Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Trusting your news source

So apparently there is a new poll out saying that more people trust Fox than any other news source and the article brings up a very interesting point, people are more drawn to their specific political bias than they are to neutrality anymore.

These numbers suggest quite a shift in what Americans want from their news. A generation ago Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in the country because of his neutrality. Now people trust Fox the most precisely because of its lack of neutrality. It says a lot about where journalism is headed.

This poll is sad but definitely not far off from the truth. I have a really hard time, with television news in particular, watching and not noticing the bias that is created. I think it is also easier in the television medium because of the role the reporters play in the delivery of the news. It's not just the name CNN that makes someone think liberal, it's Anderson Cooper's face or or Wolf Blitzer's tone of voice.

I really gave up on the televised news after the last election. CNN was so biased I couldn't believe they weren't clapping when Obama was officially elected. When you see that sort of enthusiasm and you can't hide it, it makes you lose faith in the reporting network.

I think a more interesting poll would indicate what people trust as their printed news source. I think discovering the bias in print media is much more difficult and takes much more intellect to spot. When I read things I try to look for the bias as a mental exercise. As a journalists I try to think of other questions each article could have answered or asked even that would make the article a more complete story.

Either way I think it is really sad that becoming a popular news source now must be based on establishing your beliefs. I was taught and have always believed in being neutral and showing both sides of the story. It is the readers' or the viewers' role to choose which way to take the issue, not the news outlet's.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What I love

Atlantic Monthly and their amazing website, bloggers and journalists.

Every day I go on their website, read the latest blogs, articles etc. and am informed and amazed at the writing ability. The website is well organized and I never feel too overwhelmed by too many links (I'm looking at you HuffPo).

Some recent links of articles recently read and thoroughly enjoyed:

What Makes a Good Teacher? An interesting and in-depth look at researching successful teaching methods and what the Teach for America program offers schools in the United States.

Bad Decisions at the Beach. I love how Alyssa Rosenberg takes something as terribly trite as Jersey Shore and relates it to Jane Austen, Bath, England and Pride & Prejudice. A good reminder that most all ideas have been recycled for decades.

Is American Addicted to Information? An intriguing look at what we pay for information, how we consume information and what it all means.

Island of of Lost Children. A horrifying look at how Haiti is now ripe for the picking in the sex slave trade.

And that is just a small sampling. I rarely see a link I don't want to read on this website and I never feel like I waste my time there. I feel that when I read these articles I am not only staying current but sharpening my own writing skills because every piece is so well written.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


There is so much I need to do today at work but I am literally paralyzed by watching the continuing coverage of the major earthquake to devastate Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

My heart goes out to those children. Not only did they lead difficult lives to begin with, now they experience this horrible catastrophe which continues to turn their lives upside down and will do so for a long time to come.

I can't even begin to imagine what it is like for them. The photos and the footage I have watched has literally brought tears to my eyes. I get frightened just thinking about how disorienting the whole event must have been for them.

It is very hard to understand. I am so scared of earthquakes, as most of my friends know, but I'd gladly take a 7.0 here (we could survive it so much easier) if it would save a nation that will take decades to bounce back from this.

Anyway my prayers go out to the nation of Haiti and all those who have been hurt by this horrible earthquake.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Small yet meaningful

I went on a great interview today. I interviewed a woman who recently wrote, "That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week: Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life." The book, which was released Jan. 5, has been doing amazing and is on the bestseller's list for parenting books on

While I am looking forward to reading the book, my conversation with her is what was so wonderful. After the business portion of my interview we chatted for an additional twenty minutes just getting to know one another. It was refreshing. I haven't met someone as interested in my life for a long time and I realized what a great trait that is to have.

I realize that I should probably get to know people more than I currently do at most interviews. I think she possessed a keen sense to get to know someone for networking's sake, but it didn't feel forced. She was genuinely interested.

Anyway we spoke of both of our thoughts on working with families in such a small town setting like Los Altos. I shared with her how sometimes I feel like I make such a small impact on the world when you think about it. I write about this one town. About 10 square miles of space does not make what I do all that important.

She reminded me of the impact the Town Crier has on the community, which was nice. She said that she was featured in an article in the New York Times but did not receive any comments in the aftermath of that article. A few months later, when we featured her (last year) she got so many comments from parents who said read about her in our paper.

She reminded me that people really value the Town Crier and what I write, while at some points might be a little trite or unimportant, is valuable to the extremely involved community that is Los Altos.

So while I'm not corresponding on items of national importance, I do make an impact with my writing. I have a small but meaningful career.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The "modern" family moment

Just was watching television while eating breakfast and watched an extremely disturbing commercial. A mother and her three children were in a family room and the mother was saying something about how she thought her son was going to take it harder when he was beat by his little sister .... at a video game. Then the commercial goes on to say Walmart helps make great family moments and advertises the Wii.

So great family moments include just playing video games now? Staring at a screen and numbing your mind to the point that you get to beat your bigger brother? This seems so wrong to me on so many levels.

To say I really dislike video games is the understatement of the century; I loathe them. I feel they kill your creativity and numb your mind. Some might argue playing video games help you build strategical skills, which may be, but the majority of games I have come across aren't exactly building brain power.

One aspect I absolutely can't stand is how usually playing video games isolates someone. It is really difficult to carry on a conversation with someone who is playing a game.

I'm not going to kid myself though, I will be raising a child sometime in the next ten years so I am going to grapple with how to handle the whole video game situation. As of now I am against having a gaming system in the home, but if I have a child who wants it I might have to reconsider.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My first post

In an effort to sharpen my literary skills and keep writing and analyzing my craft, I have begun a new blog.

In this blog I hope to comment on articles that strike me, books that touch me and thoughts on many things in general.

As a professional journalist writing about community happenings, I can only hone my craft to an extent. I am creating this blog to continue challenging myself.

Looking forward to seeing how this all evolves.

"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else."
~ Gloria Steinem