Stop. Stop the presses.


At the end of an exceptional first week for our new program in News Innovation and Leadership at the Newmark J-school, the students — five managing editors, a VP, a CEO, and many directors among them — said they learned much from teachers and speakers, yes, but the greatest value likely came from each other, from the candid lessons they all shared.

When I first proposed this program about four years ago, I suggested it should offer a smorgasbord of courses to be taken at will. Then I was fortunate enough to recruit Anita Zielina, the ideal news executive, to create and run it. She said (nicely) that I was wrong and that the program had to revolve around a tight cohort of students sharing their education together. She was so right. This week, I watched this group build trust, respect, and empathy — and a common store of knowledge and insight … as well as exasperation.

Next Saturday in Philadelphia, the Tow-Knight Center at Newmark, will take part in the first meeting of an international gathering of product leaders in the news business. Our involvement grows out of one of a handful of communities of practice my colleague Hal Straus has been running for a few years, bringing top product, audience, commerce, and talent-and-inclusion executives in New York together to share — and sympathize — with each other. Aron Pilhofer at Temple and Damon Kiesow at Mizzou generously offered to include us in a collaboration to build a national product organization whose aim is to answer the question, “How do we make news organizations more audience-oriented, data-driven, and product-focused?” In short, how do we save the news business?

These people — like the Social Journalism students I wrote about so proudly last month— are our innovators. They will be our leaders. But they are frustrated by the state of the business and, of course, now and then by their bosses. They see the imperative for change; they have ideas; they are eager to run. But where? What frustrates them — and, in fairness, their bosses — is that the solutions are not evident and thus finding them requires risk, experimentation, failure, and investment of capital we do not have, capital we can acquire these days only from others who bring their own goals and agendas. Does this mean it may require letting some institutions burn to the ground so a radically new journalism can be built from the ashes?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about Gutenberg and the birth and long progress of printing toward its eclipse in our age of digital data and connectivity. And so this morning I came across an article by Otto Fuhrmann, a book and Gutenberg historian and former director of graphic arts at NYU, in the 1926 edition of the Gutenberg Gesellschaft Jahrbuch (Gutenberg Society Yearbook). He wrote about the New York Club of Printing House Craftsmen in a lovely evocation on the value of sharing in our field, which we used to call printing.

“The times are not so far distant when every foreman or executive jealously guarded his technical ‘secrets’, in the mistaken idea that by doing so he would make himself indispensable to his employer,” Fuhrmann writes.

So it was quite natural that the younger element should find out that a business can be run without secrecy, as long as the essential facts are recognized and dealt with. A friend working in a competitor’s shop did not cease to be a friend just because his employer did not like the other employer. And the men [sic*] who had the same or similar problems to meet in the actual running of their employers’ businesses found that an exchange of views and ideas benefitted them without hurting their employers.

It is true that employers first frowned upon the very idea to have their foremen meet other foremen…. However this prejudice is gradually disappearing, in the same measure as the spirit of cooperation and fair dealing, instead of the old method of slamming a competitor, is growing. Naturally, a large city like New York was the best place in which to inaugurate the craftsman idea, and it succeeded as it deserved.

Indeed.

Fuhrmann attributes its success in part to “a gradual change in business ethics that has taken place in the last 15 years.”

This change is signified by the word “service”. It meant, fundamentally, a complete change from the old standpoint of the producer or seller that the customer had to take the goods as they were offered, or do without them. The technique of advertising became more refined, and instead of forcing goods on an unwilling customer it became a fine art, all over the business world, to find out what a customer wanted and to satisfy his desires…. Developed to the n-th degree, “service” today often means anticipating the client’s wishes…

There is nothing new. I have been arguing for years that we should see journalism not as the manufacture of a commodity — content — but instead as a service. Here is Fuhrmann in 1926 arguing the same for printing. And that is the argument made by product people (though I’ll contend that their self-anointed label is a misnomer, for their craft is all about understanding customers’ needs and desires so as to serve them; they don’t make products so much as they serve people).

Fuhrmann notes that he is writing about his craft in a time of deep disruption. The Linotype had been patented only 40 years before. Rotary presses and dry stereotyping came about the same time. Paper made from pulp came not long before. Thus the business of publishing changed greatly, becoming a mass medium. In the shop, all these technologies spread and robbed the craftsman — whose heritage was in centuries of hand composition and hand presses — of their sense of control of their art.

