Monday, April 3, 2017

Good word, for good people: "Philotomo"


I learned a new word today: ‘Philotomo.’ It is Greek, and apparently has the power to make those who understand its meaning misty-eyed. It’s a powerfully evocative yet subtle word, symbolizing courage, generosity, duty, honor, empathy, humility. It derives from filos, friend, and timi, honor. It’s about giving to others without wanting anything back for yourself, except perhaps love and appreciation. Triandis (1972) states that the concept of philotomo is unique to the Greek culture and may need to be translated as a phrase such as “the love of honor” to capture the full meaning. I was introduced to the word when reviewing a video about a Scripps College alumna, Dr. Katherine Schwab (above), who is professor of Art History and Visual Culture at Fairfield University and was recently honored with the college's Distinguished Faculty Award at its Annual Awards Dinner in New York City. A colleague noted that the word applied to Dr. Schwab's unwavering support for her students, love of teaching, passion for her subject and dedication to sharing ancient Greek art. I first learned of Dr. Schwab's talents when preparing a news brief about her fascinating research for Scripps College's website (a responsibility of mine in my day job). I love my job, learning new words, and sharing news about truly interesting and "good people."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hopeful article lauds media legitimacy, legacy of Walter Cronkite

I agree with the media-watch judges in the story below that CNN's Brian Stelter is worth learning from on Sunday morning's "Reliable Sources," which is a weekly news wrap-up dedicated to helping the public understand what the media does and how they do it. Stelter's predecessor Howard Kurtz was instructive and entertaining as well, having served as Reliable Sources host since 1998. Kurtz has since moved on to Fox's Sunday morning lineup in a similar role. Anyway, it is worth noting that some mainstream media are still doing what media are supposed to do. Here's a link to the Cronkite awards article about notable journalistic efforts this year and its hopeful lede:

2017 Walter Cronkite Awards For Excellence In TV Political Journalism

With reporters, news media and even the truth under assault, the winners of the 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism demonstrate that the legacy of the longtime CBS anchor is alive and well...

More Brian Stelter: @brianstelter: gotta love this guy! As Larry Wilmore says, he's "keeping it 100!"



Friday, February 3, 2017

Fresh voices welcome, indeed

Looking forward to good things from NPR journalist Joshua Johnson, who takes over Diane Rehm's spot as the radio icon retired from her 37-year career as a thoughtful talk show host covering the news and issues of the day.

Fresh voices are welcome in this time of national divisiveness. Especially from mainstream media. The Washington Post quotes Johnson as having rallied his team with these words, "There are still seeds to cast. There is still something to build. There are still people to feed with useful, honest, fair, thoughtful information, and a conversation that's for everyone." I'd like to think so, too.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pew Research annual survey on media

The news about news is what you thought it was...here is a partial summary of findings from the Pew Research Center's 2013 survey on the state of the mainstream media, ironically (my opinion) reported by Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/18/pew-journalism-study-cutbacks_n_2898422.html

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sandy Hook massacre - media mistakes

An unimaginable horror struck families in Newtown, Connecticut, this week when 20-year old Adam Lanza went on a mass shooting spree at the elementary school where his mother, Nancy, worked. As the information about the events became available during the aftermath, members of the media published information they obtained from law enforcement officials, who just plain got it wrong. For hours, the news reported that Lanza's older brother, Ryan, was the killer. News of Ryan's alleged role in the massacre spread virally across the nation, and the world. There were no efforts, apparently, to independently verify the identity of the shooter. I was troubled to learn of this mistake, which took hours to correct in the unfolding news cycle, because I am a Public Relations professional who has been taught to rely on the veracity of the information practitioners like me receive from the investigating law enforcement agencies in such incidents. Later, we learned that the shooter was actually carrying his older brother's ID, so it does seem an honest mistake. But, meanwhile, the communication trail has wreaked havoc, and older brother Ryan's face has been posted all over the Internet, the permanent and intractable record of his presumed 'guilt.' The mistake was corrected, and the story continued to wend it's course as the country reeled with unspeakable sadness, learning further that 20 children, many of them 6 and 7 year olds, had been killed at point blank range by Adam Lanza. Another mistake that the media made, in my opinion, was interviewing the surviving classmates of the murdered children. Several news organizations apparently leapt to gather footage from children at Sandy Hook Elementary School who had been ushered out of the school building to safety by teachers and other school personnel when the gunshots were heard. Still reeling from the fear of perhaps being shot themselves, learning that some of their classmates had died in the shootings only moments or hours before, several of the children who appeared on camera for interviews were 6 or 7 years old, and were asked to recount the action they took, and their personal emotions about the terrifying incident. I understand why the reporters on the scene, and their ultimate producers back in the studio, decided to capture these moments from the youngest among us. And yet,as I watched this news coverage, I felt a gut wrenching pain for the children followed by anger that the news media (and presumably their parents who gave permission) had felt it more important to have these vulnerable, innocents--practically babies, really--tell their stories on national television rather than comfort and shield them during such a time. The third mistake, which I hope will be corrected as the reporting continues in ensuing days, is the inference that some are making that because the shooter was identified as being autistic, or perhaps on the autism scale, that this somehow is connected to the violence he enacted at his mother's workplace. This kind of misinformation can sway public opinion about an already misunderstood condition that impacts hundreds of thousands of families in our country and elsewhere, and can reinforce the stigmas of 'mental health labels' in a way that sets us back decades. 'Suffering from autism' does not, of course, equate to violent behavior in any way. In fact, the use of the term 'suffering,' as many news outlets are reporting, implies some malady. Many people live with a condition that makes them experience the world differently...some suffer, many do not, and still more merely understand that they view and experience the world differently than some defined 'norm,' and therefore they are 'different.' The diagnosis of autism does not automatically imply that a person is 'sick,'mentally or otherwise.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Anderson Cooper's giggle fit is a classic!

Even though the puns themselves were really annoying, I enjoyed Anderson Cooper's apparent delight in this bit...here is the 4-minute version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPq2fsSk2Vw

I especially like the part where he says "this has never happened to me before!"