Showing posts with label letters to the editor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label letters to the editor. Show all posts

Letter to the Editor: "Breaking News"

Here's another letter to the editor that I recently published. It's about the abuse of "breaking news" and its impact on eroding news.

"The media’s ability to command respect continues to dwindle for many different reasons. But one that the media must own up to is their editorial choices; media outlets must learn to be less complicit in overinflating, distracting and unnecessary news. Nowhere is this more evident than in the flagrant use of “breaking news.” The labeling of the mundane as “breaking news” continues to erode our faith in journalism. "

For the rest of the letter, feel free to go onto the Salem News website.

For a sense of what those "Breaking News" headlines were, here's the ones that I was referring to:

  • Theriault steps down as Danvers football coach after three seasons
  • Registry of Motor Vehicles eyeing Route 1 site
  • Murder suspect Doughty arraigned today on carjacking charges
  • Doughty pleads not guilty in Peabody killings
  • Peabody crews battle house fire on Washington Street
  • Doughty due in Mass. court Tuesday
  • Peabody murder suspect caught in South Carolina
  • DA: Suspect in Peabody killings involved in alleged Middleton carjacking
  • Injury will force Flanagan to miss this year's Boston Marathon
  • DA identifies second suspect in Peabody double murder
  • One in custody for double murder in Peabody
  • 2 P.M. UPDATE: Police on scene of suspected multiple homicide in Peabody

What do you think about "breaking news"?  What should be it's parameters?



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Letter to the Editor: Cabot offers a magical experience

Decorative Art within The Cabot TheaterSo here is part of a letter to the editor that I had published last month.  It's about free movie night at The Cabot.  I am a big fan of The Cabot as a classic theater and have written about some of their other amazing events.  Each month, they are running a free movie sponsored by The Film Detective.  It's a great opportunity to enjoy a vintage theater and classic film.  The next film they are feature is Beat the Devil (1953) on Wednesday, September 14 at 7:00pm.  It's definitely worth the experience and I hope to see you there!

Here's an excerpt of the letter:

"I love the new reclining chairs and spacious seating of the newer theaters. My back escapes feeling increasingly irritated and I don’t have to awkwardly squirm my way through the aisle to get to the bathroom. But watching a black-and-white film at a vintage theater like The Cabot in Beverly obliterates such creature comforts and exposes the power and longevity of such spaces."

For the rest, visit The Salem News.



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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Letter to the Editor: The state is underfunding public colleges

Last month I had another Letter to the Editor published.  This particular letter was in response to this Our View at the Salem News.  

"We love to talk about running higher education “like a business.” But when it comes to paying leadership a competitive market price, we balk and cry “that’s egregious!”

I call foul on The Salem News for whining about public higher education leadership pay while contrasting it with cost students are paying. When have they have ever complained about the product’s cost in relation to the pay of the CEO? But these are public funds, you say, and it’s not fair to the citizens? OK, I’ll take up that argument."

For the rest of the letter, click on through to the Salem News.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Letter to the Editor: Waving the Confederate Flag

This piece I recently wrote got published in both the Salem Evening News and the Daily Item.  
Confederate Flag at 58 Bridge Street Salem Mass
Confederate Flag at 58 Bridge Street
Salem Mass
"To whomever at 58 Bridge St., Salem, proudly displays a Confederate flag in your first-floor window, I appreciate the U.S.’s right to freedom of expression that allows you to do so.
Though it’s unclear what you are expressing.

Are you are celebrating the Confederacy’s repression of freedom of expression for millions of U.S. citizens? Are you lamenting the lost art of slavery?

Are you demonstrating your faith toward people who killed U.S. soldiers to keep U.S. citizens enslaved?

Perhaps, you are embracing history (the history of people who wanted to keep humans enslaved for profit)? Might you be showing solidarity with Dylann Roof?

Or are you truly dismayed that TV Land has stopped airing the “Dukes of Hazzard”? It’s simply unclear."

