Solutions & sustainability - May 13
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Developments in journalism's Internet frontier
Molly Ivans, Creators Syndicate via WorkingForChange
... It seems to me both MSM and the blogosphere could benefit from reading the new biography of Izzy Stone by Myra MacPherson, out in September. Because Izzy was pretty much the perfect journalist, we can all learn from "All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone." What a pleasure! What a joy to read about the old dog on the hunt. Surprising, too. While Stone famously broke story after story by actually reading government documents instead of taking what the press was spoon-fed, MacPherson reminds us he was also a shoe- leather reporter, who went out to interviews, press conferences and the daily bash, where he occasionally harassed spokesmen.
Today, the bloggers seem to me to be breaking more toward opinion than journalism, which I think is a shame.
A noble exception is Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo, which is completely on top of its chosen topics. Of course, Stone practiced opinion journalism, as do I, but with him the hard reporting always came first.
I have no objections to anyone breaking into the guild of journalism without the credentials of journalism school or experience on a print daily (though I highly recommend especially the latter). I do object to those who jump from political hackery to flackery and expect respect. Truly, if you can't cover a five-car pile-up on Route 128, you should not be covering a presidential campaign.
The danger of the blogosphere is reading only those you agree with. While there are right-wing blogs that are entertaining freak shows, it's hard to find substantial journalism there. I hate to list bloggers I like because I'm bound to leave out so many, but here goes: Daily Kos, Eschaton, Altercation, Political Animal and Media Matters.
(11 May 2006)
John Talberth on "The Party's Over: Going Local" (Audio)
Jason Bradford, Global Public Media
If a society wanted to be sustainable, how would it know if it were? On "The Party's Over: Going Local" Jason Bradford talks to John Talberth of Redefining Progress about sustainability indicators and localization. Jason Bradford hosts "The Party's Over: Going Local" on KZYX in Mendocino County, CA.
(8 May 2006)
Earn well, live cheap
Les Christie, CNN Money
High gas prices, traffic tie-ups, expensive housing - who needs it? Most Americans, if they want a good paying job.
But an increasing number of people are opting out by telecommuting, giving them access to companies in high-paycheck areas while at the same time being able to live in areas with more reasonably priced real estate.
"You can now earn a New York salary and live in a much less expensive place," says Chris Miller, executive director of the Creative Coast Initiative, a non-profit organization that promotes the advantages of Savannah, Georgia, which attracts many telecommuters with Atlanta-based companies.
More than 12 million Americans now telecommute full-time, according to the Dieringer Research Group, which recently surveyed the trend for the International Telework Association & Council. Another 10 million telecommute at least one day a week.
(11 May 2006)
Wal-Mart Eyes Organic Foods
Melanie Warner, New York Times
Starting this summer, there will be a lot more organic food on supermarket shelves, and it should cost a lot less.
Wal-Mart has asked suppliers to help it offer more organic food.
Most of the nation's major food producers are hard at work developing organic versions of their best-selling products, like Kellogg's Rice Krispies and Kraft's macaroni and cheese.
Why the sudden activity? In large part because Wal-Mart wants to sell more organic food — and because of its size and power, Wal-Mart usually gets what it wants.
As the nation's largest grocery retailer, Wal-Mart has decided that offering more organic food will help modernize its image and broaden its appeal to urban and other upscale consumers. It has asked its large suppliers to help.
Wal-Mart's interest is expected to change organic food production in substantial ways.
Some organic food advocates applaud the development, saying Wal-Mart's efforts will help expand the amount of land that is farmed organically and the quantities of organic food available to the public.
But others say the initiative will ultimately hurt organic farmers, will lower standards for the production of organic food and will undercut the environmental benefits of organic farming.
(12 May 2006)
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