Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ty's Corner

Explaining the e-mails. A number come in each week. Dona, Jim and I read them. Jess, Ava and now Dona work the accounts (private and the public one) for The Common Ills. Unless I'm taking some time off, the bulk of the e-mails are read by me.

Each week, the bulk of the e-mails are about Ava and C.I.'s TV commentaries. True from the start, true week after week. When we do a "Mailbag" feature, like this week, I go into it with a number of e-mails I've printed up. I'll designate one or two as "must be mentioned." I'll have a huge stack of e-mails that I think are worth mentioning. From the huge stack, I'll mention the topics and some will be moved over to the must mention based on the comments of others. Some will also be put in a possible mention stack and I'll pull from those as time permits.

Today was no different. With one exception. Sometimes an e-mail is clearly a must mention. When that happenes, I'll e-mail back, "We will mention this." There were two people who got that response last week, Bill and Kimmey. Only Bill got mentioned. I forgot Kimmey because we were focusing on several other things and because (as Jim's "A Note to Our Readers" explains) there were other issues going on.

Kimmey e-mailed this evening to remind me that I had said she'd be mentioned. This is from her e-mail last week.

Hey everyone,
Thursday at Danny Schechter's News Dissector Blog this appeared:

Democratic FCC commissioner Michael Copps asked FCC chairman Kevin Martin to open an inquiry into News Corp.’s purchase of The Wall Street Journal. In a letter to Martin Thursday, Copps said he is concerned that the $5.6 billion combination would result in control of a network and two of the nation’s five largest newspapers by a single company and would result in the ownership of two newspapers and two TV stations in New York, the nation’s top market.

I'm glad Michael Copps thinks it's an issue but it was an issue before he 'discovered' it. This was a topic I e-mailed you about on July 25th and asked that you consider writing about. Along with explaining my reasons and how offended I was on several levels, I also quoted C.I. From C.I.'s July 22nd "And the War Drags On . . .:"

There's also a great deal of ignorance. Rupert Murdoch wants to buy The Wall St. Journal and, sorry to point it out again, that is a New York based paper. You hear the generic argument against consolidation. Where is the argument about consolidation specific to the fact that he already owns the New York Post? One person owning both papers? It just strikes me as being as stupid in the 80s in not noting the obvious fact, Fox TV (entertainment) operated in violation of the FCC which forbade foreign ownership of domestic airwaves. That argument was not made loudly and repeatedly. Had it been, he would have been forced to become a US citizen immediately or sell off his holdings. Mike Nichols, in Working Girl, made the point stonger and reached more people than did our media 'critics' or press of that time period. But here we are again, two decades later, and Murdoch is attempting to own two NYC based papers.

That was actually what took my reasoning beyond personal offense over the continued grab by Rupert Murdoch and brought it to the level of a media concern. I know each week there is so much to cover but I hope you can at least mention this in passing.

Again, I had e-mailed Kimmey and Bill that their e-mails would be mentioned. If I respond that way, you do get mentioned. My apologies to Kimmey for forgetting her and my thanks to her for reminding me that I had forgotten.

An e-mail can result in a "must mention" for any number of reasons including topic, the urgency or sense of passion conveyed in the writing, because it's a topic that we haven't covered but should have and any other number of reasons. Most who get a reply receive, "I will try to work this in." Try is an intention and I mean that I will try. If it doesn't come to pass, as Cedric says, "Oh well." But if I tell someone they will get mentioned, they should be.

Lastly on the e-mails, I do not have time for multiple ones. There are some replies from last week that I have not yet had time to read. As a general rule, I really only have time to write one reply a week to those I respond to. It's also true that I do not feel it's my responsibility to give a heads up to people when we do work in their e-mails. In some cases, due to the fact that we do not do a "Mailbag" each week, I may be dropping back a week or two. If you care enough to write, my attitude is you should care enough to check in. E-mails are mentioned most frequently in the "Mailbag" and "Roundtable" features. In addition, e-mails that come in Sunday as we are the process of posting features. If you're checking to see if you're mentioned for one of those, you should also check Jim's weekly "A Note to Our Readers" which frequently mentions some as a result of everyone be curious as to what the immediate reaction is to what we're posting.
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