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And So it Goes

Speaker 1

Speaker 1
Hello, aloha and mahalo. It is Monday, September 11, day of remembrance for all of us.

Speaker 1
My name is Thomas Farley, F-A-R-L-E-Y-I have a friend who is is dying and he has been dying for many years, but it is certainly the end of the line.

Speaker 1
It will be the end of the line very soon for him, it seems, unless there’s some miraculous intervention from beyond science.

Speaker 1
I and he’s a good man. He doesn’t deserve to die, die poorly like this. I would not trade places with him. I envy him, though, in a way, with the enormous amount of resources that he’s been able to get to apply to his condition. He has a physical disease.

Speaker 1
He has a number of things wrong with them, but they are in the end, all physical.

Speaker 1
He’s had good insurance with Kaiser and I’m sure some of his own money. Similarly, I’ve had good insurance plans and money and I’m actually paid out of pocket for nearly all of my mental health treatment because compared with physical diseases, you cannot get seen by a doctor routinely enough to do any good in mental health. For a psychiatrist. Well, he has Kaiser. I think under Kaiser, probably you wouldn’t be able to see a doctor psychiatrist more than once every couple of months.

Speaker 1
Instead, you’re kicked down to therapists and technicians. So I’ve always paid out of pocket for regular psychiatric treatment.

Speaker 1
So that’s one big difference between mental health and physical health. Another is that routinely, for years now, most of the major insurance companies have provided a 24 hours nurse talk line so that you can talk to a nurse at any time of day except that. And I’ve talked to these nurses on these health lines before. They say they’ve never, ever had a psych nurse assigned to one of these 24 hours help lines. They could have a psych nurse, a telephone line in addition to the physical, the regular RNS.

Speaker 1
They could have that. These groups, Intermountain, Southwest, Kaiser, multibillion dollar corporations, they could pay for a 24 hours psych nurse telephone line so he wouldn’t wind up at the emergency room or some other place victim of suicide. But they don’t because mental health does not exist for these people. They talk about these institutions, talk about the rising rate of suicide, and isn’t that awful? But they won’t fund for it.

Speaker 1
They will not fund for it. They will instead give out some pity, some false pity and give some money to other groups, other agencies that are working on the problem, but they themselves don’t participate. And in the last few years, we’ve all seen how they want to really focus. They really want to throw everybody into two categories that of depression or anxiety. And if you’re not in that category, then good luck to you.

Speaker 1
I don’t want to dwell on my particular problem, although I’ll just say that it’s severe insomnia and nightmares and yeah, you hear about research, say, into PTSD and related, but it’s not really in my opinion. And I’ve been almost become a professional consultant on this subject since I so much want to get better. And I’ve tried everything. So I’ve become sort of an expert on what’s current, and I’ve done everything, including electroshock, or ECT as it’s politely called. Electroconvulsive therapy didn’t work for me, paid for all that out of pocket.

Speaker 1
Physical diseases, especially the physical diseases that happen to a lot of people, that Big Pharma has a market for. Those seem hopeful. As far as research getting spent, I know there’s some incurable, seemingly incurable problems like autism, and so there’s just major diseases, although autism goes to great deal of mental health fields, so it’s inherently not going to see the amount of research or funding to begin with. My friend has got all of these resources now available to him as far as end of life treatments and hospice, just like my parents had hospice and people willing to help stepping in. And there’s nothing for end of life, for mental health problems.

Speaker 1
My condition is not livable, and all I get in a response as far as end of life is that it can’t be that bad.

Speaker 1
And I sometimes say, yeah, you’re right, it’s not that bad. It’s a hell of a lot worse. You live with this, you live with this. But it’s a mental health problem that they can’t capture with a microscope or a thermometer going up or down, or blood pressure they can measure or blood they can sample. They just have to take the word of the patient, and our word doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Speaker 1
And I feel for people with mental health problems that are not as articulate or verbal as I am, that can’t express themselves or they express the hell they’re going through. They really have. That just I can’t imagine the misery funding needs to be addressed for my friend. There’s all sorts of patient advocates available for him. He’s actually had genetic engineering things done for him at Stanford Hospital.

