I have just one wish for you —
the good luck to be somewhere
where you are free to maintain the
kind of integrity I have described,
and where you do not feel forced
by a need to maintain your position
in the organization, or financial
support, or so on, to lose your
integrity. May you have that freedom.
The New York Times reports that 300 newsroom employees “signed a public statement insisting that the new owners agree not to alter the news coverage to reflect their ‘private or political interests.’”
Background:The Philadelphia Media Network, publisher of The Inquirer, The Daily News and Philly.com, has been on sale with a primary purchasing group lead by business and political leaders from Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
Another way to put it: The centers of power that Philadelphia’s news organizations are expected to cover are buying the company that owns the newspapers and the region’s primary Web site.
During the sales process, some reporters claimed that stories about the potential new owners have gone unpublished. And the worry, of course, is that there will be editorial meddling if the sale does go through, which, the New York Times reports, is likely.
Reason for Pennsylvanians to worry? Ed Rendell, former Philadelphia mayor, Pennsylvania governor and former leader of the purchasing group dismisses the idea in comments to the Inquirer,
“You’d think this was the first time some political people owned a newspaper.”
Paul Nussbaum, reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer states, “It could change my job, I guess. I could end up as greeter at Walmart next week,” responding to news that the subject of his recent investigative reports is now part of a team that is buying the company that owns the newspaper. [Source: The Future Journalism Project]
New York Times, Philadelphia Newspapers Set to Be Sold to Local Leaders.
NPR’s morning edition ran a short piece exploring the issues and people surrounding the purchase in February 2012.
"Unsolicited advice to adolescent girls with crooked teeth and pink hair"
“When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys call asking your cup size, say A, hang up. When he says you give him blue balls, say you’re welcome. When a girl with thick black curls who smells like bubble gum stops you in a stairwell to ask if you’re a boy, explain that you keep your hair short so she won’t have anything to grab when you head-butt her. Then head-butt her. When a guidance counselor teases you for handed-down jeans, do not turn red. When you have sex for the second time and there is no condom, do not convince yourself that screwing between layers of underwear will soak up the semen. When your geometry teacher posts a banner reading: “Learn math or go home and learn how to be a Momma,” do not take your first feminist stand by leaving the classroom. When the boy you have a crush on is sent to detention, go home. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boy with the blue mohawk swallows your heart and opens his wrists, hide the knives, bleach the bathtub, pour out the vodka. Every time. When the skinhead girls jump you in the bathroom stall, swing, curse, kick, do not turn red. When a boy you think you love delivers the first black eye, use a screw driver, a beer bottle, your two good hands. When your father locks the door, break the window. When a college professor writes you poetry and whispers about your tight little ass, do not take it as a compliment, do not wait, call the Dean, call his wife. When a boy with good manners and a thirst for Budweiser proposes, say no. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys tell you how good you smell, do not doubt them, do not turn red. When your brother tells you he is gay, pretend you already know. When the girl on the subway curses you because your tee shirt reads: “I fucked your boyfriend,” assure her that it is not true. When your dog pees the rug, kiss her, apologize for being late. When he refuses to stay the night because you lived in Jersey City, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Harlem, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because your air conditioner is broken, leave him. When he refuses to keep a toothbrush at your apartment, leave him. When you find the toothbrush you keep at his apartment hidden in the closet, leave him. Do not regret this. Do not turn red. When your mother hits you, do not strike back.”
This is absolutely amazing. I wish I’d heard this speech fifteen or twenty years ago, although I’m not sure I would’ve known what to do with it. In short, if you are confused, she is saying this:
Do not sit down. Do not shut up. Believe in yourself and value your intelligence, your patience, your compassion, and your integrity.
NEVER LET ANYONE
HAVE YOUR DIGNITY.
I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work. Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed. So it is with every new thing. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable. To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense.