The Man Behind the Mask: an Interview with Gregory Lamb- By Kelsey Scanlon

Casually sitting in the swivel chair across from me, Gregory M. Lamb comfortably responded to all my questions. On December 7, 2009, I arrived at the Christian Science Monitor at 1:30. I was greeted by am elderly man who had been in the newspaper industry a majority of his life. The carefully planned reception area of the Christian Science Monitor had an air of importance and regality. Mr. Lamb graciously met with me to discuss Journalism and the world of Journalism.

Gregory M. Lamb went to Principe College near St. Louis across Mississippi river. While he did not study journalism he did however, major in History. After college (1972) he moved to Boston, MA to live with a friend and eventually stumbled upon the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) and has been here ever since.

His first job at the CSM was in the wire room. From there he worked his way up the totem pole. Since college he has had one employer and one employer only. Lamb is currently writing about technology and the environment.

As a member of the Christian Science Church, his beliefs did factor into his decision to join the CSM. Lamb considers himself a religious man, however, his religion does not necessarily affect his work. The CSM is “not trying to be religious publication. The Christian Science Monitor’s purpose is to be a good news publication,” says Lamb.

While Lamb does not the the CSM pushes it’s beliefs of its publications, Lamb believes that each writer’s background and personality is a part of their work. “Everybody puts something of their own background, as much as they want to be as unbiased as possible, everyone puts something of themselves or their background into what they write.”

According to Lamb, the CSM is doing better now than it had with a daily news publication. Now the CSM is reaching more readers and their needs better through the internet. On the flip-side, their weekly publication delves into issues deeper than their internet publications and gives readers a physical relationship with the Monitor. Between the two, the CSM knows they are reaching more people. “I think it’s been a win,” claims Lamb.

The recession, Lamb explains, had very little affect on the reduction of print journalism at the CSM. Their decision of eliminating a daily paper was because of their need to look more towards the future.

In this period of technological change thier is a need to update journalism methods, however, the fundamentals of journalism have not, and will not, change. Most importantly, Lamb explains, “People are always going to want unbiased, clear information that they can count on.” People are going to want information that helps them in their lives and helps them understand the world around them.

Older journalists will have to update their skills and younger journalists will have to learn the skills. A part of these new skills includes “familiarity audio, video, and getting things online, the difference between a blog and a story, what venue works best with this story: pictures, print, or a blog? How to approach it. There are many more choices and possibilities, but a journalist should be fluent in all languages of communicating. It serves people well right now to try to have some fluency in all of them,” says Lamb.

“Finding out how to use our new tools is best to serve our readers, our learners listeners, and viewers,” explains Lamb.

The three most important skills a young journalist should have are:

  1. Curiosity
  2. While a person doesn’t have to love to write, or read their own writing, a person has to learn to like it. A journalist has to have the skills to develop knowledge  and turn it into a form of communication.
  3. Persistence. “A journalist cannot be shy.”

What I found interesting about my interview with Gregory Lamb, was his favorite part about journalism. Lamb likes to live by the quote: “I don’t enjoy writing. I enjoy having written.” Writing may be a pain in the moment, but in the end, when you’ve finished your work, there is not greater satisfaction than knowing you put hard work and effort into honing your craft.

Wrapping up our interview, Gregory Lamb said something so profoundly true it was almost astonishing. He said, “Your job [as a journalist] is to say, ‘Here’s the truth. Here’s the information. Now it’s up to you to process it and decide how to react.’” As journalists it is our job to discover the truth, report the truth, and give the readers, the public, the opportunity to form their own conclusions. It is not necessarily our job to encourage a certain action or response from our audience.


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Global Warming, Shmobal Warming

In response to the happenings in Copenhagen, Denmark, Gregory Lamb explores the generalized public opinion of global warming is his article “Global Warming: Why Public Concern Declines.” While many are aware of Global Warming, they hype and fear of it has declined significantly. There are many explanations as to why concern for the future of our planet has defused.