Speaker 1
There’s been housing available for family and relatives nearby, just on and on and on. And I am glad that he’s had that care. It’s extended his life for many, many years. It’s just there is no equivalent in mental health for this. And it just devalue you.

Speaker 1
It devalues a person over and over and over again. You’re not worth it. And if you want something done, you got to pay for it yourself, because we can’t see it, so we don’t think it’s a problem. I’ll give you a simple example of how much I often have needed a patient advocate to deal with people just on the phone, for example. One of the things that really induces my nightmares is being a mean person and having to argue endlessly.

Speaker 1
And if anybody’s dealt with any customer support, any healthcare organization over the last many years, you’ll know that it is impossible sometimes to get across what you’re trying to say to a person that keeps falling back on a script will not transfer you to a supervisor about the websites and email addresses that they hand out that don’t work, telephone numbers they never call to make sure that they actually work. It just goes on and on. Well, that all forces me to get service, forces me to be a mean person with these people. And I don’t want to be a mean person. It’s toxic.

Speaker 1
It’s toxic to everybody, but especially in my condition. And I can’t tell them that that just engendering more and more nightmares. And it would be great if I had a patient advocate that would be able to speak for me and would be able to sit for hours and hours on a phone trying to get something arranged and it’s just not possible, not even with paying for it out of pocket. These people don’t exist. And it is very frustrating every step of the way you’re told that your condition doesn’t mean anything and it is indescribable as I try to make myself, as I try to make other people comfortable with me.

Speaker 1
You can’t mention, for example, that you have violent nightmares anymore. They’ll call the cops on you.

Speaker 1
People today are so scared by corporate media that they associate mental health with violence when in fact the mental health are far more likely to be victims of crimes than actually committing the crime. But corporate media doesn’t want to hear that. And it is the more and more I try to make other people comfortable around me, the less credibility I have, the more well spoken I am, the less people think there’s anything wrong. If I keep up appearances, then just what’s the problem? And I’ll try to say, well, how many times do you have to watch your mother or your best friend get chainsawed to death?

Speaker 1
Well, it’s not real. No, it actually feels real. And shock after shock and this has been going on since 1988 with me and it just breaks you down. I probably have less than 4 hours of sleep every night and tell you this is how these professionals, they just want a measurement. How many hours of sleep are you getting?

Speaker 1
And their limited thinking is insane. Well, four or 5 hours, it doesn’t matter. It’s the quality of sleep. It’s all broken up. I’m pacing around at 233 30 in the morning, waking up every other half hour.

Speaker 1
It’s the quality of sleep. But they can’t measure that. They have to rely on your word. And your word doesn’t count. Your word doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Speaker 1
Well, we’re sorry for you, but there’s no at this point I’ve tried literally everything, including, like I said, ECT. And that program when it first came out, using the Apple Watch, which is a dedicated Apple Watch and a dedicated iPhone that goes with it called nightwear. I’ve written a multi part review on YouTube about it that also failed.

Speaker 1
But in the end in the end, my friend has a ton of services he’s going to have measured, respectful, end of life experience, I guess you would call it. But no, I’m going to have to take care of things myself. And it’s tragic, but it’s consistent with the disregard that mental health gets in this country. I’m not sure it’s that much better anywhere else, and I don’t have any suggestions other than fund, but it’s all about money, and so I just don’t especially Intermountain. They’re an incredibly toxic group, incredibly damaging to mental health people.

Speaker 1
And you can read on my website,, what they did to me, how they treated me. I think a real fundamental problem in healthcare is how the line personnel, or the people responding to their Twitter and social accounts have no idea what duty of care means. We are patients first and then customers. This is not a typical industry where you have a customer. No, we’re patients first.

