EDC airs out dirty laundry in Pal-Item

I was surprised to pull up today's Palladium-Item online and see four more articles about Don Holbrook and questions surrounding his role with the Wayne County Economic Development Corporation. Last Thursday's article, "EDC leader takes hits from all sides," already seemed unnecessarily harsh in that it publicly framed the EDC's current budget concerns around Don Holbrook's working relationship with the EDC board; the implication was almost that he'd been stealing cash from their bank account. And then today's articles, "Heat's on Holbrook,""'Character assassination' played part in the past,""Raising concerns may cost board member leadership post," and "What EDC members say" make it sound like the EDC is falling apart at the seams with political earthquakes and personal smears. What the heck is going on here?
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Random: collaboration, affiliation, journalism

One: Dave Pollard has posted a really interesting (and quite long) series of essays, studies, and narratives about how to build the ideal collaborative team and the collaboration process in general. Though I haven't grokked all of the implications yet, I generally find their primary conclusion, that attitude is more important than experience or specific knowledge in collaborative work, to be quite true in my own experience. Two: I've posted a list of my personal and professional affiliations. As the traffic on my blog increases and I get some more feedback about some of the more "controversial" posts, I want to make sure I fully disclose what kinds of organizations and projects I'm involved with and have allegiances to - noting just as emphatically that none of them necessarily endorse or agree with what I write here. Three: As reported by Slashdot, the Federal Election Commission has issued a draft advisory opinion essentially finding that bloggers can qualify as journalists for the purpose of the 'press exemption' in federal campaign finance laws. As a blogger, I don't really consider myself a journalist, but I know plenty who do and it's interesting to see this conversation evolve about what protections and privileges bloggers should have.

Happy News Dot Com

I was glad to find the site HappyNews.com, which publishes "up-to-the-minute news, geared to lift spirits and inspire lives." While I'm always a fan of balancing the good and the bad (or, in this case, the happy and the unhappy) and everything in between, there are plenty of sources out there for news stories framed in the context of all the things wrong with the world. This site appears to be making a good go at an alternate approach that focuses on the positive, and they even encourage paid citizen journalism.

Pal-Item Misunderstands Nature of Protest

The Richmond Palladium-Item newspaper seems to have multiple personalities when it comes to characterizing the nature of civil protest. In Friday's editorial, they so nobly say "It's our right to stand up for our beliefs, tell our elected officials we disagree, share our viewpoints with neighbors, family and friends, strive for the betterment of our country as a whole. That right brings with it a responsibility to respect others' ideas, hear out their concerns and try at the very least to understand our differences." The article then proceeds to condemn any protest that violates the law, indicating there is some concept of "vital" and "proper" protest, of which illegal acts are not a part. I suppose, then, that they would have had to condemn the entire U.S. civil rights movement, the actions of fellow journalists who disobey the law to protect sources, and a slew of other "improper" protests throughout the history of our country. (Perhaps they misunderstand that sometimes acting improperly is, unfortunately, the only way to draw attention to a cause, for better or worse.) But surely, then, the above statement means they do support and respect legal and peaceful acts that share viewpoints, encourage dialogue about our beliefs, and work to change our communities for the better, right? Like a written petition, maybe? Apparently not - they would call such actions "misguided" and "desperate" and "an affront to civic fair play", and go on to equate those actions with physical assault.

Wow. If I understand their position correctly as derived from their various published statements, the only kind of disagreement that is proper or fair is no real disagreement at all. It's sad and scary that a local institution that is theoretically so much a part of facilitating free speech and dialogue about the community - even when it involves acts of protest - seems to so manifestly misunderstand those opportunities, and the vehicles available for engaging in them.

Why blogs are different

Jason Godesky has an interesting post up about why blogs are in a category all their own when it comes to publishing content online. It's a question I've thought about on occasion, given that I've had a personal website in some form or another since, um, 1994, and that I get indignant once in a while when people jump and scream that the blogging phenomenon is the shiny new thing that levels the playing field. It was the whole frickin Internet thing that was supposed to do that in the first place, people! But Jason has put his finger on some of the specifics about why blogging is different, though I have a few more to add.
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