1) Rupa Shenoy's story this morning mirrors a theme I've found in the News Cut series, "The Unemployed." Many people who lose their job or are otherwise unemployed aren't staying home and watching Oprah. They're using their talents by volunteering. The number of people who are attending Habitat for Humanity orientations, for example, has doubled.
Not mentioned, though, is another possibility. People have responded to President Barack Obama's call for more people to volunteer. Which brings us -- sort of -- to David Brooks' column in the New York Times this morning.
The election revolved around passionate rallies. The Obama White House revolves around a culture of debate. He leads long, analytic discussions, which bring competing arguments to the fore. He sometimes seems to preside over the arguments like a judge settling a lawsuit.
His policies are often a balance as he tries to accommodate different points of view. He doesn't generally issue edicts. In matters foreign and domestic, he seems to spend a lot of time coaxing people along. His governing style, in short, is biased toward complexity.
2) Quick! Name Minnesota's lieutenant governor. You don't hear much about Carol Molnau, at least not since the Legislature fired her from her co-job as the head of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. That all follows a career as an influential member of the Legislature. Last night she appeared in New Ulm. "There's deer hunting season, pheasant hunting season, and Molnau hunting season," she told an audience.
3) Reader Dave Sours of North St. Paul sent an urgent message to me this morning. "This has to go on 5@8," he wrote. He's right. One-hundred days in Glacier National Park will make your morning.
Dave notes he was tipped to the project via the Boston Globe's Big Picture blog. People recommending items for 5@8? Now, that makes my day.
Which reminds me: Colleague Nathaniel Minor -- with good reason -- is a fan of the Minnesota Pictures blog.
4) Former MPR colleague Chris Julin tried to give the Duluth News Tribune some money in exchange for reading the paper's Web site. The paper wouldn't take it, he writes. I wonder if he ever reads News Cut?
5) - Remember the computer outage a few weeks ago that slowed the nation's air traffic? EWeek.com has the story behind the story.
It turns out that a smoothly running air transportation system depends on one guy -- who has the key to a storage closet -- coming to work:
When the router went offline, only the system maintainer--government telecommunications contractor Harris--knew that the backup card was not immediately available, and that one technician, who hadn't come to work yet that day, had the key to the storage closet where the part was kept.
So the FAA had to wait until this technician was able to come to the site in Salt Lake City to replace the faulty card inside the router, reconfigure the software, and get the communications backbone back up and running so that the nation's air traffic could get back to normal.
Daily forecasts have begun to call for flurries. Does the approach of winter fill you with joy or dread?
Oh, come on, people! How can you not love it?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Unfortunately, I'm suffering from the dreaded "flu-like symptoms" today so will not be writing.
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Money can really wreck the romance in any relationship. Ruth Hayden offers advice on how to keep money in perspective, especially when one makes more than her partner.
Second hour: Paul Nicklen's curiousity about animals in the Arctic has led him to lots of close encounters. One of those encounters was with a sharp-toothed leopard seal.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Investigative journalist and pilot William Langewiesche, author of "Fly By Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson." He'll talk about advances in aviation and computer technology that made the safe landing possible.
Second hour: A speech about China from the MPR Broadcast Journalist Series by Mary Kay Magistad, Asia reporter for PRI's "The World."
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: It's Science Friday! An update on particle smashing at the Large Hadron Collider.
Second hour: Should mental health treatment be more scientific?
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - MPR's Euan Kerr gets to spend the day watching weird British TV commercials. An exhibit opens at the Walker.
Voters in St. Louis County head to the polls Tuesday for a special election that carries both a large price tag and potentially large ramifications for education across northern Minnesota. The district is seeking property tax increases to pay for nearly $80 million in new construction and repairs in the St. Louis County School District. District officials have also said its very survival hangs in the balance. Does it? MPR's Tom Weber will have the story.
The November unemployment rate for the U.S. is out this morning (and probably is by the time you read this). We'll discuss what it means.
