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I hope you will find this an honest and useful resource about media, values and democracy. The Blog is where I expand on my HUMORus Twitter feed.  Most of this is about the evolution of news in digital, mobile, horizontal etc. formats; press freedom; the role of journalism in a democracy; the importance of ethics; what is good journalism; life in Hungary today, and other stuff I am thinking about. Longer published reports and analysis are under Reports and Monographs. Published  articles from my legacy media past may be available through an internet search, although some may remain pre-digital in dusty newspaper archives.

Some Links are offered to point you to other sites about journalism quality, controversies, ethics and technology, as well as some excellent news sites, nonpartisan USA political sites, and other related resources.

Click here to write to me. In my next life, I will have time to deal with an interactive site. For now I will try to read your email message and respond to it. I look forward to your ideas and links, and, with your permission, may blog about them to this site. Thanks for visiting...

Ellen Hume

Journalism's Latest Tech Fix: The Flying iPhone

In Africa, “journalists as a part of civil society have fallen off the radar,” according to Heather Gilberds, a Canadian media developer who works in Africa.  Radio is still the most popular medium in sub-Saharan communities, she says. Africans don’t listen to radio on radio sets, they listen asynchronously, through IVRs—systems for recording telephone content. This is important because listeners hear their radio programs on their phones, and need to pay low phone call rates, instead of high data rates.

Outsmarting the Good Old Boys

Watching George Clooney and the demonstrators outside his Democratic fundraiser this weekend was infuriating. Of course the role of money in politics is obscene, as Clooney himself said, even while hosting that donor party for Hillary Clinton. But having Hillary be the villain of that story, saying she is just a creature of Wall Street and corrupt money--is absolutely sickening. Let’s get real. Hillary Clinton did what a woman of her generation in America had to do to become a credible candidate for president of the United States.

INSIDE THE STRUGGLE: Fighting Racism in the USA and Europe

When our honest, contentious, eye-opening meeting was over, I was too preoccupied to post this. Here is what my colleague ended up writing about our INSIDE THE STRUGGLE conference, which was amazing.

http://www.ceu.edu/article/2015-12-14/fighting-racism-two-continents-ceu...

Hacking the Refugee Crisis

The hardest thing about living in Hungary is the official government ideology of hate. Lots of people in nearby countries also embrace Orban’s intolerance toward the refugees; the Polish ambassador told me last night that 80% of Poles said they would like Orban to be their prime minister, too! It isn’t difficult, living in this ugly atmosphere, to understand what happened to Jews and Roma people here during World War 2.

TECH DREAMS

My friend Seth Effron in North Carolina has been handed a dream assignment: figure out how to repurpose some campus buildings to help serve the cause of good journalism. Here is my dream for his project:

"The Road to Freedom"

Ana Contreras Fernandez (left, with scarf) grew up in a Roma family in Barcelona, living the traditional market sellers’ way of life. 

Today Ana has a different career: organizing Roma women so that her own seven-year-old daughter, and all other Gitanas growing up in Spain, can have a more promising future. She is president of Drom Kotar Mestipen, “The Road to Freedom,” a Roma women’s organization founded in 1999 whose work might offer some useful lessons for other impoverished and marginalized people.

More Drama in Hungary (Holocaust Report Part III)

Walking home today from an Easter Monday walk in Budapest, we unexpectedly came upon an artist, Tibor Szilagyi, trying to challenge the government's "Germany Made Us Do It" statue project in Freedom Square. Tibor wanted to protest the government's planned statue, which aims to absolve Hungarians from any Holocaust guilt.

All They Stand to Gain is Their Souls

 

Today officially marks the 70th anniversary of the Hungarian holocaust. A few Hungarian government officials will put flowers by the Danube, where hundreds of Jews were tied together and ordered to take off their shoes. Only the first and last in the line were shot, but the rest, who were lashed to them, died by drowning as they were all pushed into the river. That way the Hungarian Arrow Cross government could save bullets.

Assigning Blame, 70 Years After

Hungary is struggling with how to remember the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust —when 560,000 Jewish and Roma Hungarians were assembled, robbed, tortured, and executed, most in an unprecedentedly fast four-month blitz at the end of the war.

Havel's spirit "we must carry"

Hundreds of us gathered last Sunday night in Prague, to conjure the spirit of Vaclav Havel at the first Forum 2000 conference in 16 years that he wouldn't attend himself. Olda Czerny, who faithfully served in Havel's cabinet and ran these conferences, also died last year. We were feeling sad about all this when Jan Urban, the journalist who taught us how hard it is to "teach old cats to bark," introduced a video of Havel onstage, carrying a guitar.