Prayers for Paris


Paris is on our minds today.

As it should be.
We ache for the shocking loss of life and we agonize over what’s happening in our world: violence, hatred, terror, extremism.
Paris is known as a city of villages and despite its distance from our shores we relate and connect.
Paris is a city of art, culture, freedom, beauty and romance. It’s an idea and an ideal.
And so we grieve when that’s attacked.
Saturday morning the board and staff of Old School Square met for a strategic planning retreat and Paris was on our minds. And we discussed–albeit briefly–concerns about security in our own hometown.
The terrorists targeted art and music and sports venues. They targeted vibrant restaurants and bars–where people gather to savor and enjoy life with friends. We built our own city around that vision. Boca Raton too.
And so this attack–sadly only the latest in a series of disgusting, despicable and ultimately cowardly acts–seemed to penetrate very deeply.
I read a lot of opinion pieces over the weekend suggesting what might be next and how we might combat the ISIS scourge.
The best piece I found was in The Atlantic because it delves deep into the ideology. We must understand it if we are to defeat it and we must defeat it. Here’s a link.
We went to see “Spotlight” at the Cinemark Boca.
It’s a must see film, expertly written with terrific performances by a stellar cast.
Why is it must see?
For two reasons:
1. The story of the Boston Globe’s investigation of priests molesting children and the cover-up by church hierarchy is an important story to tell and understand because the abuse proved to be systemic and worldwide.
2. The movie is also a primer on the importance of great journalism and the power of newspapers. Spotlight refers to the name of the Globe’s investigative team, three reporters and an editor who concentrate on big stories– the kind that take months to unearth.
As we move with blinding speed to the digital age, we seem to be losing this kind of journalism which is critically important to Democracy and societal accountability.
As much as we enjoy social media and the wonders of the Internet, we do lose something when there is no community water cooler.
Having spent 15 years in newsrooms, the movie touched a chord in me and reminded me why I fell head over heels for newspapers as a young man. There is no better job than to write and report and affect change as a result.
Sadly, the business model has changed and journalism–community journalism has taken a beating.
Technology can’t be blamed for it all, newspapers were complicit in their decline by failing to invest in writers and all but eliminating enterprise reporting the very thing that the Internet cannot do. It’s a real head scratcher because there is still an audience who wants and needs to know whats really happening at city hall and in their neighborhoods and schools.
An investment in relevancy may prove to be profitable but newspapers seem loathe to spend on the newsroom and so the decline continues.
The community loses when this happens, because important stories go unreported and innocent people are often victimized as a result.
Spotlight shows the power of old-school shoe leather reporting.
What a movie. Superb.


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