Late Edition, April 17, 2021
A WWII tail gunner's story, the Media Neutrality Project, Sunshine Calendar, and more.
I want to start by briefly addressing the police shooting that happened early this week in Hubbell. There are a lot of unanswered questions that may remain unanswered, unfortunately. The only good news is that so far the young woman who was shot has not been reported deceased. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to be okay anytime soon, either.
The event justifiably brings up a lot of emotions, ranging from disappointment and confusion to fear and anger. The videos that were captured, while I’m happy to have them as evidence, are disturbing to watch (and so I won’t be sharing them here).
Those videos show a situation that was bad for everyone involved. The one thing I’m sure of is that the presence of firearms made the situation drastically worse.
I don’t have a solution for the issue of gun control any more than I have answers to what happened in Hubbell on Monday night, but I’m having an increasingly difficult time understanding why some Americans continue to refuse to face this problem.
I very much believe that the 2nd Amendment guarantees some level of private gun ownership, but what we have now is approaching lawlessness. We all, including gun owners, need to start getting serious about how we’re going to handle it collectively.
To Make A Long Story Short
A would-be flyboy crisscrosses the United States on his way to Europe
I’m very excited to present a pretty big project to you today. Here it is—
Okay, that’s just a screenshot, because Substack doesn’t let me embed code. To read and hear the whole thing, you’ll have to click the button below.
While I’d like to do features like this more often, my computer is aging and did not handle the video editing process very well. It was frustrating, and I’ll leave it at that. If I do more big projects moving forward, I’ll have to handle any video-based content much differently.
Media Neutrality Project & Editorial Policy
For those interested in advocating for honesty, integrity and balance in Michigan news products, I have some good news! A Michigan-based nonpartisan group is looking to launch a nonprofit that will be working to establish standards, measure bias, and advocate for the reduction of bias in media outlets and products across the state.
It’s currently called the Media Neutrality Project and is being run by former Northern Michigan University professor and attorney Robert Anderson. You can reach out to show your support or join the group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They recently workshopped the editorial policy for letters to the editor and guest columns that I’d like to adopt for Late Edition, too. There’s still some room for the editor’s discretion, but this lays out a good framework.
This past week, I was able to capture the regular meeting of the Houghton County Board of Commissioners, who I’d like to compliment on having an improved streaming meeting experience despite the loosened OMA requirements.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get the administration to supply the board information packet with things like the Deficit Elimination Plan, budget amendments, Airport Road Resolution, and more, despite them being public records that other municipalities readily provide upfront. I’m working on it through provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, but it would have been preferable if they had done so voluntarily.
Due to, in short, a technical flub, I was unable to record the Houghton City Council meeting. They streamed it to Facebook and I was hoping they would archive the stream, but that didn’t happen either.
However, to their credit, they do post the board packet with communications, accounts payable, and resolutions publicly. I moved it over to Late Edition to make it easier to find, though.
This coming week, Hancock’s City Council meets again. I’ve been meaning to attend one of these in person, and while Houghton County’s streaming meetings have improved, portions of Hancock’s last meeting were unintelligible, so this might be the one I finally appear in public for.
KUUF Presentation — News Deserts
If you missed my presentation to the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, one of their members kindly recorded most of it. Like a good journalist, she omitted the people who didn’t agree to be recorded during this private meeting, so there are some jumps.
I talk a bit about myself and my background and then I outline some of the challenges facing journalism and the rough outline of my plan to fix it locally.
Here’s the video-
Defining a Direction - Solutions Journalism
I’ve been trying to find a good journalistic direction for myself and Late Edition for quite a while now, and I often mention solutions journalism if having that discussion (including in the video above). I’ve decided to pursue that a bit more earnestly, and as such, I thought I’d try to express to you what that will mean.
The Solutions Journalism Network has a great explanation of Solutions Journalism on their website, but I thought I’d just quickly cover the ‘four pillars’ they’ve laid out with you.