The increasing mechanization tended to lower the skill and to narrow the range of the individuals in the printing business. It came to the point where specialization made it hard to find good all-around craftsmen. So it can be seen that the time was ripe and the background prepared for an attempt to bring the essential factors in our industry together for frank discussion and study of their problems.

What was needed, says Fuhrmann, was for executives to have a full understanding of every technology of the industry — “he must know enough about paper, engraving, electros, binding and finishing processes” — and perspectives from other fields. “That calls for real men of no mean calibre; and, of course, the man with the greatest fund of knowledge and resourcefulness will be the most successful one.”

And so, the club. According to Fuhrmann, monthly meetings began with dinner and entertainment to provide “a good antidote against the tension and the strain of business work and furnish a background for good-fellowship.” The building of a cohort, in our modern tongue. “We particularly lay stress upon the educational feature,” with guests and lectures. And they had an annual dinner dance. (There’ll be no dancing in Philadelphia.) The club, together with other trade associations — the New York Employing Printers’ Association and the Typographical Union — operated well-equipped schools for compositors’ apprentices and “a training course for foremen in the science of modern business management,” with employers “glad to pay the entire amount of tuition, knowing that the benefit to the foremen would ultimately redound to the firm many times over.”

And so, we attempt the same today in our rapidly changing field with meetings and communities of practice and training of journalists and managers. The difference is that from 1926, printing qua printing grew, tremendously so. Its methods and means changed significantly, which had considerable impact on the product and the profession. But it was still printing.

Today, we are leaving the business of printing and text, of content and publication, even of authoring and storytelling. But, let’s be honest, we still refuse to admit it. So the solutions talked about in classes and conferences are all incremental, aimed at getting bosses and boards to allow us to change what we have done enough to keep doing it, to save what we knew rather than start on what we don’t yet know.

Stop. Stop the presses.

The death of the newspaper has been often foretold. Yes, they are still around us. But I must ask to my Twitter peril, are they better off dead than in the hands of hedgies who milk every last drop of ink, sweat, and blood from the end of the diminishing tribe of (pardon me) craftsmen of our field? Are we better off if they die so newspapers and magazines and broadcast channels are not reinvented but journalism can be?

I take full blame myself for not being radical enough in seeking new definitions of journalism. But even that confession is hubristic. For perhaps these definitions are not new but only new to us. Perhaps they should come from other fields — anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, design, philosophy — to help us envision an entirely new service to the public and its conversation. We who have the luxury and privilege of time and salary in universities should reach out to other fields to seek new expressions of society’s goals and problems and new ways to meet them using the new tools at hand.

So when all the young leaders we are gathering above who are eager to run and ask “where?” we should be ready not with answers, for we do not have them, but with audacious suggestions: Try here, try there. Try using the tools of the net and data and listen to the public we serve in new ways. Try understanding how people make decisions individually and together (even against their self-interest) and how to improve what they decide. Try listening to, valuing, and serving the people and communities who were long ignored and left unserved by our old industry, mass media. Try using the tools of connectivity to enhance the public conversation. Try new measures of value based not on our products but on how we help people improve their communities and lives.

And when they try and fail — as they must — we should offer support, convincing their bosses and boards or new funders that there is promise in this direction or that, but only if we explore. Along this journey — which I believe will be long, generations or even centuries long — we need to provide the means to bring together these brave new leaders not just to teach them what we know (so they may challenge it) but also to enable them to teach each other, to share.


* I will apologize for the sexist language of the period and then leave it unchanged and unremarked upon as it presents a picture of a past.

The next net: expertise

The net is yet young and needs to learn from its present failures to build a better infrastructure not just for speaking but also for listening and finding that which is worth listening to, from experts and people with authority, intelligence, education, experience, erudition, good taste, and good sense.

Here is a preview of one nascent example of such a system built on expertise from Samir Arora, the former CEO of Glam. Samir and I bonded a dozen years ago over the power of networks, when he came to my office to show me one history’s ugliest Powerpoint slides, illustrating how open networks of independent blogs at Glam bested closed systems of owned content in a media company. I had been beating the same drum. Glam later imploded for many reasons, among them the change in the ad market with programmatic networks and investor politics.

