I wasn’t sure what to write about this week. Unhinged Tennessee parents snarling at doctors who think that school children should wear masks? A governor who would take away the paychecks of superintendents who defied his ban on mask mandates? The bizarre and tragic tale of the California man who confessed to killing his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter because of a QANON conspiracy theory-fueled vision that his wife had passed serpent DNA to the kids? (Folks, misinformation and disinformation are violent and deadly.)
But I’ve muttered “this is insane” enough times this week, mostly while I ended my day doom scrolling in bed. (The effect, I should note, is not unlike chugging a four-pack of Red Bull at midnight.)
So I’m taking my therapist’s advice: Shift your attention to something that makes you smile.
This week’s grin (and humblebrag) comes courtesy of “The Elements of Journalism, Revised and Updated 4th Edition: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect,” which was released Tuesday and includes two (!!!) MLK50 mentions.
The book was penned by Bill Kovach, formerly the editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The New York Times’ Washington bureau chief, and curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism program at Harvard; and Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute and founder of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
In the chapter titled “Monitor Power and Add Voice to the Less Powerful,” the authors compare investigative reporting’s roots to what’s happening now.
“And today it thrives in the work of a new generation of investigators and a broader definition of what gets investigated. In the work of investigative reporters and editors Julie K. Brown at the Miami Herald, Ron Nixon at the Associated Press, Jeremy B. Merrill at New York University’s Ad Observer, which has investigated Facebook’s targeting of political ads to particular demographics, and Wendi Thomas of MLK50, we are seeing journalists meet the challenges of uncovering abuses of power in today’s world.”
And later in the same chapter:
“‘Journalism is getting better, but in many ways it hasn’t changed,’ said Wendi Thomas, creator of the nonprofit news site MLK50. ‘Many of the people who are making decisions on what deserves scarce reporting resources are white men and they are not as likely, I don’t think, to immediately identify some of the issues that are most challenging to [underserved communities], for example Black women.’”