Plus ... about that new Beatles song
Hope the Columbia position is an effective soapbox. I realize there are many capital J-Land issues demanding attention. I toil in lower-case j land, writing about Medicare, Social Security, and aging. These issues attract diverse audiences who still pay attention to facts and the implications of government policies. These and other governance issues are not sexy and easily ignored, especially when newsrooms are nearly empty. Attention to lower-case J is an effective way to promote democratic values. Maybe there are folks there in the Knight Bagehot program who'd like to work on these issues.
“Second side of Abbey Road” - that was my favorite line of your post. Remember the “second side?” Life seemed more deliberate which somehow strikes me as valuable. Not sure, I’m giving that some thought. Love that you have a new gig. I can’t say enough how important it is for your perspective to be in the mix as “journalists” provide us with “news.” Not sure any of it is news as it all seems like spin to get us worked up. How about the NYT’s polls? I don’t get it. I don’t care how old Biden is. What about his experience and the strategic way his navigating us through all this global unrest? Sure, we need the next generation of D’s to take charge but learning from him is invaluable. The polls make us think we aren’t seeing reality. But we see what we need to see. Look at last night’s results. People are paying attention, listening to and learning from the second side.
The White album I have so many great memories about that time
I like the the “new” Beatles song. It’s beautiful, but the song itself is only part of the story. The background video gives it context. That the three surviving Beatles (and then two) kept this project in their hearts for so long made me feel their personal loss all over again. The vision of John possibly writing and singing this song in the Dakota with baby Sean and Yoko at a time when the tragedy of his death would have seemed impossible felt so sad. I think the recording would have been better without the strings, but I understand why they wanted to include George Martin. It doesn’t have to be compared to other Beatle songs. It’s just the Beatles sharing with us how much they love and miss John. That’s what makes it so beautiful.
In reverse order, Rubber Soul. It represented a sea change. When thinking about “Now and Then” (and the other new songs) I’m not using their iconic body of work as a yardstick. Apples and oranges. I’m thinking, “Was the project fun and interesting for all involved and does it help keep their music alive?” By those standards I think it’s a big success.
Second, congratulations on Columbia! It’s so important to prepare young professionals to manage both the great opportunities and tough circumstances they’re sure to encounter on the job.
Finally, Mark Jacob is a Chicago (and national) treasure.
Congratulations on the new position!
Thanks for the pointer to Mark Jacobs’ newsletter.
I heartily agree with his recommendations. He didn’t explicitly say it, but for publications with a firewall, the headline is often all that many readers will see. The truth must be protected in those few words.
And I also like his contention that debunking after an interview doesn’t work (except for keeping the record straight in a general sense). I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m older and my memory ain’t what it used to be, but I think it’s a high burden to ask an interviewer to be ready to push back on all fronts at once in a live interview. In my opinion, such interviews should be recorded unless the public’s need to know immediately is very high. Present the recorded interview with a debunking summary up front. Have chyrons highlight lies as they occur. Push back too, but catch lies that slip through as well. Yes, liars won’t want to be so accessible in the future. That can be noted repeatedly as well (“X was invited to comment on the matter and declined”). I think potential interviewees should be the ones who want access to a reputable platform, not the other way around.
I agree with everything Mark Jacob said about fact crusading, but another step is needed: lie tracing! I’d love to see a beat where reporters pick the biggest lies told and distributed through the news ecosystem each week and then locate their sources and trace how and where they gained traction. We need clarity on the manipulation machines out there, plus help as citizens on how to sift the chaff from the wheat…If media treated us as citizens with a role to play instead of merely consumers of news, they would do this! Let’s keep pressuring them to step it up! Also, congratulations on your new role, Margaret; may your sphere of influence keep expanding!
First, about the Beatles....nothing beats the wild weirdness of the White Album, in my depraved opinion, and those four men will always be a core component of my life and heart. But this new song's lyrics and melody are just not their best. I agree with your friend: they gave us all they had, it was more than enough, and although I understand why Paul and Ringo would want one last experience - for their fans and themselves - the song was disappointing. It's time to let it be and let go.
Second, about your new gig....I selfishly hope you can find time to continue your Substack and podcast as they are now. However, it's vital for our own health and well-being to prioritize, so that we can put our energy where it will have the greatest impact. I hope you'll balance your admirable determination to be a force for good in the world with taking good care of yourself. Like The Beatles, you've given us more than enough already, and it's OK to let it be and let go.
First, congratulations on the new position -- about which it can be said that they are also fortunate to have you.
Also, since you seem interested in ideas to pursue, you might consider delving into how the POST came to replace a publisher affiliated with Reagan with William Lewis, an executive employed since 2010 by Rupert Murdoch -- especially at a time when the journalistic integrity of the News Corp. at which Lewis began his Murdoch work is now so justifiably questioned. From the outside, and without more information, such a move looks like preserving the practice of wiring Washington for Republicans.
Congratulations on your new gig!