To read the rest, check out the full piece at the Salem Evening News and the Daily Item


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Letter to the Editor: Abstinence a failed policy

This is a letter to the Salem News from last week that I had published on sex education.  Enjoy!

"To the editor:

Joseph Sciola (”Condoms have no place in schools,” April 4) advocates abstinence-only education when he asks “Whatever happened to telling kids that sex outside of marriage is wrong, it’s immoral, it’s sinful?” The easy answer is that it failed, and horribly so. It fails to delay first sexual engagements, it fails to prevent teen pregnancy, it fails to halt the spread of sexually transmitted infections, and it fails to account for homosexuals (upward of 10 percent of the population) who cannot marry in more than 30 states."

For the rest of the letter, visit the Salem News opinion page.



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Letters Never Published

The following are two letters to the editors at the Salem News that never got published.  Both I feel are useful to have out there as part of the conversation.


No, Bill Maher Was Right

The following was a response to this editorial about Bill Maher and his comments on the Boston Marathon Bombing.  

After lambasting Bill Maher as "morally bankrupt" and "sarcastic" (FYI: he is a comedian), the Salem News attempted to prove how "out of touch" he is by quoting some of his remarks on 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing.  Appalled by what he said, they call for HBO to "let Maher go forth on his own and find some religion."  So, it's “morally bankrupt” to identify hypocrisy with sarcasm and satire about two religiously-motivated events, but acceptable for Salem News to recommend religion? 

What's wrong with Maher, asks Anthony Weiner and Salem News (now that’s an interesting pairing).  He called out the Emperor in his birthday suit.  He took the "moral high ground" by calling out truths of the situations that no one wants to admit.  In both instances, his points were relevant.

Is it braver to kill your enemy from afar or to be present and do it by taking your own life?  We celebrate Memorial Day in this country and what we celebrate in part is those people willing to risk their own life for a communal cause.

If people are killed and maimed every day in tragic events, how can you morally differentiate between them in celebrations and honors?  That we as a culture do so much for the victims and survivors of the Boston Bombing comes at the hands of ignoring the many other tragedies that happen every day to innocent people.

Maher revealed truths we don't want to think about, because it makes the world grayer than we like to pretend.  That's what satirists do; they flip conventional wisdom, recognizing it for a poor stand-in for reality.  That Salem News can't recognize that or wants to waste ink on such a subject goes far in explaining why Maher is a media icon and the Salem News is a floundering print newspaper.  

Actually, Trust Is All Around

I sent this one in when the Salem News published this editorial on concerns around the national trust level and asked for people's thoughts.  They have as yet followed up with anything so they either didn't get enough entries or didn't care for the resposnes.  

Many signs reveal an increasing trust in society, which raises questions about the accuracy of the study.  Is it measuring an antiquated concept of trust--one that doesn't understand how technology may have changed our understanding of trust?  

If trust were declining, then websites such as eBay, Amazon Marketplace, and Etsy would not be the thriving hubs that they are.  They rely on trust of individuals to succeed and many use them daily.  Craigslist or Freecycle also thrive even without a user-rating system.  They require that gut-level trust.  What about Couchsurfing wherein people welcome strangers into their homes house for several days--often for free?  The rise of farmers' and craft markets also indicates a stronger faith in individual people than in faceless corporations.  So if this is what the decline of trust looks like, do tell what would an incline of trust look like?




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Letter to the Editor: Don’t blame it all on the cellphone

Here's another letter to the editor published.  It's on texting while driving.  It's not my first one critiquing the discussion the texting while driving.  There was this first one published last year and this other one I had published a few months ago.

Letter to the Editor at Salem News:

"Two letters begged readers to take the pledge not to text while driving. They tell us things like, 'There is nothing more tragic than a death caused by texting while driving.' Really? We can’t imagine bigger tragedies? Let’s use those smartphones (while parked, of course) to find innumerable daily events that are indeed 'more tragic.'"

For reference to the two letters, I'm referring to, check out this link and this link.

