Archive for April, 2008

News and Noise Podcast

Ryan and Mike railed and ranted (and offered a bit of hope) on dead-tree newspapers. They are irritated at the poor and shrinking local coverage, sloppy reportage, and bottom-line orientation of owners.

The stereotype of the newer generations reading less and being more online oriented seems true. (See the 2-year-old Pew Online News report.) Yet the real problems have been with newspapers themselves.

We discussed the related issues and how we see netroots, other blogging, and finally newspapers beginning to get it, but not this week, month, or even year. Citizens’ journalism is working where its limited trials are simmering, but those are not ready for massive roll-outs. Meanwhile, publicly traded newspapers are slashing when they should be expanding their offerings.

They also seem to have lost the public-service aspect that has always characterized print journalism. Ryan figures that this will remain or return only where newspapers have local owners. Mike adds that they never have offered high profit margins like some industries, and that investors who want that need to look elsewhere.

Yet, there’s lots of room for news management to expand their offerings and get new revenue sources. They need to show courage and innovation that some European owners have for over a decade.

Related Links

About a year and one half ago, Pew Research sat a punch of professionals and academics down to discuss Can the ‘Dead Tree’ Newspaper Survive? The resulting roundtable was not unanimous, but did conclude that the general answer is yes, but not as they are now. The experts touched on how they got themselves into the current mess and what they see for the mid-term and longer. Mike also promised a link to the Marry in Massachusetts post on how ethnic newspapers here are sharing resources to compensate for their small staffs and necessarily limited geographic and topic coverage.

icon for podpress  News and Noise [56:43m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Beyond Pennsylvania

We dove into the results of this weekend’s BlogLeft gathering in Lowell. Ryan and Lynne took the initiative to present a proposal for ramping up a netroots drive. We agreed to work together as bloggers for some progressive goals. Definitely to be continued.

Ryan and Mike both expressed impatience with getting a nominee is place to start the  general Presidential campaign. Obama has it and it’s past time to get it on. Unless Clinton won Pennsylvania by a huge margin of 30% to 40%, she’s done. He needs to get to the business of bringing in a Democratic and Progressive administration.

Posts of the Week

Larry Womack calls tomorrow D-Day for superdelegates. Over at Huffington Post, he concludes they’ll know enough after the Pennsylvania vote to clear up this mess.

So which is the more plausible path to the White House? Clinton’s better chance in the king maker states, or Obama’s shot at putting new ones into play? Or will the turnout advantage hold, making the party virtually unstoppable regardless of the nominee? If it all seems a bit much for you to sort out, imagine how hard it must be for Democratic Party officials, whose inability to identify a winner must be chromosomal.

The decision they come to — or their choice to dodge it — should become apparent between Pennsylvania and Indiana. If they believe that Clinton’s elector-rich wins outweigh Obama’s delegate-rich wins, this will be the time to speak up. If they do, Obama is officially in trouble. If they don’t, Clinton is almost certainly fighting a losing battle.

icon for podpress  Lefties Off the Dime [47:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Chang-Diaz Loaded for 2nd Suffolk

grassrootsSonia Chang-Diaz joined us today and was unflappable across a range of soft and hard questions. She’s running against long-term State Senator Dianne Wilkerson, after narrowly losing to her as an unknown two years ago in a sticker campaign.

She grew up in a do-gooder family, with a social worker for a mom and an astronaut for a dad. Both parents set the example by volunteering in the community. She continues the pattern.

Today was also the launch of her enhanced campaign website. She is even more of a progressive than the left-leaning incumbent. She knows a pivotal question is whether voters will be willing to trade in one liberal for a better, fresher one.

This one, a former Lynn and Boston public school teacher, has a high interest in education funding. See her site’s issues pages for details on health are, violence, housing and others.  As she travels the district and knocks on doors, she’ll be adding more detail to her issues.