Next Arora quietly set to work on Sage, a network of experts. It’s not public yet — he and his team plan to open it up in the first or second quarter — and it’s a complex undertaking whose full implications I won’t fully understand until we see how people use it. But as before, I think Arora is onto an important insight.

He started with a manageable arena: travel and food — that is, expertise about places. That topic made it easier to connect what someone says with a specific destination, hotel, or restaurant; to compare what others said about these entities; and to judge whether someone was actually there and spoke from experience as a test of credibility and accuracy.

I’ve begged Arora to also tackle news but watching him grapple with expertise — at the same time I’ve watched the platforms struggle with quality in news — it becomes apparent that every sector of knowledge will need its own methodology. Sports can probably operate similarly to travel. Health and science will depend on accredited institutions (i.e., people with degrees). Culture will be sensitive to, well, cultural perspective. International affairs will require linguistic abilities. Politics and expertise is probably oxymoronic.

Sage began with 100 manually curated experts in travel. Asking the experts to in turn recommend experts and analyzing their connections yielded a network of 1,000 experts with opinions about 10,000 places. Then AI took that learning-set to scale the system and find 250k experts and influencers with their judgments about 5 million places. 250k is a lot of sources, but it’s not 1.74 billion, which is how many web sites there are. It’s a manageable set from which to judge and rank quality.

I probably would have stopped there and released this service to the public as a new travel and restaurant search engine built on a next generation Google’s page rank that could identify expertise and control for quality and gaming. Or I’d license the technology to social platforms, as Twitter’s Jack Dorsey has been talking about finding ways to present expertise in topics and Facebook is in constant search for ways to improve its ranking.

But Arora did not. His reflex is to create tools for creators, going back to his cofounding of NetObjects in 1995, which built tools to build web sites. At Glam, he bought Ning, a tool that let any organization build its own social network.

So, at Sage, Arora is creating a suite of tools that enable an expert who has been vetted in the system to interact with users in a number of ways. The system starts by finding the content one has already shared on the web — on media sites, on Instagram or Pinterest, on YouTube, on blogs, in books, wherever — allowing that person to claim a profile and organize and present the content they’ve made. It enables them to create your own channels — e.g., best sushi — and their own lists within it — best sushi in L.A. — and their own reviews there. They can create content on Sage or link to content off Sage. They can interact with their users in Q&As and chats on Sage.

Because Arora is also reflexively social, he has built tools for each expert to invite in others in a highly moderated system. The creator can ask in contributors who may create content and curators who may make lists. Sage is also going to offer closed networks among the experts themselves so they will have a quality environment for private discussions, a Slack for experts. So creators can interact with the people they invite in, with a larger circle of experts, with the public in a closed system for members and subscribers, or with the public at large.

And because the real challenge here is to support creativity and expertise, Sage is building a number of monetization models. You can link to your content elsewhere on the web with whatever business models are in force there. You can offer content for free. You can set up a subscription model with previews (the meter) and one-time purchase (an article or a book). You can sell access to an event: an online Q&A, an individual consulting session, an in-person appearance, and so on. And you can sell physical products — a cookbook, a box of hot sauces — directly or via affiliate arrangements. Plus you can accept donations at various tiers as a kind of purchase. Note that Sage will begin without advertising.

I hope this platform could place where newly independent journalists covering certain topics could build an online presence and make money from it.

All this is mobile-first. Experts can build content within Sage, on the open web, and — if they have sufficient followers — in their own apps. The current iteration is built for iOS with Android and web sites in development. (Since I live la vida Google in Android, I haven’t been able to dig into it as much as I’d like.)

Users will discover content on Sage via search on topics or by links to experts’ channels there.

After starting with restaurants and travel, Sage is expanding into culture — reviews of books and movies. Next comes lifestyle, which can include health. News, I fear, will be harder.

So what is expertise? The answer in old media and legacy institutions was whatever they decided and whomever they hired. In a more open, networked world, there will be many answers, yours and mine: I will rely on one person’s taste in restaurants, you another. The problem with this — as, indeed, we see in news and political views today — is that this extreme relativity leads to epistemological warfare, especially when institutions old (journalism) and new (platforms) are so allergic to making judgments and everyone’s opinions are considered equal. I am not looking for gatekeepers to return to decide once for all. Neither do I want a world in which we are all our own experts in everything and thus nothing. Someone will have to draw lines somewhere separating the knowledgeable from the ignorant, evidence from fiction, experience and education from imagination and uninformed opinion.

Will Sage be any good at this task? We can’t know until it starts and we judge its judgments. But Arora gave me one anecdote as a preview: About 18 months ago, he said, Sage’s systems sent up an alert about a sudden decline in the quality and consistency of reviews from a well-known travel brand. Staff investigated and, sure enough, they found that the brand had fired all its critics and relied on user-driven reviews from an online supplier.

This is not to say that users cannot be experts. As Dan Gillmor famously said in the halcyon early days of blogs and online interaction: “My readers know more than I do.” In aggregate and in specific cases, he’s right. I will take that attitude over that of an anonymous journalist quoted in a paper I just read about foundations requiring the newsrooms they now help support to engage with the public:

The people are not as knowing about a story as I am. They haven’t researched the topic. They haven’t talked to a lot of people outside of social circles. I read legal briefs or other places’ journalism. I don’t think people do that. It can become infuriating when my bosses or Columbia Journalism Review or Jeff Jarvis tells me I’m missing an opportunity by not letting people tell me what to do. I get the idea, you know, but most people are ignorant or can’t be expected to know as much as I do. It’s not their job to look into something. They aren’t journalists.

No. Expertise will be collaborative and additive. That is the lesson we in journalism never learned from the academe and science. Reporters are too much in the habit of anointing the one expert they find to issue the final word on whatever subject they’re covering: “Wine will kill us!” says the expert. “Wine will save us!” says the expert. As opposed to: “Here’s what we know and don’t know about wine and health and here is the evidence these experts use to test their hypotheses.”

What we will need in the next phase of the net is the means to help us find people with the qualifications, experience, education, and means to make judgments and answer questions, giving us the evidence they use to reach their conclusions so we can judge them. Artificial intelligence will not do this; neither will it replace expertise. The question is whether it can help us sift through the magnificent abundance of voice and view to which we now have access to help us decide who knows what the fuck they’re talking about.

(You can apply to join Sage for Experts here.)

In defense of targeting

In defending targeting, I am not defending Facebook, I am attacking mass media and what its business model has done to democracy — including on Facebook.

With targeting, a small business, a new candidate, a nascent movement can efficiently and inexpensively reach people who would be interested in their messages so they may transact or assemble and act. Targeted advertising delivers greater relevance at lower cost and democratizes advertising for those who could not previously afford it, whether that is to sell homemade jam or organize a march for equality.* Targeting has been the holy grail all media and all advertisers have sought since I’ve been in the business. But mass media could never accomplish it, offering only crude approximations like “zoned” newspaper and magazine editions in my day or cringeworthy buys for impotence ads on the evening news now. The internet, of course, changed that.

Without targeting, we are left with mass media — at the extreme, Super Bowl commercials — and the people who can afford them: billionaires and those loved by them. Without targeting, big money will forever be in charge of commerce and politics. Targeting is an antidote.

With the mass-media business model, the same message is delivered to all without regard for relevance. The clutter that results means every ad screams, cajoles, and fibs for attention and every media business cries for the opportunity to grab attention for its advertisers, and we are led inevitably to cats and Kardashians. That is the attention-advertising market mass media created and it is the business model the internet apes so long as it values, measures, and charges for attention alone.

Facebook and the scareword “microtargeting” are blamed for Trump. But listen to Andrew Bosworth, who knows whereof he speaks, as he managed advertising on Facebook during the 2016 election. In a private post made public, he said:

So was Facebook responsible for Donald Trump getting elected? I think the answer is yes, but not for the reasons anyone thinks. He didn’t get elected because of Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica. He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period….

They weren’t running misinformation or hoaxes. They weren’t microtargeting or saying different things to different people. They just used the tools we had to show the right creative to each person.

I disagree with him about Facebook deserving full blame or credit for electing Trump; that’s a bit of corporate hubris on the part of him and Facebook, touting the power of what they sell. But he makes an important point: Trump’s people made better use of the tools than their competitors, who had access to the same tools and the same help with them.

