Archive for October, 2009

Ibrahim Parlak, or wrapping around an editorial

October 4, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking about the South Bend Tribune’s 9/30 editorial supporting area businessman Ibrahim Parlak in his years-long struggle to stay in this country. The editorial speaks of “the injustice and disproportionality of the federal government’s war on Parlak.” (Their link will expire on the 7th day.) Now if you wanted as a journalist or paper to really throw your weight behind this editorial, or even if you wanted to give readers and area citizens more information so they could make up their own minds based on a good amount of information–before writing their elected officials, say–how about posting the editorial with links and supporting materials? One keyword for bloggers is “generosity” but many newspapers actually hoard their archive, which may or may not be short-sighted, and they rarely link to other resources outside their own site.  But what if they “curated”–another blogging word–an archive of materials on Parlak’s case, gathering from their own stories and other resources until they had the best Parlak collection on the web.  They could, in that sense, essentially own this story, as far as the web goes, and they’d probably start to show up at the top of the Google listing for his name. Some obvious and a little less obvious aspects that could be developed:

  • Post the editorial with links laced into the story.
  • Post the contact information for appropriate government officials, including web links and phone numbers.
  • Remind people that letters don’t arrive at Washington offices until they’ve been checked by some security agency–use email, web, phone, and provide those links.
  • Wikipedia has a rudimentary article, as of today, that the newspaper could greatly surpass in an hour.
  • The NY Times Magazine cover story of four years ago would be a valuable link.
  • Check out at least a few good blog posts on the subject, including foes.
  • Check out other regional newspapers for links: Kalamazoo, Chicago, Detroit, etc.
  • Check out regional TV web archives for video.
  • Try Flickr, Facebook, etc.
  • Check out the support group’s web site and Parlak’s restaurant web site.
  • Offer links to the current legislation supporting his case.
  • And cut loose and open the paper’s archive for earlier pieces on the issue–why not?
  • Etc.

Then invite readers to contribute their own links and insights to make the curated page even stronger. (Share the curating duties…) In time, surely a paper would have the most useful site on the issue, perhaps with a nice spread of perspectives and links to a variety of media and genres. And people would have shared in the work. Then if there is justice to be served, active citizens have the information they need to think it over and to speak up.