Top Reads of the Week
Published on May 18, 2012 by Sara Foss

Role Models: Adam Rust on two unlikely mentors

Parenting: J LeBlanc on Hollywood and parenting

Movies: Sara Foss on "The Avengers"

Sports and gender: Sara Foss on being the only girl

Fashion: Sara Foss on grown up clothing

Top Reads of the Week
Published on May 11, 2012 by Sara Foss

Books: J LeBlanc on Maurice Sendak, and children books in general

Music: Roger Noyes on Levon Helm, and Sara Foss on Adam Yauch

Parenting: Cindy F. Crawford on losing a tooth

Travel: Sara Foss on ordinary places

Top Reads of the Week
Published on May 4, 2012 by Sara Foss

Greed: Sara Foss on wanting more

Parenting: J LeBlanc on traveling with a lap child

Movies: Sara Foss on "The Cabin in the Woods"

Sports: Sara Foss on the death of Junior Seau

Top Reads of the Week
Published on April 27, 2012 by Sara Foss

Responsibility: Sara Foss on jury duty

Work: R.B. Austen on working as a parent aide

Movies: Sara Foss on "The Kid With a Bike"

Politics: George Costanza's Number One Fan on three recent scandals

Parenting: J LeBlanc on buying dishware for kids

Was There Cocaine? Pondering Three Scandals
Published on April 23, 2012 by guest author: George Costanza's Number One Fan

Things in the media change so fast that if you don't write about a story in 24 hours, it is too late. Unless of course it isn't. There are three scandals that President Obama has had to deal with recently: The Secret Service hiring hookers in Columbia, the General Services Administration's lavish spending at a Las Vegas resort and a Democratic strategist's poorly received comments about Ann Romney.

Scandal One: Secret Service agents partying it up with hookers in Columbia. Two thoughts on this: Was there cocaine involved? and Do you think this scandal will help recruit more young men to become secret service agents? Maybe we should just get some Nevada prostitutes to travel with the Secret Service. Or is this diplomacy in action? Americans use other countries' prostitutes, and to thank them, we give the other country free trade and other perks, such as blue jeans and movies? Assuming the other countries still want our blue jeans and movies. Perhaps by partying with the local talent we buy security for our leader?


Why Don't People Trust the Press?
Published on April 23, 2012 by Sara Foss

Trust in the media has been steadily falling for decades, with 70 percent of Americans reporting that they had a great deal or fair amount of trust in the press during Watergate, and just 44 percent making the same claim today.

Why is this happening?

Over at his blog, press critic Jay Rosen makes an attempt to provide answers, noting that many institutions, such as the government and the church, are less trusted today than they once were.

Click here to learn more.

Top Reads of the Week
Published on April 20, 2012 by Sara Foss

Music: Roger Noyes on Neil Young

Cultural Phenomenons: Tony Are on "The Hunger Games"

Parenting: Cindy Fisher on youth sports, and J LeBlanc on babies and sign language

TV: Sara Foss on "Max Headroom"

Change: Sara Foss on breaking habits

Top Reads of a Slow Week
Published on April 13, 2012 by Sara Foss

Work: Sara Foss on working for a living

Movies: Sara Foss on "21 Jump Street"

Holidays: Barry Wenig on Easter

Music: Sara Foss on Of Monsters and Men

Top Reads of the Week:
Published on April 7, 2012 by Sara Foss

Babies: Sara Foss on her sister's baby shower

Real Estate: Adam Rust on buying a foreclosed property

Movies: J.K. Eisen on movie violence, and Sara Foss on "Jeff, Who Lives at Home"

Sports: Sara Foss on the commencement of the baseball season

Top Reads of the Week
Published on April 1, 2012 by Sara Foss

Movies: Sara Foss on "The Lorax," and two box sets from the Criterion Collection

Parenting: J LeBlanc on tagging along

Music: Sara Foss on an old mix CD

Mike Daisey and Ira Glass
Published on March 25, 2012 by Sara Foss

I caught the This American Life episode where Ira Glass retracts Mike Daisey's Apple expose over the weekend. It was interesting, but I felt like Ira Glass came across as someone who couldn't get over the fact that Mike Daisey lied to him and hurt his feelings.

Both men should have walked away from this story the moment Glass asked to contact Daisey's interpreter. Instead, Glass took Daisey's word for it when he said he couldn't find the translator, and Daisey lied so that the piece could be passed off as actual journalism. I have no idea what was going through the mind of Rob Schmitz, the Shanghai-based reporter who uncovered Daisey's deception, but perhaps he was motivated by a desire to show This American Life what real reporting looks like, and what it really means to fact check.

Anyway, here's a link to Columbia Journalism Review's critique of the episode. 

I also like film critic Jim Emerson's take on it.

Top Reads of the Week
Published on March 23, 2012 by Sara Foss

Music: Brian McElhiney on listening to his entire CD collection

Poetry: Dan Schneider on the Open Mic scene

Phobias: Sara Foss on her fear of math

Parenting: Cindy Crawford on traveling with children, and J LeBlanc on reading aloud to kids

Real Estate: Adam Rust on a hiccup in the home-buying process

Speaking Fees
Published on March 22, 2012 by Sara Foss

A couple of years ago, I was invited to talk about journalism by a women's group at a local Unitarian church. Afterward, they mailed me a $40 check to express their appreciation. Knowing that my newspaper would regard accepting the money as ethically suspect, I wrote a $40 donation to a local food pantry.

I didn't mind doing this, but it seemed totally absurd, given the speaking fees that big-time journalists command.

A recent CJR piece sheds more light on the amount of money reporters and editors get paid for speaking to groups they ostensibly cover. Of particular concern is the fact that people who regularly cover Wall Street are essentially enriching themselves by talking to the people on their beat. According to the piece:

"Many journalists give paid speeches to businesses and business groups. And Wall Street, as it happens, is probably the top source of such engagements. Household names like Bank of America as well as obscure hedge funds, private-equity firms, and others in the financial world frequently hire journalists—including scribes who regularly cover Wall Street—to deliver speeches at events ranging from publicized conferences to small private dinners with select clients. Millions of dollars have flowed to journalists in speaking fees in recent years." 
Click here to read the whole thing.


Top Reads of the Week
Published on March 16, 2012 by Sara Foss

Music: Tony Are considers the Monkees, and Eric J. Perkins lists his favorite album purchases of February

Real Estate: Adam Rust hits a snag in the buying process

Movies: Sara Foss on "Pina"

Growing up: Steve LeBlanc wonders how he survived his childhood

Sports: Sara Foss on the NBA trade deadline

Top Reads of the Week:
Published on March 9, 2012 by Sara Foss

Parenting: Cindy F. Crawford on her streaking children, and J LeBlanc on her son's many phases

Movies: J.K. Eisen offers some low-budget alternatives to "Star Wars," and Sara Foss reviews "A Dangerous Method"

Poetry: Dan Schneider on his poetry twitter project

Work: R.B. Austen on her newest part-time job

Music: Sara Foss on Jane's Addiction

Lent: Sara Foss on giving up soda

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