The Link 4.3.09: Driscoll on Men and Marriage, and More

1. SportsCenter offers the “Not Top Ten” of the day.  Stay with it, and you will see 1) a caddy take a dive and 2) a women’s basketball coach get rather nutty.

2. The economy’s tough, but some employers see the current sitch as an opportunity.

3. A controversial post over at the NYT on breast-feeding.  The author suggests that there’s no evidence supporting breast-feeding (dubious at best) and goes on to lament “pumping” in the workplace and how supplement is perhaps a better option.  Or–wait a minute, the thought is forming–how about not working?  Quite a thought, eh?

4. Mark Driscoll’s sermon on men and marriage is hot like fire.  He really gets cooking at about the 40 minute mark.  Much-needed material.

5. The Internet is doing crazy things to newspapers.  Now, you might not initially care about that, because in the grand scheme of things, newspapers won’t last.  But with that caveat noted, the loss of newspapers and professional news is a serious matter.  Consider this highly instructive quotation from a recent Vanity Fair article:

“Those who grew up using the Internet, which now includes a full generation of Americans, are expert browsers. It’s not that they have short attention spans. If anything, many of them are more sophisticated and better informed than their parents. They are certainly more independent. Instead of absorbing the news and opinion packaged expertly by professional journalists, they search out only the information they want, and are less and less likely to devote themselves to one primary site, in part because it is less efficient, and in part because not doing so is liberating. The Internet has disaggregated the news. It eliminates the middleman—that is, it eliminates editors. At a newspaper, top editors meet several times a day to review the stories and photographs gathered from their own staff and wire services. They decide which are the most important or compelling, and then they prioritize and package them.

When you buy a newspaper you are buying a carefully prepared meal. Inevitably stories and artwork are left off the plate for a great variety of reasons, all of them subjective—they are deemed less significant, less credible, less tasteful, less useful. Or maybe there just isn’t enough room. The Internet replaces editors with an algorithm. Google is a search engine. It makes no value judgment about information unless you instruct it to. All of the stories and photos in the world are there, including billions of items that the reader never imagined wanting to see. It is unmediated. There is no adult supervision. And the kicker is: it’s free.

Much more is at work here than a change of platform. Whether you think more is lost or gained depends upon which side of this evolutionary divide you fall on.

For me, someone who spent most of his adult life working in a newsroom, someone who reads three newspapers every day, including the Times, the loss will be far greater. Newspapers enable serious journalism. They provide for the care and feeding of career reporters and editors. They strive to be fair, accurate, and objective. They are independent sources of credible, well-researched information. They are watchdogs for the public interest, an important part of the communal mind and memory of the nation. When an editor is replaced by an algorithm, all information is equal. Propaganda shares the platform with honest reporting, and the slickest, most attractive Web sites and blogs will be those sponsored by corporations, the government, or special interests, which can afford to pay for professional work.”

–Have a great weekend, all.

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