Category Archives: Access to information

Bamboozled no more…..

If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle.  We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth.  The bamboozle has captured us.  It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken.  Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.  ~ Carl Sagan

One way to come to grips with the challenge We the People face at this juncture is to frame the information crisis in an alternate context.  This repot by First Draft News is a useful tool to reorder the mental format for thinking.  One year into the Era of Our Discontent, we struggle mightily to recognize the complexity of information disorder, to recognize that the very premise is “disorder.”  We fail to recognize – or perhaps admit – that the complexity of information disorder online” starts from the premise of “disorder”.  Consider this:  https://firstdraftnews.org/coe_infodisorder/

The struggle to unravel the intent and complexities of our information state is a shared challenge:

We the People face today’s challenge with both heads and hearts.  Take just a minute to heed the words and appreciate the attitudes of these wise gentleman as they speak with both:  https://vimeo.com/253191   To read their position paper on Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression click here: https://jmp.princeton.edu/statement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Hazelton Day of Action: 30 years after Court decision re. student press rights

Back in the pre-digital day “the press” referred to ink on paper – and students cut their journalistic teeth by meeting strict deadlines imposed by the student newspaper.

Because I was one of those fledgling “journalists” I understand deadlines and eleventh hour news tips. As a result, when I learned a few minutes ago that tomorrow, January 31, is Hazelwood Day of Action I knew the drill!

According to the Student Press Law Center (http://www.splc.org), an Inside the Beltway youth group, January 2018 marks thirty years since the Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier decision. This I just learned was a landmark Supreme Court decision that determined that “public school curricular student newspapers that have not been established as forums for student expression are subject to a lower level of First Amendment protection than independent student expression or newspapers established (by policy or practice) as forums for student expression.” (Read all about it here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazelwood_School_District_v._Kuhlmeier

The Student Press Law Center plans to share information and ideas on Facebook Live all day.  At the top of every hour SPLC will broadcast ten minute discussions by people who were involved in the Hazelwood decision as well as other experts on the history and the Supreme Court case.  There will also be a 30-minute #CureHazelwood Twitter blast.  Details to be posted on the SPLC site.

The SPL site also lists a number of resources available from organizations concerned about students’ rights.  These include the following statements about free expression:

From the Journalism Education Association:

Statements about free expression:

http://jea.org/home/about-jea/statements/

http://jeasprc.org

From the National Council of Teachers of English:

Hazelwood and students’ right to write. http://www2.ncte.org/blog/2015/05/hazelwood-students-right-write/

An earlier post on this blog also explores the issue of student journalists’ rights: https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/08/14/new-and-pending-laws-protect-rights-of-students-who-write/

My freshman year at Harrison High School, I saw a journalism class where students were putting out a weekly newspaper. It touched a responsive chord in me.  Irv Kupcinet, American journalist

 

 

 

 

We the People face the challenge to aim high

Tolerance is another word for indifference. W. Somerset Maugham

The spirit of tolerance, though true and essential, is a vague concept. I have always grumbled – sometimes raged – at the word and concept of “tolerance.”  In most situations and on most issues I care too much to passively tolerate.

The challenge we face today demands more energy, more passion.  Today’s challenge is to embrace, to work shoulder to shoulder, to share the values, the burden and the benefits of the society and the culture envisioned by our founders.  It’s the principle we as Americans have always celebrated with pride.  We honor the fact that no individual, even the president, is the center of the universe.  The core value of the democracy we share rests on the stated principle that it’s not “me” but “us”.

The Constitution goes so far as to spell out just how we go about achieving the goal of creating and living in a democracy.  As a matter of fact, the Constitution is fairly explicit about the presumption –- and commitment — that We the People are responsible for making the democratic system function.

The good news buried in today’s political debacle is that the challenge to the democracy evokes the best from the nation’s residents and, in many cases, from the institutions that We the People have created over time.  As we practice the fine art of crafting an enduring democracy we are increasingly aware of the means at hand – the law, the press, open elections, a just judicial system, free speech, history, education, technology (managed with care.)

