We have all been aware that are problems with journalism today. Supposedly, a new wrinkle was added to the mix when the “fight against fake news” starting taking place. When Eli Pariser opened up this document, to be added to by anyone (I was able to add to it), a lot of information started pouring in, and hidden projects similar to this were revealed. Unfortunately, I believe the focus, by the engineers working on these, is how to get rid of fake/bad news. I think the project should be reframed slightly – how do you promote and breed the truth?
If my history is correct, the “Honorable” Justice Lewis Powell wrote a memorandum that was circulated among the wealthiest in the U.S., calling on them to shape the way Americans think about business, politics, and law. The left, at the time, had the intellectual monopoly vis-a-vis what was published, and so the groundwork was set, in the memo, to combat this. Money poured in to set up lobbying organizations, think-tanks, scholarships, and institutions. The fruits of this are still being realized today.
For truth to emerge, there needs to be a pendulum swing back, although, not necessarily to a liberal side, or away from conservatism, but from intellectualism serving the capital enterprise. Instead, it should be providing the framework to build society. Not just letting society emerge from corporate will.
Although socialism is a naughty word in today’s rhetorical climate, I would argue that journalism can’t possibly stand ably, on two legs, in this capitalist world. I am not arguing about the inverse, that socialism provides journalism heaven. In my perfect world, you need to function in a mixed-system, and so there need to be limitations on how capitalism can affect journalism, but there also need to be functions that breed competition to provide good journalism and less public relations. And it can be done. The tools already exist, they just are not organized.
I do attempt to organize everything here, but I do not have the backing (or capability really) to sustain something more than just a niche concept-site. Nevertheless, starting on Jan. 1, 2017, I will resume my study of American magazines and begin the permanent archiving project of the magazines I’ve collected over the years. At the least, all of the major ideas of where things are headed, intentionally or not, are floated through the pages of these magazines, and one can harvest quite a bit of knowledge, even if one were to ignore social and televised media.
The archiving is done in two sections, the Publication Index and the Journalist Index. An issue is added one at a time. Most to all content will be added both in spreadsheets and in viewable form, creating a publishing history. The intent with this is to study trends in content. The publisher’s index will also try to provide a short history of the magazine, it’s reach, funding, board members and possible conflicts of interest, and the editorial path it has taken. The journalist index will try to capture everything about the writers and reporters as can possibly be known, including previous work, schooling, and financial history, if possible. In the journalist index I plan to provide a system, on the blockchain or something similarly publicly accessible, to reward journalists for providing information that can’t be found, or just for well-written and researched material.
In the Article Analysis section, as I have done before, I will choose one article from each issue, on the first level, simply to promote it. I will also try to estimate how truthful the article is based on my experience, and note the context of its appearance in that publication, from that writer, as well as the the distance the article travels, the media attention or blowback it receives, and all worthy rebuttals.
Originally, I’d thought of a way to determine a score by rating it, asking other trusted reviewers to rate it, then open it up to the public to rate, but I’ve taken a step back from that. There are better solutions being worked on by much more capable and mathematically-inclined people, unlike myself. These are the projects, along with all other truth-gathering resources I can find, that I will analyze and critique in the Journalism Tools and Materials section.
To assist me in proliferating this message, I would need, in the future, political and institutional action. For instance, while the reporters and writers are doing the legwork, editors are the ones assigning and making content-decisions, and their names should be just as identifiable as the writers’ are. It should be a public demand that the controllers of their content be known. In the future, I hope to see a government invested in policing itself, however, publicly – through work of a new committee of public journalists. For now, people must demand more public editors in their localized arenas. I hope to address both my actions and those of other individuals and organizations fighting for information freedom and quality.
Lastly, I like to write on other subjects, and if I ever do, they will be in the last, somewhat unrelated section, Other Articles and Essays. This will apply only to my writing: Any articles or essays I deem important enough to be portrayed will be found in the Article Analysis or Journalism Materials Section.
