Today’s have nots are tomorrow’s never wills (5×8 – 1/24/14)

If you can’t get enough of NewsCut, I’ll be on the Daily Circuit today with Kerri Miller a little after 9 this morning for a discussion about journalism. Tune in. I’ll try to post the audio here later.

You can still pull yourself up by your bootstraps, a new study says, even though it’s quite a longshot. The study, reported on Marketplace, says it’s not a disappearing facet of American life.

It’s called economic mobility and some areas of the country have it, and others don’t. This map looks like a lot of other maps on such things as education, poverty, and environment.

Salt Lake City leads the top 100 “commuting cities” in economic mobility. Minneapolis is 17th. But a person in the bottom fifth of the economic has only a 10-percent chance of reaching the top fifth. A child in Minneapolis who grows up with parents earning $16,000 — the 10th percentile according to this interactive map in the New York Times — ends up on average in the 40th percentile. Those born to parents making $100,000, ends up on average in the 62nd percentile. That is: 28 percent of them will be among the top earners in the country.

In short, the game is rigged and while the children of the poor might end up as top earners someday, reality is stacked against them.

Which brings us to yesterday’s other big research: the gap between rich and poor is widening. The Pew Research study reveals that most Americans want the government to do something about it.

Nearly all Democrats (93%) and large majorities of independents (83%) and Republicans (64%) favor at least some government action. However, more than twice as many Democrats as Republicans say the government should do a lot to reduce poverty (67% vs. 27%).

In part, these differences reflect divergent beliefs about the effectiveness of government action on inequality and poverty. Republicans are far less likely than Democrats to say the government can do a lot to reduce poverty and especially inequality.

Full survey here.

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is underway, so diggers are heading for the city’s parks for the Pioneer Press medallion hunt. There have only been a few clues so it’s still anyone’s guess. Still, these seems to be the only guys digging in this park, so it’s probably not there.

More winter: The 128th Winter Carnival (St. Paul Real Estate blog)

Beer, brats & bare feet (Minnesota Prairie Roots).

NPR has found another way to save some money. It’s ending its 11-year program of reviewing stories to be sure that overt bias doesn’t leak in to stories about Israelis and Palestians.

It’s not a big issue anymore, NPR’s ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos writes.

“I reluctantly agree with management’s decision, though the hot button will surely be pushed again, given the unpredictability of Mideast events, the sensitivity of Israel to Americans, and the human fallibility of even the best journalism,” he said.

The high point in numbers came in 2006, when Israel invaded Lebanon, and NPR aired more than 800 stories on its four main shows. The 234 last year was the smallest number, though this hardly reflects inattention. This tiny area on the world map last year still generated more than four stories a week.

Felton found that accuracy has never been a problem, despite reporters having often to contend with dangers on the ground and the pressures of a 24-hour news cycle. While stories by many reporters in Washington and abroad fell under his watchful eye, the central figure in his studies was usually the Jerusalem correspondent. These have included some of NPR’s best reporters, including Peter Kenyon, Julie McCarthy, Eric Westervelt, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, and the current bureau chief, Emily Harris.

“Listeners may not like the news or agree with the views they hear,” he wrote of their stories, “but they can rely on the basic facts presented in NPR’s reporting.”

Related media: This is why there’s such a thing as public broadcasting.

Chet Curtis died of pancreatic cancer this week. He was one half of one of the first husband-wife TV anchor teams in this country. Until they were divorced after 18 years on the air, he and his wife, Natalie, delivered the news. When Natalie got pregnant, it was a nine-month news story. They ushered in the era of focus on the anchor team almost as much as the news. Was that a good thing? The Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen writes today that he’d like more of that again.

And, finally, there’s another example today of journalists’ increasing tendency to write stories that invite blaming the victim in stories in which someone isn’t wearing a seat belt. Here’s this morning’s:

It’s just 23 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, and today brings word of another attempt to squeeze in 30 baseball park visits in just 30 days, similar to what Reggie Deal accomplished a couple of years ago (which I covered here). This time it’s Will Leitch, who writes at The odds of him succeeding seem stacked; he’s going to try to do it in April, when there are a fair number of rainouts and snowouts. He’s planning on the Minnesota stop being a day game on Thursday April 10. Don’t anyone show him the weather map of Minnesota at the moment.

The total cost of this sort of dream? $10,000.

You can learn a lot from first graders. In Missouri, Vincent Butterfield and Zac Gossage are very good friends. Zac has cancer, so Vincent started raising money to help pay for his cancer treatments. When he found out his friend would lose his hair, he acted accordingly.

Bonus I: Bills look to regulate booming e-cig business (Politics in Minnesota).

Bonus II: Coldest city in the world – in pictures (The Guardian).

