Five notes: Spot the motif in this roundup of news and views

There is a theme to this post. Moments in time that change us, either as individuals or a society. I found this thread running through my days over the last week or so; naturally, I decided to blog about it.

From average guy to national symbol

I started my week by writing a curated item for TheVillageCelebration.com about the passing of Rodney King. Try as I might, I can’t remember exactly where I was when I first saw the video of his beating at the hands of four LAPD officers, but I surely remember the feeling in my gut when I saw it.

King appeared on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” in April.

I also don’t remember where I was when I first heard King’s famous line, “Can we all just get along?” I remember wondering if this would be the moment the U.S. race problem would began to resolve itself.  Perhaps it was another brick in the wall: At least, I believe each incident that outrages us may just bring us closer to better understanding each other.

King made an impassioned plea for reconciliation in the wake of riots in South Central Los Angeles.

A journalism journey

On Wednesday, I traveled to New Orleans for the National Association of Black Journalists Convention and Career Fair. I’ve been going to this convention (in various cities) as often as possible since I joined NABJ in 1996. The troubling news about doings over at the Times-Picayune was most definitely in the air and at the heart of conversations: the paper just laid off one-third of its staff and announced it’s going to publish an actual paper only three days a week come fall.

It all got me thinking about how professional organizations can help.  After I posted the blog, a local television reporter told me she’d just been laid off.

¿Haz clic aquí? Si, se puede.

Bloggers gathered in Havana from June 21 to 23 for Festival Clic, billed as a way for Cubans to talk about technology and how it can benefit society. Predictably, the state-run press condemned the conference in the strongest possible terms. Less predictably, the Castro government actually allowed it to take place.

I wrote about this event in a previous blog, all the while wondering if would actually take place.

This American Life, in China

Having visited China for the first time last summer, I remain intrigued by its evolution–especially in the realms of the mass media, social networking and freedom of expression. Thus, the latest edition of This American Life was satisfying to me on all kinds of levels: great storytelling, of course, and a compelling narrative that weaves the personal tales of foreigners living in China with the realities of a tightly controlled media environment.

Mornings in New Orleans

I‘ve wanted to do more travel writing, and saw my first real effort published earlier this month. I’ve also wanted to try posting on Matador.com, a travel blog site that allows users to share their wanderings and journeys. My New Orleans trip nudged me toward my first effort, et voila.

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