The danger of uncritical nostalgia

Recalling those good old days — whenever they may have been — is human nature. I work with young University of Oregon journalism students who speak with nostalgic glee about coming home from kindergarten to watch Steve Irwin’s adventures on “The Crocodile Hunter” — yet they now eschew television as an obscure and passé medium. For many of them, Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys songs are their oldies but goodies, not Frank Sinatra or even the Beatles. And some watch the gentrification of Albina as a theft of Portland authenticity, dismissing new shops opening in the fast-changing neighborhood as peddling what one derides as, “garbage that no one needs and that doesn’t create a community.” Read the full opinion piece by Peter Laufer in OregonLive here.


Photo: Official White House photo / Chuck Kennedy / Jul 30, 2012

An interview with Andris Razāns, Latvian ambassador to the U.S.


Just a few days before four University of Oregon students fly out of Eugene to attend World Press Freedom Day in Riga, Latvia, Andris Razāns, the Latvian ambassador to the United States visited Oregon to deliver an address at Portland State University.

Crossings Reporters Emerson Malone and Casey Minter attended the ambassador’s address and spoke with him afterwards about the similarities between Portland and Latvia, Willamette Valley’s wine, Latvian breweries, and how the country is handling Russian propaganda. What could Oregonians learn from this remote eastern European country? As it turns out, quite a bit.

Below is the video referenced in this episode:

Photo: George Papagiannis (left) and Dr. Peter Laufer (right) in Paris.

George Papagiannis at ‘What Is Journalism?’ conference


George Papagiannis is the head of the UNESCO External Relations and Information liaison office. He previously served as the Director of the UNESCO office in Baghdad. In 2006, Papagiannis lived on the border between Chad and Sudan, where he built a 3-station community radio network with broadcasts in four languages.

In this episode, Papagiannis recounts his experience running the radio station for Darfurian refugees. This recording is taken from Papagianni’s talk at the “What Is Journalism?” conference in Portland, Oregon.

Listeners’ discretion is advised: Papagiannis discusses some graphic content.