Monday, December 15, 2008
A radio segment in last week's On The Media featured New Republic writer Mark Pinsky, who suggested -- in so many words -- that the U.S. government could (should?) pay writers (i.e. journalists) to writer the nation's history.
A short history lesson:
During the roll-out of FDR's New Deal in the 1930s, the Works Projects Administration created the Federal Writer's Project, which employed out-of-work writers to "(compile) local histories, oral histories, ethnographies, children's books and other works."
Project workers famously collected narratives from former slaves in the South and created the American Guide Series. They were paid about $80 a month, which is $1264 today.
Pinksy suggested media workers could push for the Obama administration to resurrect the project as part of his economic stimulus plan. For example, that could mean a government agency could hire journalists right out of school to record current events for the nation's archives...or subsidising student internships for the nation's struggling (failing...dying...imploding) print media industry.
Here's a podcast of the show segment. Listen for yourself. Then leave a comment.