Not Enough Words

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness …” ~~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Three of my sons and I were together a couple of times this past week. It’s been a long time. The oldest lives in São Paulo Brazil, while another is in Los Angeles, and my youngest in Provo, Utah. All are leading busy lives. Going to school, working jobs, building empires.

During my last visit with just my son Matt, before he returned to São Paulo on Saturday, we talked about how people believe we live in the worse of times. Blame it on the media we agreed. With modern technology, news stories, photos and videos from any part of the world comes to us in an instant and on devices we carry in our pockets. It’s not like it was when I was growing up. In those days, there was but a single daily newscast from the television networks, then just ABC, CBS or NBC. Local broadcast news was just as sparse and none of them more than half-an-hour. Radio was more in-depth, but there were no pictures! That was it for broadcasting, no smartphones, no alerts, no nothing! Add the daily newspapers, where it was believed the most informed would get their fill of current events. The Washington Post, The Evening Star were thick dailies and hugely powerful companies. That was then, this is now.

What we knew about the world was limited and not very timely.  The world seemed a much larger place and we were insulated from its harsh realities, while now we have become desensitized to the same. No one could have imagined what we were in-store for. Certainly our grandparents lived in simpler times, but in reality we aren’t living in the worse of them. However, with the dissemination of what goes on around us so readily available and graphic, we often think otherwise.

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Ethics in Journalism is Dead!

There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth. ~~ Dorothy Thompson

Ethics in Journalism is dead my friend. You hadn’t heard?  Tragically and sadly it’s so.  There was no announcement, no obituary, no funeral, no day of mourning, no closure.  It just happened.  Ethics you see is gone, you can be sure of that.

The Fourth Estate once stood for something.  It used to be an honored profession, a free-agent, independent of outside influence.  At one time a watchdog and guardian over governments and politicians gone astray, it’s now become the opposite.  That once great institution stands now as a facilitator, a protector, an enabler.  Journalism’s hatchet men have become manipulators and endorsers of the worse that government, and the governed, has to offer.  All at the cost of ethics.  What was once revered should now be feared.  Journalists have become no less than secondary parties to a crime.  You and I, our posterity, and our country have become — many of us — its unwitting victims. Continue reading

News of a Different Era #1

In my family history research I have the opportunity on occasion to read from older newspapers.  Just going back a few decades you notice a difference.  Going back 160 years and the differences between today’s journalism can be both painfully sad in their descriptions while hilariously funny in others.  The saying, the times, they are a-changin’ will never grow old and is never more obvious when reading from old newspapers.

Old Newspaper

Among my readings from that by-gone era are from Clearfield County, PA.  It’s an area I’ve written about before and from which a large part of my known family history takes place.  What follows are some of the more memorable tidbits I’ve seen from an era with language and sensibilities all its own.  Originally published in the long defunct Clearfield Republican each preceded by the date of publication and my own introductory title (in bold-face).  I hope you enjoy them. Continue reading