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New York Times as a Necessary Proof of the Worlds’ Existence

by Drew Cashmore

Page One: Inside The New York Times

Each day, barring labor strikes or hydrogen bombs, [The New York Times] would appear in 11,464 cities throughout the nation and in all the capitals around the world, 50 copies going to the White House, 39 copies to Moscow, a few smuggled into Beijing, and a thick Sunday edition to the foreign minister in Taiwan, because he required the Times as necessary proof of the Earth’s existence, a barometer of its pressure, an assessor of its sanity. If the World did indeed still exist, he knew it would be duly recorded each day in the Times.” ~ Gay Talese, The Kingdom of Power

By many, The New York Times is heavily regarded as the quintessential outlet for journalistic truth – the barometer by which all other reputable news agencies set their standards and even their front pages. And despite the economic downturn of recent years, the emergence of new mediums and the heavy decline in print readership and subsequent ad revenues, The Times has survived, led by overworked and underpaid advocates of democracy and change.

I myself have balked at the idea that The Times can endure this changing landscape, soon to be replaced by the Huffingtons’ of this world. As Arianna put it, “I was not around when the printing press was invented but if I were around I would imagine that the people dealing with stone tablets would be making a similar argument.”

What I have come to realize is that this story of a dying medium, one too stuck in its ways to adapt to a changing time, is not by any means, nor will it ever be, the story of The New York Times. This is also not a story of people’s distrust with the mainstream media –a distrust perpetuated by the 24 hour news networks and media conglomerates whose struggle to survive over the last decade has effectively destroyed the integrity that they boast about in their company slogans.

Rather, this is a story about critical thought. “News organizations that deploy resources to really gather information are essential to a functioning democracy”, said Bill Keller, former Executive Editor of The New York Times. It is a story about an aggregate of all of the facts and Tweets and blogs and op-eds and commentary condensed into a single article and written with hours of seemingly un-biased research from sources sometimes deeper rooted in a story than anyone else.

A blogger in his parent’s basement writing a hard-hitting op-ed about the Obama Administration can seem much more efficient than a 24 hour news operation with hundreds of field reporters across the globe. A photo or a 140 character message from a local embedded in a civil war in Libya can seem much more real than any journalist covering the story from a desk in New York.

What we fail to realize is that a revolution independent of media is still a revolution but a story without context, without critical thought and research into its legitimacy is just that, a story. And in a world where more data is created every two days than from the beginning of human history until 2003, true, unbiased analysis of a story is more important than ever.

The story of the New York Times, the story that may someday grace your tablet or smart window or electronic paper screen further immortalizing one of the last genuine journalistic endeavours of our time, is one of integrity, dignity, perseverance and overall critical thought. An understanding that still, in an age where news is delivered as it happens, many of the stories that we read or hear today, whether it be on a 24 hour news network, an online news aggregate or David Carr’s Twitter account, are propagated by The New York Times. And it is the passion for telling a story as it should be told that has helped this print house survive two World Wars, a Great Depression, and the invention of the telephone, radio, television, personal computers, the Internet and mobile phones. Today the World does indeed still exist, and the New York Times is still the one telling its story.

January 2012

Don’t give up on our future Ontario!

by Drew Cashmore
Ontario LogoYou’ve been seeing the attack ads on TV for months now. “Ontario can’t afford four more years of McGuinty”. The rhetoric throughout our social circles is the same. Two years ago in the midst of a great recession our Premier introduced a new tax, a notion that regardless of the outcome was bound to cripple the career of any politician.

But this article isn’t about how the new harmonized sales tax (HST) is projected to save Ontario businesses $500 million in administrative costs per year. It’s not about the 16.5% tax cut to the lowest income Ontarians’ that was introduced when this law took effect. It’s not about the fact that only 17% of goods and services were affected by this change or that, using B.C. as an example, the total cost per household should only be around $350 per year while the net increase to the GDP as a result of the introduction of HST is projected to be $830 per household.

This is an article about how Ontario can’t afford four more years of cuts.

Remember Mike Harris? Mike Harris was all about cuts and privatization. In the first couple of years that Mike was in office he cut 30% to income taxes which he subsidized with privatization and major cuts to health care, education and social assistance programs. In fact, during his time as a Parliamentary Assistant to the Harris government, Tim Hudak played a key role in closing 28 hospitals in Ontario and axing almost $1 billion in health care funding. Yes, this is the same Tim Hudak that is now promising to pump billions into health care in Ontario to reduce the long line-ups that he created. This plan ultimately eliminated 6,200 nursing jobs, 10,000 hospital beds and meant that 10% of Ontarians would be left without a family doctor.

The Harris government reform policies also cut $4.3 billion to educational funding which resulted in the closing of 192 schools and post-secondary tuition increases of 800%. Social assistance programs in Ontario were slashed by 22%.

When you go to the polls on Thursday remember our future. Think about a province that you want to live in in twenty years and ask yourself if a small tax break today is worth sacrificing our economy, our health and our children.

I’ll leave you with this: the amount of debt that Ontario has as a percentage of the GDP is about the same today as it was in 1999 when the Harris conservative government was enjoying one of the healthiest economies of our time. Don’t give up on our future Ontario!
October 2011

Endeavour’s Final Flight

by Drew Cashmore

Space Shuttle Endeavour Blast OffAt 8:56am EDT today, the Space Shuttle Endeavour launched from the Kennedy Space Center marking the final launch for the soon to be retired orbiter. Almost 19 years to the day of its first launch, Endeavour has flown over 116,000,000 miles and spent over 280 days in space. It has gone to space 25 times, visited the International Space Station 11 times and has orbited the earth over 4,423 times. Endeavour was built from spare parts of the Challenger Space Shuttle which was lost at launch in 1986.

It was originally named after the HMS Endeavour, a ship chartered by James Cook in the 1700s to explore the South Pacific, a replica of which was launched this year and is currently on a voyage around Australia. In a letter from STS-134 Captain Mark E. Kelly to the captain of the replica HMS Endeavour, Kelly wrote, “maybe someday another Endeavour we now can only dream of will continue the spirit of exploration that the name represents, perhaps visiting new planets or even new star systems”. The original final launch date for STS-134 was scheduled to coincide with the original HMS Endeavour’s landing at Botany Bay in 1770.

Since the first launch of the NASA Space Shuttle Program on April 12, 1981 (the 20th anniversary of man’s first space flight), the five STS Orbiters have spent over 1,301 days in space, have orbited the Earth over 20,700 times and have flown and landed 131 successful missions. The Space Transports Systems are the only winged manned spacecraft to achieve orbit and land back on Earth.

May 2011