The first reason, some believe, is because of confusing statistics. Jenna Rutledge “[doesn’t] know who to trust. You hear evidence that seems to back global warming, but then you hear it’s a cyclical thing the earth goes through.” Many do not know who to go to for truthful and scientific evidence and statistics about Global Warming. Which is causing to the confusion and general lack of trust and belief in such a controversial topic.

“Scientists continue to amass evidence showing that global warming is one of the most pressing problems to ever confront humankind.”

A second reason for the decline of concern is cause by the publics conflicting emotions regarding the advancement of technology and our economy and the safety of our environment. Zhang Lianchao claims that “Economic development and environmental protection clash. The government focuses on development right now, but it should pay attention to environmental protection, too.”

There are still some that are very concerned and invested in creating a green world. But their dedication could actually be scaring away potential followers. “In fact, the louder and more alarmed climate advocates become in these efforts, the more they polarize the issue, driving away a conservative or moderate for every liberal they recruit to the cause,” argue Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenbergertoo far away:

There are a plethora of statistics that compliment and contradict each other. One of the main reasons public concern for Global Warming is declining is because of the always present ‘out of sight, out of mind’ way of life. If we can’t see it and it doesn’t affect us directly or immediately we don’t believe or understand the gravity of the situation.

The biggest question is “how do you keep the world engaged in a problem that will unfold over decades and even centuries?”

The largest problem leaders are finding is “convincing people to act – or sacrifice – now to ward off something in the distant future. Global warming is also a threat that doesn’t have a personal face like, say, Osama bin Laden represents in the West. The biggest villain here is invisible carbon dioxide.”

Finally, many are so consumed in our concern and fear of this recession that the fear of something so futuristic seams insignificant.

Whether a person believes in Global Warming or not, we should hope for a positive outcome from the meeting in Copenhagen. We should aspire to make our world a more healthy place and eliminate the possibility of Global Warming occurring in the future.

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After We Stopped Dragging Our Knuckles and Traded in Our Clubs for a New Reality-By Kelsey Scanlon

In his article “Augmented Reality: Your World, Enhanced,” Gregory Lamb sheds light on augmented reality today and its function in everyday life and society.  Smart phones, he claims, are currently “[leading] the way in augmented reality, blending real life with digital imagery.”

Augmented reality-”the ability to blend data or virtual objects from the Internet with the ‘real world’ we see around us”-has for a long time been merely an idea tested in labs. Since it was first released, augmented reality has only developed in primitive ways. Recently, interest in augmented reality has increased significantly. Lamb expresses his concern for our culture’s whimsical and superficial tendencies to create “a bubble of overheated hype that pops and disappears.” While this concern is valid, due to our predictable and limited natural patterns as human beings, hopefully this time our IQs will over power our caveman attention spans and allow the human population the opportunity to expand our narrow ways of thinking and become a more effective and productive species with the help of augmented reality.

Today, augmented reality has expended to applications on smart phones and has appeared in airports and cars. In the past, augmented reality was used for simple tasks, such as the “first down” line during a football game on TV. According to Ori Inbar, whose Games Alfresco blog tracks developments in the fast-changing AR world, augmented reality is “being unleashed from basement computer labs around the world into the commercial world.” Many scientists and mathematicians claim that there is more to come from augmented reality. What we have created is just the beginning to a whole new lifestyle and way of view reality. Futuristic augmented reality will become a tool to allow a person to be more successful and productive in the workforce and day-to-day activities.

While productivity and efficiency are a part of future augmented reality research, presently augmented reality is most popular in entertainment and gaming; Which is not surprising given our need for constant diversions. Even with a recession and high unemployment rates, some businesspersons and entrepreneurs, specifically Mr. Inbar, predict entertainment augmented reality “‘to be the biggest market’ in the near future.” If we are smart, we will utilize the hype and popularity of augmented reality to help pull us out of this recession.

Future augmented reality technologies are being created, however, our limited technology and tools are what limits the progress of augmented reality. Tools such as “AR goggles and glasses, and even an AR contact lens, are under development, but there are still hurdles to leap before they will be practical.” The potential of augmented reality is infinite and limitless. “True AR could lead to advancements in many fields. Soldiers on the battlefield, auto mechanics, and surgeons, for example, all need more information in front of their eyes than they currently can get.”