Speaker 1
When you extend the duty of care, if you have to explain what duty of care means to somebody picking up the phone, they need some real training or they need some days in the hospital tending to patients. Once you accept the duty of care, again, it’s just not my dad was a brilliant physician, brilliant doctor, and his colleagues were all well mannered, neat, professional, all of them caring. And they accepted the responsibility for a patient once they took them on. And once a system takes them on, like Inner Mountain or Kaiser or what have you, that duty of care is extended. That umbrella applies to everybody under their name.

Speaker 1
Well, that’s enough for now. I wish I could give you some hope, but there really isn’t any. Not at least for people with my condition. And I think that they would actually prefer a lot of us just to die off so they don’t have to deal with them. I think that’s what’s going on with a lot of the homeless, with mental health problems.

Speaker 1
It’s just get these people off the books and we can go back to treating people for just anxiety and depression and everybody else is on their own.

Speaker 1
But if you know more about the subject, let me know. But there’s no dignity in this, not for people with mental health.

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These Are the People I Deal With

I don’t expect anyone to read this except for search. And I don’t expect anyone to sympathize with my complaints, either, because this is the way the world is arranged. I’ve was raised to be a nice person but there are too many mean people to overcome. This is not something I can win. And, given my constant nightmares since 1988, not something I can cope with.


This weekend at a community picnic, I was introduced to an old cowboy who asked me what I did for work. I told him that I work part time online, at which point the conversation quickly drifted south because of him. He told me that the greatest computer was between our two ears, the human brain. And I said, I agree with that.

He then went on with a whole series of statements and questions that were aggressively going after. I think I think when I start talking about computers and what I do online, it’s so far out of reach of most people that they think that I’m trying to be smarter than them, or somehow they feel inferior. I think that’s a great deal of it. They have an inferiority complex to anybody that’s working with computers. They act as if I’m trying to prove that I’m smarter than them, when in fact, I usually don’t start the conversation at all because I’m so far out of reach with what I’m doing, with what most other people do that it’s not even worth bothering to talk about.

Like all of the work that I’m doing with AI and Chat right now. And it’s very discouraging because I had a friend say to me recently that it was possibly economic, because not everybody can afford a computer or the resources that I have, and that’s not really the case at all. I should probably stop at this point and refresh everyone’s memory that early on, before the Internet went commercial, back in about 94, 95, with the advent of Mosaic. Mosaic was the first graphical based Internet browser that you could see images with that became relatable to people. Images provided a boost to advertising, but librarians had been on computerizing, their catalog, card catalogs, for years before.

And so when personal computers came out, they started populating libraries with them. Especially, really around 84, when IBM came out with its own personal computer for the masses. There was this Charlie Chaplin advertising campaign that was hugely successful. But years before, Apple had been trying really, really hard to place computers in the school to get these lucrative contracts, and they did a good job. They started about 1980 with the Apple II.

So by the end of the 80s, computers were basically in every library and school. And so everyone’s had an opportunity since then to use computers in one way or another. Night school classes, adult education classes since really the late 80s, early ninety s. And I’ve actually been on computers since 1978. Over 40 years.

Everybody’s had a chance. But an idiot like this that I was talking to, he doesn’t want to go to the library. I’m sure he hasn’t been to the library in decades. He probably can’t remember when he checked out a library book last. I have many computers.

I think I have two desktops, two laptops, two tablets. I also have a library card from Pahrump. A library card from Goldfield and a library card from Tonopah. And I am in those libraries, actively. I’m checking out books.

All of those libraries have a computer. I think it’s just laziness on most people’s part and not having an interest. It’s easier to put down somebody for what they do than to ask about it or just say simply nothing at all. These are the people that drive me crazy. There’s so much amazing stuff going on and I don’t mind if they’re not interested, but it’s the librarians that I’m infuriated with.

They’re the gatekeepers in education and they don’t want to know about Chat or AI. So it’s not really economic. It is a deliberate decision on many people’s part not to engage, not to learn, to let the things go by. And people that are actually interested, that are burning to create, that are trying new things, that are experimenting with new things, those are people that are something to be put down on because I think it might remind them of how little they want to know, how content they are with their own little world. And that’s fine as long as you don’t go out and bully people or put people down.

