Posts Tagged ‘Nieman Lab’

Fence ’em out, not in

April 19, 2022

All in all it’s just another tree and a wall.

Good fences make good neighbors, they say. (Hint: Fences work best if the neighbors keep their gates closed.)

Fences, walls, and gates seem to be keeping deer and Russians out of the yard. But how do we keep the Russians — along with Elon Musk, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ron DeSantis, and the Kardashians, this last a species more invasive than deer, Russians, or kudzu — out of our heads?

A few of us were discussing this via email recently, and I chimed in thusly:

As a lifelong news junkie I hate to say it, but we should all try to pay a little less attention to what they call “news” these days.

Fully half of it is nonsense, and a quarter of it is something we can’t do anything about. The final 25 percent may have some bearing on you and yours, concerning something you can actually get a handle on. It will probably be local news. If you can find any.

What people like me used to call news 40 years ago was still pretty overwhelming on the supply side. We whittled it down and sold it in 24-hour doses, like allergy meds. It could boggle the mind at times, but most folks could take it, learn a little something, form a few defensible opinions.

Now anyone trying to keep up feels like a dog with his head out the window of a hopped-up Honda Civic doing 110 mph coming into the Big I at drunk-thirty on Friday. There’s just too much going on out there for one poor mutt to take in

Imagine my surprise when an industry bigwig agreed with me. Ken Doctor, a media analyst and consultant who is a longtime contributor to Nieman Lab, wrote that he too is trying to fence out the wider world with all its horrors while he focuses on nurturing a startup local news outfit in Santa Cruz, Calif.

I recently talked to an old friend about a project we were working on together. He could hardly engage, so troubled was he by the news from Ukraine. What’s going on in the broader world is bleak, more than enough to depress and deflate us. I’ve put all that in the back of my head because I have little time or room to address national or global issues on which I can have little impact. I’ve been working on Lookout now for more than three years, and it’s the hardest, most consuming thing I’ve done in a 47-year career. But as I, and my peers, focus fiercely on rebuilding our little parts of the planet, we focus on what we can change.

Well. Just goes to show you even a dumb dog can dig up a moldy Milk-Bone now and then, if he can just keep the deer and the Kardashians out of his yard.

Non-Race-Related Blah Blah Blah®

April 2, 2020

Well, it seems sports podcasters have finally caught up with what Charles Pelkey and I were doing all those years at Live Update Guy.

With everyone staying home and the athletic world as a whole looking a lot like the middle 75km of a flat Tour stage, they’ve resorted to (wait for it) Non-Race-Related Blah Blah Blah®, a LUG specialty. As Caroline Crampton writes at Nieman Lab:

“As well as covering how players and support staff are handling the situation, [The Anfield Wrap] is dipping into comedy, history and broader fan culture. Iain Macintosh, chief executive of Muddy Knees Media — best known for The Totally Football Show and other associated podcasts — spoke of similar plans. His team just has “an inexhaustible supply of new feature ideas,” he said. “We’re not trying to replicate what we did before, because we can’t, but rather see it as a chance to go through all those things that we’ve talked about doing that, you know, real life has got in the way. Now we can get them out there and give them some air.” That includes a forthcoming “Pundit World Cup” as well as film reviews, documentaries, and quizzes.”

Maybe it’s time to revive LUG as a podcast. With no irksome bicycle racing and TV images of same to cramp our creative style, we could really focus on just making the whole thing up.