While doctors, scientists, and first responders get us through this COVID-19 pandemic crisis, we all know that what comes after will be somewhere between economic chaos and Armageddon, not a pretty situation for anyone.
I was thrilled to learn Premier Kenny appointed a great economist, Dr. Jack Mintz, to lead an economic recovery panel. Jack is one of the world’s foremost economists – made in Canada man with a world-renowned reputation. I’ve interviewed him.
But Jack wasn’t my first Ph.D. Economist …
Many years ago, I had several conversations with my first Ph.D. Economist/Professor acquaintance, Susan Lee, then an editor/writer at Forbes magazine; I’d responded to an article she wrote, an e-conversation ensued, we chatted on the phone. A few months later, when I took my youngest to New York, we had lunch with Susan. (Krista was in 8th grade then – she’s 40 now, so I calculate that was 26 years ago) …
Susan had been an editor at the New York Times [their motto was, and still is, All The News That’s Fit To Print]. Over lunch, Susan elaborated that was really “all the news that fits”, because their daily objective was to “fill the book.”
That comment caught me by surprise. That realization has not left me. Think about it, each hour of television or cable news has content and commercials – they can’t have dead air, so they fill lesser bits, and repeat things, thereby distorting our perspective. This over-publishing of less-than-balanced reporting has become more, not less, pervasive in the ear of social media and streaming, sometimes sinister as opinions are manipulated, manipulated, manipulated … but I digress.
Back to lunch in NYC 26 yrs. ago:
I wasn’t star-struck, but impressed. I wasn’t awestruck by New York (I’d been there several times before). I was thrilled by our tour of the Cartier Egg Museum on the main floor of the Forbes building, and having lunch with Susan at a trendy Wall Street restaurant where I was introduced to an artful arugula salad. I came away with a better appreciation of ‘big media’ and appreciated the perspective of one of those ‘talking heads.’ She went on to serve on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. I’ve lost touch with Susan; my expectation is that she is retired in New York or back in her native Wisconsin, thinking clearly and debunking stupidity when she encounters it.
My point – what I learned then, and have regular reinforcement of now – is that media of all kinds, including my own little publications, is finding content which is timely, accurate, and of relevance to my audience, which requires these elements:
- do I know my audience
- can I find and/or create content which I write and present in a fashion which builds ongoing trusting relationship with readers?
- is there an availability of data, information, and content – AND, can I separate the wheat from the chaff? (for those who have no connection with agriculture, or metaphors, read this, and this)
Our self-isolating existence right now might last a few weeks. For that, most of us have a strategy to start spring cleaning, read a book, binge-watch some streaming TV series on Netflix, etc. ..
If our strategy is months, then we have time to catch up on our accounting, repaint some rooms, and finish the novel …
But if our strategy becomes years, what then?
Whether or not we are part of the ‘statistically vulnerable population,’ we need something meaningful to do, or we will drive ourselves, and each other, stir-crazy.
OR, we can put our minds at work to solve some problems worth solving. Since most of us are not microbiologists, we’ll have to focus on something OTHER THAN COVID-19.
What are you working on?
Time we all get busy doing what we can with what we’ve got from where we are – and we have so much: connectivity, information, technology, friends, family, colleagues, resources, our capacity for collaboration, plus one (1) brain.
What else do we need?
P.S.: I’ve learned the hoarding of toilet-paper is abating, but now there is a run on potatoes: not sure if that’s because people want to make their own fries, or their own vodka.
For some reason I am no longer receiving your daily musings (hope you can get me back on the mailing list). I went directly to your website to read Rant and Ramble. Wow! Living under Trump makes me fear for my life as he is ready to sacrifice the old and vulnerable to get the economy rolling. I am healthy but over sixty. I guess my life is expendable if he can get his hotels re-opened. In the meantime, I'm sitting in quarantine with my dog. Hope you saw my most recent blog post: jmaydaze.com/2020/03/21/my-girl/ . Hope all is well with you, JM, Edmonds, WA
As we stop our busy schedules and reflect on the pandemic at hand we and the Governments around the world have lose or never had it the big picture "elevate the quality of life for all.” Many will die, let's hope for a cure and a speedy recovery. We can only do our small part. Good luck to you all :), AG, Cancun, Mex.
Hi Mark, Hope you are well. Great musing this morning, DH, Calgary, AB