This is the way I can make some money. I can make this money part time. I’m doing a good service and yet I have people people commenting who don’t even know the basics of writing and business writing.

Self-sustaining freelance writers are maybe four or 5% of the population. That’s it. Everybody else is doing a second 3rd, 4th job to enable their hobby or their passion the and as far as nonfiction writing goes, nobody understands that. As far as business SEO, there’s nobody that I know, haven’t known for a couple of decades that has any idea of what I’m doing. But if they ask, if I try to explain, it’s just an immediate putting down of what I do.

It’s just this prejudice against the unknown, which is really the root cause. If you don’t know something, if somebody knows something you don’t, you don’t want to hear it. Instead of asking questions about it or letting it go, they want to put it down because they’re bullies. That’s all they can do. They’re trolls.

And maybe it reminds them of the fact that they’re dead to the world, that they have no interest in inquiry.

Anyway, I just wanted to put down what I have to deal with almost every day in my effort to be creative. I really have to keep it hidden. Can’t discuss it because it’s like we’re going back to the Dark Ages. One idiot, in fact, who’s in charge of something historical, he was talking about computer literacy, computer literacy in such a way that I asked him this:

You’re not holding out computer illiteracy as a point of pride, are you? And this guy’s a former engineer and he thought about it and said, that’s a good question, actually. I am. This is a living, breathing, talking luddite. He doesn’t want to learn.

He wants to put down people for learning. We’re going to go back 300 years into the Dark Ages when people were prosecuted and killed for trying to learn things, for trying to advance science. We’re going to try to discredit them. Or Mao’s Cultural Revolution, in which anybody with higher learning or higher ambition was killed. That’s what we’re going to get.

We’re going to go back to the Dark Ages and then we’re going to take 300 years to come back again. At the end of the Dark Ages, they had to reinvent all the math that the Greeks had done, what, 1500 or  2000 years before, because people were criticized and killed for trying to learn new things. And now we have people writing about chat and AI who don’t actually use it, haven’t experimented with it, but don’t want to learn. They just want to put it down. So it’s frustrating, but that’s the world we live in.


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The Joy of Photography

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Cocomi and Vogue (In my vivid imagination)

My online portfolio is here:

And in these times, everyone wants a graphic to move. And have sound. Okay. Here’s with reluctance:

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Going Beyond Optical Code Recognition for Writers

Tremendous amounts of primary research material in newspapers, books and magazines continues to fall apart in libraries and warehouses around the world. Much of it won’t physically survive much longer. And much is still unrecognizable to the best OCR software. What to do? Read it!

I use HappyScribe: – (external link) to transcribe what I have read to my iPhone or Mac. Both can generate an .mp3 file which is all HappyScribe needs. From there, you upload your file to HappyScribe and it produces a nearly flawless transcription of your reading. (Yes, automated transcription services have now become that good.(

Let’s say I had a badly aged edition of the San Francisco Chronicle in a reserve reading room at a library. Most of us can still read what the best OCR software cannot. Read that article into your phone and then onto HappyScribe or a similar service. Far, far, far easier than typing, especially for long pieces.

You’ll still need to correct and polish the resulting text but at least you will have the article, much of what I see today is simply not possible for any present or future OCR software to read, most often gray smudges too indistinct for anything but the human brain to bring out.

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CBS Claims Unbiased Reporting

CBS claims in their latest advertising that they offer unbiased reporting. How stupid do they think we are?

Everyone knows that reporting is biased to a greater or lesser degree. Every reporter and every editor and every network CEO has a point of view and that POV gets into every story.

We all know that. Why then would you claim that up is down?

Because you think your viewers are so stupid they would believe it.

“So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here — not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.” ― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.

Most journalists will not admit bias. They are objective journalists. Where did this nonsensical viewpoint come from?

