Monday, July 20, 2009

I wasn't ready to start my day yet

I was awakened at 3:30 a.m. by a nose bleed. It's not unusual. I get them a lot and often in the middle of the night. The unusual part is that I was not able to go back to sleep. So now, two hours later, I realize a return to sleep is hopeless. It is morning now, the alarm will go off soon and it will be time to start the day.

This one just started way too early.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Now who will tell us the way it is?

One of my earliest memories is of sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of a black-and-white console TV watching Walter Cronkite's coverage of one of the Apollo moon missions. I was too young to understand the complexity of the science in sending men to the moon, but I knew that this was a big deal. There was something about Cronkite's coverage of the event that told even a young boy that this was a big deal.

My parents still have the console TV I watched the broadcast on. It hasn't functioned as a TV or a radio or a record player in decades. Now it's mostly a long, extremely heavy side table along a wall in my parents living room. But, sadly, Walter Cronkite is now gone.

For much of my youth, the three major networks were all the TV we had, but when it came time for the evening news, like many American families, there was only one channel to watch -- Walter Cronkite on CBS.

Cronkite retired before I pursued my education and a career in journalism. As a print journalist, I don't know that I consciously considered Cronkite an influence, but I know he was a huge influence on my early knowledge and understanding of the world. TV news and journalism have changed a lot since Cronkite retired from the daily media stage in 1981.

I learned about Cronkite's death, not from the evening news, but from the Internet, specifically Twitter, and then read the story on the Wall Street Journal website.

I'll be curious to see how the media world covers Cronkite and his passing. We've been bombarded with all the minutia surrounding Michael Jackson's death for more than three weeks now. By all rights, coverage of Cronkite's death should eclipse coverage of Jackson's death based on the role Cronkite played in generation's of lives. But I know it won't. By Monday morning the media world will largely have moved on to other things, including more trivia about Jackson's life and death. It's a different world than it was in Cronkite's heyday.

At my current job, I have been consumed for more than a week with preparing for the launch of a new website. It's an exciting time and an exciting world. I love the conveniences of modern technology and the speed with which information can be shared with the world. But part of me missed the time when the world was as black and white as that old television set and we could tell the most important issues of the day affecting the world by where they ranked in Cronkite's broadcast and how much time the segment commanded.

So long Walter, and thanks for keeping the issues of the day in perspective.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Photo J: Capturing the Moment