Black History and Heritage: Journalist Gwen Ifill

Standard

Gwen Ifill was an extraordinary journalist, and someone who I followed for as long as I followed politics. She died too young in 2016 of breast and endometrial cancer. This year she has been honored with a United States Postal Service Forever stamp. You read her author’s page at The PBS Newshour and read some touching memories at Remembering Gwen Ifill. She will always be an inspiration to me.

USPS Forever Stamp, 43rd in a series for Black History, Gwen Ifill. (c)2020

Election Connection: 41 Weeks: Be Informed

Standard

Being informed is not simply about the 2020 election although it is important to keep up to date on news. In order to do that, it is especially imperative to only glean your news from reliable news sources. This graphic should help you with that. Note the key on the right side of the graphic.

MediaBiasChart.com (c)2019-2020

In addition to using this graphic as a tool, Google is your friend. I can’t tell you how many times I correct a cousin or an uncle because what they’ve posted on Facebook is untruthful when the truth is only a Google search away. (It’s practically a full-time job.)

As you know from previous posts, I listen to several podcasts that relate to the news, politics, and current events including the impeachment and the upcoming election (which will have separate posts as needed). It is possible that you have noticed that I am a big fan of the Crooked Media group. I listen to almost all of their podcasts and follow most of the major players on Twitter even when I don’t listen to their particular podcast regularly. Joking aside, they really should put me on their payroll!

Their new one, What A Day is something that I can’t remember how I managed without it. It is about fifteen minutes each weekday morning with what’s going on in our world and some headlines with a really needed dose of humor. I do not start my day without it and highly recommend giving them a try. There is also a read-only update that you can receive nightly by email subscription.

What a Day from Crooked Media. (c)2020

While What a Day is my favorite, two others out there with a similar idea of getting you the news on a daily basis are:

Today, Explained from Vox

What Next from Slate

Journalism: Where Do We Go From Here?

Standard

​In recent days, as the Democratic field grows exponentially each day, we’ve seen a return to 2016 coverage by the media: Trump takes over every news cycle with new crazy, Bernie is in the lead, Buttigeig speaks eight languages, Elizabeth Warren’s unlikable, Kamala Harris is too hard, Amy Klobucher is too mean, ranch dressing, fried chicken, infer vs implied! Are the women ready? Too emotional? That’s almost sounds like a joke considering who we have in the Oval Office right now.

I saw a headline just this morning that Trump had a new nickname for Pete Buttigeig. How is that a headline for a news organization? Four reporters covered this story for the “news” organization! Have we learned nothing in the last two years?

Not to  mention that news anchors and pundits continue to drown us in whataboutism, false equivalency, and but both sides.

Continue reading

Nellie Bly – Profile

Standard

​Nellie Bly was an investigative journalist just before and during the turn of the century. Her birthday was yesterday, and she would have been one hundred fifty-five years old. She was born during the Civil War, and died in the Roaring 20s, after the First World War but before the Great Depression. Many people, I think, are surprised to learn that she was a real person, thinking that she is a figment of fiction alongside her fictional inspiration, Phileas Fogg, the character in Jules Verne‘s well known book, Around the World in 80 Days. Nellie Bly did her circumnavigation in 72 days, holding the record for only a short time before it was broken (also in 1890).

She was a pioneer in the field of investigative journalism, although much of her early writing focused on the lives of working women. She was a foreign correspondent in Mexico for the Pittsburgh Dispatch and after going to New York, she worked at The New York World, the publication owned and published by Joseph Pulitzer. She went undercover to expose the women’s lunatic asylum’s treatment of its patients located at Blackwell Island. They wouldn’t let her leave until the newspaper was able to get her out.

For her trip around the world, she left onboard the steamer, AugustaVictoria on November 14, 1889 with only two days notice, bringing only “the dress she was wearing, a sturdy overcoat, several changes of underwear, and a small travel bag carrying her toiletry essentials.” [Kroeger, Brooke (1994). Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist. Three Rivers Press.] In a bag tied around her neck (similar to today’s hidden security pouches), she carried most of her money. She made her trip primarily by steamer and rail. In Amiens, France, she met Jules Verne, the writer whose book inspired her journey.

She was the first woman to write from a war zone, sending her stories from the Eastern Front during World War I. She was mistaken for a spy and arrested.

She died at age 57 after a bout with pneumonia and is buried in The Bronx.

In recent times, since 1978, the New York Press Club gives out the Nellie Bly Cub Reporter Award, and in 2002 she as part of a postage stamp sheet commemorating Women in Journalism along with  Marguerite Higgins, Ida M. Tarbell, and Ethel L. Payne.

