Signal boost for the DMV. This not-so-little lady’s soulful eyes remind me of Tigger, my Treewalking Coonhound back in St. Louis. They’re wonderful animals, and I would definitely snatch her up if Meridian Park was actually my backyard.
Excuse me if this turns into a rant; I can’t wrap my mind around the tragedy, the anger, the call to action as a journalist and as a person.
I had a sick feeling in my stomach when the news first broke out of Sandy Hook Elementary School-3 in the hospital initially-that the first thing to be pushed aside in this story was the conversation (about even having a conversation) on gun control. Then the body count grew. And photos of children crying in a single-file line hit the public conscience. How do you digest that and not want to do everything imaginable to keep children from ever crying like that again? How do you not want to being back 18 dead children, ease the pain of those parents, ensure no parent feels that pain ever? There are multiple factors in horrific acts of violence. Mental health is one of them. Guns are one of them, too. Calling attention to one aspect of the problem does not detract from the problem as a whole. It’s simply something we can fix, and so simply with gun control. Fight for it.
***puts on journalist cap***
There is important information to glean from this tragedy: casualties, community impact, rebuilding for families, DOING SOMETHING ABOUT GUNS (see above). You know what’s NOT important? Shoving a camera in the face of a traumatized child in the elementary school parking lot to get a quote. Seriously? What can that child contribute to developing facts beyond a cute exploited face and 12 seconds of sensationalist airtime. Get out of the way and let that child hug a parent or a friend. While you’re at it, consider getting a life-or at least a new job.
News stations are reporting the shooter’s name is Ryan Lanza. Reports say he may have shot his parent in Hoboken, NJ as well; that case is ongoing. Those are the facts. That is all I will say about him. That’s all you should, too.
The president is scheduled to speak soon. After that, I have to get back to work. But later this evening I expect I will cry again as I light the menorah and Hanukkah lights. It’s just not fucking fair that light has been stripped from these innocent people in Newtown.
Anita Rae (Annie) Klein was born at 27 weeks to the indomitable and vivacious Lisa Klein. Lisa and her husband Thomas, a law student, had been trying to conceive for years, and Annie’s miraculous birth and subsequent two-month stay in the hospital were, until now, among the most harrowing experience of their life.
Annie is now a healthy infant, but soon after she was released from NICU, Lisa was back in the hospital with excruciating abdominal pain. After a few weeks of intermittent hospital stays, an exploratory surgical procedure revealed that her stomach and intestines were riddled with malignant masses, her small intestine wrapped around a particularly large tumor, like a ball of yarn. An apparently slow-growing, long-present cancer had suddenly spread quickly and viciously through her abdomen and Lisa, a new mom looking forward to time at home with her baby became a new mom and terminal cancer patient, unable to digest any food.
She is being sent home on hospice care at 35 years old, and will leave behind a beautiful infant daughter who will grow up with a single father, shaped by the love of the early bonding with her mother, but unable to form memories of her own.
Lisa is determined to spend the time she has left connecting with her friends and family, drawing strength and courage from the community. But at the end of the day, they have a mortgage, medical expenses and are planning a bright future for Annie. In addition, Thomas needs to finish his last year of law school. Please help this family with a donation of any size.
Shaare Zedek, my synagogue back in St. Louis, is collecting donations in honor of Lisa, Thomas and Annie that will help them get through this incredibly difficult time. Please go to http://shaarezedek.org/my-sz/donations to donate, and select the Samuel Frank Chesed Fund. Every little bit counts.
In Judaism, the number 18 is symbolic of life. In that vein, I’ll be donating $54, or 18x3, to honor the lives of all three members of the Klein family. I hope you’ll do the same.
By now, in an appropriate twist of irony, I am not the first person to comment on CNN’s and Fox News’s blunder in reporting yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Affordable Care Act. To be honest, I didn’t closely follow the blunder when it first hit; aside from a few errant Twitter comments (“Hey, did anyone see that graphic on CNN saying Obamacare’s overturned? WTH?”), I was glued to @SCOTUSblog Thursday morning for a quick report on the ruling and follow-up explanations. You can learn more about that site here.
They got it right. Now let’s talk about the guys who got it wrong.
The rush to be first is a superficial game that cheats the news audience out of substantial information. In today’s news environment, there are so many outlets for people to get the information they want at breakneck speed. Everyone’s fast, and that’s great. But does everyone in this super-fast, super-saturated environment confirm accuracy? Does everyone provide context to the story they’re so eager to claim “first”? Does everyone ask the important follow-up questions to understand breaking news? Unfortunately, more often than not, the answer to all these questions is a resounding “no.”
Not only does this make a news organization that gets it wrong look bad, but it also provides a tragic disservice to the audience. I’d argue it’s nearly impossible for today for the average news consumer to get every side of a story in a timely fashion in order to make the best-informed decision; we live in an age that’s too in love with selective retention, sorry. When you break news first and it’s wrong, you run the risk of having your audience use that false information to govern their lives and how they contribute to democracy. Even the President thought his signature health care law had been struck down because he tuned into CNN and Fox News first. If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.
So don’t scale back, but definitely slow down. You will never lose an audience by being 20 seconds behind the next guy. You will lose trust, respect and an audience by being wrong. And they take a while to get back.
Includes a link to the ruling.
The alliteration-happy web version of my story on this weekend’s SUAS competition in Maryland. Met some scary smart students (there I go again!). The full version of this story will appear in the August issue of Unmanned Systems.
Speakers and floor exhibitors at Sensors Expo 2012 in Chicago showcased new ways sensors are bringing autonomy and connectivity to manned and unmanned technologies.