At the same time, we have come to understand the sophisticated and systemic ways in which any of these can be “weaponized.”  Experience is teaching us the subtle in which malevolent manipulation of the tools can undermine democracy processes and principles.   Over time we have grown to realize the extent to which accepted democratic institutions and structures can be shaped to create a society and a culture that we cannot and will not tolerate.  We know in our souls and feel in our hearts that we must join forces to resist with the fierce persistence and unflinching integrity democracy demands.

Once we get outside of our own shadow we begin to comprehend, if dimly, that the whole of our democratic society really is greater than the sum of the parts.  We can no longer be indifferent….

Our Founders always wondered about how long it would last. The price of liberty is everlasting vigilance. You’ve got to be on your guard every minute or you will lose it.  Michael Novak

 

 

Places to go, things to do in the new year!

I find television very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.  Groucho Marx

The Water Bar & Public Studio celebrates the reopening of their great gathering place Friday, January 26, with a Winter Social and Exhibition Party.  Theme of the evening, marking the Water Bar’s first exhibition, is River Relationships: Portraits of a River and Its People.   It’s 6:00-9:00 PM at the Water Bar, 2518 Central Avenue NE.  Details here:  https://www.water-bar.org/events/2018/1/26/winter-social.

The Super Bowl inspires different strokes for different folks.  Take a Knee Nation tackles themes of “sports, social justice, labor and race” at the Take a Knee Nation conference set for February 3-4.  Learn more about the origins of the event here:  https://www.thenation.com/article/colin-kaepernick-was-mocked-and-threatened-for-taking-a-knee-hes-also-winning/  The East Side Freedom Library offers a preliminary kickoff to the conference with a free and open discussion on Wednesday, January 24 – details here:  https://www.thenation.com/article/colin-kaepernick-was-mocked-and-threatened-for-taking-a-knee-hes-also-winning/

Also opening this weekend at the ESFL is Nidoto Nai Yoni, John Matsunaga’s exhibit of photographs from the remains of WWII: Forgetting and Remembering the Wartime Incarceration of Japanese Americans.  The project, supported by the Minnesota Japanese American Citizens League and the Council on American Islamic Relations-Minnesota, portrays the experiences of immigrants confined in camps in Thailand, Kenya, Laos and other sites.  The exhibit opens Friday, January 26, 6:30 PM.  On Saturday, February 17, 1:00 PM there will be a discussion of the roles of artists as observers and resisters. http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/events/representing-and-resisting-historical-injustices-through-art/

MN Writes MN Reads is a digital age program offered by Minnesota libraries.  It’s for writers interested in easy-to-use, free resources for publishing and sharing e-books, and for readers interested in reading e-books by local writers.  Learn more at https://www.mnwritesmnreads.org/ or at your local public library.

Mizna is meeting the challenge of anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and anti-immigrant sentiments by taking the renowned Arab Film Festival on tour.  Mizna will tour independent Arab cinema to six Minnesota college campuses and their neighbors.  Campuses include Macalester, Hamline, St. Catherine’s, Concordia (TC’s), Metro State and St Benedict’/St. John’s.   The tour begins this week and continue through April.  Details here: http://mizna.org/articles/events/183.shtml

You might also want to check out yet another timely event at the ESFL here: http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/events/mooz-lum-black-history-month-film-screening-discussion/

Poken Sword offers a unique and “luminous evening dedicated to the love of language” on the regular fourth Friday evening of the month, i.e.7:00 PM on January 26 at 2001: A Space, 2001 5th Street NE in Minneapolis.   Local emerging and established writers will read on works related to this month’s theme, “torment.”  The evening will begin with bluegrass ensemble Pants on a Chair and their songs of heartache and murder: https://www.pokensword.com

The Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum takes a look at an earlier time when the press was cast as the “enemy of the people.”  Independent scholar Beth Johanneck will speak about a time in the 1930’s when the Minneapolis underworld was ruled by not-so-Minnesota-Nice gangs that failed to appreciate journalists’ efforts to clean up the city.  The MISF meeting, open to all, is at 9:30, speaker at 10:00, at the Washburn Library, 5244 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis.  http://www.mnindependentscholars.org/node/60

