A Look Back at 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31st and January 1st of every year are traditionally the days that we reflect upon the passing year and plan for the coming year.  While the latter is enmeshed in resolutions and possibilities, the former is concretely secure in the passage of history and the year 2011 provided plenty of that.

My collage above (courtesy of Zuma Press, NBC, CNBC, the AP, UPI and others) represents just a sampling of the biggest stories carried by traditional "mainstream" media outlets as well as the "new" ways we get our news in this second decade of the 21st century (Facebook, Google+, Twittter, Digg, Pulse, etc.).  Except for the killing of Osama bin Laden (depicted in the center frame) which I believe was the year's top news story, I did not rank any of the other activities/events of the past 12 months (clockwise from upper left):

It's Simply Human Nature

Friday, December 30, 2011
(NOTE: this piece was the final assignment for my recently completed JOURN 201 class.  We were tasked to postulate where we see journalism heading over the next 10 years or so when common people can communicate across physical, virtual and ideological 'battlelines'.  We were instructed to write a magazine-style article that was limited to 1,000 words.  My submission came in at 995.  The instructor's comments were "excellent as far as you went".  I finished the course with an 'A' and am looking forward to the next course which starts late next month.)

It’s Simply Human Nature
Social networking success links back to humanity’s most basic need

People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people - and that social norm is just something that has evolved over time.
- Mark Zuckerberg

It appears that the co-creator of Facebook, the world’s most popular social networking website, may have tapped into a primal necessity that still influences modern man.

In an age where many people have less discretionary time to maintain their numerous life relationships, the Internet now provides a medium to facilitate an online 24/7 presence to those we want to remain in contact with and to connect to others with similar interests or backgrounds. 

Unscheduled Trip Back Home

Tuesday, December 27, 2011
 Four days...1200+ miles...and 12 newspapers!

As I mentioned in my previous posting, a death in my extended family had me undertake a long-distance 'road trip' earlier this month.  It was an unexpected event so I had very little time to prepare for the 500-mile drive to arrive in time for the funeral.  To keep my previous blog promise, I finished my post on the Herman Cain campaign stop in the wee hours of the 1st and turned in for a couple of hours of sleep before heading out of town early that same morning.  On the way out, I stopped for gas and liquid refreshments and picked up a copy of the local paper to compare my online work to that produced by Dayton Daily News staff writers Lynn Hulsey and Justin McClelland.  Satisfied that I hit all the salient points of that visit, I cracked a smile at the register, paid for my goods, and strapped myself into the driver's seat for the long ground trek ahead.

Another (Prolonged) Online Absence

Monday, December 26, 2011
As the famous fictional late-night editorialist Roseanne Roseannadanna (pictured above) used to say, "it's always something" and that phrase can be used to cover my last four weeks.  Right after promising to end my blogging procrastination (and posting my Herman Cain work), I had a death in my extended family that required me to be out of town for four days. 

Driving over 1200 miles over that span, I returned to face a looming deadline for my end-of-course article that required a one-day extension request for submission (I did get an "A" for the paper and the course).  Add to that pressure my job duties/responsibilities and you can see how I could let the better part of the month of December get away from me.

I'm currently enjoying an extended end-of-year vacation and I will restart my blogging regimen in the next day or so.  One of the things I'll comment on is my trip and I will also post my JOURN 201 final article for your reading pleasure.

A/V: Cain Campaign Visits Dayton

Thursday, December 1, 2011
A defiant Herman Cain addresses an enthusiastic crowd at the Dayton Marriott

Despite dropping poll numbers and increasing scrutiny of his personal conduct in the press, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain wowed a highly partisan gathering during a visit to Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday afternoon.  During this second stop of a day-long swing through the state, Cain stayed on his campaign message, touting his trademark '9-9-9' tax plan and other conservative-friendly talking points to an overflow crowd at the city's Marriott hotel.