Media Maneuvers—Here's the back story: Knight Ridder, previously the second-largest publishing company in the United States, was recently bought up by McClatchy, a company only a little more than a third the size. To understand what this means for the industry, I called Dennis Herrick, an instructor at UNM's Communication and Journalism Department who used to be a newspaper broker, owned a daily for 12 years and who authored Media Management in the Age of Giants.
Fancy doing something out of the ordinary this weekend? For a look into how “the other half” lives, park yourself over at the greatest show in town: under the big top at the lovely, luxurious University of New Mexico Hospital emergency room. It will be a show you won't soon forget. Good as any traveling three-ring cable reality show. Blood, guts, poverty, drug addiction, an occasional brawl. As the kids say, “it's sick.”
I have a small flock of chickens and a wife in the medical field. Naturally, in these uncertain times, that leads to discussion about avian influenza, aka bird flu. My wife recently brought home a copy of the World Health Organization's (WHO) (www.who.int/en) February 2006 “Avian Influenza Fact Sheet.” And the question she also brought home was: What are we going to do with our chickens when the virus reaches North America?
Our fascination with counting bodies as a measure of how the war is going in Iraq is macabre. Worse, it is a false measure; a number without context; a point on a scale that signifies something different to every single person who reads it.
Dateline: Canada—A notorious Ottawa drunk driver was found not criminally responsible on his latest impaired driving charge after invoking the age-old “Shania Twain” defense. According to CBC News, Matt Brownlee was arrested last October after police spotted a pickup truck speeding along a busy street in downtown Ottawa. The 33-year-old man told psychiatrists that he knew the legal repercussions of his actions, but believed that country pop singer Shania Twain was helping him drive. Brownlee pleaded not guilty to four charges, including impaired operation of a motor vehicle and driving while disqualified. Last Monday, the judge in the case agreed with Brownlee, drawing on several psychiatric assessments that the man was not criminally responsible for his actions because he suffers from delusions that female celebrities are communicating with him telepathically and controlling his actions. Ten years ago, Brownlee was given a seven-year prison sentence and barred from driving for the rest of his life after he killed an Ottawa woman and her 12-year-old son while driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. Earlier in March, a psychiatrist told the court that Brownlee suffers from psychosis resulting from a brain injury caused by that 1996 car crash.