Every week, I will shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.
On a recent trip to my childhood home of New Jersey, I was discussing with my father the ways in which people consume media these days.
He and I do it very differently.
My dad sticks with a few sources and does so very traditionally; he reads the New York Times, subscribes to Time, and watches the news on TV every night. In doing so, he stays well-informed on a variety of issues both local — to the New Jersey/New York area — and national/international. In addition, by skimming each source thoroughly, he often exposes himself to subjects he would have never otherwise seen.
I, on the other hand, am all over the place. I have not subscribed to a physical newspaper in eight years, but I canvas the web for news outlets I respect and subscribe to their RSS feeds. My “newspaper” is basically my Feedly stream, and I check it multiple times a day. I usually find out the rest of the day’s big news, like so many these days, through new-media word of mouth: noticing what my friends and colleagues share on Facebook and Twitter.
I could write a whole column (and perhaps will) about the conversation between my father and me; I love hearing his opinions and comparing our perspectives.
In this case, I thought about it just now as I sat down to write this story. I realized that, in choosing this week’s 3 Great Stories, I had somewhat followed both of our models of media consumption.
In classic new-media fashion, I was tipped last week to a thought-provoking article about John F. Kennedy, written in a magazine I had never previously read: The New Statesman. I enjoyed the article and have included it in the selections below.
But then, based on my enjoyment of the source, I clicked on a link to another column and — similarly to my dad’s reasoning — began reading numerous articles I would have missed had I not visited the site and looked around. I now subscribe to the feed of The New Statesman — an offbeat choice, by the way, in that it is a English magazine that can often be very Brit-specific in its tone and issues. I happened to enjoy the intellectual and nuanced style of writing, appreciating the writers’ abilities to take singular issues and make universal points.
Call it a meld of old- and new-world media consumption. Both mentalities have their merits, and in this case they made for a delightful hour of reading and learning.
The Camelot delusion: John F. Kennedy’s legacy 50 years on (8/15/13, The New Statesman): This was the article that got me hooked. Naturally, it is the one piece from this UK magazine that deals with American affairs.
And, of course, it delves into one of the more widely discussed topics among U.S. historians: the success, failure, and legacy of the JFK presidency.
Nearly a half-century removed from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, historians disagree almost as staunchly on his legacy as they do his murder. Some describe him as a well-meaning crusader who lit the match for greater victories that came after his death. Others call him vastly overrated, a president whose tangible successes never matched his oratory skills and celebrity.
I enjoyed this take on JFK from David Runciman, in which he examines the arguments of several historians and critics while offering his own. He approaches the subject with a distinct opinion but respect for all sides — a novel and appreciated way of writing during this age of histrionics and hemming to one side of an issue.