Things Relevant was founded in 2011, abandoned for a few years, and refounded in 2015, hopefully in it’s final production. The mission has remained virtually the same throughout – to bring truth to the people, but the technique has evolved over time.
I began reading political magazines in 2010, with great interest, and I felt compelled to share the great articles with everyone. The original concept, based on the supposition that information was both polluted and deficient, and people only had so much time, was that one article a day was enough to get the ball rolling. The hope – to try and help make that transition from watching television to reading journalism.
As an addendum, to separate myself from something like longform.org, I wanted to have an interview section. This idea, and I thought it was groundbreaking and elegant, was to conduct these interviews by email, and publish everything, good or bad. Transparency was ingrained in the “publish-no-matter-what,” and I gave interviewees the time to give succinct, thoughtful, ultimate answers to tough questions that avoided the pitfalls of television – quote clips or gotcha! interview techniques. I had one cordial correspondence with a Breitbart writer, but most requests were ignored or declined. I started losing interest and working towards a master’s in philosophy, independent of the project.
Once I moved to SUNY Albany, I lapsed on thingsrelevant.com and opened up jrussblog.com. While the site was more of a personal resume/blog, I continued with the project of promoting these articles from the growing number of magazines I was purchasing, adding philosophy articles to the mix. I published 361 short reviews and collected some nice followers.
During this time, my persective of the media changed. I was not fact-checking these magazines; I had made the leap of faith: I took all this reporting to be unequivocally true, complete, and unbiased. It was only through my second reading of Benjamin Wallace’s “Who Killed Michael Hastings?” that I started becoming skeptical.
In 2015, I repurchased the domain thingsrelevant.com and reattempted to build a knowledge base of journalism. I started including rebuttals to articles, a synopsis of the magazines analyzed, a brief profile of the journalist, and book reviews. A year into it, around the time of explosion of the use of the phrase “fake news,” I had developed what I thought was a reliable architecture for delineating and advocating for the truth. This is where I am today.
My name is Jeremy Russell, and as of 2019, am a resident of Kingston, NY. I have something of a meandering and varied background. I have worked many jobs, and lived in a number of small towns and mid-sized cities. Although academics were not necessarily stressed by my parents, I started reading at an early age out of boredom, and owned a computer at an early age, and have embraced both through the years.
Things Relevant will always be my passenger project, but I simply cannot do it full-time, unless something goes viral. For the sake of my future long-term employment, below are my accomplishments and experiences generally referred to as a “resume.”
Graduate of Saugerties High School – 1999
Graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh – 2010 Degree in Communications, specialization in public relations. Minors in business, journalism, and broadcast management.
I have also attended SUNY Albany as a graduate student in both philosophy and communication. Both master’s degree are incomplete. I could not afford to finish, but hope to someday.
Graduate of the following Coursera courses –
Social Psychology – Scott Plous – Wesleyan University
Introduction to Genetics – Mohammed Noor – Duke University
Know Thyself – Mitchell Stevens – University of Virginia
Pay Attention: ADHD Through the Lifespan – Dr. Anthony Rostain – University of Penn
The Modern and the Postmodern – Michael Roth – Wesleyan University
Introduction to Philosophy – University of Edinburgh
Energy 101 – Sam Shelton – Georgia Tech
Think Again: How to Reason and Argue – Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Ram Neta – Duke University
Networked Life – Michael Kearns – University of Penn
The Modern World: Global History since 1760 – Philip Zelikow – University of Virginia
Rosenblum & Lamb – October 2017 – Current
Daniel Lamb Jr., an attorney and judge in Saugerties, NY, hired me to be his primary legal assistant in the middle of October, 2017. He had a general practice, which, for the area, meant a lot of real-estate closings and a lot of elder planning and estate work. However, I believe he liked every facet of law, and helping people out, and thus, took on many other forms of work, including family law, zoning and planning, corporate law, and so on. It was immensely enriching working for him.
