S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Digesting Information Dialogue

Not long ago, "Eat Your Information Vegetables" titled a topic at the Project Lucidity Forum. It concerned information exchanges and the state of journalism and blog quality. Here are my thoughts on the subject of who pays for the information exchanges and how we stay informed (reposted here and slightly edited).

Regarding who pays, I must confess, as I did in my post of yesterday, "More Confessions of a Collector," I love the idea that the blogosphere feels like a freebie to me, though I pay my ISP. And I am an activist on behalf of net neutrality. I am a child of the Depression, worked as a poorly paid social worker, and still save plastic and paper bags for reuse. And I admit I am a freeloader because I block pop-ups and never click on ads. I occasionally read articles from my local paper owned by McClatchy, one of the better news organizations. Items are collected for me by my husband, the "print guy" who pays for it. He reads it front to back. But we are retirees; we have time for such. It is a lovely luxury that younger more actively engaged folks do not have. As long as news is seen as "product" for consumers, as long as ownership of news and information organizations is allowed, by a politicized FCC, to be consolidated for the benefit of the ruling oligarchy, and until the news business can figure out how to monetize their web sites, it will be this way. I think it may take five to ten years for news organizations to figure out a better way.

Regarding the profession of journalism at its best, good journalists strive for truth, depth perspectives, objectivity and seriousness. I doubt we would recognize the graduates of today's schools of journalism if we compared them to those turned out by Columbia or the University of Missouri decades ago. I acquired my journalistic skills by working on my high school newspaper, working as a PR Director for a nonprofit agency, and writing papers in college. I watched no TV until I was an adult, probably an advantage. I had my journalistic values implanted as I grew up, however, via Life, Look and Collier's Magazines, National Geographic, and a mother and her mother who wrote for their local papers. As a child Mom made me sit at the table until I ate my vegetables, by the way. That was well before the days of spinach salad with red onion rings and goat cheese.

Regarding Hot news vs. Hard news -- Because our society so values multitasking, USA Today holds sway. Again, it seems to me to be about time. Also, photography, movies, television, and increasingly the Internet emphasizes image. Even the current Democratic presidential race is about personality, not issues -- it is about the horse race for which I can barely tolerate Chris Matthews for occasional short bursts. For my news I watch Keith Olbermann. Most people get their news from television. If they see and believe their news on The Daily Show and Colbert, what a responsibility for truth that places on the shoulders of those producers. If they see and believe all the pundits who have been co-opted by their sources, they are not getting news, but spin. If they hear and believe their news from Rush Limbaugh, what a possibility for mischief with the truth! If they gave up eating spinach when their mothers were no longer around, then you have the possibility of mega blogs such as TPM Election Central, The Huffington Post and Daily Kos.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

Technorati tags: magazines


The Future Was Yesterday said...

"worked as a poorly paid social worker"
I didn't know there was any other kind.:)

"But we are retirees; we have time for such. It is a lovely luxury "
And luxury is indeed the name for it. I'm retired also, and with the advent of RSS readers, the world literally comes to my finger tips. There is however, a dangerous side to that, and that is "information overload." You get so depressed you can't eat or sleep, or you're convinced the world is going to hell, so you commit suicide.

All things in moderation.:)

Carol Gee said...

Future/TUA/Dan'l/and fellow retiree, it is, indeed, very hard to look on the bright side of things these days. I find that spending time looking at beautiful imagery fills in the other side of my brain with ++'s that are a balancing variety of information. I also look at little kids' faces in the grocery store, and listen to blue grass or classical music, all in moderation, of course.:) Thanks, as always.