The cultural dangers of social media without consequence

In the late 1950s, iconic newsman Edward R. Murrow recognized a paradox developing as the advent of television was transforming news reporting from the purely word-driven medium of radio into a much more powerful visual medium available in homes across America.

Murrow understood that news journalism would never be the same. He also recognized the responsibility that accompanies that kind of power.

In 1958, during a Radio-Television News Directors Association and Foundation dinner where he was the keynote speaker, Murrow spoke of the new television medium and the potential effects it could have on journalism and our society as a whole.  Continue reading

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Trust, partnership with you are worth striving for

My first editorial of 2017, which appeared in our Jan. 4 issue of Siuslaw News, was inspired by an unanticipated trip through our local history while sorting through old newspapers — and an opportunity to underscore the importance of trust and integrity in journalism…

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January 4, 2017

imageI spent part of my New Year’s weekend here in the newsroom, tackling a re-organization project of files and materials that have been staring at me for nearly a decade — the gaze of which grew stronger after becoming editor in September.

The project entailed sifting through boxes of old newspaper issues, special publications, documents, journalistic guidelines and historic reference materials that had been collecting along a wall of shelves in our newsroom since the late 1990s.

With 2017 looming, it seemed like the perfect time to sort through the past in order to benefit our newsroom’s future. Coincidentally, it also got me out of washing the dog, but you didn’t read that here.  Continue reading

I hope you’ll join me for some peace today

imageSeveral weeks ago, Kendall F. Person invited me to be a part of his #OURWEEKOFPEACE at The Public Blogger. The idea was to bring artists, musicians, writers, statesmen, poets and others together to discuss and express their thoughts on the meaning of peace in our world.

Each day has a different theme, culminating this Saturday in a public “Shout Out to Peace,” which is an opportunity for everyone around the world to contribute their voice in their own way, be it through their written word, videos, photography, music or simply by sharing in the day.

Today’s theme is “Media,” and I have the privilege of opening it with a video about the importance of journalism in our democracy — a notion underscored by the fact that our forefathers included Freedom of the Press as part of the First Amendment in our Constitution.  Continue reading

This post proves even God likes to use… The Door

The Door, which spellcheck instinctively keeps suggesting I call The Odor.

The Door which spellcheck appropriately enough keeps suggesting I call The Odor.

Some of you may remember the request from Barbara Walters last week for an interview about what she described as The Door’s “Journa-wistic and histowical impowtance,” and how, after denying her request for an interview, she told me to “DWOP DEAD!” Then you can imagine my surprise when, early this morning, the sleepy-eyed Brit Hume called just long enough to introduce himself before promptly falling asleep on the other end of the line. For any of you who have tried calling me this morning only to get a busy signal for the last two hours, it’s because the line is still open, with Hume snoring on the other end. Hopefully, someone will wake him for hair and make-up soon.

In the meantime, for those of you who may be new to The Door because, for example, you stumbled onto this post looking for home improvement tips, I’ll tell you it is a weekly feature that spotlights the best and worst in journalism that reporters here at Siuslaw News have been clipping and gluing to our newsroom door since the 1970s, back when journalists were looking for any excuse to open a tube of glue. Each Tuesday, we spotlight an entry from our newsroom door which, in addition to being the equivalent to a journalistic Smithsonian here on the Oregon coast, is also a time capsule of sorts, sealing up a different kind of journalistic history once the commode is flushed on the other side. Continue reading

It’s time once again for… The Door

Our actual door copy Welcome to this week’s posting of The Door (of Shame, Blame and Brilliance), which is brought to you live from our own newsroom door here at the Siuslaw News each Tuesday morning. We’d bring it to you Mondays except that Joe, or delivery guy, stinks up the bathroom, which is located on the other side of The Door, making the newsroom uninhabitable for most of Monday mornings. So we’ll stick with Tuesdays until Joe either retires or changes his diet.

For those of you just tuning in, it’s about TIME you got here! This is when we highlight some of the most shameful or brilliant newspaper headlines journalists here have been clipping and taping to the newsroom door since the early 1970s, back when laptops were solely for the purpose of giving wives or girlfriends a place to sit. Before we begin, we will repeat the mission statement of The Door:

“To serve as a beacon, drawing us into the jagged rocks of journalism”

Again, no one has actually ever said this, but we journalists know that adding quote marks makes it truth. Continue reading

Laughing at cows can be harmful, especially while playing bingo

Cow Patty bingo As you probably know, national “Be Kind to Animals Week” is almost here. And just when Florida was beginning to re-gain a small measure of respectability by working hard to draw absolutely no attention to itself, it is once again in the national spotlight.

I’m talking, of course, about the controversy surrounding Cow-Patty Bingo.

For those who might not be familiar with this activity for reasons of sanity, we’ll just take a moment to cover the basics.

First, you need a cow.

Second, you need a REALLY BIG bingo card.

OK, not really. But you really do need a cow, preferably one that has just eaten a lot of fiber — like, say, a 55-gallon drum of granola. Next, you need a large field or yard (such as a neighbor’s) that can be divided into numbered grids. Once you have the cow and the grid, it’s time to start selling squares. This requires finding people who think that poop is entertaining. If you know anyone who watched Jersey Shore, that would probably be a good place to start. Continue reading

Santa Summit prompts Greenland ‘No-Fly Zone’

Santa's Christmas Eve will go a little quicker now that he can skip Greenland.

Santa’s Christmas Eve will go a little quicker now that he can skip Greenland.

What makes email great is that it’s so darned easy to use. For example: If you come across something that absolutely HAS TO BE SEEN by everyone you know — like say a picture of a cat doing chin-ups — you can simply click a button and send it to 100 people. Or in the case of my favorite aunt who still hasn’t mastered this process, you can send that very same knee-slapping picture to one person — such as your favorite nephew — 100 times.

The reason I bring this up is because, if not for email, I sincerely doubt someone from Midland, Mich., would’ve gone to the trouble of sending me a photo of 176 Santas standing on the deck of a fishing boat off the coast of Greenland (And YES, this is primarily the kind of email I get.)

I should mention that we were one of 50 newspapers that received the photo, which was part of an announcement letting people know that classes at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School had come to an end. Continue reading