Eventually, augmented reality will be “commonplace” in our culture, it is inevitable. There will obviously always be a third party that objects to this new technology, and there will always be advantages and disadvantages to change. But without technological advancement there can be no advancement into the future or a new way of thinking and viewing reality. With augmented reality a person can choose “whether [they] want to see naked reality or augmented reality.” Actual reality or augmented reality, is up to the viewer, but how it affects the human race as we know it depends upon those with the money.


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Bionic Futures Are Human- by Kelsey Scanlon

Boston Globe publisher P. Steven Ainsley and editor Martin (Marty) Baron will share their views on the current climate of the news business, the Globe‘s tumultuous times over the past year, and their predictions for the future of news at Emerson College on Thursday, November 19, [2009].”

“A private college and a newspaper have soemthing in common. That is we both have missions that transcend pure commercialism. There is a certain romance about what we do. Newspapers serve readers. Colleges serve students. But that romanticism is only as good as the reality of the financial mode that sustains it. At some point the romance and the reality come together and that represents the two gentlemen on either side of me.” – Ted Gup, Professor and Journalism Department Chair

Ted Gup, the Head of the Journalism Department at Emerson College, sits in between the Publisher and Editor of the Boston Globe as a mediator. The Publisher, Steven Ainsley, on the left, and Editor, Marty Baron on the right, surrounded by future journalists. Pens at the ready, fingers poised to type, we wait for the responses of these great men. The form of this interview is Q&A.

The Boston Globe has known hard times. The hardships of this recession are not new to this particular Company. “The idea of interactivity is not new… The problem of maintainging the Boston Globe falls in the laps of the Publisher and Editor,” says Gup,”[They] have to take steps to preserve a living institution long seen as vital to Boston and New England’s Identity.” But there is a unity and a division between the Publisher and Editor that exists. What is great about these two is their understanding of each other job and role in the company.

“Ainsley arrived at the Globe, in 2006 after having been president and chief operating officer of the Regional Media Group, a cluster of smaller daily and weekly newspapers mostly in the southeastern United States… During his tenure at the Globe Ainsley has won two Pulitzer Prizes. He has served as director of the New England Press Association, and the Alabama Press Association, and director of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. On October 29 Ainsley announced that he would retire at the end of the year... Ainsley has overseen the Globe through tough times. Earlier this year, the Globe‘s parent company, The New York Times Co., threatened to shut down the paper unless costs were dramatically cut and later considered selling the paper. In January 2007 the Globe announced that it would lay off a combined 125 employees at both the Globe and its sister newspaper, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Boston Globe editor,Marty Baron succeeded Matt Storin in 2001. Since Barron’s appointment, the Globe has won four Pulitzer prizes, including those for public service, explanatory journalism, national reporting, and criticism. The Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was awarded in 2003 for a Globe Spotlight Team investigation into clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Baron began working for The Miami Herald in 1976, moved to The Los Angeles Times in 1979, and to The New York Times in 1996. He returned to the Herald as chief editor in 1999. While serving as executive editor of The Miami Herald the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Coverage in 2001 for its coverage of the raid to recover Elián González, the Cuban boy at the center of a fierce immigration and custody dispute.”

Steven Ainsley described his journalism origins as “serendipitous.” Ainsley worked on his high school and college papers. After high school he worked for a newspaper in Virginia in Ad Sales. At age 26 he became publisher of a small newspaper in West Virginia.

Marty Baron, worked on his Junior HIgh and HIgh School paper. Then continued in college. During his Junior year in high school he applied for an internship at the St. Petersburg Times. His rejection of the newspaper was only a minor set-back to his successful career in journalism.

“Describe your job. What interest do you represent? To whom do you answer and how do your respective interests intersect with the others? What does it mean to be a publisher? What does it mean to be an editor?”

