Sunday, June 28, 2009

"We become what we think about"

Self-actualization, not a new idea, but it could be a powerful one. On the one hand, the question is could it be that easy. But on the other, maybe the alternative is even more easy, making
it harder to achieve.

Earl Nightingale proposed it in 1956. He was, quite possibly, the founder of the self-help/new age movement. is reviving his message. Personally, I'm not sure what to make of it. It is easy to be negative, especially these days. But there is something to be said for being goal oriented, and why not make that goal be one of becoming a better person? The website has a link to his message on "The Strangest Secret," Earl Nightingale's recording--one that millions of people bought, but few achieved.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Quote of the Week

"If you are going to yell at me, tell me exactly what you want or you'll get exactly what you asked for."
Neil Young on PBS's American Masters. At this point, he was talking about the album This Notes for You.

This clip is also from the American Masters show. The whole show is recommended!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Journalism without a net

The New York Times ran a background story today on the journalists recently arrested in North Korea. I’m not really sure they can be called journalists, at least not in a very news sense. Who knows what anyone is called or should be called anymore. But just because there is no clear-cut criteria as to what a journalist is or should be, doesn't mean that it's not a valid question.

This is more than just a semantical question, and more than just an isolated story about two women trapped in a North Korean prison. This is an important story about the new face of the journalism industry. I saw what went on behind the scenes when Jill Carroll was abducted in Iraq. The difference between her story and the story of these two women is another type of fallout of the current precarious state of the news industry. All three women were arguably reckless. But even though she was a freelancer, Jill Carroll was lucky enough to have not just the moral support and visibility of a major newspaper (The Christian Science Monitor), but their skill, contacts, and compassion, all of which helped lead to her release. This type of network is not only not available to the two women sent out by a fledgling website to gather edgy video clips, but it's in danger of becoming just a quaint, dusty relic of another time.

As newspapers fold, surprise, the content they once provided is also disappearing. So new outlets are springing up to fill the content void. It’s an exciting time, but I think we would do well not to abandon all the things that make for good journalism. The format is definitely changing, but there's no reason that the basics have to be discarded. Some places, like GlobalPost do seem to be a legitimate sources of news. But other sites are just sending people out with camera phones, but with no training and no resources. (Can you say "exploitation"?) These “new journalists” may be younger and closer in age to the target audience, but that’s hardly a credential!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

There goes the neighborhood (tales from the South End)

This store just moved in replacing a shortlived, modern interior design storefront that in turn replaced an upscale kitchen/bath store. (To be fair, it moved from another South End location, but this is a more visible spot.) I am reminded of my friend J who regularly pines for the "good old days" when all you had to worry about was the random shooting or date violence.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Boston Globe: Pressmen Under Pressure

In this clip, the Boston Globe's pressmen talk about not just their jobs, but their relationship with the paper. (You can also read the associated Boston Globe article here.)

Aside from showing these guys at work, hearing them talk about how long they have been at the paper, and what it will mean to them if the paper closes, this clip also illustrates why the Taylor family put in the clause in their deal when selling the Globe to the New York Times that their employees would have their jobs for life. The Taylor family knew that what they had was truly a family business, and they wanted to make sure that they didn't abandon their employees through a business decision. Perhaps this clause doesn't stand the test of time, but it really is more than just a frivolous union "perk."

There are no easy answers when it comes to saving the Boston Globe specifically or the newspaper industry generally. More than anything else, this clip puts a face, several in fact, to what it will mean to those who are spending their lives, not just making their living, putting out the paper every day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tuesday Quote of the Week

“Writing about people helps us to understand them, and understanding them helps us to accept them as part of ourselves.”

~Alice Walker