About Walter Brasch

Columnist, author, journalism professor. Latest book is BEFORE THE FIRST SNOW: STORIES FROM THE REVOLUTION, a look at the couterculture from 1964, as seen through the eyes of a "flower child" who is now middle-aged--and of the reporter who covered her story. The book is available through Amazon.com . . . Check out website, www.walterbrasch.com for further info. Or, just write me: walterbrasch@gmail.com

Downsizing the News Media; Downsizing Quality and Credibility

      by Walter Brasch   (Part 2 of 2) For more than a decade, advertising, circulation, and news quality in both print and electronic media have been in a downward spiral. That spiral has twin intertwining roots. The first root is the rise of social media. The complacent and stodgy print media were slow to catch onto the concept and rise of social media and its influence upon a generation that conducts its life by a fusion of smart phones to ears. When owners figured out they needed to have a digital presence, they first gave away content in a desperate bid to keep readers, and then began to charge for it to those who didn’t have subscriptions. … Continue reading

Downsizing the News Staff; Downsizing Quality and Credibility

  by Walter Brasch   (Part 1 of 2) On Monday, Nov. 2, every National Geographic staffer was told to report to the magazine’s Washington, D.C., headquarters the next day to await a phone call or e-mail from Human Resources. Ever since Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox corporation bought the magazine in September, there were rumors the new owner would maximize profits by terminating employees. Those predictions came through when Management fired 180 people, and told dozens of others they were being offered “voluntary buy-outs.” The corporation also announced it was eliminating health coverage for future retirees and was freezing all pensions. Management told the public there would be no loss of quality, but it’s hard to believe those claims … Continue reading

Terrorism on American Soil

by Walter Brasch   During this past week a three-year-old boy in Rock Hill, S.C., killed himself when he was playing with a loaded gun in his house. He wasn’t the only one in Rock Hill to die from a gunshot. In July, a man killed himself after shooting his wife, her son and the son’s girlfriend. The following month, someone killed a 30-year-old woman; someone else that same week killed a 27-year-old man. Rock Hill, a city of about 66,000 is not unique. About 2,700 children are killed every year from gunshot violence; about 60 percent of them are homicides, the rest are suicides or unintentional deaths, such as that of the three-year-old. Every year, another 15,000 youth are … Continue reading

The Fracking Crisis: A Manufacturer’s Perspective

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is by Mark Lichty, a business owner and film producer.] I am asking business owners and executives  in Pennsylvania to join me in petitioning Gov. Wolf to put a moratorium on fracking. Until I became involved with the film, Groundswell Rising, I had no issue with fracking.  Ads told me it was safe.  The hypnotizing blue flame and minimal emissions,  convinced me to accept the platitudes of the industry.  Only when I began the research did I understand that there were dire environmental and health consequences. The Pennsylvania  Supreme Court came to the same conclusion when  the chief justice  stated, “Fracking is detrimental to the health and the environment.” The Secretary of Health in New York … Continue reading

The Republicans’ Rhetoric of Hate and Fear

    by Walter Brasch   Fear, laced with paranoia, is driving the American response against allowing Syrian refugees into the United States. President Obama has said he would accept 10,000 refugees, all of them subjected to intense scrutiny before being admitted to the country. France, with a population about one-fifth that of the United States, despite the worst attack on its soil since World War II, will accept 30,000 refugees. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told the Senate, “We are not a nation that delivers children back into the hands of ISIS because some politician doesn’t like their religion.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), a Jew, said the nation should “not allow ourselves to be divided and succumb to Islamophobia,” and … Continue reading

’Twixt the Cobwebs of Halloween and the Lights of Christmas

  by Rosemary and Walter Brasch   At one time, people placed carved pumpkins with a candle inside on their front porches to announce the beginning of the Halloween season. And then it became a contest. First, best Halloween pumpkin. And then who could decorate their trees and hedges with the best fake cobwebs, followed by fake witches in trees. Next came Pumpkin’ Chunkin’, where teams make catapults and launch pumpkins. The beneficiaries of all this, of course, are the candy companies—which have steadily decreased the number of miniature candies and increased the price of them in giant bags—the card industry that began marketing their products not long after Labor Day, and just about every company that has figured out … Continue reading

Snuggling Up to Celebrities Not Part of Journalism Training

  by Walter Brasch   One of the basic tenets of journalism ethics and practices is that reporters must keep their distance from news sources. They’re allowed to be friendly. They’re even allowed to share a meal with a news source. But, they must be independent. It’s a “Caesar’s wife” thing—they must be above suspicion. This past week, Lara Spencer, co-anchor of ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” snuggled up to Donald Trump. In a photo posted to Instagram, she is seen with her left arm around Trump’s shoulder, her right hand across his stomach. Both are looking at each other and smiling. Spencer posted the following message to the photo: “Can’t beat having the REAL DonaldJTrump on.” She added the emoticon … Continue reading

These Judges Don’t Put Defendants into Prison

  By Walter Brasch   HARRISBURG, Pa.—By Tuesday’s election, the seven candidates for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will have spent about $10 million. Their expenditures can be seen in lawn signs decorating almost every part of the state’s landscape, in millions of full color postcards, some as large as 8-1/2 x 11, mailed to almost every voter in the state, and in TV ads. They have already spent about $4 million for TV ads, many promoting each one’s own qualifications, most of the ads attacking the other candidates. There are three vacancies on the Court because two of the justices had to resign over scandals. One justice used her staff to do personal work for her. One justice was implicated … Continue reading