What will the next big social network look like?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: The Friday Roundtable. Six things I wish I knew before I started in journalism. Kerri, Bob Collins, and Duchesne Drew, managing editor for operations at the Star Tribune reminisce and reflect the hard learned lessons from the beginnings of their careers.

Second hour: Reporter Brandt Williams follows up on his “Following the Firearms” reporting with another look at what gun crime actually looks like in Hennepin County. We’ll talk with Brandt about his reporting, what law enforcement is doing to prevent gun crime and the effectiveness of gun laws already on the books.

Third hour: Net neutrality may have a boring name, but it has enormous implications. It’s the reason the New York Times and the Brainerd Dispatch’s respective websites operate at the same speed. And the reason an internet service provider like Comcast or Time Warner Cable can’t block websites from companies it sees as competition. For the second time in four years , the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals court has struck down the FCC’s attempt to make net neutrality the law of the land. At this critical moment for net neutrality, what comes next?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm) – Documentary: “The Search for Well-being: Integrative Medicine.”

Science Friday (1-2 p.m.) – Has coding become the new literacy? Ira Flatow looks at the language of the digital age.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Do children make their parents happy? Lots of studies say “no.” But writer Jennifer Senior dug deeper into the paradox of modern parenthood and found some answers of her own. She’s interviewed today on parental happiness and her new book titled “All Joy And No Fun.”

  • MrE85

    1) “In short, the game is rigged and while the children of the poor might end up as top earners someday, reality is stacked against them.”

    Has there ever been a time or place when this statement wasn’t true?

    “The Pew Research study reveals that most Americans want the government to do something about it.”

    Okay, I’ll bite. What should Uncle Sugar do that has not been tried before?

    B1: This will be interesting to watch. One way or another, regulation of e-cigarettes is coming to Minnesota.

  • John

    1) I feel like the game has always been rigged. Maybe it’s more rigged than it was in the past, but the bottom line has always been – the poorer you start, the harder it is to climb up as far.

    My limited experience tells me that if you’re poor enough that you had to drop out of highschool in 1953 to go to work, then you’re going to struggle more to move up as far or as fast (at least economically) as someone who has the ability to finish highschool. And that person, in turn, had to work harder to move up than someone who had college paid for.

    If everyone is starting at a different starting line, Setting the same finish line is obviously going to be easier to reach for those who start close to it. Relative mobility however, that may be a different story.

    • MrE85

      Actually, the study found that “upward mobility” rates have remained pretty stable in the past 50 years. That’s the good news. The bad news is it was always a tough ladder to climb, then or now.

      • that’s why I wrote the first sentence. The way the study was presented via the news was akin to “the American Dream is still alive.” When the real story is there really wasn’t much of American Dream and that your chances of significantly emerging from the luck (good or bad) of what you were born into, is pretty much where you’re going to stay. I’m not sure why that was judged to be a warm and fuzzy.

        • MrE85

          There is often a fine line between realism and pessimism, I guess.

          • You can say the same thing about optimism.

        • Jim G

          You won’t remember our conversation this summer at the State Fair, but I do. I told you that I liked “Your edginess”. This is a story that illustrates what I meant. Your critical reading of the story found the edge of the factual information and you flipped it to reveal the truth not found in the headline.

          • I most certainly do remember talking with you at the State Fair, Jim. I was paying attention. Besides, not many people come talk to me so it makes an impression when people do. :*)

  • KTFoley

    Had to stop reading & go straight to the comments to see whether pubic broadcasting is just one of those terrifically apt typos, or something more.

  • David

    4) Baseball trip – Will’s trip is theoretical, but an interesting “article” nonetheless. The comments are about what you might expect from, “this is cool, I once went on a baseball trip” to “this is crazy who would do this??”

    A good friend of mine has a goal of 30 stadiums by the time he is 30 years old. We are currently planning a trip that will take him from 27 to 30 (Miami, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta) just in time for his 30th birthday. I’ve been able to go with on a couple of his trips and it has been a great way to spend a week or so every couple years. As a baseball fan it has been a lot of fun and a great way to get to some cities I might not have gone to otherwise, especially when we we fill in MLB off days with some minor league parks. We made them true road trips, but often 9 games in 10 days or something like that. Some long driving days coupled with games every night. Something I’ll remember forever.

  • Dave

    Wonkblog had that map yesterday. Despite his much-touted analytical skills, Ezra Klein didn’t really grasp the geography aspect of it. He made a big deal out of MN, IA, and WI having a good handle on helping people move up.

    But what’s really going on is that those yellow areas are sparsely populated (and with a declining population) that offer mostly low-paying jobs. Many of the yellow areas in MN, WI, SD, ND, IA funnel college students to the Twin Cities. So it makes perfect sense that kids from those areas will have higher incomes than their parents — the kids are moving to cities that have better paying-jobs.