Unfortunately, Dan passed away in February, 2018. Since that day, I have been managing all aspects of the office – organizing the large practice, working and/or transferring many of the files, and trying to figure out a path for the attorney’s wife, who has inherited the entire situation without much help or knowledge of the area of law, while upholding all the security and access all the clients of the former attorney expect and need. This job will eventually have to come to some sort of end, but for the time being, I am doing what is possible to secure funding so that the building that the firm practiced out of, can become an historic landmark and potentially, a major research center.
This has been the toughest job of my career, in many ways, and the one I’ve enjoyed the most.
Shout Out Saugerties – March 2017 – March 2018
This festival was conceived in March, 2017, as a means for organizing artistic efforts in the town of Saugerties, and to bring attention to a proposed federal budget that had suggested eliminating funding for the arts and humanities. I was one of the principal organizers, building a website, strategizing and conducting the media campaign, and generally being the bridge that made many of the collaborations possible. I held a forum entitled, “Capitalism, Journalism and Democracy: How do they Coexist?” with two politicians and two members of the media. Although I am no longer heavily involved, the festival is now planning it’s third year, and has become a commission through the Town of Saugerties.
Land and Sea Steakhouse – February 2012 – October 2013, September 2015 – January 2017
The owners are family friends, and their dishwasher had moved to Guatemala, and one night I offered a hand, and it became a permanent side-job. I enjoyed cooking and on slow nights, the head chef taught me much, and the owners continuously made room to promote me. I stuck around for a year and a half as a prep-cook and utility guy, as I’d had a penchant for assuaging others during stressful, busy times. I quit to devote more time to studies as I prepared for graduate school, but remained “on call” if times became necessary.
Then, in 2015, when I moved back home, I was asked to come back to help out, and once again, I started cooking. Necessity brought me out of the kitchen and onto the floor, where I have been a waiter, bartender, and do-it-all guy. I will be sad to leave this place.
References from this job
– Charlie, Gina, Alex, or Gabriel Maestri, (845) 246-0355 (business phone), owners
– Terrence Sickler, (845) 389-5085 (personal phone), head-chef and immediate supervisor
H & H Environmental – September 2015 – March 2016
I began work on a major website project for the owner of a baseball team. This man also owned a mold remediation company, and asked me to work for this company, on an as-needed basis, until I started working every hour the aforementioned restaurant was opened. During this short time, I completed the mold remediation certification for New York State.
References for this job
– Kevin Hinchey, (845) 246-3231 (business phone), owner
– Kyle Reilly, (845) 901-8053, immediate supervisor
Barnes & Noble College @ University of Albany – January 2015 – June 2015
I was shipping/receiving manager from 1/22/15 to 6/6/15. This is the one job that I regretfully left in an improper fashion. I’d become really stressed – some kind of career or life crisis, and I just stopped going to work here. Obviously this is not something advantageous in admitting, but I feel I should nonetheless. I never felt a sense that there was any permanence or opportunity here, and I bungled it.
Reference from this job:
Heather White, (518) 442-5690 (company phone), store manager
Lowe’s Home Improvement – May 2005 to January 2014
Suffering from career indecisiveness, in 2005 I dropped out of college and moved back home. I took a job at Lowe’s where I began at the bottom, working as a night-stocker and receiver at the Ulster, NY location. I did this for approximately one year, then decided to move to North Carolina to pursue a poker career. I remained with the company and transferred to the location in Chapel Hill, NC, not even missing a day of work. Within a year, the poker pursuit ended unsatisfactorily, and I moved back to the Ulster location in the same position.
At this point, my focus shifted towards self-improvement within the company. In short time, I was offered a very lucrative position as Team Leader of the appliance section, which was a highly-sought position because it offered incredible spiffs for sales. Unfortunately, a few months later, the particular position, in that section, was eliminated corporate-wide. Thus, I was transferred on a monthly basis to underperforming departments in the store, with the objective to reorganize and straighten out each department.