First, solutions stories focus on the response to a social problem, and how it has worked (or hasn’t). This could mean a government program, or it could mean a group of neighbors establishing a private agreement to solve a systemic problem.
Second, they offer insight into why this response is relevant to the reader. Why would you read otherwise?
Third, like all journalism, solutions journalism searches for and presents evidence, in this case in order to back up claims of the effectiveness of solutions. Not having any doesn’t necessarily mean a story can’t be written, but the lack of evidence would need to be disclosed, and that kind of leads to the next point;
Fourth, solution stories reveal a response’s limitations and shortcomings. There might be places or times this solution wouldn’t work, what are they?
Laying this out doesn’t mean I won’t be doing any stories that don’t fit this framework, but my hope is that by telling pursuing stories that do, I can illuminate answers to the problems limiting the community’s success, rather than just highlighting the ongoing problems themselves.
Hey, That’s Neat
My Solution to ‘Doomscrolling’
Doomscrolling is what you’re doing when you’re locked into your Facebook or Twitter feed, endlessly scrolling through posts looking for news or jokes or whatever it is that you scroll for.
This is a huge problem for those of us who are working at home, by ourselves, with little to keep us accountable to our own time management goals. Luckily, I’ve found a couple of tools that help me out.
The first to share is the News Feed Eradicator. That link leads to the extension for Chrome, the browser I use, but there are extensions for other browsers, too. NFE does just what it says, it eliminates the scrolling feeds on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. I can still visit those sites, search for posts, view profiles and message people, but I can’t endlessly scroll the time-sucking news feed. It’s been replaced with a quote.
Of course, as a journalist, some of that news feed has valuable information about what people are reading and thinking about, so how do I avoid losing that value?
Well, for the content people are sharing, I use Nuzzel. It has a lot of functions I don’t take full advantage of, but one useful feature I do. I have it send me regular emails highlighting the most-shared stories both among my friends and followers, and on the entire platform.
So I can keep up with social media news through reading once-a-day digests instead of trying to keep up with the feed.
As far as keeping up with individuals and distant loved ones, I’ve found nothing beats a surprise phone call.
Aggregated News - Endorsed, not sponsored
These are articles (and the occasional podcast) I’ve found that I thought should be shared. None of the work is my own, but it comes from colleagues and organizations that I find generally trustworthy, or am personally a member of.
Click on the headline to be taken to the story.
Although I was surprised to learn luciferase is actually real. Check out this and other crazy things being shared on social media in this week’s NOT REAL NEWS, from the Associated Press.
This, from an incarcerated writer, gave me the chills. Considering the number of prisoners per capita in the Upper Peninsula, I thought it worth sharing.
It’s not surprising that COVID-19 has resurged after businesses, schools, sporting events and more resumed. What is surprising is the change in response.
I’d like to see more stories like this, and fewer like the ones in Hubbell, Minnesota, Virginia…. I could really name any state, probably. The state employees who uncovered this crime just paid their own salaries, and then some! Assuming any of the money is recoverable, of course.
I’d like better internet service for sure, but I’m not convinced this bill would have delivered anything more than better profits for the broadband companies either. I’m pretty shy about bills promising a lot with few provisions after doing that insurance story a couple of weeks ago. I guess we’ll have to see what comes up next, in any case.
The numbers aren’t finalized, but things didn’t improve and may have gotten worse. Murders and domestic violence have also been reported to have increased markedly in the last year. We need to talk about change because the current systems are failing us when we need them most.
As with most vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine’s protection is not absolute. The only group has true immunity once vaccination is complete, not the individual. Just like masking, vaccination is as much about protecting those around you as it is about protecting yourself.
Even digitally, brandishing a weapon can be seen as intimidation. Another case to watch closely for a decision on.
That’s it for this edition!
For next week, I’m planning both some Earth Day coverage and some more COVID-19 coverage. If you have any questions about the virus or vaccine, let me know and I’ll try to answer them during my reporting.
Have a good week!