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Tom Brady, race, Russia and politics: Why the new media, cum social media #fails at covering stories objectively.

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Statue of Liberty smallFiftieth Reunion Report

I saw my second family and growing-up boy in Ukraine in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and shall be back for my 23rd visit in January, 2016.

In the 45th report I boasted of publishing Politicus #1,074, which would date the drafting to March, 2011. I have just published #1,341. Many were written primarily for The Duxbury Clipper, where I went to work in November, 2011. My current salary is 40% of what I was making at The Providence Journal 12 years ago.

I am grateful. While it is painful to no longer have a steady forum for my views of the wide world, writing for a town of 16,000 has been good for my journalism. In a small town one can’t forget one is writing about fellow human beings. Disagreement today mustn’t become personal lest it prevent working together tomorrow. Had I better understood this when I was slam-banging governors and statesmen I’d have been a better journalist and person.

I joke that I am like FBI agent Herbert J. Philbrick in the 1950’s t.v. thriller, “I Led Three Lives.” There is my renewed life in Duxbury, which began as a summer place before I was born. There are my loves in, and love for, Ukraine. There is my life in Jamaica Plain — the varyingly minority, varyingly poor and rich Boston neighborhood where I have lived cheek by jowl with the manipulated and forgotten for 42 years.

In the 45th Report I noted that in 1986 I exposed the fact that the late Boston City Councillor Albert O’Neill was a member — a lifelong supporter it turned out — of a Missouri-based white-supremacist group. My report was picked up by responsible media and played a possibly decisive role in O’Neill’s not being elected sheriff of Suffolk County, which includes Boston.

But that was a generation ago. On January 15, 2013, I published a detailed story about bus stops at two Boston hospitals 6,600 feet apart. If I may quote: “…[T]he stop at Faulkner Hospital has good lighting, a sturdy shelter, a manual stoplight and a handicapped way crossing Centre Street to the inbound shelter.

“…[T]he stop at Lemuel Shattuck [state] Hospital, which serves the relied-upon buses to Ashmont and Mattapan, has poor lighting and no curb cut. …[T]he only indication it is a bus stop at all is worn grass in summer and icy footprints in winter from dangerous efforts by the Shattuck’s workers and patients to navigate the granite curbs of the center strip in the middle of the highway.”

These findings were sent to (among others) the responsible state officials, the elected officials representing the two stops, and every member of The Boston Globe’s editorial board. When no one bit I published an update with color pictures on August 28, 2013. The initial release on Martin Luther King’s birthday was coincidental; the update, sent on the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington, was so intended.

More than two years later the Shattuck’s stop remains an impending fatal accident ignored. The home of the owner of both The Boston Globe and the Boston Red Sox is 11,088 feet away. This will not do.

The coverage Tom Brady’s allegedly deflated footballs was proof enough to me that, from race to Russia to politics, the new media, cum social media, are not capable of covering any story objectively and without self-promotion.

The Globe’s editorial pages were once more important to the exchange of ideas in Greater Boston than any of our great universities. These pages were recently decimated, their best writers sent packing. There is little to replace them. This will not do.

I occasionally bump into Fred Glimp, who signed our admission to Harvard in 1962. I tell him that I was his only mistake in 45 years at Harvard. But in addition to friends who came to Harvard with me from Noble & Greenough, three I met made Harvard worthwhile: Deszo Nicholas de Thold, ’64; our First Marshall, Barry Lawson Williams, ’66; and the sweet Sydney Lieberman, ’66, who died on May 12, 2015.

–David A. Mittell, Jr.

Written by aboutblackboston

October 24, 2015 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Fresh Spots

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The NAACP introduced the Internet via the most progressive voice in Black America

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The first time the NAACP educated its loyal base about the emerging Internet it developed a cover story article titled “Movin’ Into the Fast Lane on the Information Superhighway”  for its members’ magazine.

Published April 1995 in “The Crisis,” its own magazine branded  the most progressive voice in Black America, the NAACP captured perfectly why millennium year destinations such as Black Twitter zones are resonating  among African Americans and non-blacks today.

The 21 year old article quoted an African American  pre-The Root web site publisher who said ” our philosophy is that the Black Experience brings to the table something not only the  Black community needs, but also the non-black and the world community can use”
Put your thinking caps on and if you’re capable and willing, let’s discuss what role you could play in developing and implementing a post-beta version.  Boston media producer William Murrell, III contributed to the NAACP article featured in the blog post.

Check ya later,

July 2011
@blackboston on Twitter

Written by aboutblackboston

July 12, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Over saturate us with a brand not the Gates & Gates story

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motowns 50th anniversary logo

Motown is a one word brand

.”..Almost one year ago, the noted Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested at his Cambridge home. Upon returning from a business trip in China, Gates was unable to open his front door…..”

and you know the rest, right?

The July 1, 2010 Boston Banner paper lead off its editorial page with a reminder about the Gates and Gates story by opening with the paragraph above.

The article recommended a book written by Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree titled “The Presumption of Guilt” as it ended.  Its a thoughtful read for all Americans offered the Banner, referring to why the  Gates and Gates incident is important.  The editorial is subtitled “A case of false arrest.”

Enough! The Gates and Gates incident is not important for the nation. Both men behaved stupidly, right prez.

