Leaving Localism Behind

In the January 7th issue of Broadcasting and Cable, Gene McHugh, general manager of Fox TV station WAGA in Atlanta, is quoted as saying, “We’ve determined that localism is the future for TV stations.” The article reported that WAGA and other Fox TV stations are adding an extra half hour of late night news to their schedules in 2008. More local news, however, may mean little if it is just more of the same sensational journalism and celebrity gossip that dominates both national and local news. Yet, McHugh’s statement does represent a rare admission that stations could be doing more to serve the local public. Not only could they do more, but people are hungry for it. The statement strikes at the heart of the myth that the junk news that is so prevalent is just “giving people what they want.” McHugh recognizes that the citizens of Atlanta and people across the country are desperate not only for more local news, but also for better local news that addresses the critical issues like health care, the economy, safety, and the environment. Continue reading

Seeing the Trees and the Forest

This is part two in my response to comments made on the post “Making Eating Public.” The first post looked at reframing the idea of guerrilla gardening to consider ways of taking advantage of what already exists in the community around us through “guerrilla harvesting” or urban fruit gleaning.

The second point Dave pondered in his comments was about how the Community Supported Agriculture Model might be applied to orchards. I have always dreamed of eventually having a small orchard and so this idea was really intriguing to me. Continue reading

Privatization and Consolidation: A New Era in Big Media

It is hard to talk about the media without someone claiming that “traditional media” is on its deathbed. Every time we turn around, there is another pundit warning Americans about the dire situation facing our broadcast stations and newspapers. Pundits wring their hands about the surge in “citizen journalism” on blogs, and Big Media flacks point to YouTube videos as evidence of a new era in media competition. We want to believe this alluring argument because we want to believe in the democratic promise of new media outlets. Continue reading

Guerrilla Harvesting

In my recent post “Making Eating Public” I talked about the potential shift that we might see if we made our eating, our growing, and our food choices and values more public. I mused about guerrilla gardening and other urban agriculture projects. In a comment on that post, my friend Dave suggested two ideas that had not occurred to me previously but are worth considering further. In this post I’ll cover the first.

Noting that guerrilla gardening can be seen as confrontational or even destructive by other community members, Dave suggested we think about what it might be like to do more “guerrilla harvesting.” Continue reading

All That We Leave Behind

This was a banner day. Today’s nearly 50 degree temps reminded me of this one day last summer.

We made a huge batch of salsa, and with the left over tomato juice that we drained off as the salsa was cooking we made a wonderful gazpacho. The salsa included tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, onions, corn, jalapeño peppers and Hungarian wax peppers, and cilantro, all from the farm (we also included garlic, not from the farm). For the gazpacho we also added green bell peppers and cucumber.

Then we made refrigerator pickles from a combination of cucumbers and lemon cucumbers (small round yellow cucumbers). The pickles had cucumbers and parsley or dill (depending on the batch) from the farm and garlic (again, not from the farm). Continue reading

Fighting for Better Media in 2008

It is a new year, and we are on the verge of a new fight for our media, for our communities and for our democracy.

Last year, you fought hard in communities across the country, attending hearings, holding meetings, and making a space for the public to shape the media policies that impact your daily lives. You filled town halls and church basements. You gave passionate testimony and told haunting stories about the ways Big Media has turned their back on your communities.

Last year, you sent hundreds of thousands of letters to the FCC and Congress. You went to Capitol Hill; you went to policymakers’ district offices. You made them pay attention and got them on the record. You made media an issue at home and in Washington.

Continue reading