Wednesday, August 09, 2006

a non-ordinary evening in New Haven

On Pressthink, Paul Bass talks about leaving industrial journalism for something like publicly funded web reporting:
The readers have definitely become part of the process. Trained journalists still play a crucial but altered role. We’re more fact-gatherers, linkers, fact-checkers, conveners and referees than pundits or editorialists telling people what to think.
Bass's not-for-profit site, The New Haven Independent, notes the fate of Joe Lieberman.

Independent guest columnist Debbie Galant reports:
a friend of Lieberman for 35 years, was horrified when he discovered I was a blogger. Bloggers, he maintained, had ruined the election for his candidate. link
Firedoglake on Lieberman's vow to win as an Independent in November:
"This is like watching your old uncle soil himself!"
Bass is working to build a bridge between the discourse of staid institutional journalism and the inspired, beer-drenched keyboards of blogging. His web paper feels close to the community, close to readers. Close to the impact of what it reports on. We're almost in the world of journalists and private eyes who had the bottle in the desk, to cope with the reality they confronted. This is not a slight on Bass. If there were more bottles in more desks, perhaps the realm of bloggers would have less work to do to beat some sense back into reporting.


Blogger Jon Husband said...

Not quite on-topic, but it's your fault, since what you wrote made me wonder ... "Who, if anyone, is this era's equivalent of Studs Terkel?"

And the follow-up .. with so many good and would-be-good writers here and there amongst the millions of bloggersand thousands of writers, will we ever again have only a few identified thinkers / writers / luminaries who for whatever reason stand out ? Or will we lose the role of iconic champions of ideas and feelings and their expression.

8/10/2006 12:00 AM  
Anonymous tom said...

I like Ehrenreich on labor, but surely there's a need for more. Good questions, about which I am not qualified to pon- or pun-tificate. My thought/hope with blogs is: they raise, by virus or other mode of infection, the level of discourse of the broadcast mode. But so far I don't see evidence. Rather, things like Murdochworld appear to be regressing into a reduced set of cliches/formulae for channelling stupidity, hate, anxiety, etc.

8/10/2006 7:13 AM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

I have found Barabara E's work clear, honest and hard-hitting.

What I meant (I will probably be inarticulate here, gropingto express what I sense), and haven't observed follow on from her work, is its occupation of a place in the public's imagination.

Maybe it was just me, but as I read Terkel for the first time as a becoming-adult, the ideas and observations captured a central place in the imagination ... his stories were part of what America was or was supposed to be, without minimizing the difficulties or cynicism. His stories were from what i observed unfolding, and / but they folded into the larger "everybodys'" story of North American culture.

I am sure the same is true of Ehrenreich's work, but my sense is that stories of our experiences today extend from and into the cultural divisions upon which we opine these days.

Like I said, inarticulate. Maybe you can help me clarify what I am thinking / sensing.

8/10/2006 11:36 AM  
Anonymous tom said...

Jon, Studs T. is a national treasure. Or should be. How he happens not to be, at least as far as the mainstream, such as it is, is concerned, is something to think about. How does a guy like that, a spellbinding storyteller, who knew everyone, get to be someone whose name would never come up on Family Feud?

But in terms of his being central to the national imagination: different time, different social reality. He was active in a day when there was still a pretty fair simulation of national mind - look at films in pre-production-era Hollywood, and you find something like an actual culture, e.g. He's from that, and had that to work with.

We have something else going on. In addition to social and economic alienation, I think we have a form of cognitive alienation. The megillah is beyond our ken. Anyone's ken. There is no kenning of it. E.g.: we have more "coverage" of what is allegedly going on than at any time in history. But I defy anyone to tell us what's going on. The people who cover what's going on only know that what they allege is will meet the requirements of the deliverables of their job description. Has that got anything to do with what's going on?

I did have another point, but can't think of it. I'll add if and when it returns.

8/10/2006 2:00 PM  
Anonymous tom said...

Of course I remembered it as soon as I hit "publish." The shifting variables of the mass, the media, the economy, the social net, etc., make it difficult to track real change as opposed to fictive notions. We sense things are moving in nonlinear ways more often. And more quickly. Requiring a new metrics, without which there is no media worth bothering with.

If you agree with that (for argument's sake), then what begins to look very old and staid is any sort of -ism. Social, commun, journal, anarch, e.g., these ideological forms that came from a more stable time, and that today look more and more like Isadora Duncan.

8/10/2006 2:08 PM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...


We sense things are moving in nonlinear ways more often. And more quickly. Requiring a new metrics, without which there is no media worth bothering with..

and the dissolution of -isms

Yes. This has figured much in my archy thinking .. there has been a fundamental assumption for quite some time now about a certain base line level of stability, structure, order, "the way things are" and that change is linear, cause-and-effect, mappable, prepare-for-able.

With which I disagree .. which is why I left consulting. There was ten years ago a lot of brouhaha about learning orgs, learning styles, adaptability, resilience .. there still is .. but they are McLuhanesque "management cliches" being put to work as cures in a "management-science" informed society / culture. In other words, there's a lot of wisdom to these cliches, but they have been made superficial, since it is the really hard work of real change to develop a clear new and sustainable orientation towards (pick any one) work, busines, life, politics, etc.

Even "storytelling" has been coopted as a leadership / management practice .. so that everyone can bullshit each other more authentically.

I think there are a few people I have read .. as you have pointed out Mejias ... and de Castells, Turkle, the Tofflers, that have more than an inkling about what is going on. But it is a big picture ... we've never had so much and so many types of media with which to assault and soothe cognition and emotion ... and the pixels, hyperlinks and brush and key strokes are in ongoing motion.

Tom have you ever seen this graphic ? It almost always yields an aha moment with / for people who have only noticed change happening incrementally, here and there.

8/10/2006 3:50 PM  
Anonymous tom said...

Jon - thanks - if you don't know it, you might find this thoughtful book goes well with Barsolo's excellent image:

8/11/2006 7:50 AM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

thanks ... will pick it up and read.

8/11/2006 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We sense things are moving in nonlinear ways more often. And more quickly. Requiring a new metrics, without which there is no media worth bothering with..

Humbly, (humbly, always with the humbly, when am I gonna be down with the Proud??) this. Real stories/conversations/encounters I don't believe would/could have occurred ten years ago -- at least where I live.


8/11/2006 5:13 PM  
Anonymous tom said...

Mr. a.mole: I'm guessing you don't live in New York? The talk of the street, the building - reminds me of it, but not of it, because it's new. More like a place becoming more like it. Whatever. more like this, please.

8/12/2006 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tom. I come from a town they used to call 'Little Iowa'. Definitely not in Kansas anymore.


8/12/2006 8:54 PM  
Anonymous a.mole said...


8/15/2006 6:55 PM  

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