June 6, 2009 Leave a comment
I rarely get to spend as much time as I would like on the web these days, which is why I find myself, after a week of field reporting for my summer reporting fellowship, doing just that on a Friday night. Here are some interesting things I just might have missed if I had better things to do right now. Come to think of it, everything here is from the Times.
- The New York Times’ photojournalism blog “Lens” has some great photos up right now. There is one of costumed mermaids that is particularly cool. There is something fun about looking at photos from all over in the same place. It definitely conveys how wild this world is. I used to enjoy looking at photo books from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s when I would stay at my aunt’s when I was younger. Unlike looking at contemporary photos, it all seemed to have the overarching theme of “This was the ’70s. Look how out there people were.” Wonder how the aughts will seem in future photobooks…
- David Brooks has an article about Barack Obama’s Cairo speech that says its themes are Chicago in nature. “Chicagoans like to see themselves as pragmatists, not ideologues,” he says. “That means they contain both sides of The Great Tension. In Chicago, there is a tension between the lakefront and the neighborhoods inland. The lakefront tends to be idealistic, earnest and liberal. The neighborhoods are clever, cautious and Machiavellian.” There’s some truth to this generalization–and how Chicago of me to call it that. I think Obama’s rhetoric is so soaring not because it is idealistic, but because it isn’t. How often does a politician get as real with us, as Obama often does? One of his most popular lines of a speech, from the Democratic Convention in 2004, “We worship an ‘awesome God’ in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States” amounts to a statement of reality, not aspiration. Oftentimes, I feel Obama is reminding people how the world is, not how it should be. If this makes him Chicago, and if I, by virtue of being a Chicagoan can identify with this at all, then that’s cool with me.
- The New York Times could have had the scoop on Watergate, according to a former reporter and an editor from the paper. Instead, the Grey Lady let it slip to the Washington Post. This story made me feel better as a new journalist who often wonders when to pursue stories: even the best paper doesn’t follow up on every worthwhile lead. Lesson: it’s worth it to do so, if you can. But it’s good enough that Woodward and Bernstein broke the news.
- $125,000 for teachers? Check it out.
- Why blogs go defunct. I love the lead of this article. And I’m proud to say I have pretty regularly-updated this blog since I began it in March of 2004.