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Time magazine’s Protester cover reminds us of the value of Big Media | Dan Gillmor December 15, 2011

As a PR stunt, Time magazine‘s annual “Person of the Year” exercise works to near-perfection. Each December, for an hour or two, the ever-shrinking publication gets to relive its gloried past, when it was a prime creator of America’s public agenda.

As a journalistic exercise, it’s long in the tooth. Yet it still resonates, and no more so than this year, when the magazine anointed “The Protester” as its #poy2011, to use one of the Twitter hashtag shorteners that is helping to spread the word. It resonates, in part, because it meets Time’s professed standard for its choice. The editors always insist their pick is based on the impact, for good or evil, the person or people have had on the world, but many prior picks have been, at best, debatable.

None raised more eyebrows than the 2006 pick: “You” – when Time literally put a mirror on its cover and told its readers they were oh-so-special. The point that year was to celebrate the way the public was becoming its own media in the Information Age. This year’s pick resonated with the one from half a decade ago, but unlike that one, it was entirely justified.

Time’s choice of Kurt Andersen to write this year’s cover article was smart, even inspired. He is a brilliant writer and observer. Using his own reporting and reams of material from at least 10 other journalists (they get credited at the end of the article), he pulled together the disparate yet connected threads of this still-emerging story. His writing, more than Time’s corporate and editorial pronouncements, gave the piece the gravitas it deserved.

Was the coverage perfect? Of course not. Had I been working on this piece I’d have made even greater use of the edge-in communications from the people on the ground in the places where protesters forced the most significant change.

Even so, the coverage was a reminder of what we in the new media world should keep in mind: what a news organization with deep pockets can do, even now in this age of diminishment for Big Media. Top editors, once they’ve persuaded the financial people, can order a broad, strategic deployment of journalistic resources – especially human beings who are trained to ask good questions and listen to the answers, and then ask some more questions – to bring perspective to a decentralized global movement.

In this case, of course, the perspective emanated from high floors of a corporate office building in New York. Which makes me wonder whether The Protester would have achieved such prominence had the Occupy Wall Street movement not captured national attention this fall.

The people who took over Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan were ignored early on by traditional media organizations. But something else was happening, as Andersen learned: “It was through my Twitter feed that I started noticing that something was going on in my city. The following weekend, I watched the YouTube video of a New York police deputy inspector casually pepper-spraying some random female protesters.”

The New York protesters, and their counterparts in many other cities, tapped into an abiding sense of outrage among Americans who’d realized that Wall Street’s sleaze-ridden institutions, especially investment banks had stolen the nation blind and then been rewarded for it. And then, when Congress considered preventing this from happening again, Wall Street and its corporate and political allies had blocked even that minor repair of a corrupt and broken system. Meanwhile, as the economy tanked and stayed in the tank, the robber barons had continued to rake in their billions in new, still-unearned wealth. And media institutions like Time, which were among the chief cheerleaders for the rise of the corrupt class, took their own sweet time to listen to the protesters who said: “Enough is enough.”

The point at which they could no longer be ignored, I believe, was when police abuse of protesters went viral – because citizen media creators, armed mostly with mobile phone cameras, captured the abuse on video and showed the rest of us, including traditional journalists, what was happening. (The New York Police Department, controlled by a mayor who owns one of the world’s biggest media companies, then assured that journalists would pay attention, by arresting journalists from big media companies whose offense was to attempt to do their jobs.)

The story of the world’s protesters, and the modern media they’ve used and inspired, is not remotely over. But their story is growing in part because old-fashioned media companies like Time are paying serious attention – and discovering that, like it or not, they are participants themselves in the global issues they choose to cover.

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Air crash at US base ‘kills four’ December 13, 2011

Four soldiers were killed when two helicopters crashed on a training exercise, reports quoting a military spokesman said.

Lt Col Gary Dangerfield of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, told the Seattle Times the circumstances of Monday night’s crash remained unclear.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the deceased,” he said, promising a “thorough investigation”.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a joint US army and air force facility.

It supports more than 100,000 military and civilian personnel, contract employees and retirees, the Seattle Times reports.

Lt Col Dangerfield said two OH-58 Kiowa choppers had crashed in the aviation training area south-west of the base at around 20:00 local time (04:00 Tues GMT) in clear skies.

“We will conduct a thorough investigation,” he said. “We will do everything in our power to support the families of the brave soldiers who died this evening.”

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NORAD concluding exercise in Washington region on Sunday November 8, 2011




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NORAD conducts exercise flights over upstate NY October 29, 2011

October 28, 2011

by legitgov


NORAD conducts exercise flights over upstate NY 28 Oct 2011 The North American Aerospace Defense Command says it is conducting military exercise flights over northern New York. Officials say people between Plattsburgh and Watertown may hear or see fighter jets Friday morning as part of the training. The military command, known as NORAD, is a joint Canadian and American operation. [Lets hope they don't 'go live,' as they did on 9/11!]

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NORAD plans exercise in Washington region early Wednesday October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011

by legitgov


Heads up! NORAD plans exercise in Washington region early Wednesday –Flights will take place between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. 25 Oct 2011 NORAD is planning an exercise this week in the Washington region to enhance its skills and test a warning system. The North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 12-01 Wednesday morning. The exercise is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations and test the region’s visual warning system. Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise.

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