Five at 8 – 7/7/09

1) A quick trip around major broadcast Web sites suggests there’s an editorial battle underway. Obama and the Russians or Jackson and the fans?





Former NPR ombudsman Jeff Dvorkin, who writes the Now the Details blog opines on all things Jackson:

My own sense was that the media did what the media does best – giving into the public’s widespread fascination and obsessions with a larger than life figure. Was it over the top? Of course. But a few days hence, other obsessions will replace it.

Knowing he’d compete with Michael Jackson for coverage today, President Obama gave one-on-one interviews to the major TV networks. Among the questions he was asked: His reaction to the death of Michael Jackson. Again.

For the record, 53 people in the U.S. have died from swine flu since Michael Jackson died from whatever Michael Jackson died from.

2) Minnesota life: In Cold Spring, the skateboarders flocked to a skateboard park in town for a regional tournament. “It’s like PIG in basketball, only funner,” one young man told the interviewer in this video posted on MN Stories.

3) Great community journalism. The New York Times’ “The New Hard Times” series features user-submitted videos along with Times’ produced segments with people describing their encounters with tough times. In the latest segment, Peter Holden, who grew up in the Jim Crow South during the Great Depression, talks with his daughter about the importance of community in surviving hard times.

4) Things I Wish I Had Done Last Weekend If I Weren’t Trying To Complete My Six-Year Deck Rebuilding Project Dept: A Prairie Home Companion’s 35th anniversary broadcast in Avon.

Audio and images have been posted here.

Places I’m Glad I Wasn’t At Dept: The death race.

Or Tofte, Minnesota:

(h/t: Nate Minor)

As for the great deck project, I wish I could blame it on the economy.

5) – If you give a couple of professors in Pittsburgh your birth date and where you live — or you can just put it on Facebook and they can grab it there, they can figure out your Social Security number in under 1,000 tries 8.5 percent of the time.

Bonus: Al Franken gets sworn into office as a U.S. senator today and you get the impression the national media reporters want to shout, “Say something funny, Al!” Maybe not just the national media.

Related: What does the Franken-Coleman process say about Minnesota? Good things, says Secretary of State Mark Ritchie in this MPR commentary.


Has Sarah Palin gotten a fair shake in the media?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – Unemployment and the economy. The JOTS survey is out this morning, just minutes before the show begins. It reveals the number of job opening are out there and the rate at which people are being hired. Three economists kick it around. Second hour: Usually an ecology-minded consumer thinks about what to do with a bottle or can. Re-use, recycle, dare to throw away? In a new book, author Daniel Goleman says we ought to think about the products we use way before then. He’s Kerri Miller’s guest.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Coverage of the swearing in of Al Franken. MPR’s Mark Zdechlik is in Washington, and Gary Eichten will also discuss Franken with congressional expert Steven Smith of Washington University. Second hour: Coverage of some highlights in the Michael Jackson memorial service and discussion with Steve Seel of The Current.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – Colin Ellard, author of “You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall.” He’s got a blog here.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki focuses on elderly abuse. Researchers are seeing signs of growing domestic abuse among older couples and say there aren’t enough resources for doing much about it. NPR will have a story about a lawn-mowing robot. And Debbie Elliot will focus on one of my favorite topics: How can you depend on sin taxes for revenue while at the same time claiming raising it will reduce consumption of, in this case, tobacco?

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