Quaker news editor needed

Here at Friends Journal, we're very lucky to have some very committed volunteers. Karie Firoozmand and Eileen Redden sends books out to dozens of volunteer readers and pull the results together into our monthly books column. Rosemary Zimmerman reads through all the poetry that comes in, carefully selecting pieces to appear in the magazine. Mary Julia Street reworks the birth notices and obituaries that come in to include more interesting details than you get in most newspaper listings.

Last year we won the "Best in Class" award from the Associated Church Press. We're proud, of course, but I was pleasantly. Compared to most denominational magazines, Friends Journal is crazily understaffed. Forgive the pugilistic metaphor, but these volunteer editors are a big reason we punch above our weight. Cutting through cultural static and the manufactured busyness of modern life and reach seekers is a never-ending challenge. Think about whether you might be led to work with us on this

The extended deadline is January 16th. MLK Day. Learn more at:

Naked Leadership on QuakerQuaker This Week

On the blogs, Robin Mohr wrote about Friends lead­er­ship and vision and the “Nakedness/You’re Not a Quak­er” respons­es con­tin­ue with two more follow-up’s among this week’s Edi­tor Picks. Else­where, the Mod­ern Quak­ers and Cloth­ing project has been col­lect­ing some great per­son­al sto­ries. And on a house­keep­ing note, dona­tions for Quak­erQuak­er have been pret­ty light late­ly; please con­sid­er help­ing out.

Embed­ded Link

Naked Lead­er­ship? [Quak­erQuak­er This Week, 2/26/12] – Quak­erQuak­er
Naked Lead­er­ship?
On the blogs, Robin Mohr wrote about Friends lead­er­ship and vision and the Nakedness/You’re Not a Quak­er respons­es con­tin­ue with two more f… 

I thought I’d try an experiment

My life is now such that I don’t have the time to do long-form, thought­ful blog­ging. When I have time to think about big ideas expressed in well-chosen words, it’s as edi­tor at Friends Jour­nal. I have a rather long com­mute but it’s bro­ken up with trans­fers, I often have to stand and I usu­al­ly don’t have a lap­top on me. What I do have is a smart phone, which I use to keep up with Quak­er blogs, lis­ten to pod­casts and take pic­tures.

Despite this, I can usu­al­ly write a few para­graphs at a time. Kept at steadi­ly those could amass into blog posts. But the finishing-up effort is hard. I have a 2/3rds com­plet­ed post lav­ish­ing high praise for +Jon Watts’s new album sit­ting on my phone but haven’t had the chance to fin­ish, pol­ish and pub­lish. So what if I seri­al­ized the­se? Write a few para­graphs at a time, invite com­men­tary, per­haps even alter things in a bit of crowd-sourcing?

Any feed­back I’d get would help keep up my enthu­si­asm for the top­ic. This infor­mal post-as-chat was actu­al­ly the dom­i­nant ear­ly mod­el for blogs, one that fell away as they became more vis­i­ble. It’d be nice to get back to that. The medi­um seems obvi­ous to me: Google+, which allows for extend­ed infor­mal posts. So I’ll try that. The­se will be beta thoughts-on-electron. If they seem to gell togeth­er, I might then pol­ish and pub­lish to Quak​er​Ran​ter​.org, but no promis­es. This is most­ly a way to get some raw ideas out there.

Google+: View post on Google+

Now Available: Web 2.0 Mashups and Niche Aggregators

Long in the works, my O’Reilly Media–pub­lished “Web 2.0 Mashups and Niche Aggre­ga­tors” is avail­able. The title could sort of be boiled down to “hey this Quak​erQuak​er​.org thing has become kind of neat” but it’s more than that. I wax lyri­cal about the dif­fer­ent kind of aggre­ga­tor com­mu­ni­ty sites and I throw a new tongue-twister into the social media are­na: “folk­so­nom­ic den­si­ty” (Google it now kids and you’ll see the only ref­er­ences are mine; a few years from now you can say you knew the guy who coined the phrase that set the tech­nos­phere on fire and launched Web 3.0 and ush­ered in the sec­ond phase of the Age of Aquar­ius, yada yada).

