal, no less) and read “the news”, as it was referred to in that day. Depending upon the amount of time I had available, I could easily spend four or five hours luxuriating in treatises on the latest software developments, often written by the authors of applications and protocols I used in simply navigating the Internet in those days. Of course, there were stories written about places I had either seen or fondly dreamed of seeing, many written by people who were there, in the first-person, or whose experiences were vastly better-informed than my own.
For over a decade I ran my own news server, which was in retrospect either some considerable accomplishment, or simply a waste of electrons; your results may differ. At its peak if offered four established journalists, half a dozen (or more) network engineers, and as many as twenty various others: we wrote about and from the gamut of the human experience. Science, software engineering, the development of the Web as we know it today, the development of the Linux kernel into a working operating system— and then there was politics. If you didn’t like the news you heard on the TV or in the newspaper, as the comment went, you could probably find something more to your taste in Usenet.
I never held to the dream, as shown in David Horsey’s cartoon, of making gunny sacks full of money writing for Community Comment. Not hardly in an age when real journalists, those who have made their living writing each day, are standing out on the street peering in the windows of America’s newsrooms on unemployment. Not when bastions of literacy such as The Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and so many others have already closed their doors for good, leaving some of the best writers in America looking for work.
Printer’s ink still runs in my veins from having worked in the industry years ago, but I recognize writing a Blog is still not journalism. However, compulsive writing can be journalism; it depends upon the years of training and discipline involved. Unfortunately not even good well-trained and professional journalists are making money these days.
Writing an opinion is hardly the same as writing news journalism, and thus, writing a Blog is not the same as being a journalist. Agree or disagree?
Good morning, Netizens…
In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon we have a faux vision of how Seattle must have looked in the 1860’s when the Intelligencer newspaper was in its prime, televisions were an unheard-of development and newsprint was still the king of the news media.
Now we are staring the closure of the Seattle PI, although it remains to be seen if it will continue as an Internet publication, as well as various other newspapers across the country.
Good journalists, including political cartoonists, have been an important faction in American lore, but alas, it does seem as if their stars are fading from the heavens.