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Bob Goldfarb on Media

Sunday, March 28, 2004
    Old News, Short Memories

    For the second time in a few months the Sunday New York Times has plumbed a stilted locution for its deeper significance.  Today's Sunday Styles ("News Reports for Ultra-Short Attentions") notes how one Fox anchor substitutes the present participle for the present tense -- "Amazon.com celebrating a birthday!" -- and quotes Shepard Smith as saying "We don't communicate in full sentences any more.  We don't need all those words."  It's "all about speed," agrees reporter Warren St. John.  Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg made a similar observation in The Week In Review some months ago.

    Is this, then, a revealing symbol of the accelerating tempo of our lives?  Hardly.  The identical usage was a trademark of Lowell Thomas, billed as "America's foremost newscaster" on his nightly broadcasts on CBS Radio from the 1930's into the 1970's.  Using the present participle this way certainly attracts attention, but it's nothing new, and reflects no special meaning about the way we live now.  It's related to ultra-short attentions only in the minds of those with ultra-short memories.

    posted by bob @ Sunday, March 28, 2004 | Permanent link
    I'm Back

    My laptop had a near-death experience a few weeks ago, from which it has miraculously emerged with only partial memory loss.  In the interim I had no easy way of posting to this blog, but now that I have Internet access at home again I'll be posting more regularly.  Sorry for the unintended hiatus.
    posted by bob @ Sunday, March 28, 2004 | Permanent link


MEDIA RES archives

About Me
I'm a consultant in the arts and media, specializing in classical-music radio and recordings. My professional expertise ranges from marketing to management to artists and repertoire, but my enthusiasms embrace just about all the mass media, with a particular emphasis on the arts. More

About Media Res
Society and culture in the age of the Internet are more exposed than ever before, subject to examination and investigation instantaneously and ubiquitously. But we human beings still haven't outgrown our capacity to overlook the obvious, or to believe what we want to believe no matter what the evidence to the contrary, or to mistake our narrow prejudices for high ideals. This blog will look at the interrelationships between the media, culture, and society from different angles, maybe with a few surprises now and then. More

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Sites I like...

One of the greatest success stories on the Web must be Jim Romenesko's daily roundup of media industry news, under the aegis of the Poynter Institute.  Crisply written and totally in touch, it's indispensible. 

For news about radio I check the home page of the industry publication "Radio and Records." 

The weekly NPR show "On the Media" takes a consistently fresh look at the media, and the Website makes it easy to listen to segments of the show if you don't find it on your local public radio station.

Among the best media critics around is the Los Angeles Times' Tim Rutten, who writes its "Regarding Media" column twice a week.

And some of the most entertaining and penetrating coverage of the media comes from satirist Harry Shearer on his weekly radio program "Le Show," originating from the fertile ground of KCRW Radio in Santa Monica, California and broadcast nationally.  Current and past shows can be heard online through the Website.

To keep up on current books, performers, and issues in the arts, I listen when I can to Leonard Lopate from New York's WNYC.  The media are not the main focus, but the show is brilliant, always timely and well-researched, and with terrific guests.  As an interviewer, Lopate is in a class by himself: curious, witty, articulate, extraordinarly well-informed, a superb listener.  It's one of life's great mysteries that his show is not broadcast nationally, but at least it's streamed on the Web.



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