FREE WHITEWATER

Culture

Mentoring

When a small community like Whitewater comes to rely on hundreds of non-resident commuters to provide services (for city, schools, or university), those commuters will have a different work relationship than resident workers. (About these workers see The Commuter Class.) Many will be less attached to the community (as they’ve freely chosen to live elsewhere…

After a News Desert

A news desert is a community without coverage from a daily newspaper. If coverage means timely newspaper reporting on a city’s principal public meetings and events, then Whitewater has been a news desert since the nearby Daily Jefferson County Union stopped reporting on Whitewater’s common council & school board meetings. If coverage means timely, insightful,…

Public Relations v. Journalism

Anyone familiar with a proper newspaper should be able to tell the difference between public relations and journalism: the former advances a corporate or government perspective, the latter reports and assesses that perspective. There are public relations outfits (often called media relations) in big and small communities, with this obvious difference: small communities have few…

The Lingering Problem of Local Exceptionalism

A common error in small rural communities is the persistent, false claim that local officials are examples of a local exceptionalism that makes them implicitly immune from the flaws and mistakes that beset the rest of humanity. Under this thinking, while there may be problems in the wider world, there are no local examples of…

Frontline: Race, Police, and the Pandemic

As streets across America erupt into clashes over racism during the coronavirus pandemic, Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker examines a connection between George Floyd’s death and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 deaths among African Americans: “the thing that ties them together is empirical evidence of a phenomenon that had been dismissed otherwise.” Cobb describes how the relationship…

Karen Attiah on Diversity and Integration

This morning, Karen Attiah of the Washington Post observed the difference between diversity and integration. Through remarks on Twitter (@KarenAttiah), in a thread quoted below, Attiah notes the greater importance of integration over mere acknowledgments of diversity  — (1) I didn’t get a chance to say it on @TheTakeaway with @tanzinavega but I was struck when…

Boosterism, ’30s Style

Although the Roosevelt Administration was (whatever its other mistakes) candid about the economic conditions it faced, there was in the ’30s, as there has been over the 2010s in Wisconsin, a delusional impulse to happy talk – regardless of economic conditions – among some politicians and some business groups. Margaret Bourke-White‘s Kentucky Flood depicts the…

Local Voting & Voting Locally in Whitewater

The spring election, conducted during a pandemic, is now behind Wisconsin. There’s little question that statewide, it was a good night for Jill Karofsky and Lisa Neubauer. (I supported both candidates.) Whitewater – the city proper – also supported these candidates. A majority of the city’s voters did, in fact, prefer these voters even while…

Preparedness

Chris Matthews of MSNBC resigned (was pushed out, truly) on Monday night. Much has been made – rightly – of how his comments about his female guests made him unsuitable for his role. In the Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan raises a second objection, worth considering, to Matthews’s work: he was too-often unprepared. Sullivan writes that…

Ready-Made is Poorly Made

The Whitewater Schools now have an interim district administrator, and the district is looking to hire a permanent replacement. At the most recent school board meeting of 1.27.20, there was a brief discussion of community involvement in the selection process (see meeting video).  The school board president and vice president (having each been on the…

Whitewater School Board, 1.27.20: Palmyra-Eagle & Competition Between Districts

?? On Monday night, Whitewater’s school board met first in closed session, and about an hour later in open session. (A video of the open session is embedded above.) Part way into the meeting, after a summary of the latest developments concerning the nearby Palmyra-Eagle School District, a candidate for that school district’s board spoke…