Friday, July 24, 2009

What I Want To See From The Media & My Thoughts So Far

Here's what I'd like to see from the news media regarding the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates:

  • A timeline of the event.
  • An explanation by legal experts of the laws pertinent in this situation.
  • Nationally recognized experts in the field of police standards and training.
At the moment my thoughts are that most of the statements I've seen so far are emotional knee-jerk reactions.

I didn't take President Obama's statement as a condemnation of the entire Cambridge Police Department as the the president of the Cambridge Police Patrol Officer's Association claimed. That seems to me to be a defensive mischaracterization of the president's remarks.

The demeanor of the officers that responded is more important than that of Mr. Gates. I believe that police officers are trained to remain calm and deal 'professionally' with subjects even if they're confronted with insults and the like.

It is nevertheless always a good idea and mature behavior for someone in professor Gates' position to also act respectfully. That's easier said than done of course, but as for the police it's essential to remain calm to diffuse and de-escalate a situation.

I always pause when I hear the head of an organization say that they will conduct an 'internal investigation' on one of their own, especially after taking a defensive stance as the Cambridge police have. An independent inquiry should be undertaken to eliminate the question of bias.

Finally, I have a feeling that most if not all the parties in this incident will at some point look back and have second thoughts about their statements and their behavior.

At least I hope they do..

Monday, July 20, 2009

I just re-read my "About Me" (then looked at the date of my last post..)

Well.... it was accurate when I wrote it!

As far as my blog for "blogsNH" (Concord Monitor Online) goes I should tell you that I stopped for personal/health reasons, and since then I've hesitated resuming for multiple reasons.

I have less energy because of some of the medications I'm taking.

Preaching responsible security can seem like an exercise in futility much of the time. I was spending a great deal of time and energy providing what could be a valuable service for readers and getting little to no feedback from either readers or the paper in return. A few fellow bloggers showed support but at the end of the day I can't justify the effort vs. energy spent.

The Monitor wasn't nearly as progressive as they could be. At that time they didn't even allow comments, and they still don't have live links to contact the reporter.

Too many of the articles (online) are poorly written. So many are brief blurbs leaving out most of the pertinent facts. It's like posting a headline and lead without any details, or showing a photograph without the cutline..

The blog software is clunky and all too often the communication with the Monitor personnel took too long. In addition to that, the contact person seemed to have some kind of relationship with a conservative right-wing group/podcast.

Finally, I simply don't like being associated with some of the more frequent bloggers there.
Nothing 'personal' towards them as people, and maybe it's me, but as a volunteer service as opposed to the responsibility of a professional position it's a choice I've made.

I do feel that the Concord Monitor Online is getting better and I hope that trend continues, albeit at a much more rapid pace. Perhaps loading up the blogsNH section with in-house sports blogs isn't fair to the citizen bloggers (despite my personal tastes/feelings). Having a separate section for Monitor employee blogs would be more appropriate, or maybe just expanding the space for blog headlines so that the sports blogs aren't all that readers see. That has frequently been the case lately.

I also feel that not having a dedicated contact person/supervisor for the blogs was an issue I noticed. My contact was splitting his time between various duties and that resulted in a lack of timely communication and probably less dedication towards improvements and innovation.

There are so many examples on the web of engaging site design and progressive staff enlisting reader and citizen participation in blogs, citizen journalism and reader commentary. But without management behind the scenes willing and able to let go of outdated thinking and bringing in some of the outstanding progressive professionals to replace those who perhaps aren't able to migrate into the new paradigm.

I'm certainly no expert but I think any unbiased assessment of Concord Monitor Online would conclude that there's a great deal of room for improvement.

This is one of those big historical shifts in technology and lifestyle affecting a wide range of industries. If those industries don't adapt, or are too slow to adapt, they will be left behind and die off.

As for me? I will keep going forward and see what each day brings. When I have the energy and motivation to write I will write.

I don't want to leave this existence not having made a positive difference. Unfortunately I have a great many negative actions in my past that I need to make up for, so since then I've tried to learn and grow as a human being, progressing on the road towards enlightenment.

I've isolated myself since then and need to change that now. Fighting the self-loathing and embarrassment I wallowed in for the last twenty years and learning to forgive myself is a challenge but essential. The prospect of living alone until I die is untenable. Finding a woman who has the intelligence, understanding, patience, and humor to share my life with is a similar challenge but also essential.

Wish me luck and positive thoughts OK? I'll be posting here and over at my other blog The Endicott Dispatch more frequently [again].