I’m Mary Kane, and you might be surprised to find someone like me here. I started in journalism straight out of school, in 1983, at United Press
I’m Mary Kane, and you might be surprised to find someone like me here.
I started in journalism straight out of school, in 1983, at United Press International, where the antiquated message wire used to communicate among the bureaus was considered high technology. When UPI, perpetually strapped, closed down its Mississippi bureau, I moved on by working for afternoon newspapers with rapidly aging readerships; the papers soon whittled to nothing or closed down entirely. When The Cincinnati Post stops the presses soon, my record will be complete.
Still, I got a close-up view of the economics of the newspaper business, and, more importantly, I learned the basics of news reporting and writing. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything; they’re the foundation of what I do.
In Pittsburgh, I saw the aftermath of the steel industry’s collapse on the Monongahela Valley and chronicled people there trying to reinvent their lives. Later, when I came to Newhouse News Service here in Washington, I spent years covering fringe banking: Subprime mortgages and rogue mortgage brokers, back when no one knew much about them; high-rate credit cards, bankruptcy, payday lenders, and pawnshops. I also dealt regularly with the effect changes in the economy had on people’s lives.
I’ve continued to cover the mortgage mess and other stories as a freelancer, with my work appearing in Salon, The Washington Post, Southern Exposure Magazine and elsewhere. And I’ve never left behind the notion that nothing totally replaces old-fashioned, shoe-leather reporting.
So why would I end up here, especially considering, as a friend pointed out, that I once possessed the computer skills of a 90-year-old?
It’s the optimism. I’m not used to it anymore in journalism, and one of the first things you’ll pick up on this site is a sense of going forward, and of being excited about pursuing a way to combine the best of the new and the old, including the resources of the Internet and the basics of news reporting. We’ll both cover stories and provide perspective on what they mean. It’s a model that might be the future of journalism and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
I’m also looking forward to what I’ll write about: Middle class finance. It’s something that perfectly fits this site, in that I’ll combine coverage of policy decisions and economic developments with a look at how they play out in the real world, using the resources and the community of the Internet.
You’ll see from my blog postings that I won’t be recounting what I had for breakfast, or, God forbid, something my children just did. Much of what I’ll draw from is my own long experience of interviewing people on the front lines. I’ll tackle the debate over the subprime mortgage rate freeze plan by showing the complexities of the market you’d find if you had shopped for a subprime loan. I’ll be looking at our obsession with credit and debt by telling you about a company that wants you to put your mortgage debt on their credit card. That’s some fine financial planning! And speaking of credit cards, why is it that Congress continues to insist it will tackle credit card reform – and doesn’t – while our interest rates keep arbitrarily going up?
I’d also like to hear from you. That’s the other thing that drew me to this site: The back and forth with online readers that just doesn’t happen under the old model.
I’m pretty lucky to have soaked up the best of journalism’s past, even if it was a bumpy ride sometimes, and I’m fortunate to be experimenting with its future. I hope you’re joining me; it doesn’t get any better than this.
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA biologist says fracking may be partly to blame for West Virginia fish kill
New documents obtained by an environmental news service show that an EPA analyst believes that wastewater from fracking may be partly responsible for a fish kill in a West Virginia river. Scientific American reports : U.S
EPA Chief Overruled Calif. Waiver, Too
The Washington Post reported in March that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson was overruled by the White House in setting an ozone standard. Now, documents