LIFE OFTEN OUT OF FOCUS DURING ‘GOLDEN YEARS’

“The Bohemians say: ‘An old man sees better behind himself than a young man sees in front of himself.’”

— from “Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps” by Ted Kooser.

RIP:DeanI find myself much like the young Bohemian who may have difficulty seeing what is in front of him.

For example: When you turn 88, odds are that you will shuffle off this mortal coil during the next decade.

What to do during the interim? becomes a more pressing question as your body stiffens and you are unable to remember a word, a simple word, that somehow has escaped your memory.

Other questions arise: Continue reading LIFE OFTEN OUT OF FOCUS DURING ‘GOLDEN YEARS’

PRESS FREEDOM REMINDER RESIDES ON LIBRARY SHELF

Last night I picked an 853-page textbook from a library shelf in our living room. I used the three-pound book while teaching law of the press during the early 1970s. As Ilaw textbook thumbed through the libel section, I wondered how many people today appreciate the liberating of press freedom that emerged during that era?

Seven decades earlier I hand-set headlines in type for a weekly newspaper in a state where you could be sued not only for civil libel but also for criminal libel. In other words, you could be found guilty and pay damages for defaming someone’s reputation via the printed word and/or be found guilty of a crime and serve jail time if you angered the county’s prosecuting attorney, usually because you challenged the local political machine.

State law largely governed the penalties for printed defamation until 1964 when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a national guideline in what is referred to as the New York Times-Sullivan decision.

Essentially, a political figure and/or a public figure must show that the defendant purposefully intended to defame the plaintiff to be successful in a civil libel action. Continue reading PRESS FREEDOM REMINDER RESIDES ON LIBRARY SHELF

I’M NOW ALL A TWITTER ABOUT JOURNALISM JOBS

My decision to come out of retirement and to apply for a teaching job at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication just took a major hit this week.

I figured that an 88-year-old guy who has spent several decades working as a journalist and as UO Duck artworka professor at three institutions of higher learning would have a “leg up” on other applicants for a job.

Five tenure-track positions are being advertised at the Oregon “j” school. Each position promises to pay “big bucks” as an assistant professor, which is a notch below my status when I retired for the fourth time. I don’t mind stepping down a bit, however, if I can re-enter the ivy-covered halls of academia.

Keep in mind that I specialized in teaching information gathering, reporting, editing, interviewing and communication law. That should qualify me for one of the five UO journalism positions, or so I figured.

The first position is titled “Media Intersectionality.” That latter word is not a typo. It’s real, and teaching this topic would be a piece of cake for a guy who covered traffic accidents as a newspaper reporter and who is familiar with what often occurs at intersections: Drivers ignore red lights. Remember: If it bleeds, it leads. Continue reading I’M NOW ALL A TWITTER ABOUT JOURNALISM JOBS

I’M A PEOPLE WATCHER EVEN NOW IN RETIREMENT

PEOPLE PHOTO

I’m a people watcher, a condition that may have been acquired at birth or may have developed during my work as a journalist.

I suspect, however, that I inherited the penchant for peeking into the lives of people. My dad, for example, was forever leaving his fishing pole on the bank of a river and walking off to talk to other anglers.

I sincerely am interested in people, who they are, what they do, where they’re from. Even now that I no longer am gathering news/feature information as a journalist. For me, it’s a natural reaction to living.

I watch people during meetings, during gatherings, including church services. Are people bored? Are they listening? Are they involved? Makes me feel like an interloper on occasion.

And I wonder why I am not reacting to the incident, to the speech, to whatever may be transpiring in the same way as other members of the audience.

Maybe I have missed out on life. Not being a participant, that is. Being a mirror as a reporter and now as a retiree. Maybe I have used the “objective observer” excuse so long and so often that I am just that: an observer, not a participant.

As a result, am I a person without heartfelt convictions that I can express openly? Do I hide behind this mask of an observer? Am I afraid to express my true emotions? Maybe that’s why I seek out and admire people who express their apparent convictions openly, unreservedly with energy. Especially with energy.

I’m a watcher of people. That’s what I do.

LEADER FINDS ‘NO RESPECT’ FOR RESHAPING AMERICA

trump campaign

“I don’t get no respect,” the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield used to say during his monologues.

Donald Trump might include that statement in his tweets as he stumbles through his daily routine on the world’s greatest stage.

Why so much criticism of a showman who is attempting to make good on campaign promises that led to his selection as president of the United States?

Didn’t voters understand that Trump repeatedly boasted, “I will make America great again?”

So, why be critical of a person who apparently attempted to “make a deal” with Russia prior to the election that might have led to a better relationship between two of the world’s greatest powers and adversaries?

Granted, the world’s proported greatest “deal-maker” may have operated outside the normal convention, but that’s the way he admittedly conducts business.

Meanwhile, his adversaries began throwing up roadblocks to his plans to keep potential terrorists out of the country, to build a wall, to upgrade the national health program, to rewrite the tax code so that everyone receives a tax break, to add millions of jobs to the marketplace, to enhance the nation’s trade status and to “make America great again.” Continue reading LEADER FINDS ‘NO RESPECT’ FOR RESHAPING AMERICA