Eventually, it was orchestrated that I return to the night-stocking crew as manager, in which I was literally and figuratively given the keys to the store. It was here I was given the most responsibility to date, and also served as the basis to model my distinct management style. From afar, I had studied the various personalities and methods of other managers in the store, and worked to improve on the methods their subordinates disliked. I concluded that mutual openness and respect was essential to peak performance, and that earning more money than others is not a reward, but a dictate that more is expected of me. So, I worked harder and critiqued and rewarded when necessary, and the operation ran smoothly and dependably. I modeled what had previously been a team of individuals into a self-reliant and close-knit team.
Naturally, as luck would have it, my position was again eliminated corporate-wide, but I was able to remain on the staff with the same pay and with essentially the same responsibilities. I was also asked to become a part of a traveling regional team to assist in the opening of new store locations and currently regressing store locations. I also wrote and submitted my first company operations structural critique and improvement study, focusing on the newly designated company-wide implementation of stocking guidelines.
Soon thereafter, a situation occurred in which a large number of people were fired at my location. Sensing the unpredictability of the housing market and the home improvement industry, I began working towards finishing my undergraduate degree. I left the Ulster, NY store to join the Plattsburgh, NY store, taking a pay-cut so I could finish my degree while working nights. Again, I did not miss a day.
Working full-time in my third store, and having seen the operations of many others, and with the encouragement from my new managers, I worked to develop a more comprehensive draft of improving the shipping and distribution methods of the company. I submitted a proposal to reorganize the information-systems, which could then be used to make universal but minor alterations, which would then enable a new coding system that would eliminate much of the stocking disbursement costs. It was the perfect idea, as it was basically seamless transitionally. It was presented by my manager at the regional level, accepted, and then presented by the same manager at the national yearly meetings in Las Vegas. At this juncture, my manager was told that company management had internally developed a similar idea, and would be instituting after technological upgrades. Curiously, I had submitted a cruder version as part of my earlier paper. When I left in 2014, implementation of the categorization I’d suggested was being implemented, but I never received any credit or acknowledgement. Although it contains trade secrets, I can provide the papers if requested, as the secrets are fairly inconsequential.
Having become dejected by the previous situation, losing interest in the far north area of New York, and completing my degree, I quit Lowe’s in August of 2011 to move home to start a new business. Unfortunately, this venture needed much more money than I’d expected, and I returned to Lowe’s of Ulster after the six month mandatory waiting period, as a part-time stocker. This lasted until January 2014, when I left the company for good to pursue graduate school. This was my last paying job.
References from this job
– Mike Sprague, (845)382-6000 (company phone), current store manager, Lowe’s of Ulster
– Steven DeLaurentis (518)694-1288 (personal phone), current assistant manager and most recent immediate supervisor, Lowe’s of Ulster
– William Borkenhagen (518)569-1725 (personal phone), most recent immediate supervisor, Lowe’s of Plattsburgh
– Jeffrey Miraldi (845) 532-6710 (personal phone), one-time immediate supervisor, Lowe’s of Ulster
– Peter “PJ” Casey, (845) 430-4192 (personal phone) one-time immediate supervisor, Lowe’s of Ulster
– Rich Rose, (845) 706-9312 (personal phone) one-time immediate supervisor, Lowe’s of Ulster
Supreme Building – Intermittent, 2012-2013
After my dad retired after 37 years as a mail carrier, he couldn’t sit still and began working other jobs. He helps a friend, who owns a construction company, on a relatively consistent basis, and when I was without a job, I was asked to help out as well. I assisted in projects clearing woods, but also with basic construction and home improvement projects. The owner, a very competitive athlete also asked me to play for the softball and volleyball teams he sponsored. I mention this only to be fully discretionary, and like most bosses, I viewed this person as more of a friend than a boss.
