4703: The rise and fall of Haus Ullstein and the German Press

4703: The rise and fall of Haus Ullstein and the German Press

The number 4,703 echoed in my mind for several months before I finally made the trip down to the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin on a sunny afternoon last April. I was supposed to meet a friend after work at Markthalle Neun for a street food happy hour but I, unexpectedly, had a few hours beforehand free. Needing to pass the time, I decided to finally search for the famed “Ullstein Haus.”

I had been wanting to find the building ever since I had read “House of Ullstein” in December. Online –I could see that at one point–there was a press museum there and that it had an exhibit documenting the deterioration of the press under Hitler. I tried to get in touch with who curated it. I emailed and called. Nobody responded.

Maybe I’d just go down and see if I could find it. Maybe it would be easier to navigate my terrible German in person.

Continue reading “4703: The rise and fall of Haus Ullstein and the German Press”

ANALYSIS: Twitter, Facebook and the Fake Follower problem

The New York Times reports that Twitter will “begin removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from users’ followers on Thursday, signaling a major new effort to restore trust on the popular but embattled platform.”

This comes after a January investigation by the Times that I think is worth your time to read. It explains how fake accounts work, the types of bots you may see in your feed, and how to spot a fake account. It’s an excellent piece of journalism that I think is both educational and extremely newsworthy.

Continue reading “ANALYSIS: Twitter, Facebook and the Fake Follower problem”

Paris Agreement: Changing what we can

Paris Agreement: Changing what we can

As I’ve aged, I’ve really started to love hiking. There’s something about wandering through nature with a friend, cut off from technology and surrounded by all of Mother Nature’s glory that just centers you.

It seems fitting that a year ago today I was spending a carefree June day hiking to the Kjenndal Glacier in Norway. I can still feel the crisp air that surrounded me as the sun shone in such a way that every drop of water and blade of grass seemed in technicolor.

Continue reading “Paris Agreement: Changing what we can”

Ad Astra Per Aspera: Why the Democrats need Kansas

Ad Astra Per Aspera: Why the Democrats need Kansas

Kansas’s state motto, Ad Astra per Aspera, is one of my favorites. The Latin translation “to the stars through difficulty” reflects the history of my home state while also accurately describing the people I know back home. Kansans are not afraid of hard work and fighting adversity to achieve their goals.

National publications keep interviewing Trump voters, trying to understand why they would vote against their own interest and they’re missing the bigger story. This is the story I see brewing in the Heartland: The people who normally are not involved in politics, are now energized. I’ve seen friends (both moderate Republicans and Democrats) form PACs, canvas for the first time, and in many cases, consider running for office.

Maybe after the near-win in the Kansas 4th Congressional District special election last night, they’ll take notice.

Continue reading “Ad Astra Per Aspera: Why the Democrats need Kansas”

Brussels and Brexit

Brussels and Brexit

It’s a strange feeling to be incidentally on the doorsteps of history today. We’re on this diplomatic tour of the European Union and happen to be in town as British Prime Minister Theresa May sent the letter to European Council President Donald Tusk invoking the Article 50 separation. The EU officially received notice today that Britain will exit the union (or Brexit).

In the Press Club over lunch watching Prime Minister Theresa May address the British Parliament

What a day to be here! There were reporters all around Brussels today for this announcement. There was no room for us to join the press conference due to the amount of credentialed press for this historic event. Instead, we stood in the Press Club during lunch to watch May give her speech to parliament, then Tusk hold a press conference addressing what essentially amounts to receiving divorce papers from the U.K.

 

Continue reading “Brussels and Brexit”

So goes the FEC, so goes the nation

So goes the FEC, so goes the nation

I’ve been thinking a lot lately that if you want to examine how our political climate ended up the way it is now, you have to look at the dysfunction of the Federal Election Commission—the federal agency charged with monitoring and holding accountable money in our elections. I personally think a lot of the anger over corruption in Washington and the political media can be traced back to deadlocks and lack of enforcement by the FEC.

The FEC doesn’t make a lot of national news, but believe me, the decisions they are (not) making are influencing the politics that control your community.

Continue reading “So goes the FEC, so goes the nation”

Good Night, and Good Luck.

Good Night, and Good Luck.

I studied the great CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow a great deal as a journalist, but this week I’ve viewed him in a whole new light: as a patriot of this country.

We’ve been studying Murrow in my public diplomacy class. Before this week I had no idea that Murrow, after being a journalist, became director of the United States Information Agency in 1961. In one of my textbooks there was a great quote from when he testified before Congress:

“American traditions and the American ethic requires us to be truthful, but the most important reason is that truth is the best propaganda and lies are the worst. To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful. It is as simple as that.”

Continue reading “Good Night, and Good Luck.”