Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tabloid Journalism at Huffington Post?

Well, I am now duly impressed. This is encouraging: the Huffington Post now has a section: "Tabloid Journalism." Whoa.

I once wrote a piece about an icon-- Whitney Houston, and featured how she was directly linked to Nelson Mandela and his release from prison.

Yes, that Whitney Houston.

Did you know that Whitney Houston was an anti-apartheid activist who began some freedom fighting activities in South Africa disguised as concerts where she sang about freedom? Did you know that  Houston's covert activism was one link in the long chain of events that led to Mandela's release from behind the barbed wire?

I wrote that story. It wasn't published. The editor gave no explanation or feedback. It was just... well, ignored. This was shortly after Houston's death and she was she was the manic topic d'jour so my piece was timely. I suspected it wasn't "sexy" enough or macabre enough. It was the truth. But truth often doesn't sell well; it likely wasn't tabloid enough.

So you may never learn that about Whitney because you may never get past the legacy of "overdose" and "drugs." It's because of things like "eyes on the page" and "hits" and market share. It's about the dismemberment of people for profit and distribution and demographics. Because the yellow newspapers want to get you the "sexy" news and the juicy stories, there's a lot you don't know. Ever wonder what that might be? Whitney is only the surface of something that is rattling underground.

Is the Huffington Post feeling the tremors? Do you suppose they are catching on? Are they finger-on-pulse watching trends and trending? Are they feeling the vibe?
America is tired. The world is tired. We are all filled up on it. We long for something....


Some don't even know what it is... but they want somebody to show up with it.

The first "journalist," or "blog," or "blogger," and network that gets that message will have the lion's share of the market... in a heartbeat. (There's your smoking gun hidden clue: "heartbeat.")

Will it be the Huffington Post? I dunno, but let's stay tuned. Meanwhile... oh the irony.

"Tabloid Journalism" at Huffington Post:

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A few Thoughts...

When I think about it, my own life is no less rich and the living no less inspiring than my pioneering ancestors and I come from a long line of Indians and outlaws so don't ever turn your back on me!

Life is, after all, a slice of human consciousness lived from its place in human evolution. "From here to eternity" as it were-- from earth to the stars, from personal space to cyberspace, from a small local footprint to the world reduced to the size of a notebook and sitting on your lap!

As a child I lived with the perpetual and immenent threat of annihilation. That's child abuse! It wasn't a kid-friendly world and I couldn't understand why the grown-ups who were in charge weren't doing something?

So at age seven with my face in the window eyes turned up into the night sky and staring at the stars I made a vow: "When I am a grown-up, I will do something."

My writing is that something and I write to "simply change the world." If that sounds like a lack of humility it isn't because I know that one person absolutely can change the world and I've met some who have.

Kay Kennedy put together an anthology that puts the reader in the midst of history to view it from the inside out.

When I was in high school and even college, history classes were stale and boring featuring memorization and regurgitation of dates that coincided with events that had no human face, certainly no magic, and no life!

Anthologies are great fun and stores are rich remembrances. History books chronicle; stories are little narrative slices of living. History comes alive through story. I often think of my grandmother and her story, her life-- the history she lived. In her lifetime she saw humankind evolve from horse and buggy to man on the moon.

I was a sixties kid and for the youth of the sixties, turmoil, disillusionment, and revolution were everyday 'business as usual'. Like a radio perpetually on low volume, fear and death dronned on in the background. The superpowers threatened to extinguish all life on the planet, the Vietnam War was escalating and peers were being escorted home under American Flag blankets. The civil rights and equal rights movements were testing human civility, and faster than one could recover from one shock another real life hero would fall to yet another assassin. Despair was commonplace. Contrast that with a man on the moon... we could conquer space travel but couldn't make nukes or war obsolete! It was a time when youth needed hope because hope was scarce. When it was finally resurrected, it came in the form of idealism and a philosophy of brotherly and universal love. Perfect principles; imperfect execution.

For others who contributed to "Looking Back," the history is different for each because the "times" were different as well as the perspective of the individuals. The stories of human societal evolution are enlightening, heartwarming, poignant and spellbinding. They put a human face on the past.

And there are people now who are putting a face on the future...