Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Digital changes to our daily news sources
“Well, what shall I talk about? I ain’t got anything funny to say.
All I know is what I read in the newspapers.”
This famous statement by renowned American humorist Will Rogers was originally used during his appearances in Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic shows in 1915. One hundred years later, it still rings true for many of us today. We get meaningful news from newspapers.
The times however are changing. Our news today comes from many sources, including radio, television and the Internet’s social media. All of which are (presumably) more attractive to today’s on-the-go generation. It’s sad but true that hold-in-your-hand newspapers are a dying breed of communication.
It was shocking to me when The Oregonian ceased a daily publication in 2013 and went mostly digital. Today, one can pay for unlimited (7 days a week) access to the Oregonian Digital Newspaper with apps from a tablet, smart phone or computer. Twice a week, a print edition is delivered and sold on the newsstand.
Recently, the Eugene Register Guard newspaper announced that the family-owned paper’s new publisher was not a family member. They were proudly heralding a new era of digital change to become “more than a newspaper.” With that thought in mind, one has to wonder how long before they quit printing.
This is not good news for us real newspaper junkies. I subscribe to both the RG and the CG Sentinel and used to buy the Sunday Oregonian. I wake up to radio news, read the daily Internet news and watch two different news channels at night. I like to know what’s going on in the rest of the world as well as Lane Co.
It’s because of the Internet’s Yahoo! that I discovered Katie ‘s FYI. Former news anchor and daytime TV star Katie Couric is now Yahoo’s Global News Anchor. I was never a big fan of hers so frankly, I ignored her Internet presence until last Dec. Then, I stumbled across her report on falling oil prices. In a segment that she calls, “Now I get it,” she explained (in words that I could understand) the oil crisis situation.
Suddenly, I was a fan. I signed up at http://katiecouric.com/katies-fyi/
to receive her daily reports. Turns out that I like her news choices as much as I did her commentaries. Now, every morning, a variety of important and interesting news gets delivered to my email inbox. They range from breaking hard news to whimsically articles that make me think.
In January, the first headline that grabbed my attention was: “Unlock your creativity this year: Get bored, early and often.” The author was a mother with a colicky baby. But it wasn’t a sweet mother-child relationship study. Instead, this working mom had to turn off her iPhone while walking her baby. She was bored. Eventually she discovered that this mindless activity of walking and thinking paid great dividends in productive thinking. Imagine that!
In March, thanks to Katie, I watched a fascinating video on a very timely subject: “Cancer’s Most Controversial Surgery.” Can you guess which one it is? Breast cancer. Today about 60 percent of women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer choose lumpectomy surgery followed by radiation instead of a complete mastectomy. Once this was not a choice. Now it is.
In May I read a fascinating piece about an outspoken Iraqi parliamentarian taking a brave stand against ISIS. We don’t hear much about how ordinary people in Iraq feel about this scourge. Certainly not if the person is an unveiled woman, who believes in democracy! But there is such a woman and her name is Vian Dakhil. She cares about all the people in her country and is working politically to save the endangered Yazidi religious and ethnic minority. Her story gave me hope. It was published in “Fast Company.”
Other headlines have included “Who decides where autistic adults live?” “Can one man end the global drug war?” “Will Cleveland’s police reform offer blueprint for other cities?” “Why cursive mattered.” And “The real reason you have a terrible memory.” There’s something for everyone. Check it out.
Thanks to Katie my horizons are stretched in different ways every day. I need that. Otherwise I might get lazy and settle for being spoon fed whatever pops up on my screen i.e. the latest UFO sighting or Kardashion fashion statement. Even worse, I could become depressed over the depravity of this world—murders, molestations, global warming, genocide, terrorism and more. No, I need a balanced look at the world and Katie’s FYI provides it.
Locally, “Around the Grove,” is a new weekly resource for events that are happening here in Cottage Grove. Its goal is to encourage community participation. This enews made its debut a few months ago and is an additional resource to the Chamber of Commerce, radio station KNND or the Sentinel.
ATG is a nice addition to the mix with a laid out calendar of events that I find easy to read and mark on my own calendar. Although it’s technically not a news sources, I always learn something. For instance: Do you know what the networking acronym TEAM means? “Together Everyone Achieves More.” A worthy community goal.
KNND calendar coordinator Cindy Weeldreyer is the editor of ATG. If you’re interested in getting on the weekly email list or would like to submit an item for the weekly calendar, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop it off at radio station KNND, 321 Main St.
Yep. Times have changed. I do wonder what Will Rogers would say about all these new-fangled options. But he was a simple guy. He’d probably still be funny and find a newspaper to read.