A hun­dred thank you’s to my fine and patient edi­tor S. (don’t know if you want to be out­ed here). I’ve been an edi­tor myself in one capac­i­ty or anoth­er for fif­teen years (I’ve some­times even been paid for it) so it was edu­ca­tion­al to expe­ri­ence the rela­tion­ship from the oth­er side. I wrote this while liv­ing an insane sched­ule and it’s amaz­ing I found any time at get all this down. 

As luck would have it I’ve just got­ten my design site at Mar​tinKel​ley​.com up and run­ning ful­ly again, so I hope to do some posts relat­ed to the PDF in the weeks to come. In the mean­time, below is the mar­ket­ing copy for Web 2.0 Mashups and Niche Aggre­ga­tors. It is avail­able for $9.99 from the O’Reilly web­site.

Web aggre­ga­tors select and present con­tent culled from mul­ti­ple
sources, play­ing an impor­tant taste-making and pro­mo­tion­al role. Larg­er
aggre­ga­tors are start­ing to com­pete with main­stream news sources but a
new class of niche and do-it-yourself aggre­ga­tors are orga­niz­ing around
speci­fic inter­ests. Niche aggre­ga­tors har­ness the pow­er of the inter­net
to build com­mu­ni­ties pre­vi­ous­ly sep­a­rat­ed by geog­ra­phy or insti­tu­tion­al
iner­tia. The­se micro-communities serve a trend-setting role.
Under­stand­ing their oper­a­tion is crit­i­cal for those want­i­ng to
under­stand or pre­dict cul­tur­al change and for those who want to har­ness
the pow­er of the long tail by cater­ing to nich­es.

Looking at North American Friends and theological hotspots

Over on Friends Jour­nal site, some recent stats on Friends most­ly in the US and Canada. Writ­ten by Mar­garet Fraser, the head of FWCC, a group that tries to unite the dif­fer­ent bod­ies of Friends, it’s a bit of cold water for most of us. Offi­cial num­bers are down in most places despite what­ev­er offi­cial opti­mism might exist. Favorite line: “Per­haps those who leave are noticed less.” I’m sure P.R. hacks in var­i­ous Quak­er orga­ni­za­tions are burn­ing the mid­night oil writ­ing respon­se let­ters to the edi­tor spin­ning the num­bers to say things are look­ing up.

She points to a sad decline both in year­ly meet­ings affil­i­at­ed with Friends Unit­ed Meet­ing and in those affil­i­at­ed with Friends Gen­er­al Con­fer­ence. A curios­i­ty is that this decline is not seen in three of the four year­ly meet­ings that are dual affil­i­at­ed. The­se blend­ed year­ly meet­ings are going through var­i­ous degrees of iden­ti­ty cri­sis and hand-wringing over their sta­tus and yet their own mem­ber­ship num­bers are strong. Could it be that seri­ous the­o­log­i­cal wrestling and com­pli­cat­ed spir­i­tu­al iden­ti­ties cre­ate health­ier reli­gious bod­ies than mono­cul­tur­al group­ings?

The big news is in the south: “His­pan­ic Friends Church­es” in Mex­i­co and Cen­tral Amer­i­ca are boom­ing, with spillover in el Norte as work­ers move north to get jobs. There’s sur­pris­ing­ly lit­tle inter­ac­tion between the­se newly-arrived Spanish-speaking Friends and the the old Main Line Quak­er estab­lish­ment (may­be not sur­pris­ing real­ly, but still sad). I’ll leave you with a chal­lenge Mar­garet gives read­ers:

One ques­tion that often puz­zles me is why so many His­pan­ic Friends
con­gre­ga­tions are meet­ing in church­es belong­ing to oth­er denom­i­na­tions.
I would love to see estab­lished Friends meet­ings with their own
prop­er­ty shar­ing space with His­pan­ic Friends. It would be an
oppor­tu­ni­ty to share growth and chal­lenges togeth­er.

The Left Wing Conspiracy Revealed by Non​vi​o​lence​.org

Non​vi​o​lence​.org read­ers may not be aware that my per­son­al site has been the talk of the polit­i­cal inter­net for the last few days. Since post­ing an “account of get­ting a phone call from a CBS News pub­li­cist”, I’ve been linked to by a Who’s Who of blog­ging glit­er­at­ti: Won­ket­te, Instapun­dit, The Volokh Con­spir­a­cy, Lit­tle Green Foot­balls, Rather­Biased, etc. For a short time yes­ter­day, the sto­ry was a part of the second-ranked arti­cle on Technorati’s Pol­i­tics Atten­tion index.

