I've ready Time magazine for a good chunk of my life. I got it when I was in high school, college, in journalism school at Michigan State University and as a full-fledged adult. I let my subscription lapse in September because of the cost and the reduced size of the magazine.
But, then I saw this cover story about the Fact Wars in the U.S. Presidential campaign. Each side is throwing out reams of numbers. How do you decide what's the truth. I wanted to what the Time cover story said about both sides.
Then I went to Barnes & Noble in the Lansing Mall today and found this copy of that Time. First, the issue was really thin, really, really thin and second the price was $4.99. Pretty stiff. I did find this link to the story.
Has anybody read it? Who is more truthful in the campaign? Who has facts that are facts and who hs facts that are fiction?
I remember when I was a very young reporter at the Michigan Capitol and Tom Greene introduced himself. He was a big shot television correspondent for a Detroit station and he took time to take an interest in me.
It wasn't a phony insincere interest. He always asked me about my single-mom in Bay City, especially when she got sick. He made me feel like a real person of worth. I guess you'd call it respect.
He died last night after many years of health challenges. He deserves to be remembered for the big role that he played in Michigan government and politics. He and his crew, first Larry and Art, an then others helped to keep our politicians and officials honest. Tom could sniff out impropriety and he wasn't afraid to go after it. And his station would run it.
His stories are legend and I'm sure forgotten by a younger crew of journalists.
If there was a journalists Hall of Fame, he'd belong in it. He left a big footprint on this state and I'd hate to see it get filled in by the sands of time.
I was sickened when I read this story and watched the accompanying video from the Detroit Free Press about the political fundraising being done in the Wayne County Executive's office. Citizens in the area and around the state need to start howling for an official investigation and for a response.
Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano says he has done nothing wrong. Is that true? Read and watch. What's your conclusion?
How many other local governments in our state are suffering from the same ailment?
The Detroit Free Press deserves our praise. This is journalism at its best. The news media needs to be our eyes and ears. Give us the facts and then let us react. They did that.
There was a time when newspapers served a solid role in providing information about what was happening around you. In our area that could be the city council, the county commission, the state legislature and all sorts of police news. Local and state issues were looked at with both the pros and the cons provided.
That has morphed today into big collection of online resources including newspapers and other news sources. But, this mother lode of so-called news is laden with opinion that requires sifting through and discernment to get to a nugget of fact.
This brings me to my personal question of the day. Am I spending too much time reading online news with a fair amount of print stuff like Time magazine? Could I be doing something that is more profitable with my time?
Before I went to bed last night, I read an online Wall Street Journal story about the guy in France who murdered all the people and who went out in a blaze of gunfire. How important is it that I spend 10 minutes reading this? I read this morning about burning couches in East Lansing after last night's MSU basketball defeat.
How important is the political news about the hissing between Romney and Santorum?
As I try to rejigger my priorities for the next year and lop things off my daily activities, I'm looking at my consumpion of news.
How much effort should one exert on staying informed? An hour a day? Two hours? What return on investment do you get?
We had just gotten home yesterday and I couldn't believe it yesterday when I did a quick pass-through on Facebook and saw that Charlie Cain, former long time reporter with the Detroit News, had died. As the former pressroom manager at the State Capitol, I got to know him well. We worked together, socialized and even took a vacation to Cuba.
What stands out in my memory about Charlie?
He was a true journalist in the best sense of the word. He could cover any story about any person and not insert his own opinion. He covered both sides of a person or issue and then let readers make up their own mind.
That's a real contrast to the practice of journalism today where reporters insert their bias and their opinions into just about everything and don't trust readers or viewers to make up their own mind.
When President Jimmy Carter loosened travel restrictions to Cuba, Charlie and I applied for visas to take a vacation there and got them. We were among the very first Americans to take advantage of this ability to check out the land of Fidel Castro. We spent more than a week getting a full flavor of a country that was suffering from an overwhelming lack of development.
His curiosity as a reporter was in full gear from the time our plane took off in Detroit to the time we came back. We toured everything from Havanna, to Cienfuegos where there was a Russian sub-base to the Bay of Pigs.
As I try to process Charlie's passing, I just hope that somewhere, he put down what he learned from his career where he saw the manifold challenges of reporting during a period when public perception of the profession moved from being a calling to one of disdain.