She told us that she’s surprised at the effort campaigning was two years ago, even causing her to lose her voice several times. She’s been helped by family. Her mother pounds the street and she expects her former-astronaut dad to do some campaigning.

She says that the integrity issue is still strong and she finds a lot of support, even among voters who normally don’t bother going to the polls as a result.

icon for podpress  Out with the old? [60:59m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Sonia Talks Second Suffolk Today

Showtime in Second Suffolk and showtime on today’s podcast. For our weekly festival of sound, we bring on Sonia Chang-Diaz to kick around strategy, integrity, progressive goals, race and culture.

This is a cross-post from Marry in Massachusetts.

Two years ago, she came damned close to unseating long-term State Senator Dianne Wilkerson. It was a bizarre race with sticker campaigns — the incumbent also had to use stickers because she didn’t bother to get the 300 signatures to be on the ballot — as well as a confusingly similarly named Republican on the ballot, Samiyah Diaz. Wilkerson was under clouds of personal, tax and campaign finance irregularities. Yet, she eeked a victory apparently based on past service and promises of getting her act together.

Sonia joins us at 2:30 p.m. today, Tuesday, 4/15. You can grab the stream then or pick up the archive anytime afterward.

Voters seldom will have such a clear choice between candidates when the platforms are not the big issue. Both take progressive stances on gangs, education, health-care, homelessness and other big concerns for the diverse district. As one might expect, Wilkerson hasn’t bothered to update her website, which has a list of legislation she has co-sponsored but no platform. Chang-Diaz put her neck out with strong positions. What she needs to add are some specific proposals and goals.

The demographics are very important here. The district includes heavily Black, Latino and Asian-American sections. Two years ago, the predominately Black areas seemed to have swung the primary for Wilkerson.

We don’t have a left vs. right wing fight here. Listen in to see how Chang-Diaz intends to differentiate herself and build on her high profile after her first run.


Deval, Make It Work

Lynne got to play our intrepid reporter this week. She reprised her Left In Lowell interview-like-object with Gov. Deval Patrick last week when he was in her fair burgh. She had gotten 30 minutes with him, addressing local and commonwealth issues.

We teed off from those topics to cover bond issues, other funding possibilities, and how Patrick and get big progressive projects moving.

Posts of the Week

Lynne cited a Treehugger post on how an Italian city dumped their gassy mowers for fluffy ones. Industrial Turin is working on rehabbing its image from a polluted factory town. Sheep now maintain the grass.

Mike was amused by the always out there howling latina. She can’t forgive Obama for eclipsing her candidate and supports Clinton even if it will mean trying to game the superdelegates and tell the voters to take a hike. Two in this vein include 1) praising Sen. Jim Webb for saying the supers should vote regardless of their states’ voters choice, and 2) quoting a Vivian J. Paige email with the convoluted reasoning that “the superdelegates are not rubber-stamps for the public vote. To say otherwise is to ignore the reason why they exist.”

icon for podpress  Deval, Make It Work [57:54m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


New England Marriage Equality Culture

We started by indulging Mike, who attended a same-sex marriage symposium on Friday at Roger Williams University. It had a speaker and two expert panels on the culture of SSM in New England. That gave us a chance to wander about GLBT and more general civil rights.

We plugged the April 19th BlogLeft netroots gathering in Lowell. We are anticipating spurring our governor and lieutenant governor to return to grassroots/netroots.

Posts of the Week

Over at the Pennsylvania flavor of Daily Kos, creweeny reports that voters, particularly Dems are registering like ants on sugar there. Reports are of 200,000 new Dem registrants in the past 10 weeks and 75,000 since March 24th alone. Raw numbers appear in this spreadsheet. creweeny also notes, “45,977 changed to Democrats while 1,808 changed to Republicans, and 33,000 new Democrats registered.” Dem registrants are up in areas leaning for each Obama and Clinton.

icon for podpress  NE Same-Sex Marriage [55:59m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download