The power of ONE…
“One person can make a difference and everyone should try.”
John F. Kennedy
On August 11, 1965 a routine traffic stop by police, triggered a race riot in a suburb of my hometown in Los Angeles. African Americans (then called Negroes) lived in semi-isolation in the Watts area of L.A. Unemployment was high, relations between the mostly white police department and the community was strained at best. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was in its infancy. The area was a powder keg.
Ugly rumors about the traffic stop grew, flew and ignited an explosion like we Angelenos had never known. For six days, as many as 10,000 rioters took to the streets in roving bands. By the time the riots ended, 34 people died, more than 1,000 were injured and 600-plus buildings were damaged or destroyed by fire and looting.
After the riot, racial tensions continued to simmer. Young men were still unemployed and turning to drugs, gangs and violence. Into this scene came a most unlikely peacemaker—“Big Willie” Robinson.
Willie, a Vietnam veteran and member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, came home to another kind of war. He was an imposing 300 pound, 6’6” gentle giant of a man— the kind of guy that could get gang members and cops to put down their weapons and shake hands. He also loved fast cars and soon made a name for himself in East L.A.’s street racing underground in his ’57 Chevy.
Veterans returning from WWII are credited with starting the hot rod racing craze. “My car is hotter than your car” conversations led them to the streets in competition for bragging rights. Later, in the 1950s my husband and his buddies raced after school in isolated areas and at night at Lion’s Drag strip in Long Beach. It was everything that a young man loves—speed and competition.
In 1966, a year after the riots, L.A. residents and politicians were desperate for ways to vent the Watt’s pressure cooker. Future mayor Tom Bradley (then a councilman) noticed that the local street-racing scene of hot rodders and drag racers attracted an integrated crowd. He and the council approached Robinson to stage a series of semi-legal street races at midnight on Fridays for all comers.
More than 10,000 people showed up on the first night! Thus was born the National and International Brotherhood of Street Racers. "Jalopnik" magazine, said membership was simple: pledge to race under safety supervision; abstain from alcohol, drugs, fighting; and NO squirreling during events (i.e. acting stupid while showing off).
In 1968, the program was credited to have helped L.A. keep order on the streets after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Cities like Chicago, Detroit and New York saw spikes in racial unrest.
Robinson worked for years to get a drag strip that could be operated with the low buck street racer in mind. In 1974, he finally saw his dream come true on Terminal Island outside L.A. The track was short on amenities but it was a true melting pot for the car culture. There, on their own turf, guys could quasi-legally drag race off the city streets without the dangers of illegal racing.
Big Willie Robinson, street racer and peacemaker, died on May 21, 2012 at the age of 69. He helped thousands of men to build a brotherhood through street racing. “When you get around cars, man, there isn’t no colors, just engines,” he told the L.A. Times in 1981.
The power of one person to make a difference under pressure cooker circumstances always amazes me. Last month, the whole world sat up and paid attention when Ms Toya Graham chased down and stopped her son as he took part in the Baltimore riots. I nominate her for mother of the year!
The riots began when Freddie Gray, a 25-year old African American resident of Baltimore, died in police custody a week after being arrested. Gray reportedly was in good health prior to his arrest but possibly incurred neck and spine injuries while being transported to jail. He later fell into a coma and died. Charges have been filed against six police officers.
Irate citizens initially protested peacefully. Once charges were filed against the police the scene turned ugly. Angry crowds took to the streets in massive acts of violence, vandalism, looting and arson. In the end, everyone suffered—police, rioters, innocent civilians and shopkeepers. There were no winners.
Well, maybe one. Score one for mothers! I loved Toya Graham, rushing into the fray to do what she could. She didn’t rush out to beat up the police, or the protestors or shopkeepers. No, she zeroed in to stop the only person that she had any control over—her son. Her actions went viral, giving us all a lesson in love and wisdom.
Graham, a single mother of six children, spotted her 16-year old son Michael wearing a hoodie and mask. She said, “I just lost it. I was shocked, I was angry, because you never want to see your child out here doing that. I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray…I’m a no-tolerant mother.”
It’s that reputation that made her son wince the second he saw her. He said, “when I seen you, ma, my instinct was to run.” Photos show her whacking and herding him out of the crowd and home where they watched and discussed the riots play out on television. I can only imagine what was said.
Graham hopes that with the perspective of time it will be a teachable moment for her son. I’m thinking that it’s a teachable moment for all of us: Respect one another, play by the rules, don’t hurt others, make a scene for a good cause but start the training at home.
God bless the peacemakers. They make a difference. It’s a task for each of us to try.
Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.