Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

April 3, 2012

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Information giants making changes

CROSSVILLE — Change is a constant force in the world and in every life. Sometimes it is carefully planned. Other times it is completely unexpected. Last week the public learned that two giants in the world of information are making changes. Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer offer printed editions and C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb is stepping down as CEO.

Britannica was first published 244 years ago in Edinburgh, Scotland “by a society of gentlemen in Scotland” but the foundation for encyclopedias began with Greek philosophers in the 1st and 2nd centuries. They said that everything that can be learned by man in this life should be organized into a work that explains all the various kinds of knowledge.

The Romans acted on that theory by compiling the first encyclopedia organized by classifying information from all the sciences, history, arts, biography and subject matter. Over many years every country added their versions of the encyclopedia.

In 1768 Encyclopedia Britannica printed two volumes and added the third in 1771. The title page stated that these books had been compiled on a new plan which arranged the subjects alphabetically. The second edition ten years later had grown to ten volumes and by the sixth edition the words “revised, corrected and improved” appeared.

Bowing to the ever-whirling wheels of change in 1994 they became the first encyclopedia to appear on the Internet. Now in 2012 Britannica appears online but no longer printed on paper. I understand but I consider my 1969, 23 volumes a treasure and they will remain on the shelf as long as I live.

Brian Lamb, founder, chairman and CEO of C-SPAN, is equally treasured by me. Born in Indiana seventy years ago his teen years revolved around music. He was a drummer and a disc jockey on local radio where he had the opportunity to interview many of music’s biggest stars. He graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and then went into the Navy where he spent some time in the Pentagon.

Lamb returned to Indiana after his service and worked at the local TV station. Soon he became press secretary for a senator and in Washington, D.C. he became the assistant for media and congressional relations to the director of the White House office of Telecommunications Policy. During LBJ’s administration he was a social aide and escorted Lady Bird down the aisle for the wedding of Lynda and Chuck Robb. Later he was the editor of several media magazines.

By 1977 all these experiences led to the idea of creating a public affairs-oriented cable network presenting an unedited look at the government in action. Lamb made the proposal to a group of TV cable executives and in December 1977, they accepted his plan. On March 19, 1979 there was live coverage of the first televised debate in the House of Representatives.

From one camera and one TV channel, C-SPAN now has three 24-hour channels presenting an unfiltered view of government and politicians at work. Lamb says, “C-SPAN is the voice of America, with all its flaws.”

I hope he will continue hosting Book Notes and Q&A. Those informative interviews prove what a tough taskmaster Lamb is. He spends an average of twenty hours reading and preparing for each interview. What a difference from so many interviews with authors and politicians. Many authors realize quickly the interviewer has not even read their book. Instead any personality agreeing to be interviewed by Brian Lamb know they too should be well prepared to answer any question.

Someone said the world spins forever on change and we can only hope the changes made by these two givers of knowledge will be successful.

 



 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice