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A Different Perspective -Earl Ofari Hutchinson Our Times Crenshaw 9/15/00

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Sunday, Sep. 17, 2000 at 3:53 PM

"The loss of Our Times is not a time to mourn. It's a time for those who care deeply about issues in our community and want to be kept informed about them to redouble their support of those local black and Latino newspapers, public access media shows, and radio outlets that will continue to provide our community with critical news, information and voices."

errorWe've heard it and even said it many times. You don't miss your water until your well runs dry. It's a tattered cliche but it rings true when we lose something that is meaningful and important. Our Times certainly fit the bill. It stepped in and filled the void left by mainstream newspapers that routinely ignore or distort news and events in black and Latino communities. It also provided those with innovative and challenging ideas in our community a forum for their views. They would not have a prayer of being heard in the mainstream press.

Often times there's no overt malicious intent by editors and reporters at the major commercial newspaper, radio and TV outlets to slight or exclude vital developments in these communities. Yet their operations are simply too big, too stretched out, and too far removed from these communities to adequately capture the mood, tap the pulse, or understand the nuances of the personalities that shape and frame issues and why these issues are deeply important to the community.

The closing of Our Times unfortunately also points to another dangerous trend in the media, and that's the massive concentration of newspapers in fewer and fewer hands. The day is fast approaching when a handful of media conglomerate billionaire owners can and will spoon feed us whatever they consider news.

We can see the corrosive effects of the conglomeration of the media all around us. Much of what passes as news is little more than an endless parade of mind-dumb car chases, rapes, murders, fires, floods, celebrity chit chat, sporting spectacles "Big Brother," "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," reality and game shows.

This makes the public even more cynical about society and feeds the profound belief that the world is a terrible, evil place and that there's little they as individuals can do to influence change. It's no accident that Latino and black newspapers, radio and now TV stations have soared in number and popularity in the past few years. They feature the news, opinions and issu es that are important concerns in their communities.

This was glaringly evident when Our Times devoted special issues to students at local high schools who have achieved honors and distinguished themselves in their studies. They are the future scientists, educators, doctors, attorneys, cyber specialists and skilled trades people of tomorrow. They are also our future leaders.

It made them and their parents proud to see their pictures in the paper. It gave many of them their first taste of public exposure. It showed their peers what they can attain with hard work and dedication in the classroom. But most of all the series on the high achieving youth put the lie to the stereotype that black and Latino youth are inherent drive-by shooters, gang bangers, dope dealers and chronic educational cripples.

The loss of Our Times is not a time to mourn. It's a time for those who care deeply about issues in our community and want to be kept informed about them to redouble their support of those local black and Latino newspapers, public access media shows, and radio outlets that will continue to provide our community with critical news, information and voices.

It's also a time to ensure that as many of us as possible are plugged in to the Internet. It's a powerful tool to share information and views uncensored and uncluttered by commercialism with a wide number of people.

The Our Times staff sincerely believed that the community wanted and deserved a first-class newspaper. They endeavored to make Our Times into that. I benefited greatly from their efforts and so did the community. I wish them the best.

That's why I say again, even though we will miss Our Times, the well has not run dry as long as we have individuals who remain dedicated to the cause of keeping our community informed and moving forward.
Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times

================

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Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:49 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:49 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:49 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:50 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:50 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:50 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:50 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:51 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:51 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:51 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:51 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:52 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:52 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:52 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:52 PM
Everone wants to be a MillionaireM Martin S. Hindsley Monday, Sep. 18, 2000 at 2:53 PM
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