In 1996, I lived a few blocks from a retail news store. I often described its richly diverse inventory in my teaching to illustrate a point in about the increasing specialization of media. The store sold magazines for people who hunt deer with bows and arrows, for example. Also several for tattoo fans and many different kinds of aviation magazines, including one about the restoration of vintage military craft.
It offered Harvard Business Review, and when I saw the September-October 1996 issue on display, I found Richard B. Freeman’s “Toward An Apartheid Economy?” It was a warning about the possible social and political consequences of growing income inequality in the United States. If the B-School was worried, I thought, we all should be worried.
I filed the magazine away and added other pieces on inequality as the years went by. Writers call this process “saving string.” Eventually I had enough for the USA Today op-ed piece that appeared today (March 28). To read it, click on the headline above.
The news store went away years ago, to be replaced by DVD movie rentals. Now that business is undergoing disruption by technology. I wonder what that space will be used for next and where my next idea will come from.
Daniela Kraus runs a Poynter-like think tank in Vienna that promotes higher standards of journalism. She recently posted a bit of history to show that precision journalism has been around for a while. “Experience has shown that a historical perspective helps fight vanity,” she explains, presenting a clip from my Detroit riot reporting 45 years ago. The link is behind the headline above, and if you open it in Chrome, Google will give you a rough English translation.
Harvard went out in the first round, but it was an honor just to be there.
North Carolina could go all the way, nothing unusual about that.
But the one I’m proudest of today is Kansas State, the only university that I attended for four years. Click on the headline above to see what the New York Times had to say this morning about “the melting pot on the plains.”
In Chapter 18, “Escape to Harvard,” I tell how my attempt to learn fiction writing failed but led to publication of two slick magazine articles, one in Playboy (April 1969) and the other in Esquire (February 1970). The topics: game theory and obedience. Some readers have asked for help in locating those pieces, and both are linked at right. There is a fee for Playboy ($8 for one-month access to all issues). Or you can get a paper copy on eBay for about the same price. A hat-tip to Marcelo Soares for locating it.
We had a lively crowd at Flyleaf Books for my talk and book-signing on March 2. Five of my grandchildren were there, and they enjoyed finding out what I did in my newspaper days. It was good to see so many folks browsing and buying in a traditional, brick-and-mortar bookstore.