Category Archives: Enough is enough . . .

Enough is Enough: School shootings

I just sent off a letter to the editor at the KC Star.  Sometimes I just have enough.  Even though I already posted once this morning, I turned to the electronic of the KC Star and could not stop thinking about what has happened in Florida.  I can’t let this slide.  I can’t say enough about how change is needed.  Therefore, here is one of my entries I am calling Enough is Enough.  Please share if you agree.

 

Seeing Florida mom Lori Alhadeff’s outrage pains me and justifiably so.  The raw emotion should trigger the entire country’s sense of enough is enough. She rightfully screamed into the camera and asked that our country fix a problem that cannot be ignored another day, another week, another month.   

As a retired teacher, I hear the news and cringe.  I know the faces of the students, and I know them personally.  I may have taught in the Midwest, but that does not lessen the outrage I feel as the long litany of school shootings continues.
Young people carrying guns in backpacks is simply unacceptable.  Young people in school must focus on preparing for the adult world being educated how to learn, how to question, how to create, how to dream.  Schools must be filled with teachers and administrators focused on teaching the individual to the best of that student’s ability.
Our society is out of time.
Stop reacting and start shifting the paradigm now.
Education has become a numbers game:  educating all students as a mass, not as indviduals.
Education must value the students each as an individual at all cost.  And yes, it will cost; but we must not allow the cost to slam the door shut on the country’s future.
Enough is enough!

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A Reminder to Journalists from a BJ Graduate

Graduating from MU’s School of Journalism in 1976 fulfilled a high school dream.  Growing up during the turbulant 1960’s and early 1970’s in rural Missouri, I aspired to make a difference in the world.  My decision to pursue a career in journalism was made with that intention.

Today, I am a retired educator and a part time licensed local pastor for the United Methodist Church.  I have always worked to do all that I can to make a difference in this world as John Wesley preached.  Life experiences colored the manner in which I am attempting to do all that I can.

Still, I believe that the years at J-School made a lasting impression on my values especially as we were held accountable to the journalist’s creed and the Canons of Journalism.  Add to that was the demands from our instructors/editors that we were to follow strict guidelines in collecting, checking, and substantiating our work before publishing.

The recent headlines about “fake news” infuriates me; yet I know that the role of a journalist has evolved into a celebrity role that interferes with the objectivity of the actual news report.

The immediacy of communication also has damaged reporting making it difficult to verify the news adequately or to provide all the parties opportunity to comment before the story is reported–in real time.  Advances in communication and the competition to earn ratings are eroding the ethics of journalism.

During my collegiate experience at MU, I recall the basic rules that our editors/instructors on the Columbia Missourian demanded of the reporters:

  • Never report anything that cannot be verified three different ways.
  • Never print anything without returning to those interviewed to double check the accuracy and especially quotes with them.
  • Always contact the opposite side of the story for fair coverage; include a reference or a reply in the story.
  • Always follow the money.

As a trained journalist, I am unable to support news coverage that does not follow these principles, the Canons of Journalism and the Journalist Creed to which I was held accountable prior to my graduation and which I continue to maintain in all my professional endeavors in reporting, in teaching, and in pastoring.

I appeal to all MU graduates from J-School and to all journalists that the work that has played a positive role in preserving the democratic society outlined in the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution must continue.

I appeal to all professional journalists to do whatever they can to reclaim the veracity and the ethics of journalism to the standards laid out by our pioneers.  Journalism is as critical to the democratic philosophy as the three branches of the government–the Legislature, the Executive and the Judicial.

Posted here are the two documents that provided the blueprint for an honorable profession.  Read them, live them, and encourage all fellow journalists to return to these ethics in the work society first expected of journalists.

The Journalist’s Creed:  [Accessed on March 2, 2017 at https://journalism.missouri.edu/jschool/#creed-2%5D

The Journalist’s Creed was written by the first dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, Walter Williams. More than one century later, his declaration remains one of the clearest statements of the principles, values and standards of journalists throughout the world. The plaque bearing the creed is located on the main stairway to the second floor of Neff Hall.

I believe in the profession of journalism.

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.

I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.

I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.

