Thursday, September 20, 2007

New House Blues

We're enjoying the new house on North Second. I'm glad to be able to walk to work every day. But we've hit a variety of things that don't work quite right and I'm a little frustrated and befuddled.

The Cox connection works upstairs, but not in the basement - where the basement studio is supposed to be located. Half the lights in the basement stopped working two days ago and for the life of me I can't figure out which circuit breaker is thrown. The lawn mower decided that it didn't want to run more than five minutes at a time.

Oh well, it could be worse. We found a new bed and bought it in just ten minutes of shopping. That's not a bad investment of our time.

In the meantime, I'm totally out of the loop on local news. It looks like both the Crown and Seasons are almost ready to open! I'll have to stop into Seasons and see what's going on and do the same at the Crown.

Family weekend this weekend and I've agreed to do some shooting for one of my students. So it is not going to be a weekend where I get to finish unpacking afterall.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Broadway RFD Again

The board for Broadway RFD met again last night. One of our major topics of discussion was show for next summer. Here's three of the four we're considering (I hope I get this right! I don't have my notes here at work, and will update soon.)

West Side Story
The King and I
Kiss Me Kate

Which would you like to see? They're all theatrical wellworns, and crowd pleasers - and each has its own challenges. Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is It Good Policy?

I haven't posted for several days now. I've given a great deal of thought to what I'm about to say, and I hope that everyone concerned will read my thoughts for what they are - they are my thoughts. I'm the only one responsible for these thoughts. I am writing to express a concern about a policy in a company that isn't my own. I don't have an ax to grind, I'm not looking to insult or injure, but to express a thought that's been with me for the past six months.

Last week's LNR contained a rather blunt letter from a friend of mine, a fellow member of the Lindsborg Folkdanslag. He was upset with the publishers of Destination Lindsborg because they had not included even a mention of the Folkdanslag in this year's Hyllningsfest edition of the magazine.

Marv was answered by the editor. The editor pointed out that the Folkdanslag had been offered an arrangement similar to that offered to the Swedish Folkdancers. The Swedish Folkdancers took the LNR's offer, the Folkdanslag chose not to take the offer.

The offer was the same kind of offer that the LNR makes to any organization that holds an event at which tickets are sold and/or funds are raised. If you don't buy an advertisement in the LNR you don't get a news story. That may be stating the policy a little too baldly, but that is what the policy amounts to.

I discovered the policy last spring when the paper published no notice of the final production of the 2006-07 Bethany theatre season, Talley's Folly. I was told of the policy by our then director of communication, too late to do anything about either placing an ad or protesting the policy.

That policy was one of the reasons I started doing this blog. If the LNR wouldn't bring news to the people, I would. A little arrogant on my part, I suppose. I was certainly angry when I began this blog.

I was angry not simply that the LNR had that policy, but also that I hadn't been given even a courtesy call telling me of the policy. (I wonder, do the school sporting events all have to take out advertisements for each game?)

The more I think about this policy the more I think it is misguided. The paper may be gaining some involuntary revenue, but it has become an object of derision in much of the community and has made a number of enemies with the policy.

I wonder about the ethics of the policy as well. In most newspapers the editorial side of the paper is sharply divided from the business end. When a non-newspaper person took over the publisher's job at the LA Times a few years ago he wondered why there was the wall of separation and how quickly he could tear it down. The newsroom rebelled.

The reason to keep a wall between the business and the editorial wings of the paper is to keep at least some semblance of objectivity in the reportage, to keep some kind of credibility with the readers. If the paper only prints the news that pays, how credible is the reporting? Would the paper print a negative review of a show that took out a display ad, or would the only pan only a play that purchased a two line classified? Would the paper do independent reporting on businesses and not-for profits when the paper's bottom line depends upon those same organizations buying space? Can a newspaper that prints news only when the sponsor pays be trusted?

I know things are different in Small Town Journalism. But no newspaper can survive long without its reputation in tact. Pay to play journalism is the quickest way I know to lose your reputation, and frankly, the LNR has lost much with many Lindsborgians. Marv Johnson is just the latest to complain about the paper's policies.

It's ultimately their paper and they can do with it what they want. But with the rise of citizen journalism - our little town supports multiple bloggers - I wonder how long they can make the people pay to get noticed in the LNR.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pick Your Spot

Construction continues on the Bethany Campus. One of the walls at the east gate to campus has been faced with brown stone, looking much like the gates at First and Olsson.

The parking lot is about half paved. The front half of the Hahn gym parking lot is ready for occupancy. Today, September 7th, Tom Classen became the first parker on the new lot. Here's how it looked:

Monday, September 3, 2007

North South Divide

I've been away from the Blog for the weekend. Life has been incredibly busy as I've worked on a slide show for the Lindsborg booth at the state fair. Saturday was taken up with traveling around town snapping photos of friendly people, many of them waving.

One of the most interesting things I found out - probably something that most of you know - is that the addresses shift at Lincoln Street. North of Lincoln on North South Streets, the even numbers are on the east side of the street and the odds on the West. South of Lincoln the sides are reversed. That is as surprising to me as my call to Ron MacLennan was to him on Sunday evening - which is why he looks so startled in the photo for today.

I was told that this had something to do with the Lutheran Churches - which are both North of Lincoln and the Covenant, Methodist and Baptists churches, which were all South of Lincoln (at the beginning of the 20th century).

This seems strange to me, but it certainly isn't beyond possibility.

What seems quite likely is the other story I heard about Main Street south of Lincoln. I heard that it is difficult to do retail South of Lincoln because the town tavern has always been located on that block, and some of the more pious members of the town won't go on that block of South Main or let their children go on that block of South Main.

What have you heard about that? Is it true? Is it still true? Are we actually, as small town people, that unthinkingly narrow minded?