References from this job
– Tom Sperl, (845) 399-1153, (personal phone) owner and supervisor, Supreme Construction
No. 1 Chinese Restaurant – August 2003 – May 2005, January 2010 – August 2011
While in college, I was hired to be a delivery driver for a Chinese restaurant that a roommate had worked for. I did this until I moved away, and when I moved back, the same family had remembered me and asked me to return. After a computerized translation system was built, I moved to the front desk position to better serve the English-speaking customers. I also experimented in developing bacon-fried rice, which I posit would catch on in the US, but it was deemed to expensive to cultivate at the time. I left this job in 2011 when I moved back home.
References from this job
-Alex, Jackie, or George (518) 562-0998, owners/managers, No. 1 Chinese, Plattsburgh, NY
Rose Landscaping – Seasonal, 2007 – 2008
My boss at Lowe’s also owned a landscaping service, and I helped him on big projects as his business grew. I did all the typical landscaping things, like mowing, weed-whacking, refuse removal, shoveling, gardening, raking, and mulching.
References from this job
– Rich Rose, (845) 418-8069, (personal phone), owner, Rose Landscaping, Accord, NY (duplicate reference)
US Postal Service – Seasonal, 2001 – 2003
During college summers and winter breaks, I was able to work as a reserve carrier for summer vacations and the busy Christmas period. After my first month, I excelled at the job and ultimately covered all twenty-five routes in the village of Saugerties. Furthermore, I was sent to help out the bordering townships, Woodstock, Kingston, and Catskill, which is unusual in the postal service. Unfortunately, I was laid off when the Post Office suffered a bunch of budget cuts in 2004.
References from this job
– Kevin Tompkins, (845) 246-1998, (business phone) immediate supervisor and current Postmaster, Saugerties, NY
– Clifford Bertrand, phone number unknown, Postmaster (retired), Saugerties, NY
Kaatsban Golf Course (now Lazy Swan golf course) – Seasonal, 1995-2000
Though not looking, I was asked whether I’d like to work at the golf course by the owner, whom I’d just met in the clubhouse. I remained for many summers, serving as head groundskeeper. Please note that while this was a fully-functioning nine-hole golf course, it was not among the region’s highest-rated courses. Nevertheless, the job turned into being an all-around assistant for the family, and we became very close friends.
Among my duties was to handle the counter and all the groundskeeping duties, and it got to a point where I wouldn’t be told what to do or I’d get to work early and do what needed to be done. I served as chairman of the course in the local 4th of July parades, and helped out however and whenever I could.
References from this job
John “Desmond” and Nancy Dooley, (845) 246-7604, (personal phone), former owners of Kaatsban Golf Course, Saugerties, NY
Seals Clubhouse (www.sealsclubhouse.com)
As both a Bitcoin and poker enthusiast, I found myself playing poker on the platform Seals with Clubs, later known as SWC Poker. I, with a group of other players, set up a website that tracked player statistics and ran promotional events for the poker site. I later developed a live-streamed radio interview show. I do Quality Assurance testing for new software developed by the company
The Magic of Ars Magna (https://itunes.apple.com/app/the-magic-of-ars-magna/id1178445056)
My friend created this game, and I am credited as the “Dialogue Editor” for help with translastion, storyline, and anagram-making. Please buy this game – It’s fun!
The Truth Engine (http://www.truthenginebook.com/)
Alongside this project (Things Relevant), I have been collaborating with Richard Crist with his definitive project that is designed to publish books based on debates which publish new books in a recursive loop. I am assisting in the coordination of all future debates, in flesh and online, as well as all other events.
Shout Out Saugerties (http://www.shoutoutsaugerties.org)
Happy Camper’s Guide Company (http://www.happycampersguidecompany.com)
Ulster County Vietnam Wall Project (http://ucvietnamwall.org)