Thompson thought that the Columbia School of Journalism was the wellspring for the idea that highly educated reporters should tell the low masses what to think.

I rarely quote Wikipedia but they do have it correct here.

“In 1892, Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-born newspaper magnate, offered Columbia University President Seth Low funding to establish the world’s first school of journalism. He sought to elevate a profession viewed more often as a common trade learned through an apprenticeship. His idea was for a center of enlightened journalism in pursuit of knowledge as well as skills in the service of democracy.”

Noblesse oblige? Stuff it.

Columbia as an Ivy League school was perfect for graduating entitled people who knew better than you or I. It continues that mission today in that a degree from Columbia is a passport into the the privileged world of the major networks, generating reporters who whine about not finding a Starbucks or Peete’s in middle America and who pay for their hotel room with a company American Express gold card.

These people used to write for Life, Newsweek, and Time. Today they line the halls of National Public Radio, The Washington Post, and the New York Times. Fox News has their elites, but with a mild conservative point of view acceptable to national advertisers.

Beyond journalism and party affiliation, however, there is a commonality among those who think they know best. Those in power with college degrees think of themselves as the officer class. Those without degrees are of course the enlisted. And officers are always superior to the enlisted. Right? They know better, right? Back to reporting.

Thompson was bitterly against Columbia’s idea that journalism was some sort of priesthood for the better good. He constantly dealt with elite reporters and knew them well. Most envied Thompson’s freedom to write what he thought, often enabled by looked down upon magazines like Rolling Stone.

“The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits—a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.” Thompson, ibid.

Okay, maybe that characterization is overdramatic. But there is a deep, deep division between the wealthy reporters you see on the major networks and the people they report on. They think they know better.

But we know them and their bias even better.

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Original Photographs and the Impossibility of Everything Connected to Them

After your article proposal has been accepted your next challenge will be providing photographs to accompany the text. I hope you can take them yourself.

The world of Nat Geo doesn’t exist anymore for freelancers. You will not have a photographer assigned to you. If you want to write about Mount Etna, bring along every kind of camera to take high resolution photos on your visit. And don’t think you can wing it with other people’s photos or ones you’ve bought yourself.

Expect every editor to require model releases and a permissions note for any photo you submit in which there is a person clearly visible or if you’re using another photographer’s work. An editor may not be that strict but maybe they will be.  Check before going into the field. Their answers may be devastating.

Few people these days want to fill out a model release with their identifying information. Getting permission to use someone else’s work is a complete time trap. Finding out who can give you permission to use a photograph is dead end detective work. It can take months and months and months to get permission to use a photo. Which may be tolerable for a book deadline but not an article. In my requests, I got a reply only 5% of the time. And then the photographer or group wanted big money.

These stock photo groups and even non-profits like county history museums have no idea of the pay scale for freelance writers today. It’s nothing. Many magazines like Rock&Gem will pay $250 for an article. Yet when a group finds out that you want a photo for publication they think you own a gold mine. Let’s go back to Mount Etna.

Alamy is a typical stock photo service. Getty and Adobe are a little more expensive. They want $69.99 for a single photo of publishable quality if you are using it in a magazine. Sounds somewhat reasonable if you are getting a few thousand for an article. Which as a freelancer you’re not. But wait, there’s more!

It turns out this price is only for magazines of under 2,500 circulation. What kind of magazine is that? A literary review? Good grief. That’s small even for a regional. To get a copyright free release of high resolution, the only practical solution, you’re going to pay $245.00. These goofballs must think magazines have a budget for photos that exceed what they are paying the writer. $245 for a single photo!

This is why I have contributed many, many high resolution still photos and videos of different natural areas to Creative Commons, the first pull point for photos for Wikipedia. I have put them all into the public domain. No fee to me, no credit needed. We’re all starving artists out here. All of us need to contribute photos if you can to this cause, no matter what you think of the editorial orientation of Wikipedia.

