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** UPDATED: A MANIFESTO OF MEDIA** THE PLANET SPURS DAWNING OF A NEW DAY IN BERKSHIRE COUNTY MEDIA. IS IT JOURNALISM? YOU BETCHA, AND BLOGGING TO B

BY DAN VALENTI

WE HAVE ADDED TO THIS STORY TO EXPLORE THE MOST SERIOUS STORY OF OUT TIME: THE ROLE OF THE LOCAL MEDIA IN COVERING THE NEWS, PEOPLE, AND EVENTS OF OUR TIME. THE ESTABLISHMENT MEDIA HAS LET THE PEOPLE DOWN. THIS SITE, PLANETVALENTI.COM, HAS COME TO THE RESCUE. WE HAVE THE AUDACITY TO MAKE SUCH A CLAIM. READ ON AS WE REFINE OUR STATED INTENTIONS.

VALENTI, blogging and all. Is it journalism? Why, yes, my good man.

The definition of “journalist” has evolved since the 18th century in this country. There was a time, when the Founders talked about the sacredness of the marketplace of ideas, that “journalism” wasn’t known as such. Your opinions counted, but what counted more were your arguments. The Founders loved contribution from all sources, believing that the truth would win out.

Sadly, we have all but lost the respect for argumentation. As a winner of many oratorical contests in college and as a champion debater, THE PLANET has and will continue to enjoy matching logic and wits with the best. It’s the idiots who bore us because they possess no challenge. When someone’s “argument” against a position is simply to call you names, we can only add more sand to their sandbox and give them a shovel and pail. We won’t waste out time there. We would rather duke it out with the adults.

Newspapers began as tout sheets blatantly advertising issues or candidates. Journalism as we know did not come about until the early 19th century. When newspapers were king from the mid 19th century to the early 20th, circulation ruled, not advertising. Papers gave readers what they wanted. Those were the heady days of Hearst, Pulitzer, and Ambrose Bierce.

When advertising becomes the economic basis of news, all that changes. Newspapers become prey to advertisers. Journalism was tamed and, by the end of World War II, pretty much controlled by vested interests (Big Advertising as Big Money). Civic leaders, politicians, bankers, and other “players” presented enough sacred cows to newspapers to start a Hindu temple.

Such has been the case until pretty much now. Welcome, digital.

Pen, paper, and keyboard: CAUTION!! Journalist at work.

Cyberspace began to come of age as a journalistic medium in 2001, on 9/11/01 the way TV came of age the day Jack Kennedy was murdered in Dallas. In the almost-10 years since Sept. 11, technology has made rapid inroads, putting the power of the press literally in the hands of the people.

This rattles government, the Establishment, politicians, and anyone who has something to hide. It also shakes up the set little world of small-minded people who make the facetious claim that journalists who write in cyberspace, call them bloggers, are somehow transformed into entertainers because of the medium. To be a blogger does not make one a journalist. But being a journalist who blogs keeps you a journalist. Yes, we are entertainers. Yes, we give opinions. And yes, what we write is fact-based.

The medium may be the message, but it’s not the messenger. In the past 10 days, this web site — your humble PLANET — has beaten the local establishment media, including the practically defunct and thoroughly moribund Berkshire Eagle, on three important stories: the closing of a much-hyped downtown business, the EPA fine of Pittsfield-based Interprint, and the school department’s dumping of toxic sludge into the Housatonic River.

How is the public interest NOT served by this? How is this not responsible? How does it not help democracy when you give people more information upon which they can understand what’s happening in their public lives? Remember, those representatives you elect every election are acting in YOUR NAME. Do you like what they do? Do they represent your interests well? Can they do it better?

Welcome to THE PLANET. We shall be on this the length of our existence, for that is the story: Making government, public officials, and anyone who affects public life more accountable for the things they do. The Establishment Media locally no longer does this. We shall take up the challenge. We will fight for you, The Little Guy.

They are slow, and we are fast. They are timid, and we are fearless. They have many masters to please, and we have none. This site shall for the time being remain sponsorless, unbought, and unbossed.

A new day is dawning for the media in Berkshire County, and this web site is leading it. Message to all apologists for mediocrity, corruption, and inefficiency in public life: Don’t look now, but we we’re gaining on you. This site grows by the day, and we are only beginning.

THE PLANET: Fighting for the Little Guy and leveling the playing field.

