Communication

…Say Something

We expect the ordinary.  As much as we crave excitement and thrills, as much as we would love to live on a steady diet of novelty, we usually assume nothing special will happen in our lives.  All those controversies we read about happen to other people—until they happen to us.  Those of us in lower Manhattan on the morning of September 11th, 2001 certainly have had a change of heart on this matter.  Some of us—including some of us in the seekingGood collective—hold positions “inside” various government, educational and financial organizations in which all kinds of things could occur.  These potential events include a variety of nefarious machinations that should be brought to the light of public scrutiny.

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ProPublica, one of the best, most respected investigative journalism organizations, has done much to shine a light on shady dealings in various corners of society.  They have provided specific methods so we can  anonymously submit to them anything we might uncover.

So if you see something…

 

 

A Win for Investigative Journalism

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In a previous post, seekingGood highlighted the need for more investigative journalism.  ProPublica has voiced a similar concern. As the first online site to receive the Pulitzer Prize— ProPublica is known for the depth and thoroughness of its stories. However, the articles posted by ProPublic can be challenging for the average reader.  Enter Vox.  As reported by ProPublica, Vox, a news and opinion website noted for its explanatory journalism, has teamed up with ProPublica to provide visual access to their material.  This might help clarify the message of more complicate stories.  Sharing resources and research, the ProPublica-Vox collaboration can only be a good thing for investigative journalism and, ultimately, for us.

More from Jen Hofmann

We have not referenced Jennifer Hofmann’s activist site for a while.  She is still at it, going strong with her action lists posted weekly.  If you want to do something to shape the country and the world toward your definition of Good, check out her list and blog.

For example, here is just one of the postings from Jen’s April 30th list:

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I believe in a government led by qualified, trustworthy representatives.

Action: Advocate for a special commission to investigate 45-Russia ties.
Newly-confirmed Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein can approve a special prosecutor or commission, but has previously hedged on this action. Speak up.
Call: Dept. of Justice comment line 202-353-1555
Postcard: USDoJ, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001
Script: I am among the 58% of Americans who want an independent commission to investigate Trump-Russia ties. Trust in the four current investigations is compromised, and the Attorney General’s credibility is tarnished. Only an independent commission or special prosecutor will restore confidence.

[Note: “45” refers to the 45th President of the United States]

Jen posts other such actions on her site as well.  There are links to express gratitude (for elected officials who have been doing a “good job”, for instance).  There are also suggestions for actions to maintain good psychological and physical health in these uncertain times.

Most of all, Jen’s lists—by their very existence—are encouragements to stand up and be counted.  Her lists stand as weekly reminders that we all are members of the group “We, the People” and that we all—that is ALL: red or blue, Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, Libertarian, Anarchist, other—we all should express ourselves as the natural exercise of free people in promotion of a free society.

Make a call. Write a letter. Offer encouragement to another. Read a good book—and tell someone about it.  Do whatever you think other people should be doing or what you would want them to do relative to you. Celebrate your freedom!

 

 

 

 

A New Form of Journalism?


[DISCLAIMER] Always seeking “truth” and the means to reliably find it, we are pushing the follow-up to “Locally Green” (scheduled for this week), to a later date.  Instead, check out this interesting development in the field of news reporting. Obviously, this early in the process, we cannot endorse this organization, but it is, at least worth a look.

With the power of online transparency, together we can beat fake news.
~Jimmy Wales

Introducing Wikitribune

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Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia) has just this week initiated a new journalism platform called “Wikitribune”.  Like Wikipedia, “Wikitribune is a news platform that brings journalists and a community of volunteers together. We want to make sure that you read fact-based articles that have a real impact in both local and global events. And that stories can be easily verified and improved.”

Seeking to “fix” the news, Wikitribune is attempting to bring control of the dissemination of factual information back to the community.  Mr. Wales suggests that “social media, where most people get their news these days, is literally designed to show us what we want to see, to confirm our bias.”  This trend “fundamentally breaks the news”.  Wikitribune is being launched to help correct this problem.

The principles are simple.

Articles must be fact based with named sources:  “Supporting Wikitribune means ensuring that journalists only write articles based on facts that they can verify…that you can see their sources. “

Ad-free content is free for all readers:  Wikitribune will present no pay walls, giving all people open access to all content.  Furthermore, the site will be completely ad-free, permitting no corporate influence to shape the nature of the information presented.

The community and hired journalists are equal… “Articles are authored, fact-checked, wikitribune community.PNGand verified by professional journalists and community members working side by side as equals, and supported not primarily by advertisers, but by readers who care about good journalism enough to become monthly supporters.”

…with full financial transparency:  Promising no compromise regarding financial influence, Wikitribune has plans to operate and publish its financials regularly.  The staff journalists will be paid by subscription revenue—which is to say, by us.

This noble endeavor has only just begun. However, as  Fortune magazine points out, this is not the first time such an idea has been proposed.  These previous efforts did not meet with much success.   Some critics question the possible success of Wikitribune.  And yet, Jimmy Wales faced similar criticism during the launch of Wikipedia.  We can see how that turned out.

Wikitribune is a good idea that needs our support.  If you are one to jump feet first into the possible, donate now.  If you are more of a wait-n-seer, take a look at the site, do some research about the project, and consider subscribing once they have reached their startup goals. Most of all, once Wikitribune is up and running, you might want to use the site as one of your news gathering tools.


Background articles:


For more information, contact: info@wikitribune.com

Some Tactics of Truth Evasion

Truth and communication represent two major themes here at seekingGood.  Cognitive scientist George Lakoff has commented frequently in recent months regarding specific statement and the general presentation of the current “Loser President”.   Communication can be a tricky business–all the more so when the speaker has no intention of either presenting truth or allowing the truth to be presented.  Lakoff has highlighted four specific tactics (depicted below) the current president uses in his tweets.  Each is designed to evade the truth in any given situation.  None of them are particularly unique. However, each is a tactic well worth understanding such that you can watch for them as you read or hear anything from anyone.

Taxonomy of Trump Tweets

via Trump’s Twitter Distraction — George Lakoff

Language and Resistance

george-lakoff-2(Posted by Academe Blog)

Most of us are unaware of the many layered aspects of language.  The relative absence of such awareness can often cost us in ways of which we will never be aware.  When attempting to influence opinion using words (or sometimes behaviors) in the public sphere, a heightened awareness of our use of language can significantly increase the success of our efforts.  In a Feb 07, 2017 Travis Smiley interview, George Lakoff, a distinguished linguist, shared some ideas for effectively reaching the broadest spectrum of individuals.  You can also read Lakoff’s comments from July 2016 regarding the current president during the campaign.