#Washington; #LibraryOfCongress; #WaltWhitman
Washington/Canadian-Media: Library of Congress (LoC)'s By the People launched May 26 a new project Whitman campaign in honor of Walt Whitman’s May birthday, focusing on the diaries and notebooks in the Manuscript Division’s Charles E. Feinberg Collection of Walt Whitman Papers, LoC reported.
Library of Congress. Image credit: Twitter handle
Walt Whitman. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
By the People is an online transcription platform where anyone with an internet connection can transcribe documents from Library of Congress digitized collections. Everyone is welcome to contribute to this crowdsourcing project including members of the public, non-specialists and specialists alike, to help make data more usable and discoverable.
A journalist, essayist, autobiographical and freelance writer, critic, and poet, Whitman carried small and often hand-made notebooks with him most places he went to note everything under the sun, and made them into creative assemblages of his thoughts, observations, and miscellany.
Containing names and places, the notebooks provide evidence of Whitman’s thoughts on politics and politicians, the natural sciences and the organic composition of the soil beneath our feet, and the nature of time, death, and eternity.
“The Insects.” Idea of a poem. Whitman notebook of government, nature, trial lines and self-advice, c. 1855-56. Feinberg-Whitman Papers, Manuscript Division.
Whitman wrote in his notebooks about what His observations while on the streets of Washington during the Civil War were transcribed to his notebooks including the hotels, recently enslaved persons classified in property terms as “contraband” walking up wartime Fourteenth Street, Union soldiers waiting for their pay.
Besides compassionately describing the severity of the conditions of the patients he met while volunteering in Civil War hospital wards, he also sketched scenarios of the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the haze of camp fires during his visit to the Union army encampments at Culpeper, of the sun setting behind the U.S. Capitol, and political opinions formed after witnessing proceedings while sitting in the gallery of Congress.
Combined with resources from the Whitman-Harned collections with two hospital notebooks containing information translated into Whitman’s journalism and poems about the Civil War were, they form a basis of Whitman’s published memoirs about Washington in the war period. The Whitman campaign materials in By the People relate closely to other campaigns of collection items about the Civil War.
Description of Union army camp at Culpeper, VA, Feb. 1864. Whitman hospital notebook 12, Washington, D.C., c. 1863. Whitman-Feinberg Papers, Manuscript Division. Image credit: LoC
Description of Capitol Hill at sunset, Feb. 1863. Whitman diary, 1863. Whitman-Feinberg Papers, Manuscript Division.
Especially for the literary minded, these notebooks reveal Whitman as a wordsmith who was perpetually working at and ruminating upon his writing and demonstrate the creative behind-the-scenes work of the writer’s craft.
Many concepts on which Whitman worked later appeared in published form in Leaves of Grass or in his many prose writings. He jotted down ideas he had for his freelance writing. He compiled figures of speech, turns of phrase, and words and slang he heard spoken or that he had encountered when reading from a variety of sources. Always working toward utilizing a newer American vernacular in poetry and songs, he evoked philosophies and defined for himself the meanings of words like “microcosm” (“the great whole world”). He imagined a new form of opera that would incorporate American folk song, dialects, and idioms of speech—a concept that would later be manifested in productions like Porgy and Bess, the poems of Sterling A. Brown, or the plays of August Wilson.
Focusing upon philosophies of writing and of life, he records titles of books and the authors he’s reading. he had thoughts about writing a poem about libraries, poems about American names, letter writing, occupations, artists, singers, musicians, tools found in hardware stores or used in trades, tears, insects and plant life, Indigenous peoples, and the various states.
He examines the mandate for equality in light of the perpetual hierarchies created by humankind and figured liberty as something still in the process of being realized. He champions the felon, the prostitute, enslaved people, and those who are dying. While thinking about the nature of personality, of introverts and extroverts, magnetism and ego, he writes of infusing the spirit of joy into poems.
Trial lines and concepts that we see Whitman working on in the notebooks became distilled in such poems as “Song of Myself,” “I Sing the Body Electric,” “Proto-Leaf,” “Starting from Paumanok,” “Song of Occupations,” “the Sleepers,” “Song of the Broad-Axe,” “To the States,” and “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”
We ultimately see in the notebooks Whitman achieving what poet Alberto Ríos has called a “rugged pluralism.” That is poetry freed of the parlor and brought out into the neighborhoods and the streets, enlivening and honoring what is witnessed, and dealing and struggling, sometime imperfectly, with major questions. The notebooks show poetry as a live and dynamic and changing thing. In the notebook pages we find seeds of influence and work that have since Whitman’s time continued to grow and expand and entwine more communities in ever more diverse languages and voices. This is happening as writers of increasingly polyglot identities take up the mantle of poetry writing today, and as students in classrooms, and those who are penning their own thoughts and trial lines as they walk down the streets of their city, join poetry slams, and see all around them the poetic, as Whitman did, in animal, vegetable, mineral, Earth, and in the faces of strangers and those passing by.