But they’re just tools. Bad guys and pornographers tend to be the first to exploit new tools and opportunities because they are smart and devious and cheap. Trump used it to sell the ultimate elixir: anger. Cambridge Analytica acted as if it were brilliant at using these tools, but as Bosworth also says in the post — and as every single campaign data expert I know has said — CA was pure bullshit and did not sway so much as a dandelion in the wind in 2016. Says Bosworth: “This was pure snake oil and we knew it; their ads performed no better than any other marketing partner (and in many cases performed worse).” But the involvement of evil CA and its evil backers and clients fed the media narrative of moral panic about the corruption and damnation of microtargeting.

Hillary Clinton &co. could have used the same tools well and at the time — and still — I have lamented that they did not. They relied on traditional presumptions about campaigning and media and the culture in a changed world. Richard Nixon was the first to make smart use of direct mail — targeting! — and then everyone learned how to. Trump &co. used targeting well and in this election I as sure as hell hope his many opponents have learned the lesson.

Unless, that is, well-meaning crusaders take that tool away by demonizing and even banning micro — call it effective — targeting. I have sat in too many rooms with too many of these folks who think that there is a single devil and that a single messiah can rescue us all. I call this moral panic because it fits Ashley Crossman’s excellent definition of it:

A moral panic is a widespread fear, most often an irrational one, that someone or something is a threat to the values, safety, and interests of a community or society at large. Typically, a moral panic is perpetuated by news media, fueled by politicians, and often results in the passage of new laws or policies that target the source of the panic. In this way, moral panic can foster increased social control.

The corollary is moral messianism: that outlawing this one thing will solve it all. I’ve heard lots of people proclaiming that microtargeting and targeting — as well as the data that powers it — should be banned. (“Data” has also become a scare word, which scares me, for data are information.) We’ve also seen media — in cahoots with similarly threatened legacy politicians — gang up on Facebook and Google for their power to target because media have been too damned stubborn and stupid, lo these two decades, to finally learn how to use the net to respect and serve people as individuals, not a mass, and learn information about people to deliver greater relevance and value for both users and advertisers. I wrote a book arguing for this strategy and tried to convince every media executive I know to compete with the platforms by building their own focused products to gather their own first-party data to offer advertisers their own efficient and effective value and to collaborate as an industry to do this. Instead, the industry prefers to whine. Mass media must mass.

Over the years, every time I’ve said that the net could enable a positive, I’ve been accused of technological determinism. Funny thing is, it’s the dystopians who are the determinists for they believe that a technology corrupts people. It is patronizing, paternalistic, and insulting to the public and robs them of agency to believe they can be transformed from decent, civilized human beings into raging lunatics and idiots by exposure to a Facebook ad. If we believe that and believe our problems are so easily fixed then we miss the real problems this country has: its long-standing racism; media’s exploitation and fueling of conflict and fear; and growing anti-intellectualism and hostility to education.

We also need to fix advertising — in mass media and on the internet in the platforms, especially on Facebook. Advertising needs to shift from mass-media measures of audience and attention and clicks to value-based measures of relevance and utility and efficacy — which will only occur with, yes, targeting. It also must become transparent, making clear who is advertising to us (Facebook may confirm the identity of an advertiser but that confirmed information is not shared with us) and on what basis we are being targeted (Facebook reveals only rough demographics, not targeting goals) and giving us the power to have some control over what we are shown. Instead of banning political advertising, I wish Twitter would also have endeavored to fix how advertising works.

I hear the more extreme moral messianists say their cure is to ban advertising. That’s not only naive, it’s dangerous, for without advertising journalists will starve and we will return to the age of the Medicis and their avissi: private information for the privileged few who can afford it. Paywalls are no paradise.

What’s really happening here — and this is a post and a book for another day — is a reflexive desire to control speech. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about the spread of printing in early-modern Europe and I am struck by how every attempt to control the press and outlaw forms of speech failed and backfired. At some point, we must have faith in our fellow citizens and shift our attention from playing Whac-a-Mole with the bad guys to instead finding, sharing, and supporting expertise, education, authority, intelligence, and quality so we can have a healthy, deliberative democracy in a marketplace of ideas. The alternatives are all worse.

* I leave you with a few ads I found in Facebook’s library that could work only via targeting and never on expensive mass media: the newspaper, TV, or radio. I searched on “march.”

When you eliminate targeting, you risk silencing these movements.

