On poetic justice
Jerome Holtzman is the official historian for Major League Baseball. He landed the job by first carving out a career as a Hall of Fame baseball writer, expertly covering the sport for more than four decades for both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.
In 1974, Holtzman’s No Cheering in the Press Box was published, a compendium of interviews with America’s finest sportswriters at the time. The title of this work is quite significant. The message is that sportswriters must view the contests about which they are reporting in a manner quite different from that of the fans also in attendance. They must always maintain detachment and objectivity, which at times can be difficult to do, because sports and the teams that engage in them conjure emotions that range from euphoria to despair, often in the same evening. I imagine it would be quite easy to get caught up in that emotion, especially when one is covering a team on a daily basis.
At MRT, we ascribe to Holtzman’s philosophy, with positive results. We often hear from readers and, invariably, we are told they appreciate the detached objectivity we bring to our reporting and commentary. Regarding the latter, the typical feedback goes something like this: “We don’t always agree with what you say, but you are fair and balanced.” For a journalist, there is no greater praise.
Despite our zeal for objectivity, I am now going to break Holtzman’s golden rule. Last month, the FCC issued a ground-breaking order to create a nationwide wireless network for first responders, which is long overdue. There is plenty of praise to go around, from the FCC — which showed remarkable vision — to public-safety leaders who doggedly lobbied for the network and the unique public/private partnership that will make it possible.
Regarding those who deserve credit for the watershed event, one name stands above all: Morgan O’Brien, the chairman of Cyren Call Communications. It was O’Brien who first floated the idea of a commercial provider building a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders, one that many thought to be politically unrealistic. It is clear now that those naysayers were wrong. It is equally clear that without O’Brien, there would be no nationwide broadband network for public safety.
Already, several unnamed companies have interviewed for the plum role of adviser to the public-safety licensee that will guide the buildout, and it is reasonable to think Cyren Call is among them. I know I’m not supposed to, but I’m rooting for O’Brien and Cyren Call to get the job. It would be poetic justice.