 The Minnesota Genealogical Society, and several of its affiliates, have moved from their South St. Paul site to Mendota Heights.  New address: 1385 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights, MN.  As more MGS library and other resources come online MGS can offer ready access to the unique resources of a host of organizations — here’s a good starting point:  https://mngs.org/cpage.php?pt=25

In case you missed the headlines, be sure to check out the new documentary, premiered at Sundance, celebrating the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “RBG” will restore your faith in the rule of law and the wisdom of this stellar jurist.  Check it out here: http://ew.com/movies/2018/01/22/sundance-ruth-bader-ginsburg-rbg-documentary-premiere/.  More about the filmmakers here:https://www.democracynow.org/2018/1/22/rbg_new_documentary_celebrates_life_of and a fun SNL spoof on RBG’s not retiring here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDXxsRB4s7Y&et=&bu=&cn=&src=&pt=

 Whistling Shade, the literary journal and small press, has issued a fun call for submissions for their Spring/Summer issue.  They’re looking for poetry, stories, essays, whatever the format on the topic “Food and Drink”.  Sounds like a creative way to spend a few snowbound evenings – and to justify some good eats.  http://www.whistlingshade.com/submissions.html

Fun read for a winter’s eve:  Unique libraries share information about their “oldest holdings.https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/oldest-library-books-small-specific-libraries-manuscripts

Should you prefer maps you might want to explore the Civil War Maps series recently digitized and available online from the National Archives. https://unwritten-record.blogs.archives.gov/2017/10/17/rg-109-confederate-maps-series-now-digitized-and-available-online/

Winter in Minneapolis brings out the best in Northeasters – The next Winter Market at the NE Farmers Market is Sunday, February 18, 10 AM-2 PM. Chowgirls Killer Catering will be there with tacos: scrambled eggs, carnitas or mole seitan, white rice and black beans with cilantro and lime spices. DJ theme of the February Market is funk/soul/disco/blues! http://www.facebook.com/NortheastFarmersMarket.

Does The Post (the movie) leave you craving more movies about journalism?  Ever aware of readers’ needs the (real) Washington Post has published a list of the ten best movies about journalism – complete with reviews by noted journalists. Seems like another winter project for an enterprising library or other seeker of truth organization.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/style/2017/12/14/the-10-best-journalism-movies/?utm_term=.92733ffdd1f0

The Blue Ox Review (I love the name!) is a new blog, curated by Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota – who explains the title of her blog as “a nod to independence.”  Lisa, a veteran reviewer, is somehow  finding time – and “itch – to share her reviewing skills on her own blog:  https://www.continuum.umn.edu/kerlan/

The University of Minnesota-Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library and Friends of the Duluth Public Library are now accepting nominations for the Thirtieth Annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards.  The awards ceremony is set for May 24 –Deadline for entries is soon – February 1!  Find all of the details about NEMBA here:  https://lib.d.umn.du/about/nemba.

Conversation with Books is a tradition at St. Catherine University.  Professors and avid reader graduates will discuss the selected books on Saturday, February 2, 1:00 pm at Coeur de Catherine center on campus.  Details, including the list of books to be discussed, are online at https://www.stkate.edu/news-and-events/events/conversation-with-books-2018

First Fridays sponsored by the U of M Archives and Special Collections continues in the new year.  First Fridays are free and open to the public; light refreshments served at 11 with presentations beginning at Noon.  All are in the Elmer L. Andersen Library. For a full schedule of winter/spring 2018 offerings click here: https://www.continuum.umn.edu/event/first-fridays-february-2018/

CraftBOWL is another timely winter event sponsored by the American Swedish Institute.  Focus of CraftBOWL is “The Handmade” – a broad look at what “handmade” means in traditional and contemporary, local and global terms.  It features the work by three internationally acclaimed craft artists from Sweden: Jogge Sundqvist (wood), Ingegard Raman (ceramics) and Bertil Vallien (glass). https://www.asimn.org/about-us/press-room/craftbowl-exhibition-launches-american-swedish-institutes-2018-year-handmade