Thomas Ricks will report on what the U.S. has learned from Iraq. And Greg Allen has a story on a minister who has created a colony of sex offenders in Florida.(2 Comments)
Posted at 2:50 PM on December 4, 2009
by Julia Schrenkler
For those who miss the afternoon edition delivered by a slow-throw from a kid on a bike, I put together a special Three at 3. It is a slimmer edition, a combination of things that surfaced today and stories that may complement earlier coverage.
1) Why talk about the future of news when you can write a love letter to its past? The American Journalism Review shares A Eulogy for Old-School Newsrooms:
They were loud, chaotic and politically incorrect. They weren't very diverse. But they sure were full of journalistic passion--and fun.
Is that what we're doing wrong? The second paragraph of this 3,400+ word piece is packed with nostalgia for the volume and chaos that some newspeople recall with a certain nostalgia. It takes a bit of reading to get to the theory on what went wrong.
"There is a feeling in newsrooms these days," [Jacqui Banaszynski] observes, "that the worth of what we do is being questioned and challenged by the public...When we used to sit in the city council or with a mother who had just lost her child, we really believed it mattered. That sense of pure purpose and passion has been diluted a little bit. Or more than a little bit."
To that point I look to New Cut commenters and ask, what are examples of reporting you feel have a sense of purpose and passion?
h/t MPR's Bruce MacDonald. For the record, he doesn't work in the newsroom.
2) But enough about us, let's look at the Internet and the obsession with cats. BoingBoing's Xeni Jardin tells us about Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs. Really:
It is a coffee table book, so you don't have to log on to appreciate the photos. Meanwhile Flickr.com looks at Your Best Shot 2009: The Kittens. MPR joins in sometimes, too. Bob Collins included the "Kitten Surprise" video as a bonus in a post earlier this week.
3) While we've reported that nonprofits are seeing an uptick in volunteers during a down economy, according to the Minnesota Daily pre-meds face new troubles in finding volunteer opportunities. Apples to oranges, of course. The mndaily.com piece explains that "the competition for volunteer spots is often fierce" and the medical field is trying to expand the definitions and opportunities for volunteering.
This has me thinking, and News Cut readers have perspective. So I ask you: What would restructuring volunteering do for the health care field?
That's all for a Three at 3. Bonus question: Do you miss the afternoon paper?
Posted at 9:43 PM on December 4, 2009
by Julia Schrenkler
Peter Bigg runs the British Television Advertising Awards and he'll introduce the program Friday night at the Walker. He said it's been a tough year in Britain, as is plain to see when you switch on the telly.This set me digging into the art, business, and the business of art pieces I've seen recently.
MinnEcon shares the example of a "loyalty bonus" for toughing out the recession at a performing arts center:
Like many organizations, the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids took a hit in the recession. So as the financial picture started to ease recently, leaders wanted to recognize those who kept the place going in the hardest times.Granted, any industry may consider a loyalty bonus, but I'm not sure bonuses are a regular occurrence in the art field.
The result: six workers will receive up to $400 in what David Marty, President of Reif Arts Council described as a "loyalty bonus."
From the Today's Question archive:Does the price of a ticket keep you from attending classical music concerts? An excerpt from one reply points to the different costs for different performances:
"How come the issue of price always comes up as an issue in the arts (museums, classical music, etc.) but never when it comes to rock concerts, sporting events, video games etc?Are the other event costs sustainable? How is attendance at Timberwolves' games?
Hearing and seeing the greatest works created by man is still the best bargain in town. It costs much more to watch Amy Winehouse throw up on stage, or buy a gaming console that lets you carjack or blow up aliens, or see over-the-hill boomer rockers strut around on stage like they're still rebellious 20-year-olds instead of billionaires with prostate issues."
- Posted by John
The arts are not a basic need for any one individual to live. But as a community, if the Twin Cities wish to retain their population of professionals, scientists, leaders,... the arts are mandatory.Discussing the tension between quality-of-life and basic living needs isn't new, but this perspective might be. (3 Comments)
The dollars spent to retain this crucial echelon of the economy have a multiplier effect, benefiting those in need more so than direct contributions. If all of the arts lovers left town we would lose the engines of our economy, and our tax base would be annihilated; leaving those in need with neither public nor private support. - Posted by Craig