Some contributions to these pages. All links external:

Carol M. Highsmith is a professional photographer. She has contributed THOUSANDS of photographs to the National Archive and put them into the public domain. A monumental and ongoing contribution:

I think only one in twenty writers are independents who support themselves entirely by their writing. Most professionals are those who write in their work for someone else, like a government agency or some private business. Self-supporting writers are rare and getting rarer. But I digress.

I had a bitter experience in which I wanted a close up photo of a mineral for an article I was writing for Rock&Gem. I approached the leading mineral photographer in the country for a photo that was in his stock library. He would not budge on his price even though he knew Rock&Gem well and was continuously published in their magazine by staff. His demand was so high it would have made my article completely unprofitable, I would have actually lost money. But he didn’t care even though he was in the trade and knew we writers make nothing.

So, why would a writer take on a low paying assignment? Too many reasons to list but a low paying article is still a resume builder. It gets you respect and can open higher paying doors later on. I get access to sites other people can’t simply because I’ve been published. And I assume you are interested in what you are writing about to begin with and support that trade or hobby.

Everyone is entitled to make money but writers shouldn’t be forced to lose money. Take photos yourself. Get better at photography. More cameras. The last article I wrote was for California Wildlife which is operated by a state agency. They paid for 11 photographs. I took them all. It is extremely rare these days that a magazine will pay separately for photos. Very rare. Usually you just get one price for an article. A side note.

I’m putting together composition images from low resolution photos off the net. Sometimes from fifty year old films and stills.  I’m not crediting photographers because I don’t know who they are and I _never_ get responses when I ask different agencies for help. A single collage photo might use  25 different film grabs or photos from different websites. Who are all these photographers? And would they or their agencies understand that I have never sold a single work?

What’s happening is that people are making copies of copies of copies of photos with no trail behind them. Look at eBay. You have companies making a living selling the work of uncredited photographers. Thousands of posters and stills reproduced and sold without credit. I’m not doing that. I didn’t create this environment but I am living in it. Trust me, in my writing for the web, for books, and for magazines, you’re going to hit silence when asking for permission. And if you do find someone, a miracle, they are going to want big bucks. As Dylan says, money doesn’t talk, it swears.




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You Do Not Control The Weather

Gathering images should be top of mind for any writer working under deadline.

Most publications require you to submit your own images. If you can’t produce them yourself, you need to look at stock photography or public domain photos immediately and begin the process of securing permissions while you write your article. Some permissions take months to get, some impossible to get before deadline. The race to collect images begins immediately upon acceptance of an assignment.

It is crippling that most publications will not pay for your own photographs nor will they pay for the tremendous cost of stock photography. You need to understand this before accepting a low paying assignment. If you still want to write that article, realize that it won’t be making money for you and consider the article to be resume building instead. Now, weather.

Even in the middle of summer, conditions may not be right for photography. The San Francisco Bay area is often socked in fog throughout the summer, the best time for clear photography is in the fall. Clouds can happen anytime in any season and they, too, can wreck what you have in mind.

You must think about the weather, especially if you are traveling for an article and cannot return for better conditions. If you get rain, take the best rain shots you can. Take as many photos as you can, maybe some will be picturesque despite conditions. If you return to a site a few weeks later, realize your photos may not match up with each other as the weather may be very different from your last visit.

This video shows me setting up my drone in the dramatic location of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area close to Las Vegas. Many beautiful sandstone cliffs in layers of red. The idea here was to photograph dusk in the canyon. A fine idea, everyone loves a good sunset.

Here, though, clouds intruded on this late afternoon, gathering enough that all I had at dusk were grey clouds and dark mountains. Gloom. At the start of summer. Who knew? It was really too bad, as there was no wind at all which would have been perfect for flying. Yet, unusable footage. Another day. Don’t waste your time in post trying to improve really poor photographs. That’s a job for experts, if they can do it all. You probably don’t have those skills as a writer. I sure don’t.

You must think about forecasts and locations and get that all figured out as you work toward deadline. You do not control the weather.

