French Fried Green Beans, Mac & Cheese and A Crystal Ball

I was in Milwaukee recently as a speaker for a newsmaker event for the Society for Professional Journalists at the Newsroom Pub. First off, the pub did not resemble a newsroom, and Teddy Roosevlet’s signature was on a glass-encased, framed chalkboard on the wall, along with hundreds of other signatures. They didn’t ask me for  mine. The front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that day offered a story on the paper’s Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. It was a good day for journalism in Beer Town.

   As I chomped on the french fried green beans, portabello mushrooms, chicken strips and batter-dipped, deep fried macaroni and cheese (this was a first) before my presentation, I was struck by the students and working journalists who wanted definitive answers. Politely, of course.

Is there a correlation between media outlets that have a democractic approach to news gathering with a more open sourcing, narrative style and value-added content and their circulation? No, you can’t say A leads to B. Because so many different factors go into a paper’s success.  

    Outside it was pouring rain and inside we had an energetic discussion on what this all means; several students wanted to know more. It’s a disruptive time for media, but there will always be a need for content. Where and how that content arrives as the best option for the audience is not clear. I was sure of one thing: its takes a lot of nerve and oil to french fry green beans.   



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5 responses to “French Fried Green Beans, Mac & Cheese and A Crystal Ball

  1. Cathy Riddle

    Hi Michele.

    I was in that audience, I ate the french fried green beans (yum) and I read your book. While I can’t say I was wild about the damage done to my arteries at the buffet table, I did find, in the days that followed your Milwaukee apperance, that reading Everyman News was a positive, passionate experience. Your book made me want to sit down with some of my former 1980s-era journalism school colleagues or fellow newspaper reporters and say, “Can you believe this is happening?” “Did you think it would go in this direction?” “What next?”

    I thought the introduction alone, a thoughtful overview of the changes and challenges taking place in the venerable institution of journalism, was worth having the book on my shelf. The ideas within Everyman News are thought provoking, provocative, exciting, irritating, convincing and clarifying. I guess at some level I knew all of this was happening to news, this shift toward a more intimate and story-based style. Now I have the facts to prove it. (Ironically, I used to be really good at “color stories” back when I was in the business nearly twenty years ago. Then, I was an aberration and probably was viewed as someone still learning the ropes. Now, I might be a hot commodity. Go figure.)

    While reading Everyman News, I circled (with a pencil of course) all the websites and blogs you mentioned, sites that are now considered a part of the media landscape. I hope to check some of these out, bring myself up to date, stay in the game if you will, or at least watch what is happening with a more informed eye.

    I don’t plan on eating more deep-fried mac-n-cheese any time soon.


    P.S. (I would have posted this blog sooner but, Old School that I am, I couldn’t figure out for some time exactly how to click onto the site and add a comment… Hmm.)

  2. Michele Weldon

    Hi, Cathy.
    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Did you notice earlier this week that Oprah had a show entirely on viewer comments? Talk about everyman news…
    Great to see you.

  3. I love it whenever people come together and share thoughts.

    Great blog, continue the good work!

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