I made it to the US Government Watch List, or as the nice woman at the BA check-in counter says: “The hit list”.
Washington DC, Monday 15th September 2008
Today I made my pilgrimage to the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks from the White House. The Newseum was opened only a few months ago in a brand new glass building in the heart of the US capital city.
I learned something new too. I didn’t know about Rudyard’s Kipling’s poem, The Elephant’s Child, that contains the six news questions.
I’ve been in Columbia, Missouri (pron: Mizzoorah) for the past few days, enjoying the hospitality of the Missouri School of Journalism and helping them (in my own small way) to celebrate a Centenary of operations.
It’s also the launch of their state-of-the-art convergent newsroom and associated research and teaching facilities at the Reynolds Institute.
As well as honouring MSJ’s proud history, the celebration has a serious side, a forum on the future(s) of journalism. The focus of discussion has been on journalism, journalists, convergence and, of course, curriculum issues.
I’ve been able to get an overview of journalism education in a number of places and alongside my visit to the Annenberg School of Journalism at USC Los Angeles, I’m starting to get a picture of where the journalism curriculum is going and what the stumbling blocks are.
One interesting note: at Annenberg they’re still offering undergraduate degrees in print and broadcast journalism. Their MA program (I know Allison, but I am in America, OK!) offers tracks in print, broadcast and online.
I was also relieved to find out that the struggles and issues we face at AUT are really no different from those being tackled around the world. It’s not the case that we are a million years behind; in fact we’re on par with some of the bigger schools and not that far behind the leaders.
That’s the good news. The bad news is…
I picked up the New York Times yesterday, it’s a thinsheet too, like the LA Times.I ripped out four pages from the newspaper, only one of them was a piece of journalism.
Columnist Bob Herbert wrote a great piece about the proud achievements of what Americans coyly call “liberals”. That is US citizens with a modicum of intelligence and a social conscience. I put that last bit in there to distinguish them from intelligent conservatives-they’re the ones who know they’re f&8k9nG the rest of us over and get sadistic pleasure from it. They’re the ones who know it’s torture, think it’s OK and actually enjoy it being done to “terrrrists”.
Herbert’s column’s called “Hold your heads up” and it argues well that American liberals should be proud of who they are and not ashamed to be identified as liberals, even though it’s a swear word in the red states.
The other stuff I pulled was a series of interesting display ads.
[dribblejaws alert-you should go here]
[Updated 10 September 2008]
I’ve just stayed for two nights in the Westin-branded Bonaventure hotel in downtown Los Angeles. I was keen to stay there and explore the hotel because it’s something of an icon in architecture and also a building that evokes strong reactions in people.
Some of the hotel’s history is recorded at Wikipedia. The Bonaventure is a bit of a star in the city of stars. It has appeared in loads of movies and TV series since construction was finished in 1976.
I was fascinated by this hotel because it features in the work of Marxist cultural theorist Fredric Jameson and has been something of a touchstone for postmodern cultural theorists ever since, such as Jason Berger, who re-examined some of Jameson’s argument that the cultural logic of postmodernism reinforces the hold of capitalism on the popular consciousness:
Using a reinterpretation of Jameson’s own work, I will argue that his analysis of the hyperspace within the Bonaventure Hotel in his original 1988 essay provides evidence that postmodernism does create a resistance to late capitalism through spatial “deterritorialization.”[Berger 2004]
I’ve never really agreed with this idea. To me postmodernism is a capitulation to capitalist relations of production and a celebration of crass, kitsche consumerism as the new revolution.
So is the Bonaventure a celebration of capitalism, or does the building condemn consumerism?
Updated 9 September (hat tip to AJ)
I got hold of the Sunday (7 Sept 08) edition of the Los Angeles Times yesterday. It’s one of the biggest newspapers I’ve ever seen. I got the guys in the hotel kitchen to weigh it for me. At 42 ounces it’s only marginally bigger than the biggest steak they sell in the restaurant here.
It’s one of those new narrow broadsheets. I’m not sure what we call them “broadloid”, “thinsheet”? I’ve no idea; if you have a suggestion for a new name, let me know.
What’s interesting is not only the news flow across the first 10 pages or so, but the sheer number of inserts and amount of advertising material that comes with it.
All the copies I saw in the hotel lobby come tied up with string, which is good I guess. It stops you chucking out the ad inserts till you get it home.
So Sunday’s been and gone on your side of the dateline. Here it’s nearly 11pm.
I went out to Hollywood on the Metro this afternoon. What a disappointment. Not sure what I was looking for, but it was pretty ordinary. I got off the train at Hollywood and Vine (what a romantic spot), but it was dirty, rundown and full of cheap suits.
You know for $US 49.95 you can buy a suit and then get your photo taken next to one of those stars in the pavement – the “walk of fame” or some such.
I’m enjoying the Bonaventure hotel, but haven’t yet made my mind up about it’s postmodern credentials. (More on that later).
But the Martinis are supersized, and they come with sides. This one was at least a double and it had some tapas on a plate and a glass of water.
Updated 9 September 2008
Two of the Sunday’s carried the Veitch story today (7 September).
Aren’t there rules around reporting possible/alleged/unproven incidents of this nature?
Veitch hospitalised (Stuff.co.nz)
Ex-lover plea for privacy (Stuff.co.nz)
Veitch in suicide bid (Sunday News)
Fears for Veitch after hospital dash (Herald on Sunday)
Lita (bitsontheside) has an excellent post saying pretty much what I would say, were I not making any comment.
I’m reposting this from a newslist I belong to. It’s grim reading.
I thought you would be interested in reading this first-person account of the heavy-handed response to activism at the RNC this week. This is from Colleen Mihal, currently a Ph.D. student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado-Boulder:
When you wake up this morning and read the headlines about McCain’s speech, the latest horserace tally, and political predictions, I want you to be aware of events you may not read about, events that illuminate the real state of our democracy, events that brought me to tears (and it wasn’t just from the gas). I want to tell you about battle that raged on the streets of St. Paul- A battle waged by the police, backed, funded, and organized by the Department of Homeland Security, a battle against peaceful protesters, war veterans, concerned citizens, and journalists.