Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, June 13, 2015, Image 4

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    OPINION
A4 HERMISTONHERALD.COM
SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 2015
EDITORIAL • COMMENTARY • LETTERS
HermistonHerald
VOLUME 109 ɿ NUMBER 36
-(66,&$.(//(5
EDITOR
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TV brain
L
et’s open with
clarity — I am a
grammar nazi. A
language snob. A spelling
pedant. One of my mottos
is “by their subject/object
agreement ye shall know
them!” Which is odd, given
that I am known to type
words like “gonna” and
“shoulda,” will gleefully
toss an incorrectly placed
“ain’t” into a sentence,
and I’m known to use
lolcat speech — “I cn haz
cheezburger? kthxbai!”
It’s not hypocrisy.
The difference is that I’m
knowingly and intentionally
doing it, whereas too many
people today do not know
the difference, or, since
proper language use requires
some attention to detail,
maybe it just indicates
OCD on my part and my
occasional digressions are
simply a plea for help from a
disordered mind.
Nah.
So just exactly what is
Creasing off on this time,
you say? Glad you asked
— questions like that help
me write the column. I am
here to suggest that poor
language use is a sign of
poor thinking, and it’s the
fault of how television
trained that thinking.
While every generation
complains about the
deteriorating values of the
subsequent generation, the
devolution of language use
is a symptom of deeper
problems. It’s not just a
matter of the occasional
“their” for “there,” or the
rogue apostrophes, or the
use of “they” as a singular
pronoun, which grates on
my soul. Poor language
use goes hand-in-hand with
poor thinking habits.
And where did poor
thinking habits come
from? Not using the
brain, of course. Kids
formerly were told “get
away from that TV and
go open a book!” TV is
marginally acceptable
decent for entertainment
(commercial breaks and
time limits interfere with
protracted storylines and
chains of thought), but it’s
not well suited to holding
attention on an idea. Bright
DQGÀDVK\VWRU\WHOOLQJ
sure. Detailed overview
of the intricacies of
Austrian economics versus
Keynesian? Snooooooooze.
Even what passes for
“information” these days
seems more geared toward
entertainment, what with
yelling and hollering being
the norm. TV does not
provide much focus or
Letters Policy
7+20$6&5($6,1*
OFF THE BENCH
Herald columnist
need long protracted linear
thought — which produces
a TV Brain that doesn’t,
either.
Advanced technology
hasn’t helped the TV
Brain. Today there are
Twitters and tweets and
meerkats and periscopes
and Facebooks, all of
which rely on short and
snappy sentences — but no
depth. How can you have
a substantive structural
analysis of the national
UDPL¿FDWLRQVRI.LQJY
Burwell in 140 characters?
For that matter, can you
even explain King v.
Burwell in 140 characters?
“King sz no fed credit $$
for states w/o insurance
exchanges Obamacare sux,
gov says can 2 hv credits
words on paper mean
nothing! LOLZ@gov.”
Maybe all readers under
25 will now take a sudden
keen interest in King v.
Burwell.
As the information
stream has gotten wider,
deeper and faster, people’s
thinking has contracted.
Maybe it’s the sheer weight
of what’s coming at them.
It’s easier to see what the
Kardashians are doing
than to ponder the Oregon
implications of Jackson v.
San Francisco.
This is not just “regular
folks,” either. Read
commentary by state and
national legislators — it
can be just as thoughtless.
As part of my speech
class I try to teach a bit of
critical thinking, starting
with nothing more exciting
than asking “why?” Yet
too often I read legislator’s
quotes that are nothing
more than rehashes of what
someone else said, rather
than demonstrations of
independent thought.
Are poor language use
and TV Brain connected?
I’m not completely sure,
but maybe there oughta be
a law making kids crack
open a book more often.
That’s just the “sorta”
opinion of an opinionated
guy. Share your opinions
in response! Letters to
the editor or by email
to hermistonherald
offthebench@gmail.com.
Names of the terminally
shy will be withheld on
request.
— Thomas Creasing
is a Hermiston resident,
municipal court judge and
Herald columnist
The Hermiston Herald welcomes original letters for
publication on public issues and public policies. Submitted
letters must be signed by the author and include the city of
residence and a daytime phone number. Phone numbers
will not be published. Letters may be mailed to the
Hermiston Herald, 333 E. Main, Hermiston, OR, 97838;
or emailed to editor@hermistonherald.com
We want you like us, but we
need you to need us and read us
W
hen we
announced
changes coming
to the Hermiston Herald
on July 1, we knew there
would be questions and
there would likely be
complaints.
After all, one of the
big changes we will be
making is delivering
the print paper only
on Wednesday. The
Saturday print paper is
going away.
We have no plans to
give readers less news,
but we are going to
change how we delivery
it and package it. It’s a
change we have to make.
Here’s why.
The cold fact is that
the Hermiston Herald,
ZLWKWKHH[LVWLQJVWDI¿QJ
level and delivery
frequency we have had
cost us more money to
produce than we brought
in this year. We are
fortunate that the family
owners of EO Media
Group are news people
who love newspapers.
They are proud that the
Herald has more than
100 years of history in
this community and want
it to have many more
years, decades and — if
possible — centuries
of providing news to
readers and a means for
advertisers to reach those
readers.
When my family
moved to the area in
1973, Hermiston had
a population of about
5,000 people. Later
in life, when I left
Hermiston in 1992 after
stints as a reporter for
the East Oregonian and
reporter and editor of
the Hermiston Herald,
Hermiston had grown
to about 10,700 people.
Today it is home to more
than 17,000 people.
The city has grown 60
percent since 1992 and
250 percent since the
early 1970s.
