A wake-up call

By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  January 27, 2010

There is a recent book by John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney, Saving Journalism: The Soul of Democracy, that merits your attention. The authors are of the opinion that the salvation of strong journalist enterprise in this country is a non-profit, publicly subsidized approach. It is clear that the current model of newspaper model is not working. We've written about this on numerous occasions and the authors of Saving Journalism are convinced that now is the time to explore a different model.

They point out that this has worked in a number of other countries, notably Western and Northern European nations. Increasingly people have gone to the Internet as their primary news provider but the fact is that most all of the properly reported and vetted news items on the Internet are initiated by old school news operations, like daily newspapers. The old model had the resources, provided by revenue from print or broadcast advertisements, to pay for the salaries of the work of real reporters and editors. This system has broken down and it is readily apparent that, as this model continues to slide downhill (e.g., the undeniable declining quality of the Providence Journal), it is necessary to come up with a workable model.

Don't for a minute think that a healthy democratic republic can exist without diverse, professional news gatherers. A collection of blogs and a lack of resources to initiate the sort of investigative articles that have been the glory of the Providence Journal at its best, does not cut it. If we are woefully ignorant of what our corporations and government are up to now, just think where we could be a few years from now. Saving the news is doable, as explained by Nichols and McChesney, but we need to take action now before we citizens become even more clueless.


MUSICAL ODDS AND ENDS

We saw in the New York Times that there was a benefit performance in New York City recently for an old friend, Tuli Kupferberg, one of the founding members of the Fugs. Tuli is now 86 and in deteriorating health. Jorge fondly recalls a gig he did with Tuli at Brown University around 1971 or '72. He is a sweet and generous man. Our thoughts are with that old radical warrior.

P+J join those mourning the loss of Phil Hicks, 37, a Warwick native and inspired drummer with a number of top-notch Rhode Island outfits (Lovetrain, Mark Cutler, Jeri & the Jeepsters). He was a good guy and full-fledged member of the Biggest Little's musical fraternity.

Although we've only seen excerpts and read some glowing reviews, it would seem that Robin Kelley's biography of Thelonious Monk (Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original) is a must-read for true jazz fans. Better yet, get the Columbia CD, Solo Monk, and dig one of the authentic and original American geniuses of the 20th century.


FINISH STRONG

A wonderful weekend for P+J as the N'Awlins Saints rescued the NFC title thanks to Brett Favre's atrocious decision to pass across field with the game all but locked up. We might also point out that Brettski has thrown an interception on his final pass for all three of his supposedly "last" games, which no doubt indicates he will be back for redemption again next year, massive ego in full bloom. (Phillipe, meanwhile, is taking full credit for the win since he was sporting his Drew Brees Foundation "Our City, Our Home: Finish Strong" T-shirt at his athletic club all week long.)

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