As an experiment for you Word Press geeks, here’s my Instagram video taken at the time of setting up the drone. Portrait mode, of course. This unedited video resides in my media library at this website. The second video is the same but hosted at Vimeo. Can you tell any difference? Which do you prefer? Vimeo allows you to pick a thumbnail frame from your video. That becomes the image a viewer sees when deciding to watch a video. WP doesn’t let you do that.

Getting the Drone Ready at Red Rock from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Also, do not leave your soft sided drone case open while at home, lest you face this terrible vision.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

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Burying The Lead

What Happened?

About fifteen or twenty years ago a dramatic change occurred in much of reporting. Hard opening paragraphs were replaced with soft. This approach now infects all manner of writing, in and out of journalism. That includes television and radio reporting. Even company writing. I’m revising nearly every opening that comes across my desk.

A standard opening might have been,

“John Smith, 32, was badly injured in a vehicle accident last night on the 215 Expressway. He was the sole occupant of the vehicle which was hit by a big rig driving in the wrong direction. As of press time, Smith remains in guarded condition in the Intensive Care Unit of St John’s Hospital.”


“John Smith was a hard working owner of a bait and tackle shop in suburban Urbana. He had kids, a mortgage, a wife of five years, and a dog. Last night his life was shattered. Possibly forever. For reasons still unknown, a big rig traveling in the wrong direction on the 215 collided with Smith’s vehicle head on. A GoFundMe account has been set up to cover some of Smiths’ medical bills.”

Here’s a lead from a randomly selected law office post on ridesharing:

“Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have drastically changed the way people get around the city when they can’t or don’t want to do the driving. No one can disregard the fact that Uber or Lyft makes traveling easier and more convenient especially after a night of partying and drinking. DUI’s have reportedly dropped anywhere from 15% to 62% as a result of ridesharing. Car accidents, unfortunately, continue to happen.”

Here’s how I would rewrite the lead:

“Accident cases involving rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft are complex and difficult. The law governing the rideshare industry is rapidly changing and it requires an experienced accident lawyer to keep up. Only such an attorney can get you the compensation you deserve.”

What has happened to writing? Get to the point. Engage in storytelling if you must but open with a concise and informative lead.

Who, what, where, when, why, how. Then, everything else.

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American Heritage is Alive Online and Ongoing

More great history from American Heritage, a lay publication written for decades by famous, notable historians. I never got into this title but I did have three articles published in their sister magazine, Invention & Technology. Which is still going, too, in fact, I think they have some of my articles archived (external link) although without the original illustrations and photographs.

This is from Edwin Grosvenor, a fine fellow who has tirelessly led the fight to keep AH going. I worked with him and his team on my articles and he is a good egg.

February 22, 2020

Here’s another batch of essays we’ve just added to our 70th Anniversary issue, in which we are asking 25 leading historians to answer the question, “What made America great?”

Please share this special issue with friends, on Facebook or other media. We need your help to let people know that American Heritage, an important intellectual legacy for our nation, is active and growing again!.

John Marshall Saves the Republic, by Harlow Giles Unger
Our greatest Chief Justice defined the Constitution and ensured that the rule of law prevailed at a time of Presidential overreach and bitter political factionalism.

Harriett Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by David S. Reynolds
Her novel helped to end slavery and proved that Lincoln was right when he said, “Whoever can change public opinion can change the government.”

The Woman Who Said “No” To McCarthy, by Bruce Watson
Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith was the first in Congress to stand up to the bullying of Joe McCarthy.

Ride Sally Ride, by Rachel Swaby
The first American woman in space inspired thousands of girls to dream of a career in science.

Venture Capital Builds Our Modern World, by Tom Nicholas
The American method of high-risk, potentially high-reward investments has fueled innovation from New England whaling ventures to Silicon Valley start-ups such as Apple, Intel, Cisco, and Google.

If you have comments or a Letter to the Editor, please email me.


Edwin S. Grosvenor, President and Editor
American Heritage Publishing
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