The publisher, Ainsley explains, is business. The main responsibility of a publisher is to “ensure that the newspaper is a growing concern financially.” He works with the revenue producing department and the like to make sure there is financial support for the newspaper. The publisher critiques the paper after the fact. The editor is an employee, describes Baron. An editor reports to the publisher. Baron specifically describes his role as an editor as being accountable to the reader and to his own conscience.

On April 2, 2009, Ainsley annouces, was the day the Boston Globe came to terms with the estimated financial loss of somewhere between $80-85 million. They met with the 12 labor unions and faced the reality that the Boston Globe might close.

Mart Baron explains further that first there was the Buy-outs and then the layoffs. “The news-room reduction was about 12% of the overall news-room.” Eventually they made pay cuts up to 23%.

At what point did you two diverge?

According to Steven Aisnley a “natural  tension should exist.” A publisher and editor work at cross-purposes. After realizing their estimated losses, Ainsley brought in a team of outside consultants to look at the business . “It was largely successful.” However, Ainsley’s decision met with dismay from the newsroom. While he understands their dismay, Ainsley realized that something had to change to help save the Boston Globe. In the end, they came up with a strategy to help save the Blobe.

Marty Baron, on the flip-side, also understands the necessity of hiring outside consultants to analyze the business side of the Boston Globe, however he explains that there is a place for metrics and measurements, the newsroom is not its place. Baron goes on to explain that there is no room for the application of  metrics and measurements when it comes to the size of staff and reductions. It is necessary to make cuts of a sort, their goal should always be to maintain a high quality of journalism and that is what sets the Boston Globe apart from other newspapers.

Along with pay cuts and layoffs, the Boston Globe has also had to close domestic and international bureaus.

Is newspaper diminished because of national and international with drawls?

Marty Baron does not seem to think the reputation of the Globe is diminished by these cuts. While their resources are diminished, these resources also depend on success of business. It is the Globe’s primary purpose to cover local news, not shutting down foreign bureaus would diminish local coverage. Their Washington bureau was the only other domestic bureau that remains open because there is a strong correlation between Boston and Washington. “Boston plays a large role in shaping public policy.”

The future of journalism is unknown. No one knows what it will look like, but it must be more flexible, agile; more willing to take risks.

What would a bionic journalist look like?

Baron explains that the future journalists will not be bionic, they will be human. They must have soul, heart, conviction, and determination.  Future journalists must have a passion for covering news. The first step to finding and/or becoming the future journalist is to:

Step 1: Have a commitment to serving their customers and viewers.

Step 2: Have traditional and contemporary skills

  1. Traditional:  A journalist must know how to interview people, obtain good research, conduct investigations, know where to go for info, and how to talk to people.
  2. Contemporary: While a journalist must know traditional kills, the future journalism must also have knowledge of producing news in many forms (multi-media, print, etc), know how to deliver what people what, when they want it, however they want it, wherever they want it, instantaneously.

The future journalist above all needs to be an entrepreneur, not in totality. They need to be a person who embraces change and uncertainty; learn to work independently. The future of journalism will be a very different job description from what it is now. We can already see hints of what journalism will evolve into. A futuristic journalist needs to anticipate uncertainty.

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Reality Meets Technology and Their Love Child was Named Augmented… Welcome to the 21st Century- By Kelsey Scanlon

Augmented reality, according to Gregory Lamb, is no longer just a lab experiment. Augmented reality is now a reality in our society. This technological advancement has created a more user friendly America in all aspects of our lifestyles. From business transactions, to education, to entertainment, augmented reality has intrigued and captured the hearts of Americans from coast to coast.

What is augmented reality? “An augmented reality system generates a composite view for the user. It is a combination of the real scene viewed by the user and a virtual scene generated by the computer that augments the scene with additional information.

Augment by definition means “to make greater, more numerous, larger, or more intense.” Reality by definition means “the quality or state of being real. A real event, entity, or state of affairs. The totality of real things and events. Something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily.

The term [augmented reality] was defined as ‘a computer generated, interactive, three-dimensional environment in which a person is immersed.’ There are three key points in this definition.

