When Metro US asked me to be guest editor of their daily newspapers in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, it immediately reawakened my early love affair with print, going back to my school years in Athens when my father was a newspaper editor, and newspaper after newspaper that he ran kept going out of business -- but that's another story.
I loved the idea of editing a newspaper... for a day.
I'm constantly asked about working online versus working in print -- as if new media and traditional media are engaged in a winner-take-all steel-cage-death-match fight-to-the-finish instead of each adjusting to new realities and navigating an uncertain path to the future. I firmly believe in a hybrid future where old media players embrace the ways of new media (transparency, interactivity, immediacy) and new media companies adopt the best practices of old media (fairness, accuracy).
For me, it's never been an either/or proposition. Whatever the platform, it's all about having interesting content and delivering it in a compelling manner.
It was great fun working with the Metro staff picking which stories to feature -- and offering my take on the day's top news.
If you live in New York, Boston, or Philadelphia, pick up a copy of Metro and see what we've come up with. If you don't (or if you prefer getting your news online), here are links to some of the stories we selected, and my take on them.
The issue also features a column by me and a multi-feature spread on one of my favorite organizations, the Harlem Children's Zone, run by a man I have long admired, the remarkable Geoff Canada.
The Story: The AIG Bonus Fight
My Take: It's a battle to see who is more tone-deaf: the AIG execs pushing for bonuses despite running the company into the ground or the members of the Obama administration who didn't realize this would inspire such outrage.
The Story: AIG Outrage Threatens to Deplete Obama's Political Capital
My Take: Obama didn't realize soon enough how ineffective and powerless allowing these bonuses would make him and his administration look. He needs to win this fight.
The Story: Some States Want to Buck Obama on Stem Cell Research
My Take: Obama's executive order was a major setback in the Right's War on Science. This is an attempt by those longing for an Age of Dis-Enlightenment to do an end run against him -- and against the will of the majority of Americans.
The Story: The Pope Claims that Condoms Make the AIDS Crisis Worse
My Take: No matter how overwhelming the evidence, there are always a few true believers who just won't admit they're wrong. To have Pope Benedict leading the flat-earth anti-condom chorus while flying to a place where 22 million people are infected with HIV boggles the mind.
The Story: Facing Budget Cuts, Philadelphia Considers Legalizing Marijuana
My Take: Incarceration of non-violent drug offenders does not improve public safety. Treatment and accountability do. We need to rethink America's war on drugs, which has increasingly become a war on young people of color -- especially in these desperate economic times.
The Story: A Profile of Geoff Canada and The Harlem Children's Zone
My Take: Ever since Geoff Canada returned to Harlem with a master's from Harvard and a third-degree black belt, he's been fighting a block-by-block and child-by-child battle against poverty, drugs, gangs, and indifference. Through the Harlem Children's Zone, he's turned around lives while reminding America that we have, in too many ways, and in too many places, failed our children. He's a hands-on hero.