Charlie Cain had a non-reporter side. His two daughters were part of a play group of spouses of state capitol reporter and their kids. I remember his excitement when he called me right after his first daughter was born.
At our house, our kids and our guests came to expect politics to be brought up at the dinner table. So was religion. These are all topics that some say you should stay away from while eating Boca burgers with corn on the cob and a glass of Great Lakes Red.
For your dinner table, check out the current edition of Time magazine with the cover story asking if the U.S. Constiution still mattered. Lots of great questions are raised and all worthy of dinner table conversation. Be prepared for a couple hour sitdown at the table though.
You can almost hear the bugle playing taps in the background as Gannett newspapers announces that the Lansing (MI) State Journal will be laying off two more employees at the only daily paper in our State Capital city.
It has fallen from a once proud position where it covered state government like a blanket, as well as local governments. Now there's less than minimal coverage of anything but local sports, especially Michigan State University.
What have been and what will be the growing consequences to our area where state and local government does not have an independent and strong set of eyes and ears for the people? What happens when officials have little or no accountability or oversight?
Are there any alternative news outlets in the mill to replace it?
Read this column by the Lansing State Journal's John Schneider who writes about his wife overcoming a major challenge in her life, stuttering. Tens of thousands got an appreciation from the move The King's Speech for how this can affect one's life and how it makes communication a real slog.
His wife, Sharon Emery, spoke at the local TEDx conference for more than 15 minutes. Check how in her life she has grabbed the stuttering monster and pinned it to the ground.
She shows that obstacles can be overcome.
Is her TEDx talk online?
Today, when we got out of church, we stopped for a sandwich at a Subway with a gas station next door where I plunked down two bucks for a copy of the Grand Rapids Press. What got into me? Just think of how many dollars I would have to have in a savings account for a year to earn the purchase price.
So what did I get for my money? In this post, I will itemize what I find useful as I read it, including ads and coupons. How about you? Do you get back from the paper what you pay for it? I will post and publish as I read. Here goes:
Did I waste two bucks? Probably. It was my contribution to the news industry in this part of Michigan.
It had some interesting facts about the local area here and there. But, it was light on any depth and skipped many local units and levels of government that need journalistic oversight.
I will be checking their website though to see if there's more.
Did you know that the owners of the Detroit News are filing for bankruptcy?
Check out this Detroit Free Press story about how it's an organized effort where the debt holders have signed off on the move and where the owners say it won't affect the Detroit News or its operation. That remains to be seen.
The Detroit News has played a proud role in Michigan in covering just about everything in our state, particularly politics. Over the years, we've seen it diminish in size and in what it covers. It's not even a shadow of its former self.
What are your memories of the Detroit News and its incredible coverage of the State Capitol, Washington, sports and local government?
I've always been fascinated by word and that's why I'm fascinated by this post from the Global Language Monitor naming their top words for 2009.
Number one word, of course, is "twitter." Number two is "Obama" which can be stuck onto other words like Obama-care. Number three is "H1N1." Number 4 is "stimulus." Number 5 is "vampire."
Check the post for the rest. After a cursory look of the blog, I will come back and take a deeper look to see what more it has to say about words and language.
I've always been proud of being an alum of the Michigan State University School of Journalism.
But I seriously wonder if it has reached the end of its lifecycle. It seems to be stuck in the past which has been like a deep hole that it will never emerge from.
Newspapers served a vital historical role in this country. But for the most part they're either dying or dead. And the MSU School of Journalism which used to be one of the top "j-schools" in the country is not in the hunt to reinvent what the new journalism looks like.
How many millions of tax dollars does it get? Living in the past can be fun in the coffee shop, but not in the real world where change seems to be happening at warp speed. Maybe it's time to let go of this once proud part of academia.
Where's the independent eyes and ears of the media to help people learn and to see the truth of what's happening? They have hearing aids with dying batteries and big cataracts causing almost blindness.
Check these figures in a Tech Crunch post about declining circulation of major U.S. newspapers. It's sad. We all lose because of the decline of the news media.
It's a nice almost fall Saturday morning here in mid-Michigan with the sun shining and the temperature approaching a degree of warmth. However, this is the first weekend where I have a major change in my routine.
