Category Archives: Journalism & Writing

Blogs Are Critical to Re-establishing Public Schools

charter school oklahoma city
What was once Harding High School in Okla. City Public Schools is now Harding Charter Preparatory High School, authorized by the district.

Over the last ten years, bloggers have kept the issues of who controls schools at the forefront when so many big money interests want desperately to have us look the other way.

One advantage that school raiders have in taking public schools away from the public and turning them over to investor-owned charters is that the traditional news sources are hobbled from reporting accurately and fully.
Continue reading Blogs Are Critical to Re-establishing Public Schools

Thankful for the Amazing People in My Life!

Brett and friends
Selfie with new friends Lennon Patton and David Glover at KOSU Radio’s “On Tap” policy forum in April

I really don’t measure my life from one January 1st to the next. Somehow, it’s easier for me to measure what has happened since last Thanksgiving. And there have been some pretty amazing people who have entered my life since then, in one case someone from the past, but in a new identity. And so, since last Thanksgiving… Continue reading Thankful for the Amazing People in My Life!

Front Page Editorial on Reading Tests Disguised as a News Report

test, pencil, test-taking, testing

Descending to the level of propaganda, a front page story in today’s edition of The Oklahoman and the 3:00 update of the story on reported this about students in Oklahoma City Public Schools who failed the controversial 3rd grade reading tests in April: Continue reading Front Page Editorial on Reading Tests Disguised as a News Report

Reasons to Fight Equivalency Journalism

Equivalency journalism assumes that there are only about two sides to anything and that they are equally valid.

When practicing equivalency journalism, once two sides to an issue are found, then the only task of the journalist is:

  • Find spokespersons for each side.
  • Transcribe what they say.
  • Publish.

What we know from real life, though, is that no two approaches to anything are objectively equal. But the myth of equivalency is what drives most media organizations today.

Continue reading Reasons to Fight Equivalency Journalism

Gallery: Lackmeyer & Money Launch New “Cornerstone” YMCA Book

Steve Lackmeyer and Jack Money have been hard at work again on their latest book about Oklahoma City history. It’s title is “Cornerstone – The YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City: 125 Years”

Here are some shots from the signing on Saturday at Full Circle Books.

Unexpected Guests

To the surprise and obvious delight of the authors, several people mentioned in the history actually showed up to get a copy for themselves.

Here is a clip of Joe and Charlotte Dodson, founders of the Dodson’s Cafeterias on the South Side of Oklahoma City, telling about their involvement in the idea, funding, and eventual building of the Southside YMCA.


KOSU Continues to Show the Value of Local Public Radio

May Edition of The Premiere on Film Row

Last night’s concert by Chelsea Cope at KOSU Radio’s Performance Space added to a growing list of their impressive monthly concerts by local artists. The Performance Space is a part of a new set of studios and offices for KOSU in the Hart Building on Film Row.

The concert was a part of the monthly Premiere on Film Row art walk that continues to catch on in a part of Oklahoma City that had sat dormant for some time.  Classy old buildings that once housed the distribution part of the movie industry are becoming the center of art, music, and food for an area on the West side of downtown between Dewey and Shartel on Sheridan.

This event provides a variety of family friendly activities including music, art, food, and interaction among a good cross-section of people from Oklahoma City and surrounding suburbs.

KOSU’s concert series and their heavy involvement in this event shows an unusually high level of community leadership not often expected of public radio station.

KOSU now has become an integral part of downtown Oklahoma City life with their presence on Film Row.

2014-05-14 14.49.23This expansion into their Oklahoma City studios, while keeping their presence at OSU in Stillwater, came on the heals of their collaboration with The Spy FM, a radio station presenting various music genres that are not often heard on commercial radio or public radio. The Spy on KOSU specializes in local programing talent and local musicians. Check out their programing notes and listen either over the internet or on the radio at 91.7 Oklahoma City or 107.5 Tulsa.

KOSU anchors the West end of the two block area in The Hart Building with the Dunlop-Codding Law Firm anchoring the East end. In between are many businesses and some food services like Joey’s Pizzaria and the coffee shop in The Paramount, and the IAO Gallery which moved from another section of downtown to be a part of this district.

Advancement or Anomaly for The Oklahoman?

Last Sunday, the largest Oklahoma City newspaper, The Oklahoman, did something unexpected: The entire edition showed journalistic verve and even boldness in several incisive reports, giving factual information that would equip citizens to take action on important issues. How about that? The big question: Is this an advancement that will be sustained or just an anomaly, an exception, quickly “corrected” once particular people start calling in? I hope it’s an advancement.

While some Progressives in Oklahoma have made a name for themselves criticizing the paper, most residents jYesterday's Sunday Edition of the Daily Oklahomanust wanted it to do what large papers are supposed to do: direct sunlight on problems in government and society that need to be brought out of the shadows so that they can be corrected.

It has always been a delicate dance for anyone at The Oklahoman who tried to lead that organization into a more traditional role of providing clear, well-researched reportage, with editorial positions clearly taken on the editorial page and not slipped into the front page.

Powerful and extremely conservative forces in our state have exerted deep pressure on The Oklahoman for years to direct public opinion in every page toward not just a conservative, but a right-wing agenda. And now that they have a new owner, Denver-based billionaire and right-wing philanthropist Phillip Anschutz, the question has loomed even larger if the paper would ever achieve its potential as a news outlet of integrity.

Denver-based billionaire Philip Anschutz
Denver-based billionaire Philip Anschutz

So, while I have been openly critical of The Oklahoman and for their clear, deep, but unacknowledged bias lately, I gladly want to give them credit for this latest Sunday edition.

The largest piece, “Addicted Oklahoma”, took up much of the front page and continued onto 8 more pages inside. It was the result of a productive collaboration between Oklahoman reporters, Jaclyn Cosgrove, Phillip O’Connor and Warren Vieth of investigative outfit Oklahoma Watch.

Environmental issues? Only if Sen. Imhof says they aren’t there, right? Hey, wait…Brianna Baily’s piece on the first page of the Business section, “Pollution Problems: Old Aircraft Factory Is Site of Concern”, showed good research coupled with a timeline and diagrams. It dealt openly with the conflict about ownership of earlier pollution problems when a company like the old North American Aviation/Gulfstream plant goes by the wayside and leaves the cleanup for someone else.

Over the last several years it has seemed like the OPUBCO’s, has shown a much more tolerant and broad editorial policy than The Oklahoman which certainly is read by an older age demographic than the online content. Sunday’s showing reveals what seems to be a good experiment.

I’m going to allow that The Oklahoman will have to serve its sometimes-dark corporate and political masters on the Opinion pages as long as power remains concentrated on a wealthy minority the way it is now in this state. But, this slow change, starting with what they allow reporters to do and publish, shows me that leaders in The Oklahoman realize that central Oklahoma is becoming more progressive and more heavily populated than the surrounding rural areas served by that paper. If they act now, and move closer to a central position, they have an opportunity to rescue the newspaper. If not, numbers will continue to dip as smaller, more nimble papers pick off it’s increasingly younger demographic.

That’s why I will give them praise when they do well and serve their public rather than serving that one-percent-ish minority hiding in the shadows. I encourage you to do the same. When we do, we may help that part of their staff who should be winning editorial arguments in meetings within The Oklahoman.