For my full letter to the editor, click on through here.



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Letter to the Editor: Thank you Peabody

I was happy to see this letter finally published.  I was thinking that maybe they would skip on it, but here is my letter to the editor, thanking the City of Peabody for being efficient.

"To the editor:

As a kid, it always seemed like potholes would continue to grow and become the thing of legends in size. When they were filled with rain water, we would dare one another to leap over them or even more risky, reach into the murky depths, anticipating something gross or monstrous. They were curious obstacles in the landscape of childhood.

When I first started to drive, they became threats to my tire and shock system. Over the last year, as three large potholes developed at the end of my driveway in such a way that it was impossible for me not to hit one of them, I grew leery about what to do. If my childhood was any indicator, they would grow ever larger until the entire street was paved over. Sure, I had heard of potholes being filled, but it always seemed like some magical process that included invoking the right amount of chants (or curses, maybe) at any one public official."

For the full letter, click on through to the Salem News.



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Letter to the Editor: Facebook isn't all sadness

Below is an excerpt of another letter to the editor.  It was written in response to Mary Alice Cookson's column, "Does Facebook cause unhappiness?"  We can all guess that my answer was largely no, but for more details, see below.

Facebook Like Icon - Source: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7109/8155062740_bc01aca686_z.jpg
"Here’s a bit of news you’ll either “like” or not depending on your point of view: A recent study links Facebook use to unhappiness.

The study by researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed 82 young adults over a two-week period, sending them text messages five times a day asking how they were feeling and how much time they’d spent on Facebook since the previous text. And guess what? The researchers correlated increased time spent on Facebook to a drop in mood."

To read the rest of the letter, click on through to the Salem News website.  And since I'm on the topic of Facebook, have you "liked" my Facebook Page?  Now's a perfect time hit the "Like" button and get the latest updates on your Facebook feed.



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Letter to the Editor: Regulate, don't ban, bad 'food'

Here's another letter to the editor published in the Salem News:

"The Salem News is right that the New York City soda ban is unconstitutional and we should be leery of government control.

There’s no need to cite the ever-increasing statistics on obesity, along with its secondary and tertiary effects on the overall society.

It’s not an individual problem; it increasingly is a societal problem. Numerous sources show how companies purposely make food more addictive while simultaneously targeting children (just like the cigarette companies did). Weight control for many people is extremely hard to manage, even when not being blasted by thousands of ads per day telling us to eat more."

To read the rest, click on through to the full letter.




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Letter to the Editor: Salem News

Here's another letter to the editor in the Salem News:

To the editor:

Brian Watson is correct that technology may not be neutral (”Online technology is not neutral,” Aug. 1). But it’s too bad he doesn’t push his analysis of “The Diagnosis” any further than a plot summary and offering a weak implication that we are under a threat by “private corporations.” He can quickly point out problems (”we increasingly rely on computers, increasingly replace humans with various ‘smart’ technologies, increasingly live online and increasingly replace live experiences with virtual or mediated ones”) but fails to show us what drives this non-neutral technology. We learn the protagonist of the novel deals with “incessant phone use, nonstop emailing and texting, constant access to a computer, reduced personal life, inadequate sleep, and above all, frenzied deal-making.” Also, we learn that “He feels that everything is rushed and that everything is computerized and that interpersonal relations have become less important than machines, technological progress and being online.”

For the rest of the letter, click on through.



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Recent Letter to the Editor: Columnist ignored country's 'rape culture'

This letter to the editor was motivated by the Salem News' column by Brian Watson's Ohio rape case indicts social media.  A technopanic shift in the conversation away from the actual criminals to blaming the technology.

"Brian Watson’s exploration of the Steubenville rape case (“Ohio rape case indicts social media,” March 28) is riddled with problems. Never mind he cannot bring himself to say the teens raped the young victim (their “crime was to sexually molest”), he described it as merely “wrongful behavior” and that the use of social media “compound(ed) the damage” like this was a mere car accident. The passivity he assigns to the perpetrators speaks volumes: “a video of the incident was uploaded” and 'the two young perpetrators were influenced and encouraged.'"