The “Cause for Celebration” editorial the Banner wrote a week ago is an eye popper about Juneteenth.   Its worth reading.   But, predictably, “The Presumption of Guilt” sales results will show disappointing numbers if the book fails to mount the recommended reading list of schools, colleges or a university.

Its July 1, 2010 and still a good day to over saturate us with a brand than with the Gates & Gates story.   The Banner is a good brand but don’t just believe the statement, let’s test the theory out in the next paragraph.

Here goes.

Think of the one word that comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “Boston Black / African American news source” and you would say ________________

_________________ on the iPad too?


Written by aboutblackboston

July 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm

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CompuServe Closes: why Black Boston remembers

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a road well traveled

a road well traveled

CompuServe enabled black online entrepreneurs  in Atlanta, Boston and Detroit to monetize their passionate interests in black community online social networking well before the Internet reached mass appeal and this is an accounting of how it  happened.

It was -14 degrees outside in Washington D.C when the female African American mayor was captured in a photograph by the Washington Post driving a snow plow through the streets.  We were inside warm offices negotiating.  Our collaboration  with nationwide Afronet BBS sysops,  Congressional Black Caucus members and attendees of a Department of Commerce  conference about  blacks on the new Information Superhighway,  had created an opportunity to join people who operated independent African American online properties with an established publisher who welcomed the chance to build something together. The new online project was named GO AFRO.

>>(Jul 8, 2009) – Network World magazine reports that the granddaddy of the online industry, CompuServe, has been closed down by its parent AOL as of July , 2009, after 30 years in operation… full story <<


(1995) The Museum of Afro-American history on Beacon Hill at 20 Joy Street had an online history moment “first” when its director, a Ms  Sylvia Mckinley approved content for use on  CompuServe’s Go Afro social networking forum.

Boston’s Kenny Granderson, the founder of, was actively working his magic  in Go Afro.  He also had bought the domain names, and and was publishing online while meeting with the City of Boston about possibilities to collaborate.   One project was in  association with banks installing  kiosk-driven screens  in their locations containing  digital Black Boston history. That story was  televised by Karen Holmes of Channel 5’s CityLine because the content was written in a book published by  historian Robert Hayden of Boston’s South End.  more details…

The Internet was bare of Black destinations for people who surfed online to go places and discover the world at the time.  We searched the CompuServe network for the word “Afro and African American” only to find references to Grolier’s encyclopedia at the time. CompuServe had over 2 million active members and  hundreds of connected social sections. We didn’t see any black operated ones. BostonMurrell co-produced the GO AFRO Compuserve venue  on behalf of American Visions magazine, a world-wide magazine  featuring  Afro-American culture and arts. American Visions was  the official magazine of the African American Museums Association when CompuServe partnered to launch its content online.

Clinton was the President of the United States as the project was  unfolding. A new President of Haiti was being elected. Musician Greg Osby was gigging at Wally’s Cafe and signed copies of CDs distributed to online members of Go Afro.  Boxer Joe Frazier, actress Pam Grier, and author Connie Briscoe’s (“Sisters and Lovers”) were forum interview guests.  George Curry published Emerge Magazine and appeared to chat online audience twice.   The  USA Today newspaper  publicized  Go Afro online events nationwide.

To get it going, BostonMurrell hired Boston’s Roxbury Media Institute founder to assist with writing copy for 18 GO AFRO online introductory areas. The approved material and the upload of 8 years of digitized material from the magazine  launched Go Afro’s online debut. It was one of the  first significant revenue generating online destination for anyone that appreciates Afro-American culture and the arts, and was in direct competition with AOL’s NetNoir online venue.  AOL had invested $500,000 to get NetNoir off the ground. CompuServe’s investment was the partnership agreement to join its system and their  international media marketing machine was thrown in.  Go Afro revenue came from connection fees and people had to pay to get there.

The competition for black online  mind share was an all-out war.  Analysts predicted  GO AFRO could generate a million dollars in gross revenue and it did.  Revenue splits were pushed out to the sponsor and CompuServe retained most of it. The rest  covered staff hours and funded offline networking meetings with members in different states.

This writer went to a member meeting in DC and 60 people were there from across the United States.  Participants  dropped  thousands of consumer dollars on the host city.  Staff were a mix of volunteers who were expert in their respective areas. Most resided in the US while one, the leader of the Music section,  lived in the United Kingdom.

CompuServe was charging for access and people didn’t mind paying.  GO AFRO had  registered 35,000 paying subscribers, managed 600,000 personal communications and  CompuServe distributed a Go Afro team produced “Museums without Walls” multimedia CD ROM to its three million subscribers nationwide in recognition of the importance of Black history, art and culture in America for free.

CompuServe was the home of GO AFRO – the world’s first online revenue producing crowd sourced destination for everyone  who appreciated African-American culture, worldwide.

This post is a tribute to CompuServe and a thank you to American Visions magazine ( I hope all of you are doing well).

Online content creators  seeking to monetize their time online have it harder now.  The game has changed.

CompuServe  put revenue in the hands of content creators and 15% of the proceeds was not unusual.  ISPs and Search Engines are still getting paid from people surfing the net.  The ISPs ( Comcast, Verizon, etc.) will share revenue with a few content producers but not many.  Google banks $21 billion a year from displaying ads during search activity while a tiny amount is shared with content creators.


Written by aboutblackboston

July 12, 2009 at 2:17 am

Profiles of Black American web surfers

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Written by aboutblackboston

May 22, 2009 at 9:47 pm

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