Be idealistic. Resist cynicism.

If you’re a journalist or just a who cares about being a responsible citizen of our media-culture, read Everything I Know About Journalism in 395 Words by New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan – so very grounding and necessary. 

Couple with some thoughts on cynicism from yours truly and E.B. White on the cultural responsibility of the writer

Viola Davis Responds to Being Called ‘Less Classically Beautiful’

During a Thursday appearance on The View, Viola Davis fired back at the New York Times writer who recently said she was “less classically beautiful.” Last week, in an article that received plenty of backlash, Times writer Alessandra Stanley not only critiqued Davis’ looks but also referred to Shonda Rhimes as an angry black woman.

In response to that article, the Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, said it was “astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch.” Sullivan also noted, “The readers and commentators are correct to protest this story.” She continued, “Intended to be in praise of Ms. Rhimes, it delivered that message in a condescending way.”

Davis, who didn’t publicly address the comments until yesterday, explained on the show how she felt about them and what made her take on the role in Rhimes’ How to Get Away With Murder:

I’m glad that Shonda Rhimes saw me and said “Why not?” That’s what makes her a visionary. That’s what makes her iconic. I think that beauty is subjective. I’ve heard that statement [less classically beautiful] my entire life. Being a dark-skinned black woman, you heard it from the womb. And “classically not beautiful” is a fancy term for saying ugly. And denouncing you. And erasing you. Now … it worked when I was younger. It no longer works for me now. It’s about teaching a culture how to treat you. Because at the end of the day, you define you.

As Davis so eloquently put it, dark-skinned women have been described as less classically beautiful forever. But just as she doesn’t let the comment define her, neither should other women. Davis is not only a beautiful woman; her grace and intelligence also shine through everything she’s a part of. [x]

There’s a question of the amount of professional respect shown to those like Ms. O’Brien and the columnist Glenn Greenwald, who has broken major news stories about government surveillance for The Guardian in recent weeks.

Is Mr. Greenwald a “blogger,” as a Times headline referred to him recently? That headline was atop a profile that did not use the word journalist to describe the columnist for The Guardian United States, the New York-based Web site associated with the British newspaper. At the time, I wrote (on Twitter) that I found the headline dismissive. There’s nothing wrong with being a blogger, of course – I am one myself. But when the media establishment uses the term, it somehow seems to say, “You’re not quite one of us.”


A real journalist is one who understands, at a cellular level, and doesn’t shy away from, the adversarial relationship between government and press – the very tension that America’s founders had in mind with the First Amendment.


Absolutely fantastic, necessary piece by The New York Times’ Margaret Sullivan on who is – and isn’t – a “journalist.”

H. P. Lovecraft had some timeless wisdom on the matter.

‘Newtown forced us to ask ourselves some questions and tighten up our practices,’ Ian Fisher, the assistant managing editor in charge of the newsroom’s digital report, told me. Mr. Fisher said there would be more reluctance to attribute an important fact to other media organizations, as The Times did when it identified Ryan Lanza as the gunman instead of his brother.

In addition, he said, breaking stories may include 'cautionary language’ that clearly tells the reader that some facts aren’t yet known. In addition, a more streamlined editing process should reduce the internal confusion that resulted in what Mr. Fisher called 'some self-inflicted wounds.’ In short, he said, 'We took it very seriously.’

—  Margaret Sullivan, public editor of the New York Times

Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan - “The Shop Around The Corner”- 1940

He was a doll. But a truly gentle shy soul. Not just in his films. 

 movie facts: Jimmy Stewart was - in real life- in love with Ms Sullivan but she turned him down. Even tho they were in about 3 or 4 movies together. He really loved this woman but she went on to marry Stewart’s great friend Henry Fonda. After Ms Sullivan died- Jimmy Stewart was not quite the same. His wife even said that he lost a bit of that spark he had in life. But I love this film and this gif says a lot for me in my life right now. Maybe yours too…?

another fact: after becoming a Colonel in the US Air Force in WW2 - Stewart continued and stayed in the service until 1959 - by then he was a brigadier general 

The Grey Lady

New York Times headlines on Glenn Greenwald’s big scoop for the Guardian (you know, a newspaper):

First: “Anti-Surveillance Activist Is at Center of New Leak”

Then: “Blogger, With Focus on Surveillance, Is at Center of a Debate”

Even the Times’s Public Editor Margaret Sullivan thought the newspaper was being dismissive.

Time to euthanize the grey lady.