Society can’t afford an uneducated underclass

“I don’t have any well-developed philosophy about journalism. Ultimately it is important in a society like this, so people can know about everything that goes wrong.”

“It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals. ”

“Since my retirement, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to help the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina. A society like this just can’t afford an uneducated underclass of citizens. ”

-Charles Kuralt

I believe all of these ideas are important when we think about the media. A democratic society does need journalists, and not simply entertainers, to tell the country what is going on, which means more than the spectacular. We need to know what is going wrong, and we need education as part of that.

Education & Journalism are key parts of a democratic society. Journalism does not need to be confined to print, and education does not need to be confined to schools. In our televised society the flames and celebrities attract our attention, the politician shout their importance, and the issues behind the flames and politicians are so often forgotten. The people that are affected are presented as victims of unexpected tragedies, but so often the only thing unexpected is which person is affected. We know there will be floods in California’s Central Valley, mudslides & fires through the Southern part of the states, fishermen will lose their jobs as stocks are depleted, and crops will fail as the droughts continue. Diseases will spread further & faster as insects find their viable lifespans and territories increase. These issues are so rarely dealt with in television journalism. How do we encourage the change?

On blogging

“The populace is like the sea motionless in itself, but stirred by every wind, even the slightest breeze” — Titus Livius

Blogging has been touted as a wonder of communication, networking, global communication and a useless hobby. It’s also a community of people thinking, reading and writing. “The human heart is like a ship on a stormy sea driven by winds blowing from all four corners of heaven,” says Martin Luther. Blogging is another breeze, or storm wind, and it can be wild and shifting. The understanding that there are many influences and they can slowly influence a few, or greatly influence many is the best thing to be had from the blogging community.

We are not all guided by any set of priorities, beliefs or editorial systems. We will disagree over facts as much as opinions and I won’t be an authoritative source. I don’t do research(I may research a post, but when I do you’ll be able to tell because I will link and/or cite), I don’t have access to privileged information. I read. I think. I write.

Everyone should be influenced by the thoughts and feelings of others. Writers are not gods and just because a phrase rolls off the tongue does not mean it is meaningful or true. Writing and communicating, thinking, discussing and sharing, are however the truest democratic influences. It balances any lobby or spinmaster eventually. We can vote on the basis of commercials or a couple news articles. We can even read biographies and judge the voting history of candidates. But how do we understand the issues? the opposing opinions? Discussion and thought and writing.