With Burns, to Germany

Lakeside and jammin'

I’ll begin by saying, “I have good news,” and I’ll spare you a Geico joke (though I did save money by switching car insurance.)  The really good news, though, is: I’m a Burns Fellow!  The International Center for Journalists accepted my proposal to look at immigration issues in Germany as compared to the Southwest United States .  With the Arthur Burns fellowship I’ll head to Germany for two months, beginning in July, and I’ll act as a member of a host organization’s news team.

Details on where I’ll be, and specifics on host organization are soon to come.  I’ve requested to be based in Berlin (near the Turkish enclaves of Kreuzberg and Neukölln.)  My second choice is to be stationed in Bonn or Cologne , the hub of Deutsche Welle’s radio operation—DW being the national broadcaster of Germany .

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Sprichst du Deutsch? Almost.

Rhineland sailing

I’ve been mulling a post about the role of digital media, and how bloggers, online video, and similar devices should be infusing journalism, instead of causing it’s slow stagger toward the respirator, and a ready-to-be-pulled plug.  While that sour jolt of professional pride may still be forthcoming, I thought I’d share instead a small victory in another quest of mine: learning German.

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Finding Fairness

Murrow's Way

Depending on your perspective, the “Mainstream Media” may be part of either a vast left-wing, or equally vast right-wing conspiracy.  These judgments are often based on a person’s own sense of injustice to a certain cause.  If a news outlet passes over, or offers inadequate coverage of a subject held dear, said outlet must be serving its own agenda. 

I don’t wish to defend or explain the perceived lack of neutrality of certain outlets, but in the same breath I can talk a little to what a news story should contain. 

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“And Jesus wept…”

Weeping

Die-hard football fans already know this, I’m sure, but the New England Patriots failed to reach “Perfection,” as color commentators had labeled it, instead falling to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl tonight. 

For this post, I’ll resist the temptation to focus on the use of “perfection” to describe richly/over-paid athletes.  I have many problems with professional sports, notably among those problems is hero-worship, and the mind-boggling amounts of money thrown at a game in salaries, advertising, etc.

Today, however, being the biggest game of the season, takes this show of capitalistic prowess to a new level.  This level happened to be above the call of God, according to one Phoenix-area church.

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Arizona’s Wilderness

A flattened world
If you take a dirt road long enough you’ll find your way home.  Near Wickenburg, Arizona, that dirt road is called Constellation, and it winds you through stages of the state’s history.  The road passes a stage coach stop; numerous mines; washes with names like “King Solomon”; walls built by Chinese and native workers.

After driving 8 miles on cliffs and over ridges you find yourself at a fork, and finally at the Williams Family Ranch.

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Journalistic Incest

Arguably one of the most important news events I’ve taken part in covering was the case of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen.  Al-Hussayen was a University of Idaho graduate student, living with his wife and children in Moscow in 2003*.

In the early morning hours of a regular day, SWAT teams and federal agents “breached” Al-Hussayen’s home, and took him into custody for alleged illicit activity of supporting anti-American overseas operations.

Ultimately Al-Hussayen was acquitted, but deported, and his family voluntarily left the states before being booted themselves. 

But within this fascinating post-September-eleventh dynamic, of which your humble correspondent was a part, bloomed a side of journalism I never knew existed: the incestuous side.

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Letting the Mind Roam

Image

The last post musters remnants of my own struggles with “What ifs.”  Through college and immediately beyond I was fascinated by purpose, and the reason things happened.  In broader terms, I was and still am captivated by the larger picture—I seem to be able to grab context immediately.

The problem, as Joe’s anecdote explores, lies in our being imperfect creatures wanting what will come later.

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