If the Herald’s
readership kept pace
with the city’s growth,
this would be a very
*$5</:(67
HERMISTON HERALD
different conversation
and publication. But
the Herald subscriber
numbers shrank.
To honor the
community’s history,
and ensure a future, we
need to do something,
and likely several
somethings, differently.
People have been telling
us, in absentia, that
they just don’t need the
Herald like they once
did.
We are going to try
to reverse that trend, but
we are going to need
your help. In the coming
months, we need you to
tell us what you do like
and don’t like, about
what is in the Herald
or what isn’t there.
And we are going to be
asking members of the
community to contribute
to the things we publish
in print and post online
in various ways. If you
are reading this in print
or online, we want to
know what is most
important to you and
least important to you
about how we spend our
time and space.
There are some things
we know we have to do
and some things we think
we know, and a whole
lot of things where we
really need information
and help.
We know we can know
longer sustain printing
two editions a week at a
time when generations in
our community get their
news and information on
smartphones, tablets and
computers.
We will become, in
essence, a daily news
service, publishing
information digitally at
OHDVW¿YHGD\VDZHHN
sometimes six and often
seven. And we will print
a newspaper once a
week, too. So you will
have many options for
KRZDQGZKHUHWR¿QG
news of our community.
That effort has
already started. We
are now updating
HermistonHerald.com
DWOHDVW¿YHGD\VD
week. We are sending
out email newsletters
ZLWKXSGDWHV¿YHGD\V
a week. We are posting
links to our stories and
interacting with readers/
IDQVDWOHDVW¿YHGD\VD
week on Facebook and
through Twitter. We
may add other social
media services too if that
EHQH¿WVHQRXJKRI\RX
Another key piece of
the puzzle is that we are
going to work hard to
improve our partnership
with our sister paper, the
East Oregonian, to make
the best use of our local
people. Our mission is,
and will be, to cover
Umatilla and Morrow
counties the best we can
with the people we have.
Now it is not unusual
to see two reporters
from our company —
one representing the
Follow the Herald
Keep up with news, community event and the changing Hermis-
ton Herald online through the following resources:
Website: www.HermistonHerald.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HermistonHerald
Twitter: @HermistonHerald and for sports follow @hheraldsports
Email newsletter and e-Edition: Sign up for our free email
newsletter on our website and print subscribers can log into our
website to see or digital e-Edition at www.HermistonHeraldcom.
Follow incoming editor Gary West on Twitter at @GaryLWest,
follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/journalist.glwest
or email him at gwest@hermistonherald.com
Hermiston Herald and
one representing the East
Oregonian — attending
the same event or
meeting and writing at
least two separate stories
from the same set of
facts and circumstances.
We can no longer
afford to do that. We
want to use our reporters’
WLPHHI¿FLHQWO\WREULQJ
more news to you. We
need to get to more
events and more places
more often. We are going
to cover the community
as best we can, get the
stories written, then
decide how to use them
online and in print
with the various news
products we have at our
disposal to get news to
you.
In an ideal world,
we would love you to
pay to subscribe to both
the East Oregonian and
Hermiston Herald, and/
or pay to buy ads in
both. But most people
in our community do
not subscribe to both.
Most don’t subscribe
to either paper. So we
won’t pretend we are
competing with the East
Oregonian because we
aren’t. We are partners.
We are already
competing with your
job, TV news, cable TV,
1HWÀL[IDPLO\VSRUWV
community events and
life for your time. We
don’t need to compete
with ourselves, too.
We will do our best
to make the investment
of time and money
you make with us
worthwhile.
We ask for your
patience while we do
some remodeling. And
if you haven’t read the
Herald or the EO in a
while — or ever — we
ask that you check in
with us from time to time
and see what’s new.
— Gary L. West
will be editor of the
Hermiston Herald
beginning July 1 and
Hermiston editor for the
East Oregonian
ELECTED OFFICIALS
STATE
District 29: Sen. Bill Hansell,
R-Umatilla Co., 900 Court St. N.E.,
S-423, Salem, OR 97301, 503-986-
1729. 101 S.W. Third St., Pendleton,
OR 97801 (541) 278-1396. E-mail:
ssen.billhansell@state.or.us.
District 30: Sen. Ted Ferrio-
li, R-John Day; 900 Court St. N.E.,
S-223 Salem, OR 97301, 503-986-
1950. 750 W. Main, John Day, OR
97845, (541) 575-2321. E-mail: ferr-
ioli.sen@state.or.us.
District 58: Rep. Greg Barreto,
R-Pendleton; 900 Court St. N.E.,
H-480, Salem, OR 97301, 503-986-
1458. E-mail: rep.gregbarrento@
state.or.us. Website: http://www.ore-
gonlegislature.gov/barreto
District 57: Rep. Greg Smith,
R-Morrow, 900 Court St. N.E.,
H-280, Salem, OR 97301, 503-986-
1457. P.O. Box 215, Heppner, OR
97836, (541) 676-5154. E-mail:
smith.g.rep@state.or.us.
FEDERAL
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden
Sac Annex Building, 105 Fir St.,
No. 201, La Grande, OR 97850;
(541) 962-7691. E-mail: kath-
leen_cathey@wyden.senate.gov;
(Kathleen Cathey, community repre-
sentative); 717 Hart Building, Wash-
ington, D.C. 20510, (202) 224-5244.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
One World Trade Center, 121 SW
Salmon Street, Suite 1250, Portland,
OR 97204; (503) 326-3386; Dirksen
6HQDWH 2I¿FH %XLOGLQJ 6'%%
Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-
3753.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (2nd
District)
843 E. Main St., Suite 400, Med-
ford, OR 97504, (541) 776-4646,