Club Book announces the line-up for the Winter/Spring 2018 season. Writers on this winter/spring roster include Omar El Akkad, Peter Geye, William Kent Krueger, Laura Lippman, Ariel Lawhon, Anita Shreve, Patricia Hampl, Emily Fridlund, and Samantha Irby.  Fortunately for the homebound and many others Club Book extends the reach of the writers by podcasting the discussions soon after the presentations.  The series is funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  Events are free and open to the public.  Details about writers and their books, dates, locations and more about Club Book here: http://clubbook.org

The Friends of the St Paul Public Library is the monthly sponsor of Books & Bars, a long-running series of book discussions moderated by Jeff Kamin every Tuesday of the month.  The February 6 book discussion is on Yaa Gyasi’s novel Homecoming.  It’s at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 5:00 for happy hour social, discussion at 6:15.  No registration required.  Enjoy Jeff Kamin’s description of the Why of Books & Bars here: https://thefriends.org/2017/06/28/jeff-kamin-on-books-bars-reading-and-why-libraries-are-better-than-netflix/

So much to do, so little time.

 

 

Truth ain’t goin’ away – So what do we do now?

A year ago this weekend we were inaugurating the 45th President of the US.  We were marching with pride in the Women’s March and girding our loins for what was to come.  A year ago I posted these comparatively hopeful comments. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/information-and-media-not-weapons-but-tools/  Somehow I thought we would recognize and eschew the attack on truth and facts and informed citizenship that was to follow.

As the weeks and months passed, reality happened and hope faded with each proclamation, every disruption of information integrity, every political appointment, every charge that the press is the “enemy of the people,” every assault to truth that emanated from the Oval Office and environs.  The more I observed the more I admitted what a well-oiled army of deconstructionists had invaded the nation.  They came with a diabolical action plan brilliantly designed to attack the very essence of an informed democracy.  As a lifetime protagonist for a free press, an informed public and the fundamental principle of truth, I was and am cut to the proverbial quick.

In truth, hope faltered.  Though I kept writing blog posts, they were sappy – most never posted. Posted blogs were generally limited to calendars of events, posts that passed on information produced by organizations and individuals whose words and acts were braver and more articulate than my own.  Mine was silent resistance here to the insidious and methodical attack on truth.   I started to characterize this blog as Moping Around with Mary……

The anniversary of the inauguration prodded me back to Poking.  It’s clear that industry is not going to honestly address, much less solve, the onslaught of alternative facts, propaganda, foreign interference or any other strategy that cuts into corporate profits.  Consider the latest brain burst from Mark Zuckerberg: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/1611a52828318ba7

Clearly, it cannot remain to the gurus of corporate America to lead the crusade for truth.

And so I’m back to thinking and writing,  sharing on this blog, more about how it remains to us as thoughtful individuals, as institutions and as a society to “speak truth to power.”  It takes work and guts.  And yet, as the great philosopher Elvis Presley who advised us that “truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.”  Though I’ll continue calendar highlights that might fall through the cracks, I’ll go back to more thought posts about basic principles of truth, the right and responsibility to know, freedom of the press and the insidious peril to this democracy.

Words matter.  Truth matters.  Ideas and opinions matter.  Inspired by the weekend Women’s March I’m determined to stop moping and return to poking around and speaking out.  My hope is to “go high” with renewed energy and commitment to truth and to the ways in which the press, education, libraries, civic discourse and individual engagement and action can keep hope alive.

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. ~~Desmond Tutu

 

Newspapers + Archives = Access

National Newspaper Week cannot be crammed into just seven days.  The deeper you delve, the more resources come to the surface. National Newspaper Week is also co-terminus and a propitious link with American Archives Month commemorated in October.

During this week we celebrate the symbiotic relationship. Newspapers and archives are links in an information chain on which our search for truth depends.  Newspapers determine and share the stories; archivists assure that the words, the statistics, the opinions are accessible over time.

Though newspapers and archives create and preserve the record it is the skill and commitment of those who do the work of each institution that we honor.  Now, more than ever, our focus is on the information chain as an interconnected whole – even more, we focus on the evolving and expanding role of journalists and archivists who work in tandem to facilitate the free flow of information and ideas that fuel this democracy.

