Archive for April 2007

Imus scandal prompts debate on “forgiveness” in the Information Age

April 13th, 2007 — 9:55am

“I would have fired Don Imus years ago. Because he’s boring. And if he should have been fired as a racist, that, also, should have occurred years ago. Howard Stern has been exposing his racism for more than a decade (odd, by the way, that few if any news reports went to Stern for this perspective). I’m no fan of Imus. I panned him in TV Guide years ago. I won’t miss him now that he’s gone. I think what he said was as stupid as it was offensive — that is, colossally on both counts.But I do think we need to stand back for a moment, just a moment, and examine the process of public scalpings in media, on the internet, and in politics today. This was Don Imus’ macaca moment and it was amplified to an 11 by the piranhaesque repetition of it on cable news (and, in this case, less so on the internet) and then by the calls for his execution from all the usual executioners.”

(Via Buzz Machine)

In response to the Imus debacle, Jeff Jarvis brings up an interesting question: how forgiving should the media be of public figures? As the 2007 State of the Media report has argued, the advent of 24/7 cable news has thus far led to much more news repetition than a real 24/7 news cycle. So when Imus (or Lott or whoever) makes such a statement, its impact is magnified one hundred fold throughout the media (make sure you watch the Daily Show’s take on Buzz Machine).

Jarvis believes the Imus remarks bring that discussion to the forefront. Imus’ remarks may reveal his true character and its treatment in the media may have been justified. But in the future, the public will have to examine very closely whether a tasteless comment is indicative of a character flaw (or, on a deeper level, a systemic problem) or if it’s just a “mistake.”

In any case, I’ve been loath to comment on the Imus debate for a variety of reasons (including that I think, on the face it, there didn’t remain much to be said) but I think Jarvis’ observation is an astute one.

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White girls can skip, but black boys can’t stomp, study says

April 12th, 2007 — 8:16pm

“Teachers treat African-American males differently from their white and Latino counterparts based on negative stereotypes and perceptions, according to a dissertation presented Wednesday.”

From Medill Reports,  a researcher who conducted her doctoral work jointly with the University of California Irvine and California State University Los Angeles looked at endemic racism in public schools in L.A.  (Watch her proposal here).

Her research attempts to combine qualitative and quantitaive research numbers behind the differences in how African-American males are disciplined in schools as compared to  other groups.

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Travel to Europe for $12

April 12th, 2007 — 9:18am

Ryanair intends to launch a no-frills long-haul airline around the turn of the decade serving five or six US cities from its 23 European bases and offering fares as low as $12.”

(Via Flight International).

I’ll be interested to see how this plays out. It’s not slated to launch for another couple of years though. For anyone who travels transatlantic, however, I’m not sure I’d be the first to sign up for “no frills.” Six-nine hours can be long haul on a flight like that. We’ll see…

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In the news…

April 11th, 2007 — 11:28pm

What I read today:

  • Sadly, Kurt Vonnegut died today (New York Times).
  • Die Welt went Web first, upping its page views by 40 percent. (via Buzz Machine).
  • Chicago is my No.1 priority because it has the worst mail delivery service in the country.” (I thought it wasn’t just me. From the Chicago Tribune).

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Planning a high school reunion, et al

April 11th, 2007 — 11:02pm

I’ve been working with a committee to plan our five-year high school reunion. After setting the date for Thanksgiving, here’s a message we received via the Facebook group we set up to solicit suggestions from our classmates.

We (Jason H., Jeff M., Andy F., AJ K., Joshua S.,) would like to respectfully suggest a new reunion date. We believe that the date of the reunion is a bit too early. After 5 years of college few people have made notable changes in their lives. Nevertheless, we would be excited to attend a 5 year reunion, but feel a date some time in the summer would better fit the occasion. If our class of 02 were able to circle this weekend as a priority of their summer, we believe it would have more meaning.

Only if you knew me could you recognize the absurdity of such a formal request. (Jason, Jeff, Andy, A.J. and Josh are my best friends).

I also agreed to head up the alumni network for an internship program I participated in the summer of 2005 in Germany. It should prove to be interesting, plus it’ll give me an excuse to actually sit down and start learning Drupal, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

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STA Travel Update

April 10th, 2007 — 6:10pm

Quick update on my life right now:

I’ve been selected as a semi-finalist for STA Travel’s World Traveler Summer Internship. I have a phone interview on Thursday. I’ll keep everyone posted.

Screen shot of STA Travel's competition for their World Traveler Summer Internship.

I’m currently scouring the blogosphere for an invite to Joost, so if you know anyone who uses it right now, let me know.

Still waiting to hear back from the fellowship I applied for with the American Council on German Affairs. That would take place in the fall or winter. We’ll see.

And finally, still spending the vast majority of my day with 13 other Medill graduate students working on the New Media Publishing Project, advising a newspaper in Michigan on how best to explore the convergence of digital and local communities. In the next few weeks we hope to roll out a few Web experiments.

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