does not do the devastation felt in Newtown, CT justice. Seeing thousands of
people, cars, flowers, police, media, memorials and passing hearses up close
and in person was like a punch in the gut. So overwhelmingly sad and tragic.
This was written by my friend William C. Jackson. I will add no words to the discussion as the piece speaks for itself.
Originally posted on Facebook December 14, 2012
"Rant/Commentary...I am just going to come
out and say it...I am mentally ill. I am not joking here. It is the
truth. I have been battling depression and anxiety for the past
five-and-a-half years. And for all the problems I have had, including
dealing with cruel, insensitive people, I
have never thought about buying a gun, and then going to a public space
to start opening fire (My illness is well-documented, so I wouldn't be able to get a gun, anyway).
I said that if it is revealed that the scum that killed all those
people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown had a mental illness, I
would be EXTREMELY angry. Why? Because I have a mental illness. And
most people with mental illness are NOT violent. They want to be treated
just like everyone else, and I am no different. But with things such as
this happening, there is a stigma associated with having this illness
(Can he be trusted not to hurt anyone if something bad happens to him?
William C. Jackson
I feel for the families of the families of the victims, especially those that will be without their child for the holidays.
I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like the gunman.
Please, media, do not say that he had a mental illness. Don't make it harder for people like me.
Edited excerpts from various articles I’ve written on my experience at Ground Zero.
To this day I cannot explain what made me go to New York. It’s just that despite the images I saw over and over on the
television screen I still could not believe it. Really. I had to see for myself.
13, 2001 - I just came back from the other side“Ground Zero” they ‘re calling it. The scenes there are unforgettable,
unimaginable, and incomprehensible. I will never forget the sight of fire and smoke
rising from the hole in the sky where the World Trade Center once stood.
The streets were littered inches thick with dirt,
dust, soot, glass, metal, ashes and burned paper everywhere. I’m aware that
mixed in the debris are body parts. The twisted wreckage of cars, trucks and
vans all cemented, seared into the streets, on the sidewalks and against the
sides of buildings. The fire trucks, police cars and emergency vehicles stood
frozen in time completely mangled and upsided. I was totally unprepared to view
the devastation. People on the street openly weeping, it was too much to process.
Lost/missing pictures of loved ones on bus stops,
trees, the sides of passing trucks and store front windows. The yellow ribbons,
the candles, the makeshift shrines. Red, white and blue on everything worn by
everyone. The sight of the men, and women buses and trucks as they enter and
exit the scene of the crime. The faces of these heroes exhausted and drained. Being in
a crowd of 10,000+ people who are silent or whispering or weeping, all staring
Ground Zero Remains
of cars, trucks, vans and military vehicles filled with volunteers from all
over the country also included (surprisingly) “inmate work crews.”
The events of September 11, 2001 gave us a new sense of
our place in the world. Goliath fell that day, it’s still a hard pill for us to
Yet tonight as I sit here at my computer looking over at
what can best be described as my memorial from that day, a foot high glass
bottle filled with ashes burned financial papers, twisted blinds taken from the crime scene I’m sure of one thing. The events of 9/11 are the direct
result of hatred. Hate can have no place in our lives.
GINA PANETTIERI -
TALCOTT NOTCH LITERARY by Jocelyne Hudson-Brown
The purpose of this
paper is twofold. It satisfies a class assignment to interview a leader in the
communications industry and it is also my hope that it provides another MACOMM student
with an interest in the literary field some insight into the profession. It
seemed fitting that I do this in print form in opposition to a produced video
piece because the “printed word” putting print to paper, is the truest from of
the literary art form.
Part 1 of the following
interview with Gina Panettieri was conducted on May 25, 2012 at the office of
Talcott Notch Literary in Milford, CT. Part 2 was conducted at 2012 BookExpo America
at the Jacob Javits Convention in New York on June 5th 2012.
I met Gina Panettieri
while satisfying a 200 hour internship as part of the MACOMM curriculum. I
found her to be warm, available and just a wealth of information. The following
excerpts are from an interview where she freely answered
Jocelyne Hudson-Brown -How did you get your start in the business?
