Irresponsible Reader tackles Kneading Journalism

Submitting my book to a reviewer whose blog is called “The Irresponsible Reader” may seem a curious choice. But scanning H.C. Newton’s approach to reviews gave me some sense that Kneading Journalism would get a fair shake.

The thoughtfulness in this review and in the questions from a Q&A are truly a gift.

I’m incredibly grateful for H.C. Newton’s care in the approach to this review which I think makes a case that the “irresponsible reader” takes the craft of reviewing seriously, with the end product being discerning and fair.

My mixture of bread and journalism (what I was most unsure about in creating the book) went over well, eliciting about the best reaction to the book I could ever hope for:

I spent time afterward thinking about the individual essays as well as the book as a whole. Both in terms of the content of the essays as well as in how to apply and evaluate what I read/watch.

H.C. Newton

One of his other observations is something I’ve thought about with this book project, on readership and visibility. Of course I’ve published the essays in multiple formats. Of course I have tried to get the word out about it. But there’s no guarantee that Kneading Journalism will reach everyone who might benefit from its approach.

I’m afraid this isn’t going to find the readership it deserves—but I hope it does find readers that the message resonates with and that they can at least spread the ideas and carry them into their own lives and media consumption. It’s something all Americans need to think about before it’s too late.

H.C. Newton

I’m thankful for H.C. to have given me and Kneading Journalism a fair hearing. Through this project, I am trying to contribute something positive to the dialogue around journalism, and hope it reaches the discerning readers and bakers who can use it.

I do encourage you to read the review on H.C.’s website, and check it out if you’re in the market for smart book reviews!

Kneading Journalism in South Carolina’s Statehouse Report

It’s a bit of good news to anchor this short update, with Kneading Journalism finding mention in the Statehouse Report, a premier source of political news and commentary in South Carolina.

Editor and publisher Andy Brack blends thoughts from a few sources—including my book—to try to call us away from the extremes in our politics and media. It’s a relatively quick read with some food for thought on a Saturday!

Part of this national political disconnect among the people is due to an increasing cynicism by many about the media, which exists to report truths about those in power and to tell stories to connect us.  But as the media diversified thanks to the Internet and traditional outlets got smaller, unsavory publishers – and some governments – worked to spread disinformation and misinformation, all of which are straining the American democratic process. 

“Information can breathe insight into a populace hungry for life, liberty and a pursuit of happiness, and this supports the idea of information being a source of power,” writes longtime Ohio journalist Tony Ganzer in a new book, Kneading Journalism.  

“[But] the direct manipulation of information, and a press which might distribute it, is thus a way to foster distrust and quell tools of accountability.”

Andy Brack in the article “Practice moderation to strengthen democracy”

Thanks to Andy for finding Kneading Journalism worthy of sharing with readers. Please check out Andy’s work in the Statehouse Report and the Charleston City Paper!

Journalists should stop subsidizing the pundit class

It seems to be its own past-time to ask John Kasich whether he’s going to run again for president, perhaps even challenging the incumbent Donald Trump.

CNN is especially interested in Kasich’s plans, and the network invited the two-term Ohio Governor to let viewers see into a crystal ball, and know if he sees a way to the White House.

“Right now, I don’t see it,” Kasich told the network, surely dashing the hopes of keen political observers wanting another narrative arc to follow.

“That doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be a path down the road,” he said, maintaining the possibility of a plot twist later.

I wasn’t surprised by Kasich saying this to CNN in August 2019, not only because I’m a journalist in Ohio and generally feel there would be more buzz before such a move.

The main reason I wasn’t surprised to read about Kasich on CNN is because Kasich is on CNN’s payroll as a Sr. Political Commentator.

Continue reading “Journalists should stop subsidizing the pundit class”

Why I hesitated becoming a Minivan Dad (it’s not why you think)

Even mentioning my plans to look at minivans earned the kind of under-the-breath-but-actually-directly-at-you reactions you might expect.

“Well, well, well, a minivan, huh?! Going to be a van dad, huh?! Deciding to give up being cool, huh?!” 

Even as jokes, the point seemed to be that entertaining the minivan — no matter the circumstance — constituted some failure on my part.

Let me say one thing from the outset: I place very little value on out-dated definitions of masculinity, strength, coolness, etc.

Any apprehension I had adopting the minivan did not hinge on any arbitrary definition of what constitutes a ‘manly’ or ‘cool’ automobile or not. My personal credo is not inherently linked to any product or campaign. (Gillette or otherwise.)

My real issues with a minivan rested in my realization that I’m entering a very different phase of life, and that my definition of ‘utility vehicle’ must change.

Continue reading “Why I hesitated becoming a Minivan Dad (it’s not why you think)”

What we need is trust

Strengthening ties between the public, the press, and law enforcement

Prepared remarks for the Rocky River Citizen Police Academy
April 16, 2019
Rocky River, Ohio

Mayor Bobst, Chief Stillman, Academy Graduates, Family and Neighbors,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you on such a great day for our community.

Your commitment to this program is an investment in and celebration of civic life. You can choose to exercise citizenship in many ways, be it through politics, or faith-based outreach, or philanthropy, or through a multi-week program like this—demystifying police work a little, providing a space for education and discussion about some of the serious challenges our society faces, and more broadly encouraging communication and community.

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The scourge of ‘anonymous sources’

What used to be an exception in journalism seems to have become a norm: affording anonymity to sources offering some unattainable insight, intentionally-hidden fact, or, it seems, juicy gossip.

If-and-when to grant anonymity is one of the more controversial discussions in the journalism realm, and it should be.

A written, broadcast, Tweeted, Instagrammed, or whatever, record of a story or claim needs to carry credibility and provability, lest one be attacked for ‘fake news.’

Continue reading “The scourge of ‘anonymous sources’”

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