Lamb uses six videos to demonstrate the effectiveness of augmented reality and how this new technology has been utilized by the Government, Big Business, and Entertainment alike.

  1. US Postal Service: uses augmented reality to aid customers in preparing shipments and boxing sizes. US Postal Service has utilized augmented reality to ensure a more user-friendly and easily accessible product, which encourages a consumer to become more open-minded and willing to use their products.
  2. BMW: allows auto mechanics to become more efficient and less time-consuming in repairs. Augmented reality ensures thorough repairs by guiding the mechanics through the necessary steps to achieving successful repairs.
  3. Esquire Magazine: allows readers to view the magazine on a whole new level. Esquire Magazine has essentially redefined the meaning of magazines.
  4. Acrossair.com: an iphone application that allows a person to find the closest subway using the iphone camera and GPS coordiantes.
  5. Topps 3D Baseball Cards: allows fans to interact with the cards and play virtual games vicariously through professional athletes.
  6. Avatar: Avatar fans are now capable of viewing Avatars through cards connected with augmented reality software. Similar to Topps 3D Baseball cards, now fans can interact with augmented characters.

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Don’t Fix What Isn’t Broken… but can I buy what’s been fixed?- By Kelsey Scanlon

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Should you buy refurbished electronics?” (By Gregory Lamb)

A valid question. While our greed for the newest and shiniest gadgets and technology increases, so do the hole in our pockets. The two clashing ways of our lifestyle, consumerism and recession,a re creating more “cost-conscious consumers.”

What many do not realize is that the cons can often outweigh the pros when buying “refurbished” electronics. Lamb first explains that “refurbished” does not necessarily mean “used.” The products in question can merely have been disliked or unopened, nonetheless in perfect condition. On the flip-side the product could have been faulty or defective, “‘You really have no idea’ why the product has been designated a refurbished.”

Lamb explains that buying “refurbished” items can often be smart and cost-efficient choices. However, a person should avoid purchasing “refurbished” products under these circumstances:

  1. When the “new model represents a real advancement.” Example: older models of the PC/Vista.
  2. “Make sure the item has a valid warranty” so that if it is defective or a person is unsatisfied they may be able to return the undesired product.
  3. Be wary of online sellers. Examples: Amazon, Best Buy, etc.
  4. Poor online reviews or none at all.

There are way to find good bargains but a consumer must understand that sometimes the “potential [hassles] outweigh potential [savings].”

 

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Gleaning is the New Black- by Kelsey Scanlon

The need to feed the hungry families cultivates new interest in gleaning,” by Gregory Lamb, illustrates the overwhelming surplus of neglected food harvested by farms across the country.

Creating a virtual experience for his readers, Lamb describes a situation occurring across the country.While many farms produce a large amount of crops, a majority of it is wasted because the produce is either too small, too big, the wrong shape, bruised, etc. The issue, Lamb explains, is that much of the still nutritious and tasty produce is thrown away because of its “cosmetic blemishes.”

While many people in the U.S. are still unaware of gleaning- “harvesting left over crops for the poor”- this concept is not new to the human race. Traces of such generous acts can be found in the Bible, but what is most significant about gleaning is that it can be traced back to 19th-century France.

In this economy many people are learning to become more creative in helping each other survive, most especially the poor. According to the University of Arizona, Tucson, “40 to 50 percent of all the food that could be harvested from fields will never be eaten.” Farmers, like Corinne Almquist, are sending left over produce to food shelves.

However, they are facing several issues along the way. First, Food shelves have a hard time keeping the produce fresh. Second, food pantries are generally only open one a week. Third, many farmers have a hard time finding the produce among all the weeds and overgrowth, which makes the picking not worthwhile.

But, the benefits of gleaning out-way the backbreaking labor and time. By gleaning, farmers are providing struggling families and people with fresh produce and nutrition, that would otherwise be thrown away. Another benefit is that gleaning “leaves a smaller carbon footprint. Rather than sending produce over 10 miles away, the farmers are directly helping their own community.

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