Pride Is Good

Pride is a personal commitment. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity.

– Ian Dickson, business coach

I’m glad I have a lot of pride in what I do.

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The Infinite Canvas That Is The Internet

Difference between online and print media: the latter is finite while the former becomes infinite.

Unfortunately the creator still remains unchanged in terms of his limits. The length of his day doesn’t change, like a processor upgrade. There remains 24 hours in a single day.

Physically he hasn’t evolved. There remains four limbs, a pair of eyes, a brain and others.

Perhaps he has learnt to multi-task but already, the online medium has stretched faster and vaster before him – it is, after all, the aggregation of the herd mind.

You hear everything and anything at once – as long as you know where to find it.

It is like trying to work with many people at once.

In that sense, if you try to spread yourself over your medium, you are doomed to fail.

If you seek a path of everything, you will end up with nothing. Is this not a cliche? Why then are we still trying to do this – but in a different form?

We need to confine ourselves, locate our thoughts and focus the strength on a spot. To start a spark and then, stoke the flame into a raging fire.

What We Can Only Achieve Is Tangential Objectivity

An old-time print journalist has defected to an online news portal.

Peter Goodman was, according to the Washington Post, the top reporter for New York Times. I don’t have a familiarity with foreign correspondents though I should because I am after all, a journalist.

In any case, Goodman was covering the national economic beat for the NY Times until recently before he defected to the news portal, Huffington Post. And his reasons? He argued that “The View From Nowhere” makes it difficult for proper reporting. On the other side of the lake, the term for objectivity is “The View From Nowhere” (1).

“For me it’s a chance to write with a point of view,” Goodman says in an interview. “It’s sort of the age of the columnist. With the dysfunctional political system, old conventional notions of fairness make it hard to tell readers directly what’s going on. This is a chance for me to explore solutions in my economic reporting.”

Goodman, who spent a decade at The Washington Post before his three years at the Times, says he will still rely on facts and not engage in “ranting.” And while he was happy at the newspaper, he says, he found he was engaged in “almost a process of laundering my own views, through the tried-and-true technique of dinging someone at some think tank to say what you want to tell the reader.” (emphasis mine)

Media Notes“, Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post,

I posed the question to someone before. Why does reporting sometimes feel like as if I am laundering my own views through finding the appropriate sources to say what I want to say to the reader.

I am lucky because most of the time, I review cars. And reviews are subjective. If anyone tells you otherwise, don’t believe them.

Objectivity is impossible.The notion of Objectivity is like a curve – one that we cannot comprehend. I think Ican only come close to Objectivity insofar as my reporting travels in a tangent to the point in question. I should aim for the best straight-line approximation of the curve but otherwise, I can never draw out the curve.

What we can only do, Jay Rosen, a professor in journalism at NYU suggested, is to provide a plurality of opinions, as many as possible, to let the readers pick a voice.

Then, my reporting becomes tangentially objective.

Footnote:

1) “The View From Nowhere” sounds very much like a romantic notion. Did the media critics come up with this term?

And Words Kept Falling Out

When the writing fervour comes, everything is put aside in favour of the thoughts that pour out.

And it is at this very moment, this exact second, 11.50am on a Wednesday, that I feel these words dammed up behind my head. I always thought words were supposed to come out of your thoughts and then, physically translated through your fingers. But I was wrong. They build up in your brain, that humongous lump of Omega3 acids, of which 70 per cent is just fats. That’s what I learnt from my colleague yesterday. Our brains are just fats. I think the words pile up gently at first. You can’t feel them initially. You would just wonder, “Hmm I haven’t been writing for a very long time, have I?” Which is true. Because the words have not accumulated at all. But letter by letter falls out from that deep dark hole, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. And sometimes the black opening gets stuck. There was once, I think, where the capital letter A got stuck in the black opening because it came out in too big a font size. That peak got caught in some mess and A was stuck there for a long time. Slowly other letters started piling up behind it. There were a few that were impatient and began horning. These inconsiderate letters reminded me of some people. But horning is pretty much useless when you are stuck and you have no hands. A’s not like the letter T. Eventually the pressure behind got so great that A was forced out, by force, and letters, words, sentences, started pouring out like there was a flood somewhere. It was like what they said in the papers – a once-in-fifty-years event. Which doesn’t mean that it takes 50 years to happen but rather the probability of it occurring is 1/50. How plebeian can the masses get? The masses are uninformed and inert. Anyway, back to the dammed up words. Such situations lead to things like theorrhea. Words and sentences kept spilling out for quite a while until the flow gradually eased. The damage was done. The buildup force had resulted in A widening the opening. It was easier for the letters and words to drop out now. No more limitations. No more getting stuck.

At the end, the torrent will turn back into a tiny stream of words. Word by word. Letter by letter

And things get quiet again.

Two Sides Of The Same Coin?

It is a pity that so many governments are heavily indebted. As such, supporting innovation may first and foremost be a matter of relieving public finances by—brace yourselves, baby-boomers—raising the retirement age. Somehow, the Western world has, with good intentions, locked itself into the expectation that it is perfectly acceptable—yes, normal—to enjoy the last 15-20 years of life on an extended holiday with full benefits. As a result, too much economic activity has been diverted to consumption, too little to investment; too much to the present, too little to the future.

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Good journalism will thrive, whatever the format

John Naughton

The web has been a boon for serious investigative writing

If I’ve learned one thing from watching the internet over two decades, it’s this: prediction is futile.

The reason is laughably simple: the network’s architecture and lack of central control effectively make it a global surprise-generation machine. And since its inception, it has enabled disruptive innovation at a blistering pace.

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Style Guide

From the Chicago Manual of Style:

Compare. To “compare with” is to discern both similarities and differences between things. To “compare to” is to note primarily similarities between things.

The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, p206

It is time to constantly remind myself of English and grammar.