A hack from CBS News called me to say they were doing a pro­gram on an issue that’s cen­tral to Nonviolence.org’s man­date: con­sci­en­tious resis­tance to mil­i­tary ser­vice. After look­ing over the mate­ri­al, I thought the inter­views of resisters who have fled to Canada would be inter­est­ing to my read­ers and so wrote a short entry on it. Think­ing it all a lit­tle fun­ny that a pub­li­cist would care about Non​vi​o​lence​.org, I men­tioned the inci­dent in the “Sto­ries of Non​vi​o​lence​.org” sec­tion of my per­son­al site. One by one the lead­ing polit­i­cal sites of the blo­gos­phere have run the sto­ry as fur­ther proof of the vast left-wing main­stream media con­spir­a­cy. It’s rather fun­ny actu­al­ly.

I have to won­der is who’s kid­ding who with all this feigned out­rage? For those miss­ing the irony gene: the Non​vi​o​lence​.org Pay­Pal account cur­rent­ly has a bal­ance $6.18, the bulk of which comes from the last dona­tion – $5.00 back on Novem­ber 20th. My cor­ner of the left wing con­spir­a­cy is fund­ed by the vast per­son­al wealth I accu­mu­late as a book­store clerk.

Wonkette’s pages adver­tise “spon­sor­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties,” she’s a recent cov­er girl on New York Times Mag­a­zine, her hus­band is an edi­tor at New York mag­a­zine and in Octo­ber she cashed out her blog­ging fame for a $275,000 advance for her first nov­el (“It’s not Brid­get Jones does Wash­ing­ton, it’s Nick Horn­by does pol­i­tics”: good grief). Eugene Volokh has clerked on the U.S. Supre­me Court (for San­dra Day O’Connor), teach­es law at UCLA and just had a big op-ed in the Times. Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds teach­es law at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ten­nessee, has served on White House advi­so­ry pan­els, and is a paid cor­re­spon­dent for MSNBC. Yet he, like the oth­ers, calls a two min­ute phone call “recruit­ing”?

I’m begin­ning to think the real inter­est comes from the fact that this top tier of blog­gers is total­ly in bed (lit­er­al­ly) with the MSM. Their income comes from their con­nec­tions with media and polit­i­cal pow­er. Their carefully-crafted fas­cade of snark­ish inde­pen­dence would crum­ble if their phone logs were made pub­lic. They’re not real­ly blog­ging in their paja­mas, folks.

By men­tion­ing the exis­tance of blog pub­li­cists, I’ve threat­ened to blow their cov­er. Pay no atten­tion to the men behind the cur­tains: my social gaffe was in pub­licly admit­ting that the main­stream media courts polit­i­cal blogs. Kudos to jour­nal­ist Derek Rose on admit­ting the prac­tice:

But why shouldn’t a news organization’s pub­lic­i­ty depart­ment court blog­gers? As a MSM mem­ber, I get emails from TV flacks all the time pro­mot­ing their scoops. From ABC, for exam­ple, I’ve received emails regard­ing a tape they got of the Belt­way sniper’s call to the Rockville police; Bar­bara Wal­ters’ Hillary Clin­ton inter­view; and their ‘Azzam the Amer­i­can’ video … as well as a Rush Lim­baugh drug laun­der­ing sto­ry that nev­er panned out. I even got atten­tion from pub­li­cists when I was work­ing for a news­pa­per that didn’t have a 20th of the cir­cu­la­tion of Instapun­dit…

Rose aside, there’s incred­i­ble dis­tor­tion in the “report­ing,” a term I have to use very loose­ly. Won­ket­te says “Kel­ley claims that a CBS min­ion put the screws to him to post some­thing about a ’60 Min­utes’ pack­age on con­sci­en­tious objec­tors” yet all read­ers have to do is fol­low the link to see I nev­er said any­thing like that. Why do the cream of blog­gers feel like a pos­se of self-absorbed sev­en­th graders? When I start­ed Non​vi​o​lence​.org back in 1995, I thought the brave new polit­i­cal world of the inter­net might be All the President’s Men. Boy was I wrong: it turns it’s just Heathers. God help us.