Gina Panettieri – My start was not traditional. I was hosting a
writers support group; soon writers began asking for help. I began advocating
for writers, interviewing attorneys, editors, writing letters, just doing it to
be supportive. People began saying “You are good.” I got no pay just
satisfaction. Then someone suggested that I do this for profit. So in 1988 I
said, “You’re right” and I have been going ever since. You must understand when
I first started there were really no internships. People got a job and stayed
for 20 years. Interns have the opportunity to learn a profession and practice
JHB - In these lean times (for your industry) how are you
– Good Question. There have been a number of failures. Borders, small
bookstores…they failed to make the transition. This (economy/digital advances)
has challenged everyone. The big change right now is the Amazon dominance. They
are both a selling platform and a publishing platform now, stealing some of the
biggest authors. They (Amazon) have unlimited resources. Publishers now have
the double challenge of the economy and Amazon. Some agencies are now offering
more. They are serving as publishers also publishing to “E” format, doing
editing, providing cover art. Providing more services.
JHB - What adjustments have you made to adapt your work to the
“ digital” way of doing things?
- There is money to be made in digital. Using their (Amazon’s) experience and
knowledge. Joining them makes sense for agencies. An eBook now comes
automatically with print.
JHB – Correct me if I’m wrong. I think no matter the advances
occurring with digital publishing, people still want a real book.
- God yes! They still want to hold it in their hands. I know of one author who has
had 5 books published. The first 4 were digital, the last one in print. She
said the print one was the first one that felt “real”. There is something about
getting that box of books, of seeing it on the shelf. Also, monetary
commissions are greater when a book is taken to print. When a book gets printed
it is a commitment to the author from the publisher. They (the author) get more
support, a real push with regard to marketing and promoting.
JHB - What do you see for the future of your industry?
- Books will survive. Hardcover sales are up. People like books for collecting,
and then there are the coffee table books. Books are beautiful. Also, some books
do not translate well to digital. Picture/Art books, recipe books. Seeing them
on Kindle does not have the same effect.
JHB - What might be considered the downside (negative) of your
– Commission based income can be a downside. You have to sell (books). Any work
based on sales can be scary. But, if your book just had a big hit you will be
glad not to be on salary. It is not a 9-5 job; you will be reading on evenings
and weekends. About 50-60 hours a week of reading. Clients will want your time.
The hours can be demanding. Then there is travel for conferences. Most
publishing events are held on weekends. If you are a person in demand the
weekend is taken up with conferences, clients, making contacts. It is a
commitment not a Monday-Friday, 9-5. You have to love books, talking about
books, meeting people. It’s an art, it’s terrific.
JHB - Besides the usual “follow your dreams” is there any
advise you could give?
You need to know your market, study it. Subscribing to industry
magazines and journals enables you to make informed decisions. Within them is a
ton a free content. Educate yourself. This is also a profession that requires
“personality”. It is definitely not for
the risk adverse. You cannot be frightened by challenges and you must have
drive and ambition. Know your genre and understand the rules. Study what
successful people in you market have done.
Part 2 BookExpo America, Jacob Javits Convention Center New York,
BEA Publishers Exhibit
BookExpo America (BEA)
is an annual industry event that features over 1350 exhibitors from all over
the world. They include literary agents, publishers, book dealers, digital
suppliers dealers. Most every major player in the industry is represented. Literary
professionals from all over the world are featured. Included were
representatives from Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Germany among others.
elements include bloggers conferences, educational seminars, author interviews,
photo ops and autograph sessions and galley giveaways.
professionals that attend the event are book publishers, literary agents, teachers,
book buyers for schools and universities, book sellers (store owners),
librarians, anyone who may be responsible for recommending books to be acquired
or purchased. It is not open to the general public.
categories exhibited are adult trade, art/photography/coffee table,
body/mind/spirit, business books, children/young adult trade, cookbooks, drama,
education/how to, environmental/natural world, erotic, foreign language,
gay/lesbian, graphic novels, health medical, history, humor, large print,
literature/poetry, multi-cultural, philosophy, professional educational,
reference, religious, remainders/bargain books, science fiction/fantasy,
scientific/technical/professional, self help/recovery, Spanish books, text
books, travel outdoor recreation, university press, women’s studies/feminist, coloring
books, journals, hobbies and crafts, bookmarks/bookplates, calendars, limited
edition, and stationary.