All my adult life I've gotten a daily newspaper and on some days more than one. Living here in mid-Michigan, I would quite often collect my newspaper from the porch and then get a Detroit Free Press or Detroit News during the morning and then occasionally get a USA Today. Well, no more.
I grew up reading newspapers and loving it. Whenever my mom would travel, as a kid, the first thing I'd ask for was a newspaper from wherever she traveled to. That never changed much over the years. Growing up in northern Michigan, it was a ritual on Sundays to stop at a curbside newspaper box and get a Detroit paper, first a Detroit Times and when it closed, either a Free Press or News.
These days when my son flies home from Washington D.C., he always brings a Washington Post and I love reading it.
Times have changed. The news in our local paper has gotten thinner and thinner. For a long time, we could justify getting it because of the coupons. Take them to the local Meijers and you could double them. They would pay for the paper.
Even the quality of the coupons has lessened and have become harder to use.
We paid more than $100 every six months for the local paper. We finally decided that money would be better spent elsewhere, like with our internet service provider.
A question: How many baby-boomers who grew up with a newspaper, kept getting it as adults, but have found local journalism lacking and have canceled the paper? Do you miss going to the front porch every morning?
Can a new daily newspaper in the Detroit-area be successful?
It seems like we will have a chance to find out with the start of the new Detroit Daily Press which, according to Crain's Detroit Business will start publishing in the next 60 days.
Two brothers, Mark Stern and Gary Stern, who have had newspapers in other states are the publishers and the investors in the project where the new daily paper will sell for 50 cents during the week and a $1 on Sunday.
Will it attract the necessary advertising and readers? Is there a market for a new "dead tree" newspaper in the Detroit-area?
This is all being started without govenrment aid, I believe.
At least the voters in this Florida county know about their former sheriff and how he handed out more than $1 million in bonuses to key employes and then have them kick back a portion of that bonus to him.
Read this story from the Northwest Florida Daily News about how the former Okaloosa County Sheriff handed out $1.35 million in performance bonuses and all the other side issues involving the perks he gave himself and his key personnel. As taxpayers, everybody should feel outraged.
But the key thing and let me repeat that, the key thing is that the light of this newspaper shined brightly on what appears to be blatant corruption.
In Michigan and most other states, newspapers, both big and small are struggling to stay in existence and as I wrote yesterday about how newspapers are dropping their state capitol coverage. This is also happening to city halls where happenings are getting very basic coverage at best.
We have an interest in reviving news coverage of our governmental structure and the people involved in it.
That's the only way we keep our freedom and our individual liberty. Otherwise, the public servants who operate in the dark reverse roles with us and make us their servants.
This is not right or left wing thinking.
Citizens need to demand accountability of their public officials like they're getting here in northwest Florida. Anybody disagree?
If you live in Michigan or any other state for that matter, I offer a challenge. Try to follow the happenings of the State Legislature and the rest of state government. Look for news about your state legislators and about what issues are being debated and voted on.
Where do you go?
The press corps at the Michigan State Capitol is hardly big enough to be a shadow of its former self. When I was the Press Room Manager at the State Capitol from the mid-70s to the late 90s, the Press Corps usually had 45 or more active members.
How many does it have now? Ten? Fifteen? There can't be many more and more than likely there are less.
Keep in mind, state capitol reporters are the eyes and the ears of the people of Michigan. They shine the light of public attention on our government apparatus and those involved in it.
It's just not happening anymore. What does this mean? State voters don't have any place to get steady ongoing information about the who, what, when, where, how, why and so what of their state government in Lansing.
We are in the dark and at the mercy of politicians who try to bend information to their benefit.
The National Conference of State Legislators says state capitol press corps have been downsized more than 30 percent since 2003.
That hurts us all, especially during at time when state government plays such an important role in our everyday lives.
While Michigan's budget is being kept on life support by federal stimulus money, the state has given $48 million in incentives to 35 Hollywood filmmakers
The stats follow a growing discontent about Gov. Granholm's and the State Legislature which reimburses filmmakers up to 42 percent of the cost of a production project completed in the state.
The stated goal of the program is to build the filmmaking industry in the state and gain the resulting jobs.
Is this a waste of the taxpayers' money?
Are there other programs where it could have had more tangible results for taxpayers? Read a Detroit Free Press story about the most recent report from the state's filmmaking office.