In her 2013 book, Examining Lois Lane: The Scoop on Superman’s Sweetheart, Nadine Farghaly stated that Nellie was one of a few women modeled as the basis for Lois Lane, created by writer, Jerry Siegel and artist, Joe Shuster.

You can read more about Nellie Bly here, and can also read her writings:

Around the World in 72 Days

Six Months in Mexico

Ten Days in a Mad-House

Look for related posts through the rest of the week.

Press Freedom Day

Standard

Today is Press Freedom Day. Now more than ever, we need to protect our access to news and world events from a free and independent press. Here are some links that should definitely spend some time today reading:

World Press Freedom Day

Bipartisan Call to Protect Journalists
Why the Times is taking down its paywall (and at the end of the three days, think about subscribing)

Taking Stock on Press Freedom Day

Committee to Protect Journalists

Pope Francis’ Prayer for Countering ‘Fake News’

Standard

This prayer is part of a message Pope Francis offered for World Communications Day in January of 2018. At the very least, it gives us something to think about when we’re offering our views with one another. Separating fact from fiction is essential is today’s media, and we must never forget that while a variety of opinions are valid, facts and truth are non-negotiable.

I would recommend following the link above and reading the Pope’s entire message.

Lord, make us intruments of your peace.

Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.

Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.

Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.

You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:

Where there is shouting, let us practice listening;

Where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;

Where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;

Where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;

Where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;

Where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;

Where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;

Where there is hostility, let us bring respect;

Where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.

Amen.

Profile – Connie Schultz

Standard

​I discovered Connie Schultz several years ago. I know that it was on the MSNBC program, Morning Joe, and I know that I intentionally turned the show on, wanting to see her specifically. What I don’t remember is if I watched it thinking, oh, that’s Sherrod Brown’s wife, she’s a writer, let’s hear what she has to say…or if I saw her, and said, oh my gosh, I love her, her husband is Sherrod Brown, I need to check him out. Either way, I’ve fallen head over heels in writerly and senatorily love with both of them, together or apart, it doesn’t matter.

One (two) of my heroes.

There’s some recent talk about a White House run, and if that happens, I will follow them, support them, campaign for them all the way to said White House. And if not, I will count Senator Brown and Ms. Schultz as firmly in my corner even though other than President, I can’t vote for him; I live in New York. However, he speaks for all of us progressive Democrats, and to be honest, what’s good for his state, is good for all of our states. They both speak their minds, and they both speak truth to power. They call it like they see it, and they both do it with a down-to-earth, neighborly, we’ve known you forever way that’s honest. I can only hope that we haven’t forgotten the importance of honesty in this country.

They are for working people what Babe Ruth is for baseball.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize winning author (2005 for commentary), a commentator both in print and on television of politics, journalism, and life in general. She currently writes in syndication for Creator’s Syndicate after writing for the Cleveland Plains Dealer for eighteen years. She has published two non-fiction books and is currently writing her first novel.

She and Sherrod Brown have been married for almost fifteen years. She is a a mother of four and a grandmother of seven, and I think if she were actually reading this, and I left that last one out, she would be less than happy with me. They are a blended family, and when she shows pictures of their kids, I have no idea who belongs to who because they are all one family, which is just remarkable and somehow ordinary.

I recently read an article about her by Michael Kruse of Politico (2018) and I watcher her TEDx video from Cleveland State University (2016) that gave me two snippets that I relish as part of my own self and my own journey as a writer, a woman, and a mother, and ir was a clear reminder of why I respect and adore her so much.

How could I not be a liberal?” [Politico, Dec. 21, 2018, when talking about her working class roots, her route to college and single parenthood, unions, grants, health insurance.]

Every moment that I had lived before I got into that newsroom was job experience.” [TEDx, Dec. 14, 2016]

I love her style, her attitude, her kindness, but also her take no nonsense attitude. Say something incorrect or bullying and she will come after you, but not as a bully. She is a teacher (of journalism at Kent State University in her home state of Ohio) and of life and continues to inspire me and cause me to aspire to be her in all of the ways I can attempt (through her Facebook and Twitter). I also want to be able to wear a hat like she wears a hat. I love hats, but I can’t pull them off. She can.

She is everything.

She is also proud of her work (and her family’s) but modest of her accolades. This is but one article that I share with you, but there are others if you Google. However, for the real deal, follow her on either her Facebook or her Twitter. Or both.