9/11 AND THE DAWN OF THE DIGITAL AGE

On September 11, 2001, Brian Lamb, the head of C-SPAN, and I were having breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel on DC’s Connecticut Avenue. When we got there at 8:30, another dozen journalists were in the dining room—Al Hunt, Bill Kristol, and others.

We had a nice breakfast  and about 9:45 we left, stopping to talk with some of the other journalists and then heading back to our offices. When I got to the Washingtonian’s office, two blocks away, the magazine staff was sitting silently in the publisher’s office, staring uncomprehendingly at the TV.

See You Next Week

I’ll be offline for the next week or so due to a medical situation. Looking forward to being back soon.

Willard Scott: “The Portly TV Personality Spent 35 Years Enlivening the ‘Today’ Show”

From a Washington Post obit by Bob Levey headlined “Willard Scott, Today show weatherman and resident merrymaker, dies at 87”:

Willard Scott, the portly, toupee-sporting TV personality who spent 35 years enlivening the “Today” show as its weatherman and resident merrymaker, whether delivering the forecast dressed in drag or giving shout-outs to far-flung centenarians, died Sept. 4….

Mr. Scott first made his name as an irrepressible comedian of Washington radio trading in shtick and satire as half of “The Joy Boys.” On local TV, he was the original Ronald McDonald — the hamburger chain went with a thinner actor for the bulb-nosed clown mascot in the national campaign — and had stints as a weather forecaster and Bozo the Clown.

Ruth Marcus: “Every summer we drive across the country and back. The reason is the dog, Augie, who can’t fly. But we are the beneficiaries.”

From a Washington Post Voices Across America column by Ruth Marcus headlined “Travels With Augie”:

Every summer my husband and I drive thousands of miles across the country and back. The reason is the dog, Augie, who can’t fly. But we are the beneficiaries.

Never more than this summer, and not just because we had another chance to savor the landscape — most striking in this year’s route, the savage beauty of South Dakota’s Badlands. But our travels, more by happenstance than careful planning, also offered sobering lessons in the unfinished business of our country, business both centuries old and still being sorted.

Edward J. Greenfield: “A Judge With a Writerly Touch”

From a New York Times obit by Katharine Q. Seelye headlined “Edward J. Greenfield, Judge With a Writerly Touch, Dies at 98”:

It was a minor legal case in the early 1970s. The New York City Civil Service Commission ruled that a police officer who had missed his Civil Service promotion exam because he was attending his mother-in-law’s funeral could not make up the test because “the deceased was not related.”

That irked Justice Edward J. Greenfield of the New York State Supreme Court, who was hearing the officer’s appeal. To the judge, the ruling only further denigrated mothers-in-law, who, he wrote, “have a standing on the social scale somewhat beneath grave robbers, horse thieves and boiler room operators.”

“A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love”

From a Wall Street Journal review by Tunku Varadarajan of the book by Rebecca Frankel titled “Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love”:

“It was a very happy little Jewish town,” says a former resident, reflecting on his childhood in Zhetel—today a hamlet in western Belarus but a part of Poland in the years before World War II.

From NiemanLab: “The ‘shadow bank’ that—with the help of public pension funds—is aiding the destruction of local news”

From a story on niemanlab.org by Julie Reynolds headlined “The ‘shadow bank’ that—with the help of public pension funds—is aiding the destruction of local news”:

To the ancient Greeks, Cerberus was the hound of Hades, a multi-headed dog with a serpent’s tail who kept souls from escaping the underworld….

The canine’s namesake, Cerberus Capital Management, is a private equity firm that, like Alden Global Capital, specializes in acquiring distressed businesses — and, alongside Alden, it is now in the business of devouring newsrooms in the name of profit.

A Poynter Study Says Journalists Who Question Objectivity Still Value Truth-Telling

From a story on poynter.org by Kate Farrish, Megan Craig, and Greg Munno headlined “Journalists who question objectivity still value truth-telling”:

Journalists who want to express their political views on social media, engage in activism and ally themselves with social justice protesters value truth as much as journalists who seek to maintain a neutral, dispassionate approach to the profession.

That’s one conclusion from our new study of 167 journalists that included professional reporters and editors at a variety of outlets as well as student journalists and journalism professors.

Goodnight Moon: A Bedtime Story for Children

From The Writer’s Almanac:

On this day in 1947 the classic children’s bedtime story Goodnight Moon was published. Margaret Wise Brown had already published several children’s books when she woke up one morning and began listing the items in her house, and saying goodnight to each of them.

She thought the poem-like list might make a good story and she sent it to her editor. The tale of a little rabbit who wanders about his room saying goodnight to, among other things, his comb, his brush, and his bowl full of mush, is now a soothing bedtime anthem for millions of children worldwide.

Robert Wolke: Chemist and Washington Post Columnist Who Demystified the Kitchen

From a Washington Post obit by Harrison Smith headlined “Robert Wolke, chemist and Post columnist who demystified the kitchen, dies at 93”:

Robert L. Wolke, a nuclear chemist who spent decades teaching liberal-arts students about the fundamentals of chemical reactions, then helped demystify the kitchen through a folksy Washington Post column and book series about the science of food, died Aug. 29 in Pittsburgh….

What really happens when a pork chop gets freezer burn? Does adding salt to boiling water actually make pasta cook faster? And is it really possible, even on a 100-degree day under the Texas sun, to fry an egg on the sidewalk?