 

The Canons of Journalism:

[Accessed on March 2, 2017 at http://ethics.iit.edu/ecodes/node/4457%5D

CODE OF ETHICS OR CANONS OF JOURNALISM
Appendix I

American Society of Newspaper Editors (1923)

The primary function of newspapers is to communicate to the human race what its members do, feel and think. Journalism, therefore, demands of its practitioners the widest range of intelligence, or knowledge, and of experience, as well as natural and trained powers of observation and reasoning. To its opportunities as a chronicle are indissolubly linked its obligations as teacher and interpreter.

To the end of finding some means of codifying sound practice and just aspirations of American journalism, these canons are set forth:

I. RESPONSIBILITY: The right of a newspaper to attract and hold readers is restricted by nothing but considerations of public welfare. The use a newspaper makes of the share of public attention it gains serves to determine its sense of responsibility, which it shares with every member of its staff. A journalist who uses his power for any selfish or otherwise unworthy purpose is faithless to a high trust.

II. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS: Freedom of the press is to be guarded as a vital right of mankind. It is the unquestionable right to discuss whatever is not explicitly forbidden by law, including the wisdom of any restrictive statute.

III. INDEPENDENCE: Freedom from all obligations except that of fidelity to the public interest is vital.

1. Promotion of any private interest contrary to the general welfare, for whatever reason, is not compatible with honest journalism. So-called news communications from private sources should not be published without public notice of their source or else substantiation of their claims to value as news, both in form and substance.

2. Partisanship, in editorial comment which knowingly departs from the truth, does violence to the best spirit of American journalism; in the news columns it is subversive of a fundamental principle of the profession.

IV. SINCERITY, TRUTHFULNESS, ACCURACY: Good faith with the reader is the foundation of all journalism worthy of the name.

1. By every consideration of good faith a newspaper is constrained to be truthful. It is not to be excused for lack of thoroughness or accuracy within its control, or failure to obtain command of these essential qualifies.

2. Headlines should be fully warranted by the contents of the articles which they surmount.

V. IMPARTIALITY: Sound practice makes clear distinction between news reports and expressions of opinion. News reports should be free from opinion or bias of any kind.

1. This rule does not apply to so-called special articles unmistakably devoted to advocacy or characterized by a signature authorizing the writer’s own conclusions and interpretation.

VI. FAIR PLAY: A newspaper should not publish unofficial charges affecting reputation or moral character without opportunity given to the accused to be heard ; right practice demands the giving of such opportunity in all cases of serious accusation outside judicial proceedings.

1. A newspaper should not involve private rights or feeling without sure warrant of public right as distinguished from public curiosity.

2. It is the privilege, as it is the duty, of a newspaper to make prompt and complete correction of its own serious mistakes of fact or opinion, whatever their origin.

VII. DECENCY: A newspaper cannot escape conviction of insincerity if while professing high moral purpose it supplies incentives to base conduct, such as are to be found in details of crime and vice, publication of which is not demonstrably for the general good- Lacking authority to enforce its canons the journalism here represented can but express the hope that deliberate pandering to vicious instincts will encounter effective public disapproval or yield to the influence of a preponderant professional condemnation.

(I was disappointed that a search of MU’s School of Journalism did not locate the Canons of Journalism.  This is a major concern as I recall that they were as clearly posted as the Journalist’s Creed.  This needs to be included and accessible as the creed.)

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Enough is enough . . . firing and still paying off the contract

Enough is enough!

How can any organization fire an employee and then pay off the salary.  How can anybody justify firing a coach from a college program and then pay $6 million dollars to finish the deal?

In any other profession or job, firing means immediate loss of income.  Sometimes there is a severance package; but when the reason for firing is failure to perform successfully, how can anyone justify paying such an exorbitant fee to end the relationship.

Enough is enough.

Then, as if college football were not enough, professional football follows the same practice.

The coach fails–not just one season, but more than one season?  Before you know it–or finally, the coach is fired.  Now failing to produce in any business is a reason to fire someone, but why such an exorbitant severance package.  What message is this sending our young people!

Enough is enough.