For the full letter, check out the Salem News.



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Letter to the Editor - Chronicle of Higher Education

To the Editor:

Perry Glasser is right: no teaching career was promised to Joshua A. Boldt ("Who's to Blame? The Adjunct?" The Chronicle, April 1). But Mr. Glasser's approach is rather disappointing.
"The fact that 70 percent of all sections are being taught by underpaid adjuncts may be a shame and is undoubtedly exploitive, but it is no secret," he writes. But what Mr. Boldt's Adjunct Project attempts to reveal is the depth and variation of that exploitation. Changing exploitative conditions starts with quantifying what the conditions are.


For the rest of the letter, click through here.




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Letter to the Editor in Boston Globe

Intolerance can be lethal

Letter to the Editor by Lance Eaton on October 26, 2010 

Self-hatred, self-abuse, and suicide attempts stimulated by bullying and widespread cultural disdain are issues that have existed for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth long before the media’s attention to the recent tragic suicides. I know. I work as a counselor with this population at Waltham House, a program of the Home for Little Wanderers, and one of the nation’s only residential group homes for GLBT youth. Ostracized teens come to us looking for help. Fear and isolation are just a few of the issues they face.


Read the rest of my letter to the editor in the Boston Globe, here.



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Letter to the Editor in Boston Globe

Toys are used to foster affection for McDonald's

JOANNA WEISS’S discussion on Happy Meals (“Happy Meals and Old Spice guy,’’ Op-ed, July 25), advertising, and parenting has some great insights, but misses one major element. While the ads are an important factor, the problem with Happy Meals is the toy itself. That’s not just an advertisement, it provides repeated engagement with the company (or more important, the unhealthy food) for the child and the parent, too. The toy is a focal point for imaginative play, reemergence in favorite stories, and a tactile object for a developing set of hands — all of which is branded with the McDonald’s logo in the child’s mind and thus creates a strong positive relationship between the child and the product (the unhealthy food, not the actual toy).

This seduction through association focused on children has been increasingly problematic, which is why other countries regulate advertisements directed toward children. Sure we can argue about parenting, educating the youth, etc., but these messages are mere drops in the bucket compared with all the other messages children get from such companies; hence why infants and toddlers can identify company logos before they can read.

Lance Eaton
Peabody 



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Letter to the Editor in Salem News

Letter: College degree losing value in consumer-dominated economy

June 7, 2010, To the editor:

Neil Barry's June 4 letter to the editor ("Education can be a liability for some job-seekers") hits and misses with regards to the perception of education within our country.

The U.S. has a history of anti-intellectualism. There's some precedence for fearing the intellectual class; after all for most of history the "smartest" were also the "richest" and went hand in hand with the nobility and religious institutions; exploiting and manipulating the masses for millennia.

Fear of intellectuals is also something the Right strongly courts in many of its messages, particularly with leftist leaders (labeling John Kerry as "French" could be read as his being intellectual or non-masculine).

For the full article, click through.



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Letter to the Editor in Salem News

 Letter: Don't blame school for kids' misbehavior

Letter to the editor published in the Salem News on May 10, 2010.

To the editor:

Regarding the Friday, May 7, letter headlined "Crackdown needed at Higgins Middle School":
John Haight's concern about cyberbullying is well felt, but his blame seems misdirected. While the school represents the focus and source for cyberbullying to take place; a good deal of it takes place at home or really anywhere with cell phones. Removing cell phones from school may be an option, but it's a Band-Aid solution.

Also, schools have no grounds for forbidding online profiles; that's a parent's concern and rightly so.
It's clear Haight is troubled by the lack of communication — though it's often hard to decide what is a clear matter of cyberbulling and, more importantly, since these are minors, who gets told what. Publishing their names as far as I know is illegal, since they are minors.

Click through to read the rest.



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