I’m a proud, middle-aged Okie who grew up with a solid foundation of science and politics. Recombinant DNA was dinnertime conversation at our house.
I enjoyed a lengthy career as a journalist and video maker. I’m a news junkie and jokingly refer to myself as The News Nerd.
Both of my parents were PhDs in microbiology.
They worked together at Oklahoma State University, in Stillwater, OK, where I grew up.
I feel blessed to have grown up surrounded by science and politics.
My parents were masters at instilling a love of science, nature and curiosity into all of us kids. (There were four; I was the youngest.)
Our house was full of books and the joys of learning.
We read the encyclopaedia for fun, dang it! OK, I admit it, we were nerds and I am proud of it. 🙂
I grew up with the core belief that intellectual curiosity was one of the most worthy of all human traits. Sound reasoning based on established fact was essential to all manner of thought and discourse, or so we were taught in the Grula household.
Today, I am routinely amazed at the world’s lack of sound reasoning based on established fact.
Facts are often thrown out the window in favor of wild speculation and agenda-driven lies. I feel like a large part of the blame for this lies with the sorry state of our news media. I worked in the news media for about 20 years so have a lot of experience with this issue.
To counter this disturbing trend, I am committing myself to the creation of information and videos online that will help cut through the crazy situation in America today.
TAUGHT TO LOVE OUR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
I truly cherish the form of government founded in the American Revolution and the writing of the U.S. Constitution. Today I worry that many of those founding principles have been violated.
America is supposed to be about individual liberty, but I believe power has been taken from the people. NOT by Obamacare, but rather by moneyed interests and corporate power corrupting our democratic processes.
I started with politics early under the tutelage of my wonderful mom, Dr. Mary Grula, dedicated Democrat. How I remember the many hours she spent on behalf of political causes. Extremely active in the League of Women Voters, mom was also the first woman county chairman of the Democratic party in Oklahoma.
Mom made a gallant run for the U.S. Congress in 1970 when I was in the 7th grade.
In the conservative 6th district of Oklahoma, Mamma got whooped, but we all hung on to the pride of her efforts and the awesome matches.
I was the only kid at my junior high school whose mom ran for the United States Congress, but I actually I had no real idea my mom was so unusual until I got to be an adult. After all, many of friend’s moms were also PhDs as well. With the university as the bulk of the town, Stillwater had lots of women PhDs. I grew up awfully naive about how unusual that was for the time period.
Mom drug me along on many of her campaign outings. This experience by my mom’s side engendered a lifelong love of politics, but sadly, it also taught me that many politicians can indeed be sleazy crooks. I hate that fact but it is true and I am honest enough to say it outloud.
One of the first candidates I actively campaigned for, Oklahoma Governor David Hall, ended up convicted of bribery and extortion. OOOOPS!
I still remember the jingle he used. DAVID HALL FOR OKLAHOMA DAVID HAAAAAAAALLLLL!!!
Not real clever lyrics but it had a catchy tune.
David Hall’s downfall came about the same time as the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, two enormous episodes which further convinced me that politicians, and government in general, should not be blindly trusted.
THE FOURTH ESTATE TO THE RESCUE
As an avid reader and newspaper lover, I grew up believing it was the NEWS MEDIA’S JOB to be the watchdog and expose the misdeeds and corruption of government.
While most girls my age had a crush on Donny Osmond, I preferred Walter Cronkite.
Yes, I admit to being a hopeless dweeb but I will never apologize for it.
I grew up venerating the news media, the fourth estate, the essential watchdog on the government!
With a Woodward and Bernstein wanna-be complex (and a deep love of the Mary Tyler Moore show) into the news media I went.
I got my college degree at O.S.U. in Mass Communications in 1980. Dad wanted me to pursue science like my siblings, but I had to be the rebellious one. 🙂
The Mary Tyler Moore Show had a huge influence on my career choices.
I never achieved the heights of Woodward and Bernstein by any stretch of the imagination, but I worked at a higher level than Mary Richards. I’m not sure if I turned the world on with my smile but I was fortunate to have the opportunity of covering many incredible stories as a TV news field producer, videographer, tape editor and freelance video producer. Most of my career was spent at WSMV-TV in Nashville.
I ended up not covering politics much. Mostly I did science, medical, and social issue stories. That was all fine with me as I loved those topics too.
Funny thing, I finally realized political news was low on the totem pole. Most people consider it boring. Go figure!
WSMV-TV was, in the early days, a bastion of real journalism. Sadly, that faded over the years due to changes in ownership and management.
WHY IS THE NEWS MEDIA SO BAD AND HOW CAN WE FIX IT?
Running around with a video camera on my shoulder covering all manner of life and death issues gave me a deep appreciation for humanity and the struggles experienced by every one of us. I greatly enjoyed getting to know so many people on a deep enough level to tell their stories to the world. I worked very hard to create stories that were factual and informative for the viewer. I believe I succeeded the majority of the time.
My experiences in TV News also gave me great insight on the world of media. Far from the ideals of my childhood, media today falls far short of its important role of government watchdog and objective informer of the public. This is not because individual journalists are corrupt but because the money and power behind the media simply do not want to publicize the truth.
Personally, I think the “news” media, and perhaps more importantly the perception of the news media with the public, is so bad that it is harming our nation. The news media divides us, spreads untruths and leaves the population confused, not informed.
Let me be clear because the word MEDIA encompasses a lot. There are hundreds if not thousands of media outlets and content creators producing stories. Some journalists still do a fantastic job. Some news outlets take journalism seriously and are fulfilling their duty. But too many don’t. One of the more extreme examples is Alex Jones. In my opinion, the larger, older, more established media outlets are much more trustworthy than smaller, newer, online media but that topic can get off into the weeds due to partisan politics.
It doesn’t have to be this way. My early experiences at WSMV-TV proved real journalism is not only possible, it can also be popular. WSMV-TV News ratings were sky high. In part, that was due to a wildly popular and definitely NON intellectual morning show, the Ralph Emery Show, but the city of Nashville absolutely loved WSMV-TV news too.
I think the failings of our news media exacerbate every other problem our country faces. With such divisive and superficial coverage, it’s no wonder that no one can seem to get past the petty arguments and name calling.
How are we supposed to work on solutions when we can not even discuss problems rationally?
Although I am just one person who currently works as a self-employed online video consultant, I have decided to stick my neck out in the hopes of bringing about some much needed changes.
I am currently seeking independent funding to make documentaries on critical issues facing us such as: healthcare, global climate change, the war on drugs and legalization of marijuana. Those topics are just for starters. I also want to bring some truth and perspective to the economy, gay rights and government spending.
If you are interested in funding such an endeavor, please use either the contact form below to email us or just donate via the PayPal button. Please use PayPal ONLY for donations under $100 as PayPal is notorious for freezing accounts if all of a sudden they have large deposits.
LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN!
News style video production is faster and cheaper than Hollywood style documentaries, so I am hoping to do a lot with just a little. Before the upcoming election, I think healthcare needs the most coverage.
I plan to use online video distribution and social media to spread the word. I am looking to align myself with like-minded people and organizations in order to make this dream come true. Let’s all ban together to restore sanity to the national dialogue!
I made this video explaining my personal philosophy of life, which is heavy on personal responsibility and making the best of every situation. This philosophy has served me well and kept me quite content, in spite of many difficult times.
Here on this blog, let’s start a dialogue about the news media, science, politics, and any other topic you find relevant. Leave a comment below.
Thanks for visiting and here’s to a better world.