If we are living in a society that supports such extravagant severance packages, then the practice needs to be revamped to include the typical blue collar workers as well as white collar workers.

Failure in any job leads to job loss.  But in a society that prides itself in valuing each human being, why are only a select few allowed to be fired and paid for being fired?  What happens to those who end up being ‘riffed’ (reduction in force) when the economy fails?

Enough is enough.

All professions should review their policies on firing and paying severance.  Remember–economic times are tough.  Remember–the generations to come are watching.  Remember–each individual deserves fair play.  Remember–failure is failure at any level of employment.

Enough is enough.

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Enough is enough — trees down

Enough is enough!

When will developers, contractors and builders learn?

The earth does have limitations.

Trees are valuable and replacement takes years

Enough is enough . . .

Once again promises are broken.

Iron Horse builder promised not to remove all the trees

He did.

Enough is enough . . .

The Spring Ridge Lake is lined with trees.

Word was no building could be done on the north

Due to inadequate sewer system.

Enough is enough . . .

Now building is beginning right there.

Trees are being ripped out replaced by black plastic.

Green grass now piled with downed trees.

Enough is enough!

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Enough is enough . . . quality products

Enough is enough!

When did it become acceptable for corporations to allow their product to leave the plant below the standards the consumers have come to expect?

Enough is enough.

The American standards for excellence are lost.  The breaking point this week was toilet paper.  I realize many would not see this as a product to become disillusioned over, but my name brand selection of a product promising to be good for sensitive skin–lotion soft, with aloe–failed to meet the quality standards I depend on.

Enough is enough.

When the paper rolled off the roll, the two-plys become separated and did not tear off at the same place at the same time.  I cannot tell you how many times I tried re-rolling the paper in an effort to make the two separate plys tear off as one square of 2-ply paper.

Enough is enough.

Consumers sit back and complain to friends and family about the poor quality of products.  Name a popular name-brand and someone in the room will have a complaint about the quality of one of that company’s products.  We have become complacent.  We have allowed corporate America to cut corners, purchase poor ingredients, cheapen the product which helped them build their status as an American company with quality, American-made goods.

Enough is enough.

The solution seems evasive, but as consumers we need to stand up and tell corporate America we expect more.  We expect the quality of the products to be the same as the historical quality that made that company a household name.  We need to register our complaints.  We need to contact the customer service representatives with our experiences.

Enough is enough.

Consumers, stand up and join the cry.  Enough is enough of poor quality, poor standards, poor workmanship, and hollow guarantees.  When we but a name-brand product we have a right to expect the quality product the company historically provided since its origin.

Enough is enough.

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Enough is enough–star gazing

Enough is enough . . .

When will our society get priorities in place?  Have we not heard enough about all the stars and their addictions and their illegal, unethical behaviors?  How come major national news often begins with the latest Hollywood hype?

Enough is enough.

Certainly the Hollywood stars are public figures.  But when the public figures make human mistakes or decide to follow illegal urges, we do not need to hear about it for minutes upon minutes, days on end, or even months or years on end.

Enough is enough.

Please, no more Lindsey Lohan features.  No more Charlie Sheen reports.  No more stories on the paparazzi and the latest run in with other stars/public figures.

Enough is enough.

One last appeal.  I know that Prince William and Fiance Kate are special, unique public figures; but they are English.  They are young.  They need some space.  Stop showing the latest rumor or latest announcement about the wedding.  Their news does not have to be the lead news on American stations.

Enough is enough.

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Enough is enough

I admit it.  I have just finished watching the Super Bowl and the fact that the Green Bay Packers have now won seven of the 45 Super Bowls is spectacular.

But, enough is enough.

Stop and quickly think about all the money wrapped up in the Super Bowl.  If money talks, then the Super Bowl speaks volumes about American priorities.

As the economy continues to battle back, education is once again looking at cuts.  Education has fallen off the American priority spectrum.

Enough is enough.

Money should speak for education not for all the hype, the advertising, the inflated salaries, and even the stadium’s ice removal cost.  If Americans really valued education, turn the sports events into fund-raisers for education.

Enough is enough.

Let money speak.  Put the priority back in education.  Put the money back in education now.

Enough is enough.

 

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