Our finale panel discussion was a great success! The nearly 70 people who attended were treated to a lively and informative discussion of this year’s theme, “Where and from whom does information originate?”
A special thanks to the members of the panel: Lynn Sweet, Callie Crossly, Erin Clossey, and Joshua Benton; and our moderator, Alex Jones.
Thank you to Brookline Access Television for broadcasting the event.
And many thanks to you, Brookline citizens who participated in book groups, attended movie screenings and other events, and added your voice to the discussion!
See you next year.
This is the question a distinguished panel of guests will be discussing on Wednesday, March 2 in Hunneman Hall at 7pm. These are the guests who will be joining us:
- Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Sun Times
- Callie Crossly, WGBH
- Erin Clossey, Editor, Brookline Tab
- Joshua Benton, Director, Nieman Journalism Lab, Harvard
- Alex Jones, Director, Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy, KSG, Harvard (Moderator)
We look forward to a lively dialogue and the opportunity for you, the participants in the 2011 edition of Brookline Reads, to interact with our panel.
In the meantime, let us know what you are thinking about this overarching question. What has The Imperfectionists taught you about information and its sources? What are the challenges that arise from an information-saturated (and sometimes misinformation-saturated) culture like ours? What are the consequences of the decline and possible disappearance of print media? Is something lost in the conversation between reader and journalist when the medium is a screen and not newsprint?
We hope you are enjoying The Imperfectionists and all of the 2011 Brookline Reads events. There is still much in store over the next week:
- The Brookline Reads film series concludes on Thursday, February 24 with a viewing of The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. The film will be shown at 1pm at the Coolidge Corner branch, and at 6:45 at Main Library. The evening showing at Main Library will feature an introduction by and Q&A with Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr.
- If you haven’t had a chance to discuss The Imperfectionists, you still have the opportunity to do so at the Putterham branch on Monday, February 28. The discussion begins at 2:15pm.
- The 2011 edition of Brookline Reads wraps up on Wednesday, March 2 with a panel discussion featuring five distinguished guests. The program will be in Hunneman Hall, starting at 7pm.
Please give the reference desk a call at (617) 730-2369 if you have any questions.
The announcement made by Apple yesterday about its intention to take a 30% cut from publishers who have content in Apple’s App Store is one more blow to an industry already struggling to survive. Newspapers and magazines have yet to harness the internet or other technologies to adequately fund their swiftly-dwindling operations, which leads one to imagine that many publications, both large and small, are not long for this world.
If this is the case, and print journalism does go the way of the eight track, what does this portend for future of the news? Will it undergo a renaissance in digital form? Are we already witnessing the embryonic stages of this renaissance?
If you now subscribe to print versions of the Boston Globe, The New Yorker, or The Economist, will you continue to read them in digital form if the print version goes away?
What have we lost–or gained, for that matter–with the evanescence of print media?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Rachman structures The Imperfectionists as a series of character-centered, short stories interspersed with vignettes about the history of the newspaper with which the characters are associated. Some characters reappear throughout the book and figure prominently, while others appear like a camera flash and promptly disappear.
How did you react to the way the author built his novel? To what extent did the vignettes add to your understanding of the characters and/or the themes of the book? In your opinion, did the short stories allow for enough character development, or do you wish that Rachman had spent more time on certain characters?
Let us know what you think!
In the first chapter of The Imperfectionists, Paris correspondent Lloyd Burko struggles to find a story to submit before deadline. Out of ideas and more than a little desperate, Lloyd accosts his son Jerome, who works for the French foreign ministry. Attempting to pry a scoop from his son by sheer force of will, Lloyd leads Jerome to divulge a tidbit about a French peace-keeping force entering Gaza. Jerome quickly backpedals from the slip, but Lloyd latches on tenaciously and reasons with his son this way:
“It’s my information,” Jerome says.
“It’s not yours. It’s just information. Doesn’t belong to anybody. It exists independent of you. I can’t not know it now. You want me to grovel? I asked for a bit of help. I don’t see what’s so difficult. I’m sorry,” Lloyd concludes, “but you gave it to me.”
Are these merely the words of a desperate man, or is there some truth to what Lloyd says? Does information exist independently of those who perceive it? Can this information be harvested and reported objectively? Does Lloyd’s plight make you think differently about the people who deliver the news to you in newspapers and other media?