To underscore the collaborative role of these institutions, on Day #7 of National Newspaper Week and as we look ahead to National Archives Month the focus is on newspaper archives.

Clearly, the digital age has transformed the process of archiving of newspapers.  As a result, strategies are in flux; at times there is duplication; at other times there are gaps. The challenge for professionals and the public is to remain positive and persistent.  Above all, information seekers need to know that the intellectual process of preserving the record and making it accessible is a human endeavor. Archivists, librarians, scholars, and others are on hand or online to guide the individual search.

Some starting point for searching newspapers – Please note that these are starting points only – guides to other resources

MINNESOTA NEWSPAPERS – RESOURCES

MN Historical Society Newspaper Hub – the starting point which will identify and link to relevant files: http://www.mnhs.org/newspapers/hub

http://sites.mnhs.org/library/content/newspaper-collection

http://mnnews.com/index.php/mn-newspaper-websites/

Minnesota Newspaper Directory:  http://mnnews.com/index.php/mn-newspaper-websites/

Minnesota Newspaper Association. (mna.org)  Membership organization that maintains listing for member organizations http://mna.org/newspaper-directory/

Listing of local newspapers (incomplete) https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&tbm=lcl&q=newspapers+minnesota+local&oq=newspapers+minnesota+local&gs_l=psy-ab.12…0.0.0.183480.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0….0…1..64.psy-ab..0.0.0….0.ujHrTkXHq8c#rlfi=hd:;si:;mv:!1m3!1d1055050.836006896!2d-94.0380186!3d44.591910049999996!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i635!2i557!4f13.1;tbs:lrf:!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:1

RELATED RESOURCES –  Examples

http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/
National Digital Newspaper Program
A partnership between the Library & the National Endowment for the Humanities

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/about

University of Minnesota Libraries – Archives http://archives.lib.umn.edu/search utf8=&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=minnesota+newspapers&limit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=&commit=Search

INTERNATIONAL RESOURCES – EXAMPLES ONLY

http://www.onlinenewspapers.com – international

https://www.thenews.com.pk  –   International

https://elephind.com –   historic digitized newspaper archives

NOTES:  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community newspapers serve and create relationships

National Newspaper Week (October 1-7. 2017) is far too little time to learn and think about the robust range of newspapers on which we daily depend but occasionally take for granted.  To characterize the genre characterized as “community newspapers” is an overwhelming task.  In general community newspapers are either targeted to a specific geographic area or to a community of interest.

A good way to get a sense of the character and scope of Minnesota’s community newspapers is to dip into the Minnesota Newspaper Association listing for  “special interest newspapers: http://mnnews.com/index.php/special-interest-newspapers/   If you don’t find what you’re looking for, try this listing: http://www.usnpl.com/mnnews.php   You will no doubt  be surprised at the diversity of newspapers and of the communities they inform, entertain and to whom they give voice.

Community newspapers meet the interests of more than 150,000 of us who read one or more community newspapers on a regular basis.  We read to get a feel for the opinions of our neighbors or members of a shared interest group, to follow our elected officials, to understand a shared history, to shop for bargains, to find out what’s playing at the local theater, musical venue or athletic facility or just to follow the garage sales.

Community newspapers have played a major role in the nation’s editorial history.  It all began on September 25, 1690, when Benjamin Harris published Publick Occurrences: Both Foreign and Domestic.  And therein lies a short history with heavy free press implications: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Harrison

The history of what we now characterize as “community newspapers” reflects the nation’s growth and diversity – social, religious, geographic, and political.   Though today’s community newspapers may be digital rather than paper, the content remains targeted to a special readership. And many community newspapers can still be found at the newsstand, primed to be read on the bus or by the millions of Americans who prefer print or lack access to broadband….

Bottom line, as long as our right to a free press, our commitment to independent thinking, our inclination to connect with like-minded folk, and our freedom vote remain unfettered we celebrate the powerful role that community newspapers play in our communities and in our democracy.

 The bigger the information media, the less courage and freedom they allow. Bigness means weakness – Eric Sevareid, The Press and the People

 ADDENDA –