THE PLANET has received many communications along the line of “Thank you. There’s finally a site that plays fair by the Little Guy.”

It is our pleasure. It is Los Angeles, the day Zorro arrived to make it a fair fight. It is Metropolis, the day Superman decided to take up work there as Clark Kent. It is here. It is now.

We have also had many critical reactions. Some have provided valuable guidance for our mistakes. Those we take seriously and respect, even thank. Other reactions have been negative in the form of dissing and personal attacks. Those we ignore. We shall keep posting them so that such people can hoist themselves by nooses of their own making.

13 Responses to “** UPDATED: A MANIFESTO OF MEDIA** THE PLANET SPURS DAWNING OF A NEW DAY IN BERKSHIRE COUNTY MEDIA. IS IT JOURNALISM? YOU BETCHA, AND BLOGGING TO B”

  1. Dee
    December 14, 2010 at 3:40 am #

    A rose is a rose is a rose. Some of us really don’t care what you call yourself, as long as you continue to enlighten us and contribute (in a fair way) to our informational databases.

    A journalist, a blogger, an entertainer, a rumour monger, rable rouser, challenger. I enjoy them all.

    Keep the commentary coming, we are listening.

  2. Joe Pinhead
    December 14, 2010 at 5:08 am #

    Great piece Dan, it should be obvious to even the casual observer that the establishment is worried. They can no longer control the news. When the paper was affiliated with Topix they got nervous because one of their own was being outed and shut it down. The establishment was so worried because people were using screen names, which editorial in the daily is sighed? Hypocrites. We can now have a news room in the palm of our hand no matter where we go, with Rss feeds and press releases and a few zillion sites on the internet covering anything someone is interested in bookmarked as your favorites. This will make the daily’s who have not served the best interest of the wider customer base defunct. Am I supposed to shed tears for them now? Or wait until they tell me to.
    A classic example of shaping a story to fit the needs of the powerful can be found in the June22, 2008 edition of the Eagle. I will share more later on that. Please keep up the good work the exchange of ideas and viewpoints will only strengthen the community as a whole in the end.

  3. No reply
    December 14, 2010 at 9:25 am #

    Agree with Dee. Valenti is a pick one ^provacateur, newsman, impressario, red-ass giver, guerrilla writer, robin hood, comedian, or whatever. He puts words to paper or to a computer screen. i don’t always agree with him but he has the biggest round ones and the thickest skin of any other so-called “journalist in town. Why should the media he uses matter. This site is getting lots of attention as the sad excuse of daily newspaper looses control of the product.

  4. No reply
    December 14, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    and wanted to add, that I would respect the Eagle a whole lot more if it would cover stories rather than covering them up. Soldier on.

  5. Still wondering
    December 14, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Yep. Soldier On could never pass an audit. So before the potential scandal gets bigger, we all should be lobbying for SOME state agency to look at their books.

    • danvalenti
      December 14, 2010 at 11:59 am #

      Good idea. If all is on the up and up there, the place should have no problem with an INDEPENDENT look at the books.

  6. Dean
    December 14, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    I applaud you for addressing the issue Dan. My concern is the way in which you report news. You attack, you hypothesize, and you only take one side (anti-establishment), that is not the role of a journalist but the role of a blogger. This is why Twitter is better than blogs, only enough room for the fact, no room for the opinion. Still, biased news is better than no news.

    • danvalenti
      December 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

      DEAN
      Fair comments. I would only add that I take the side of the “establishment” when warranted. I want to address the issue of bias, objectivity, and truth. Do you think people would be interested?

  7. Dean
    December 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    I think media bias is one of if not the biggest problems we have in this country. They are the real watchdog, there is no need to steal cables if the media did its job. Not enough honest journalists out there and much much less honest executives and editors.

  8. HAIL VALENTI
    December 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    We agree on that: If the mainstream media were doing their job, Wikileaks would have to do what it did.

  9. Stone Hingee
    December 15, 2010 at 7:59 am #

    Media bias is used all the time but where isnt there bias? The minute you make a decision, whether media or not, its a form of bias/ would like to see more on Assnage and that matter.

  10. Lurkertroll
    December 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Very much looking forward to your venture. Build an army…the people are looking for a life raft in Pittsfield. Watch your back…it’s a dirty town with not to be trusted desperadoes

  11. Little Guy
    December 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    I did read in the paper that there was going to be a pancake breakfast this weekend. 2 types are to be available, buckwheat and blueberry