Late Edition, April 24, 2021
Local COVID-19 updates, a visit from the Coast Guard, Earth Day celebrations, and more.
Setting out to write this is made more difficult this week by a cloudy morning, perfect for sleeping in late.
But happily, I have a lot to put into this week’s newsletter, so I have the motivation to meet the task. After several weeks of being bogged down by longer-term projects, this week I was free to pursue other stories again. Without further ado…
Local COVID-19 School Outbreak Data and Update
Take a close look at this graph:
I apologize for the size of the text, another limitation of Substack. You can see the larger, interactive version with the rest of the article on LateEdition.Live.
In short, it’s a record of school outbreaks in Houghton County reported to the state. The height of the graphs shows the size of the outbreak, and the color shows the percent of the school body those infections represent.
I also talked with Steven Elmer, Ph.D., about the link between physical activity and improved COVID-19 outcomes, and director of the local health department Kate Beer about how their efforts have been progressing and changing over the last few weeks.
USCGC Alder docks in Houghton
Spotted her docked on the Houghton side of the canal on my way home Friday night.
You can find more information about the USCGC Alder’s construction, operation, and duties (including a couple of action shots) on the Coast Guard’s webpage.
Sustainable Dinner for MTU Students (Near-Live)
I tried something new to bring you the story of MTU’s Earth Day Dinner for students.
I don’t plan on pushing hard to do this too often, but it’s a great way of sharing some things with readers quickly. It didn’t take too long to produce but gave us the chance to see what was happening at this unique meal.
This video was recorded, the audio retouched, and then uploaded to YouTube within about an hour. After I get some more practice, I could see doing something like this streaming live. This method could be used to cover community events, classroom activities, maybe even breaking news.
There are some pretty serious limitations, too. Mainly the need for a strong internet connection.
I’ll keep doing things like this from time to time when the opportunity presents itself and we can see how it develops.
Big thanks to Rose and Kendra for working through the technical elements with me and inviting us to check out their dinner!
Ontonagon’s Interim Manager Castigates Former Manager
Don’t confuse the word ‘castigate’ with ‘castrate’.
A Long Story: Take Two
I worked pretty hard on Joe Enrietti’s story, which I thought was pretty incredible, but it doesn’t seem like it was very well received. I spent some time thinking about it, and I realize I may have over-complicated the presentation a little.
I’m not able to fully re-edit the videos, but I was able to quickly stitch them together as a one-video version for single-click enjoyment.
Here it is.
If you missed the original layout of the story, it’s still on Late Edition.
Journalism as a Defense
Some of the insurrectionists arrested for their actions on January 6 in Washington, D.C. are trying to claim their innocence based on the idea that they were there as journalists, documenting the scene.
This is a really terrible defense for a couple of reasons. They’re all contained in this AP story about the subject, but I’ll summarize them briefly, too.
First and foremost, journalists aren’t allowed to break laws. If I break a law while reporting, like trespassing or infringing on someone’s right to privacy, I can’t use journalism as a defense. I’m still culpable. Journalists reporting inside the Capitol are required to have a credential and go through security. If you don’t do that you’re trespassing, end of story.
It’s not any different than if I want to do a story about Coppers, Calumet Electronics, or your deer camp. If I don’t have permission to be there, I can be arrested and charged with trespassing. Even if nobody spots me in the act, if I publish work that shows I was breaking the law it can be used as evidence to charge me.
Secondly, in the rare cases that journalism can be a defense, you have to actually be engaged in the process of journalism. Believe it or not, that entails more than holding your cellphone aloft and pressing ‘record’. Simply having a platform to address viewers does not make someone a journalist. Neither does selling video or photo to a news outlet.
Some of the people claiming to be journalists were observed actively promoting and participating in the actions of that day. This absolutely counters the idea they were performing journalism. Reporters observe, ask questions, they explain what they see and hear. They are non-participatory viewers. They don’t shout, wave signs, encourage violence, or throw things at the police. They don’t even wear political swag.
In short, being a journalist (even if you are one) is not any kind of legal pass. It doesn’t excuse crimes, and it is rarely a viable defense in court. When a true journalist goes to court, their main defense is usually nothing more than the truth.
This past week, Hancock’s City Council met. I found the first few minutes of the meeting particularly interesting, as they dealt with the notice requirement of the remote-participation resolution they recently passed. Always interesting to see how public bodies navigate the Open Meetings Act.
This Wednesday the Houghton City Council meets again. There’s nothing on the Sunshine Calendar yet, but I’ll get the information posted as soon as it is available.
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.
Probably the biggest news of the week. With a more stringent advisory, the U.S. is resuming the use of the J&J vaccine despite a slight risk of dangerous blood clots.
The COVID-19 vaccine has not been linked to shingles, that anti-mask “study” was not connected to Stanford, vaccinated people can still give blood, and so much more…
His severance agreement amended, former health chief Robert Gordon has said he intends to comply with a subpoena and testify about his sudden departure in January.
I have no problem with ballot measures, but this has widely been seen as a tee-up for legislators to make an end-run around both voters and the governor they elected. Less psyched about that.
Scientists have looked for diseases in animals with the potential to jump to humans for a long time, but the pandemic has helped reveal a more effective way to look for threats closer to home.
From the AP, “Professors at Northern Michigan University are looking for a better contract after they say they took “one for the team” during the pandemic and agreed to a one-year pay freeze.”
I love seeing news like this. From the AP, “NASA’s experimental helicopter Ingenuity rose into the thin air above the dusty red surface of Mars on Monday, achieving the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet.”
That’s all for this week! Don’t forget to share this with other people who like to stay informed:
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