the digital domain are exhibits that featured the latest apps,
devices/e-readers/tablets, digital marketing, digital services, eBook
accessories/ eBooks, e-publishing solutions, mobile products and services,
search engines, social media, software development, internet marketing and
services featured included publicity/promotion, distribution, posters,
inventory control, rights/permissions, retailer supplies/services, music and
The primary reason for highlighting so many components of BEA in this
writing is that each one represents a specialty/niche within the literary
profession. Seeing them all in one place at the same time was quite exciting. A
book (any book from any genre) is a lot more that words on a page with a nice
cover. Anyone with traditional experience in communications (audio/video,
writing, production, internet/web specialists) will find their skills are
easily transferable to the literary field where they are very much wanted,
needed and appreciated. What is great about it is that one can easily find
themselves as the biggest fish in a small pond particularly where production
and digital expertise is concerned.
at BEA the interview with Gina Panettieri continues:
JHB - How long have you been
coming to BEA?
GP- This must be I think my tenth year.
JHB – This is my first time
here.So much to see and do,I am very excited and a bit
overwhelmed and over stimulated in a good way. (I consistently overheard this
from other attendees as well.)As a
literary agent with your experience what does the BEA mean to you? For me it is
a total exposure to the industry. What does it do for the more experienced
Gina meets w/author at BEA
GP – It gives me an opportunity
to see what publishers are excited about, what they are promoting, their big
titles. It gives me a chance to speak with other publishing professionals and
to interact with them. If I have a product that is appropriate I can take a
one-on-one appointment with them and pitch certain projects.
just gives me more of an opportunity to get an idea of what’s going on in
publishing. There are workshops, panels and seminars that are going on that are
very informative. It is both a selling venue and an educational forum. People
can use it for a number of different purposes.
JHB – Thank you Gina for a
wonderful opportunity. I appreciate seeing the literary arena like this.
Indeed, one can never judge a book by its cover!
From the point of view of a journalist the discussion begins
with “information that becomes known to you and you could release to the public.”
Would you reveal it?
First of all, I would be anxious about even having such a
secret (there are always repercussions). If said secret is an important part of
the story not just a salacious entry I feel it should be revealed. Of course,
there will be people (stakeholders) who do not agree.
As indicated in my first post “Watergate” comes to mind most
immediately when it come to the media, journalists and the revelation of
secrets. What began as a story about a burglary ended
with the toppling of a president. The
“secrets” involved former FBI agents, White House staff and President Nixon all
involved in illicit, illegal activities, lies and cover-ups. Government
officials acting as an organized crime unit. There is no doubt that this “secret”
should have been revealed.
The United States of America is based upon the
ideals of a democracy. These men were going about the business of winning an
election and running the country like entitled gangsters. The whole idea if not
revealed could have destroyed a nation. The Washington
Post showed an enormous amount of courage to publish a story like this. According
to the Post publisher
there were "unveiled threats and harassment." The notion that they did not buckle under the enormous
pressure is really incredible. Quite honorable.
Saving Democracy/Ousting a President?!
In deciding whether to reveal a secret I would use some of
the following criteria. The first thing I would start out with is the source.
If the source of the information was creditable and facts could be verified I
would reveal it. If the secret involved dangerous or illegal activity or
components upon which people base decisions/votes/investments, I would reveal
it. As in the case of Watergate if it threatened the structure and stability of
the country I would certainly reveal it.
As for the fallout, before I would tell anyoneanythingI would also have to
investigate the backing and the protection I would have. What type of history
does the paper have when it has to make such a crucial decision? It must be kept
in mind that this seemingly selfless act of bravery exposes a lot about all of the
folks involved in the reveal. All must be risk takers and not everyone is up to
the task. Even though I would probably find a way to reveal it one-way or the
other (we now live in an anonymous digital age) my physical safety comes
Alas, more often than not those people who do reveal the secrets
of the rich and/or powerful frequently lose their jobs, family, reputations and
end up in the poor house or on skid row surviving on drink and drugs. In the
worse case scenario they end up dead!
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were extremely lucky, not
all reveals end in such glory. Fame, fortune, Pulitzer Prizes, book deals, a
movie where A-list actors Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford portray you. They
will forever be the standard bearers employing a level of honesty and objective
reporting that all journalists should aspire.