The By the People crowdsourcing transcription process provides volunteers a chance to engage closely with Whitman as he was in effect thinking aloud on the notebook pages and recording information he could turn back to or rework later. They will find that many themes remain evergreen. Whitman writes about caste, and of social hierarchies, and the immorality of slavery and its lasting influence on the body politic.
#ManitobaSchools, #Covid19Rise, #OnlineLearning
Winnipeg/Canadian-Media: COVID-19 pandemic infections rising cases in Manitoba has resulted in the province's decision to move all kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Winnipeg and Brandon to remote learning starting Wednesday.
Image: Online School Education. Image credit: Pixaby
Manitoba's Education Minister Cliff Cullen at an impromptu news conference, alongside Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said on Sunday that students should stay at home until May 30.
"Three-quarters of the schools affected are in Winnipeg and Brandon. So right now, that was the most important to move [to remote learning] at this point," he said.
Presently, schools in other parts of Manitoba will stay open but would move to online learning in case these schools see more than one COVID-19 case unless those are people from the same household.
Schools that move to remote learning, said Cullen will still be able to accommodate children of critical service workers from kindergarten to Grade 6 as well as kindergarten to Grade 12 students considered to be at high risk or who have certain disabilities.
#Covid19Pandemic; #MediaExtinction; #UN
New York/Canada-Media: The financial decline of many public interest media organizations worldwide has been among the dangerous side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday in remarks to a UN-backed event to boost support for the sector.
With newspapers alone losing an estimated $30 billion last year, “some fear that the pandemic could become a ‘media extinction event’”, he warned.
“We cannot afford to let this happen”, the UN chief said in pre-recorded message. “Maintaining independent, fact-based reporting is an essential global public good, critical to building a safer, healthier and greener future.”
The ‘infodemic’ threat The Secretary-General called for countries to support the newly established International Fund for Public Interest Media, particularly to secure the future of independent media organizations in low- and middle-income countries.
Wednesday’s discussion was held ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May. It was co-organized by the UN Department of Global Communications (DGC) in cooperation with the philanthropic organization Luminate, in support of Verified, a UN initiative to share fact-based COVID-19 information. Melissa Fleming, who heads up DGC, moderated the event.
The pandemic has revealed how access to reliable information is more than just a basic human right, but also a matter of life and death, and the UN has been working to counter related misinformation and disinformation, as well as hate speech, which have risen along with the caseload.
Ghana’s Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, told participants that the “infodemic” has only added to the economic woes which the media is facing.
“As people manufacture false materials and throw it out there, and as media revenues are cut and therefore the levels of professionalism that you require have a tendency to suffer, the compounding effect is that the credibility of media outlets is threatened, specifically when they begin airing some of these misinformed or fabricated materials over and over again”, he said.
Salary cuts, layoffs, mental health toll That the pandemic is strangling media globally was confirmed in a survey of 1,400 English-speaking journalists and news managers in 125 countries, conducted by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and Columbia University, both based in the United States.
Media depend on advertising revenues, and more than 40 per cent reported declines of between 50 and 75 per cent. The result has been salary cuts and staff layoffs “at a time when people desperately needed information”, said Joyce Barnathan, the ICFJ President.
Their “snapshot” also revealed the pandemic’s mental toll on the people who bring us the news.
Some 70 per cent of journalists found the psychological and emotional impacts were the most difficult part of their work. Around one-third said their organizations had not provided them with protective equipment. A separate study found women journalists also reported “startling” attacks.
Lyon, France, March 19, lockdown day 3. Anne-Lise, journalist, teleworking for TV channel Euronews with 3-year-old daughter Violette keeping close.
Image credit: © UNICEF/Bruno Amsellem/Divergence
Democracy at risk As economies slowly return to a new normal, Ms. Barnathan expects ad revenues will also come back. However, she wondered if their levels will be sufficient to fund vibrant public interest media globally because something greater is at stake.
“At risk is not just journalism but, in my view, the future of democracies”, she said.
Award-winning Filipina journalist Maria Ressa supported this belief, stating that the “mission” of journalism has never been more important. Most people now get their news from social media such as Facebook, but she said these same platforms “are biased against facts”.
“If we don’t have facts, then we don’t have a shared reality”, said Ms. Ressa, this year’s recipient of a UN press freedom prize. “A lie told a million times becomes a fact. Without facts, we can’t have truth. Without truth, we can’t have trust.”
Disruption and innovation With the current business model of journalism essentially “dead”, and advertising being siphoned off by Facebook and other tech giants, Ms Ressa stressed that public interest media organizations must “deal with the tech” to survive.
Fellow journalist Maria Teresa Ronderos from Colombia believed the current period of “disruption” could lead to experimentation and innovation in their profession. She underlined the need for funding.
“But to experiment, you fail, and that is costly”, she said. “If journalism gets the support it needs at this really big, large scale, it can use the technology to do investigative reporting, to connect with people, to connect with audiences, in a much more qualitative way than it ever did.”