Posts Tagged ‘ New ’

What’s faster, a Jet or a Panther?

Hot off their second straight win last night, beating the Los Angeles Kings in overtime, the Winnipeg Jets have never been closer to having a top-three spot in the Eastern Conference, despite currently being in seventh spot.

The Jets are currently looking up at the New Jersey Devils (41 pts), Pittsburgh Penguins (46 pts), Philadelphia Flyers (48 pts), and Florida Panthers (45 pts).  But the only team Winnipeg needs to catch up to secure a playoff spot is the Panthers, who lead the Jets by only four points.

While both the Penguins and Flyers lead the Panthers in points, the Panthers sit pretty in third place simply for being at the top of the Southeast Division.  Just besting the Panthers in points, an attainable goal, would guarantee a top-three spot in the Eastern Conference for the Winnipeg team.

While the Jets got off to a rocky start under brand new management and coaching staff, the squad seems to only be improving with every passing game, and young talents like Evander Kane, Alex Burmistrov and Ondrej Pavelec are laying a solid foundation for future seasons.

In the month of December, the Winnipeg Jets have won nine of 13 games played, and can improve that to 10 with a victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year’s Eve.  In a strange twist of fate that saw the Jets win and Leafs lose in overtime last night, the two teams’ records have drawn completely even at 18-14-5 for both, setting the stage for a thrilling classic to close out 2011.

The two teams have only met once so far this season, back on October 19, and the Jets gave up a 3-1 lead to fall 4-3 in a shootout in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.  This time, the Leafs will be in the MTS Centre, facing a much more comfortable and improved Winnipeg squad. Toronto will be looking to leapfrog the Jets into a more secure playoff spot, and the Jets will be feverishly trying to hang on to a playoff spot of their own now that they finally have it.

Puck drops at 6:00 p.m. CT on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.  Go, Jets, go!

HirOshima.

I might have enjoyed Hiroshima by John Hersey a little bit more if I hadn’t read the book from front to back in about seven hours, between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.  But this, of course, is my own fault and will not prevent me from giving a genuine and honest opinion on the book.

After hearing it in blog presentations and reading it on people’s blogs for myself, I feel a bit repetitive in saying it, but clearly what worked best and what stands out the most in Hiroshima is the level of detail that Hersey poured into the work, that really brought it to life.

I read something in this book that will likely stick with me indefinitely as one of the most eye-opening (no pun intended) and startling things I’ve ever read, and that is when Hersey describes one of the main characters stumbling upon a group of (temporary) survivors whose eyeballs had melted and were running down their cheeks.  It was partially because I really had no idea that eyeballs could actually melt like that, and just the visual of the scene, it was so gripping and disturbing, and it’s details, however gruesome they may be, that really makes Hiroshima come to life.

One thing that I thought didn’t work in this book was simply the number of characters Hersey chose to focus on.  He chose six in total, and at 152 pages in the book, that leaves an average of about 25 pages for each character’s personal story.  Not only did it possibly force Hersey to jam details together where they might have benefited from being more drawn out, but the characters were just too hard to all keep track of.  They all had specific details to their story, and going from one to the next, to the next, to the next, rinse and repeat just became a headache after a while.  Sometimes I would start a new section on, say, Mr. Tanimoto, and I’d have to flip back to the end of his last segment to remember where his situation had left off, because I’d just finished reading about five other people.

I don’t think anything is necessarily “missing” from this book.  It is an internationally acclaimed piece of writing, and I am a firm believer in the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As grammatically incorrect as it may be.  Like I said, I don’t think anyone would have complained if Hersey had chosen to maybe focus on only three or four of his chosen subjects.

The number one thing, in my opinion, that journalists can learn from this book, is the art of storytelling.  This is a non-fiction work, so how does Hersey make it read like a work of fiction or an action/adventure novel?  Well I certainly don’t have the answer, I assume that Hersey does, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that journalists can learn how important storytelling is to their craft.  The straight facts of Hiroshima, while historic and intriguing, would probably put most of us to sleep if they were just read one after another after another.

But there I was, four in the morning, glued to that book as if my grades life depended on it.  I’m being sarcastic of course, but I really did find the book interesting, and plenty of others in Hiroshima’s place definitely could have put me to sleep at those wee hours of the morn’.  But Hersey’s ability to weave everything together, and make it readable is what journalists need to realize is so powerful about this book.

It’s also what sets the book apart from a lot of other non-fiction works.  I’ve read non-fiction books – professional wrestler autobiographies, let’s say – and a lot of times it’s hard for authors to avoid telling a true story without (basically) saying “After that happened, this happened.”  It’s extremely difficult to try and recount a true story that is full of details without sometimes making the reader feel like they’re just being fed detail after detail.  But Hersey somehow manages to make the entire book, from start to finish, one cohesive unit that flows nicely.

Originally published in The New Yorker, Hiroshima was met with mixed reviews, but I think it was ultimately highly praised. From what I read, it seems like there were some people who believed that, in publishing this work, The New Yorker was taking the stance of being sympathetic to Japan and regretful that the bomb was dropped.  The New Yorker cleared up any and all misconceptions, and, like I said, it was met with mostly high praise.

I enjoyed reading John Hersey’s Hiroshima.  It gave me a really good perspective on the human side of what happened when the atomic bomb was dropped, and I think that is something that we are fortunate to have gotten.  It’s one of those things that is tragic to read about, but important to read about, and I think Hersey did a fantastic job of presenting in a way that is approachable and digestible.

Page One; Not Scared.

Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times is a video documentary that takes viewers inside one of – if not the – most well-known, influential newspaper in the world.  The only problem is, however popular it may be, newspapers in general are going the way of the dinosaur, and The New York Times is afforded no immunity.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you can easily tell from the trailer that a strong focus of the film is the fact that the “Digital Age” continues to devour us, and those who resist are simply being left behind.  The movie seems to hook viewers in the same way that the nightly news likes to hook us; scare tactics.  Or maybe that’s just how it hooks us aspiring journalists.

It’s no secret that the journalism industry is changing.  Almost anything that you can read on a piece of paper nowadays, you can find online in an instant, and read on anything from a 25″ computer monitor, to a two-inch iPhone screen.  And for older journalists and writers, perhaps this might be a cause for concern.  But the journalism industry as a whole? I don’t think so.

As was mentioned during an in-class discussion earlier this week, it seems that a lot of people are getting the impression that journalism is dying, when really, it’s just changing. But nobody wants to watch a movie about how journalism is changing, which is why the trailer places so much emphasis on David Carr’s line of, “Could The New York Times go out of business?”

So just because the platform for modern journalism and reporting is changing, all of these news outlets are going to go out of business?  I don’t know about you guys, but my tweets don’t tweet themselves.  My blog doesn’t just generate random postings every once in a while.  And my stories on the Manitoba Bisons website don’t write and publish themselves, either.

Page One was an interesting movie to see, just for a behind-the-scenes look at The New York Times, and to see just how these changes are affecting big-name news outlets.

There will always be a need for good journalists, reporters, and writers.  So that’s what I focus on.  Improving my skills, building my portfolio, and getting as much experience as I can.  Personally, I couldn’t be more excited to be breaking into journalism at this time.  We’re really the first generation who is going to bridge the gap between the way journalism used to be, and the way it’s going to be.  And that doesn’t scare me in the least.