Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog
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Friday, December 24, 2004

Between lovely banjo, guitar and mandolin Christmas carols on WDVX and e-mail from a friend in Sweden describing Santa's safe departure on his world tour, I celebrated Christmas Eve by finally putting up the tree... both in the window and on my home page ... and while I was at it, I engaged in a little family nostalgia.

That's actually relevant to the "journalism" topic of this blog, since the picture at the other end of that link shows just how early the seeds of "news media" were planted in my life -- from my grandmother's newspaper to my Dad's photography, both that snapshot and the one of my mother next to (more media!) a portable radio about as old as the version of "Blue Christmas" playing in the background.

Incidentally, that song was written by a radio news veteran named Jay Johnson, who also could edit news tape with a razor blade and eat a cold can of beans for lunch at the same time -- which he did in the closet-size newsroom at WILI, two doors from the old Hartford Courant Willimantic bureau, where my reporting career started.

Speaking of radio -- and Christmas, while searching the Web for a fiddle tune called "Breaking Up Christmas," I found an archived news story by an old friend in North Carolina, complete with audio file and transcript, a good-for-class example of the Web keeping a Radio report available, since it was apparently broadcast four years ago! It's still news to me -- I hadn't realized the tune's title referred to a whole old-time way of celebrating the holiday. Thanks, Leda and!

Back to my home page... I'll keep that family picture around, but the tree should come down for New Year's Day. Last year I went to Somerville's commemoration of the first American flag-raising, wrote a story about it, then kept the flag picture on my home page all year.

This time I'll do something Knoxvillian. (preview)

Meanwhile, to wrap up this rambling holiday hypertext, God Yul, as Barbara says from Sweden. Merry Christmas and a happy end-of-the-old-year... In fact, my tree and string of lights in the window remind me of a note from her about walking past lights in her neighbors' windows, so here it is:

"The window candles are not for the folks in the house, they are for those passing by, to brighten the long night for others. Swedish core philosophy: if you are nice to just one person, you benefit the whole community, because it spreads. And it works. People actually try to be nice."

8:11:05 PM    comment []

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