Friday, January 23, 2009

journalism - the basics

Something very funny has happened in the Sun newspapers.

Yesterday, John Mackie wrote an article titled A view from Vancouver's new 62-storey Shangri-La

The piece, basically an interview with the architect, in on the Sun's website.

The reactions are visceral and damning.

As one reader-writer after another points out...a)this is not a news story; it is a kind of mindless advertorial...and b) What view?

Have a look at the photo that goes with the article.

Looks curiously like a view from the ground, no?

Journalism 104.



The Great Free Enterprise nation, the USA, is, in fact, one of the most government dominated sovereign territories in the world.

In the early 1900's, the US federal government consumed 2% of GDP.

It now consumes more than 20%, and that number will climb quickly to 25%.

In the first instance, a constitutional amendment allowed government to tax both personal incomes and corporate profits. That doubled the government stake to 4% before the First World War.

Oddly enough, defense spending, which seems so outrageous to many of us, has actually declined from 15% in 1952 to less than 4% in 2006.

"Social entitlements" however account for a huge amount of government, and one of Obama's most onerous challenges will be to severely cut from these spendings without harming the poor or alienating the the many hopeful who have elected him.


For too many years now, the venerable old Hudon's Bay Company has been calling itself HBC.

It is taken its new American owners to recognize that alphabet soup doesn't cut it and that the good old name is the one that connects with consumers.

Henceforth, the the Hudson's Bay Company will be known oddly enough as the Hudson's Bay Company.

For those of us who grew up with The Bay as a big part of our lives - I worked there many times and my uncle Tom was the head tailor in men's clothing for many years - this welcome news.

Unfortunately, recent visits to The Bay and Sears suggest strongly that these stores' days are numbered.

Everything about them looks tired and out of synch.

And service simply does not exist.


And why did the lyrics for PICK YOURSELF UP find their sneaky melodic way into President Obama's Inaugural speech?

Why is this such an evelasting great song?

Two simple reasons.

Music by Jerome Kern.

Lyrics by Dorothy Fields.