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.

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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.

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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.’

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Baking Vlog Ep. 1: Salted French

The first episode in a web series of bread baking and talk about the craft of journalism, this time with Salted French.

I hope you like it, and please subscribe on YouTube, and to my e-mail list.

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***This is another video in a series of vlogs meant to help me work on video editing, and my amateur bread baking. It’s not perfect, but I hope I show some improvement over time. Thanks for being with me as I try to improve myself, and hopefully add some interesting content to the world***

Salted French Bread Recipe

You need:
6 cups flour (unbleached is better, bread flour is best, but use what you have!)
.75 oz (2.5 packets) active dry yeast
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp sugar
2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp cornmeal

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Deploying Machiavelli in the ‘War on Media’

Machiavelli at the NYT

As Niccolo Machiavelli wrote by candlelight about power and people, his bed chamber was spared endless push alerts of ultime notizie (breaking news.)

His estate outside Florence in 1520 remained unsullied by the eternal wails of pundits and sound bytes which seem to drive our modern conversations and musings.

Machiavelli had his own form of media and matter to consume to be sure, but I have to imagine The Prince may have had another chapter or two if Fox News or MSNBC followed the machinations of Renaissance politicking as thoroughly as our world now.

Even without those chapters, Machiavelli’s recognition of what it takes to find and keep power may teach us something amid heated skirmishes in the modern ‘War on Media.’

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A K-pop ‘ARMY’ might show us a way forward in the ‘War on Media’ (no, really)

Journalists, at their core, are supposed to be representatives for their fellow citizens. They’re afforded a Willy Wonka-style ‘golden ticket’ to enter board rooms, factory floors, and the streets of our communities to show and help explain what the heck is going on.

The public expects journalists to use that access and special status to get the public information they need to understand our world better, and know where they might want to advocate, or protest, or investigate more.

This may seem obvious to say, so why say it? The on-going ‘War on Media’ is adding to the already crippling deficit of trust between journalists and some segments of society, and it doesn’t need to be that way.

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