Post v. NY Times

As the class-list battle rages I’d like to point out the difference between the Post’s front page story, picture and headline and the New York Times article. The New York Times headline, “THE 2006 ELECTION; For Incoming Democrats, Populism Trumps Ideology,” reflects what is REPORTED in the story– that “in interviews with nearly half of them this week, the freshmen — 41 in the House and 9 in the Senate, including one independent — conveyed a keen sense of their own moment in history, and a distinct world view: they say they were given a rare opportunity by voters, many of them independents and Republicans, who were tired of the partisanship and gridlock in Washington.”

Dorian is right, sometimes the facts are biased. But the facts of the findings of the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group were not highlighted by the post headline. The post picture and headline meets a bi-partisan study group’s authors and all of the Americans that agree with withdrawal with name-calling and finger-pointing because it conflicts with the publishers open political agenda. C’mon now–can you really say the Times article does the same?



The Digital Divide

I used to think the term described the gap between digital haves and have-nots. Now I know it is a snarky little virus found all around us.

You know what I mean, right? Curmudgeons in the newsroom v. innovators of great import. Covering a neighborhood v. chasing an issue. Phonograph v. tape deck. Problem is, this type of discourse is not only as old as innovation itself, its also boring and juvenile.

This conversation seems to be setting up an unnecessary divide. In my opinion, if you’re still up in arms about which publication tool is cooler, you’re behind the curve.

We should all know we’ve been blessed with choice.

I can offer no real solution to the snarkyness that pervades discussions of the online news era that is upon us. Except just to just stay out of it. After all, I am under 50.

Darfur: black on black violence escalates—-blogger booted out.

Today’s New York Times finally puts Darfur in the position of prominence deserved by all out war and genocide–front and center. Without the U.N.,  rebels backed by nearby Chad and  Eritrea, believe they have no choice but to fight and defend. Meanwhile the Sudanese government in Khartoum, which is always looking for reasons to reject pleas by the international community, sent the most powerful U.N. official in Sudan, packing.

Jan Pronk, U.N. envoy to Sudan, got booted out after he posted on his personal blog that the army was suffering defeats and low morale.

Looks like blogging isn’t so harmless after all. Is this the first blog debacle to directly alter the course of international diplomacy?

Once Again


CIA operatives have a good view of the killings in Sudan. They can watch genocide unfold from where they are stationed in Khartoum.

That’s because since September 11, the U.S. has considered Sudan an ally in the war against terror. Oil companies can also watch atrocities unfold from nearby. Numerous oil interests are served by keeping Sudan unstable and the continuous flow of oil is helping fuel the genocide.

…Just another case of follow the oil…

Return of the kvetching grandma

Of all the things I heard on Thursday the soundbite that keeps reverberating in my ear as I sit down to write this, is one of our speakers’ cheery assertion that maybe Iraq gets bounced from the electronic front page for a sports piece–because you know, more Iraqi deaths is really not a new story.

So then, let me see if I get you right—the people now decide what they want to hear/listen/see and if I object to that I am calcifying fossil who might as well quit now. On top of that I am an elitist who believes I know what’s best for people. But wait a second—- I did not come to journalism school because of my insatiable desire to please. I actually came because I believe that the relay of information (yes some information more than others) is vitally important in the pursuit of some mix between democracy, justice and plain old knowledge.

But alas, there is an audience out there. And that audience may be more interested in the Mets than a couple-dozen dead civilians. This has always been true, but at least they had to turn to the back of the paper, knowing they were willingly skipping what “the newspaper gods” deemed substantially more important and maybe even having there eyes forced to gaze upon a photo or a headline on their b-line towards the funnies.

Now, although this discussion has been simplified into pitting the progressive technologists v. the traditionalists, I have to say I am not resistant to technology nor the use of it to convey news. I do have a problem with packaging that consistently panders to news “special interests”. I am guilty too. I almost never read business news and I often skip the arts. But I’m glad for that fateful run-in with a piece that I neverwoulda read if it didn’t fall on my foot on the train or f I hadn’t pressed enter too many times on my computer and happened to see a photo that peaked my interest.

I think we should be in the business of making news– all kinds of news– as accessible and tantalizing as possible. To me, that means taking a news junky and getting them to read a sports story and vice versa. We don’t need to tell people whether the Mets or Iraqi civilian deaths are more important. Ultimately this decision rests with the consumer anyway. But if the news is a national dialogue, shouldn’t we occasionally land on the same page?

On the CUNY tip…

Since I’m on a CUNY roll, thought you might be interested to know (if you didn’t already) about tuition increases for undocumented students after September 11th.

Divestment gains momentum

The last I left you with was some information about the New York Times insert ad, but that was before the U.N. General Assembly came to town. For a few days before the assembly, there was a television ad being run asking G.W.B. and the U.N. to do something about the genocide. But as with everything money talks and bullshit walks.

Reuters reports that the peace agreement is on the verge of collapse… though I guess what you could call “the good news” is that the African Union has agreed to stay in Darfur, but is short-changed and under staffed. Meanwhile, the genocide is getting worse.

So is there anything we can do? A divestment campaign, though you wouldn’t know it if you read the Times, seems to be gaining momentum. From what I could find CUNY has been pressured (scroll down to the 6th little blurb) but not yet divested from company’s that contribute to the problem.

Anybody out there think CUNY should divest?