That having been said as a journalist I will not be the
decision maker as to what is actually printed, the editors would be. Certainly I would attempt to defend my
position as to why this information is important for the citizens to know but
ultimately it would be out of my hands. Basically, it would boil done to the ethics,
the objectivity and the courage of the newspaper. I would hope that could/would
stand up to the challenge.
As a media professional you will always be privy to secrets,
“off the record” conversations and such.
Your responsibility is to the public at large. Ultimately you must
always serve the greater good.
Welcome To My World. My
name is Jocelyne Hudson-Brown and for the next few blog postings I will
concentrate of the matter of “ethics”. Although I’d like to take credit for
this highbrow endeavor, I cannot; it was assigned as an ongoing task by my
professors for a class on “Media Ethics”. Come on, follow me and let’s begin
our walk down the highroad…
“Communication(s)” is my profession of choice. Being an
effective communicator is a great responsibility as the information you are
providing influences lives. The better you are at it the more people
influenced. As I move forward toward becoming an expert in the field the
prevailing ethical question for me is (has been) ”the message.” What am I
putting out there? Utilizing the oath of honesty “the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth” is a good tool to use as a measurement device.
Early on as an undergraduate I asked one of my professors
what the definition of “spin” was? He told me “spin” was the equivalent of lying.
It may have been bit of a stretch (and harsh) for an answer, but the sentiment
of it has never left me. The highlight of my last few projects has been my
hiring as the communications director/spokesperson on a couple of political
campaigns. Trust me, these folks are major beneficiaries of “spin”. Winning is
everything and it is not a game for the faint of heart or for those overly concerned
about the simple matter of ethics.
Navigating ethical dilemmas in the field of communications
for a political campaign is like running a footrace through a minefield. One
may indeed reach the finish line but not without an explosion or two. If you are
lucky you still have your limbs upon completion. No matter, you will have
left some part of your soul on the field. This analogy applies to winners as
well as losers.
Ethical scenarios most commonly encountered in this arena go
from when (if at all) to put out certain information regarding the other candidate? Who is doing what? Where is the money coming
from? The last two items are public information and legally must be clearly
There are no shortages of examples of ethics violations in
the field of communication for politics and the messages fed to the public.
History both past and present is chock full of examples where the messages
conveyed to the masses were “spun”, some with a healthy assist from the media.
One of the items that came to mind quickly was the issue of weapons of
mass destruction as a reason for going to war with Iraq. No evidence of these
weapons was uncovered as testified to by many entities, only the word of then
President Bush. Yet, the media got on the bandwagon and spoon-fed this lie to
the American people. Those that refused paid a hefty price. That of being
cutoff, of being denied access to power. Woodward and Bernstein (Watergate) never
backed down and were eventually fully supported in their efforts by the Washington Post. And
of course there is Hitler and the non-reporting of the atrocities that were
performed at his behest. The New York Times did do some reporting on the concentration camps, however, the stories were buried on the bottom of the back pages.
Sometimes the media is at the forefront of truth telling and
sometimes only reports "objectively" once it has no other choice. In each
case heavy coverage by the media to
uncover truths and present them to a public that would have been outraged by the lies much earlier would have certainly saved
I’d like to think that the lessons taught by my parents
combined with a bit of spirituality and a formal education have given me the
tools needed to make ethical decisions. In addition, having grown into a mature adult
and undergone my own life experiences has also provided tools that can only be
obtained when faced with real world challenges.
In all honesty most of the decisions
I’ve made within the context of my career have been ethical, early on (20+ years ago) some may have been
a bit questionable (too eager to please, rationalizing the end result), none were illegal. When working with politicians the question of "What would I say if I had to testify?" is always on my mind. Going to jail (or the possibility thereof) is where I draw the line.
The lessons I’ve learned from the current reading of the
course materials have provided me with various theories as to the how and whys of making ethical
decisions and the foundation(s) upon which these theories are based.
With regard to what I’d like to see in addressed in class, maybe
be some ethics situations in which we could apply decision making on the
spot. Case studies are great but most bad decisions are made on a moments
notice and not after a lot of thought and a good nights sleep. Perhaps some
sort of role playing would be interesting where we have to make snap decisions
(even with a raising of the hand) and then finding out the result of those