Opening photo credit and link: https://wellcomecollection.org/works/wagakkh5

Enough testosterone

Full disclosure — I am everything I am about criticize: male, white, old, privileged, entitled, too-often angry.

I, for one, was appalled at Joe Biden’s attack on an Iowa voter who asked him critical questions about his son and his age. Biden, oddly unprepared for either challenge, was immediately angry, calling the voter, an elderly farmer, a “damn liar,” not giving a substantive response regarding his son, and justifying his place in the campaign solely on entitlement: “I’ve been around a long time and I know more than most people.” He challenged the man to pushups and an IQ test. The damn liar he should be challenging is the one in the White House.

I am embarrassed for my age, race, gender, and party. But not so the men around the table at Morning Joe — or Morning Joe (Biden), as I’ve taken to calling the show. They gave a rousing cheer to Biden’s performance, arguing this was just the kind of tough-guy spirit Biden should show to win, this being a fight rather than an election. Mika Brzezinski demurred, as is her wont: “I don’t like it [the video] but I think he’ll be a great president and he’ll win.” Thank goodness the BBC’s Katty Kay was at the table, as she dared criticize Biden for coming off like a fool. I spoke with women yesterday who said he came off as threatening, which is all too frighteningly familiar to them from men.

Please compare Biden’s performance when challenged by an elderly farmer with Nancy Pelosi’s when she was attacked by a right-wing Sinclair shill in reporter camouflage:

Pelosi responded with principle, reason, morality. Biden responded with anger, insult, bravado. What we need now in this nation is a leader who demonstrates the former, not the latter.

I supported Kamala Harris in this campaign for many reasons: her policies, her leadership, her experience, her prosecutorial zeal against Trump, her humanity — and, yes, her new and diverse perspective as a woman, a person of color, and the child of immigrants. Now that she is sadly out of the race, I’m asking myself whom I will support now. Yes, I will support the Democrat in the end. I will contribute, work for, and cheer whoever that is, and not just to work against Donald Trump — though that is reason enough.

But I am having difficulty with the field as it is, especially as it seems we will end up with a lily white debate stage the next time out (and the right is mocking Democrats for that). As I said earlier this week, I am angry that Democrats had a diverse field of candidates that was mansplained over by a parade of entitled white men. I am angry that media dismiss women and people of color and won’t question this in themselves. I am angry that Democrats are treating voters of color as pawns they can take for granted rather than listening to and giving voice to their issues and experiences.

I have a suggestion to improve coverage of the election and the campaign itself: I wish MSNBC would retire its old, white man of the evening, Chris Matthews, and replace him with a show featuring Jason Johnson, Tiffany Cross, Maria Hinojosa, Eddie Glaude Jr., Soledad O’Brien, Zerlina Maxwell, Maya Wiley, Karine Jean-Pierre, Joy Reid, Elie Mystal — so many wise people to choose from. Rather than having them on a round-robin guests or weekend hosts, give them a prime-time, daily show. Rather than treating their communities and issues as after-thoughts, put them at the center. Rather than taking voters of color for granted, listen to them. Give them the opportunity to challenge the candidates and the rest of media and to inform the rest of the electorate. The Democrats will count for victory on serving the needs of voters too long ignored, so don’t ignore them. Media will still reflexively if unconsciously exhibit their bias by constantly seeking out and trying to analyze the angry, white, male voter. Someone can do better.


Not that you should care, but here’s where I am.

If need be I will vote for, contribute to, and work for Biden if he is the nominee and not reluctantly as I know we will end up in agreement about most issues. But I worry that we will end up embarrassed by our own angry and increasingly doddering old man in office. I blame him for the whitening and aging of this field. He is not my first choice.

I respect Warren and think she will bring strong, fresh leadership with a moral vision to the office. But I worry that her policies will be be seen as radical by just enough voters to lose. I also think her attack on tech is cynical and dangerous. Don’t @ me for that.

Bernie? I agree with Hillary. Don’t @ me.

Mayor Pete is smart and impressively eloquent. But he is inexperienced and his education in communities of color has been too much on stage, for show.

That’s the top of the field.

Bloomberg? He’s an able technocrat. But his re-education in stop-and-frisk is also too much on stage, for show. And we do not need billionaires buying office.

Steyer, Yang, and Williamson are novelty candidates. Don’t @ me.

That leaves me with my best but long-shot hopes. I like Cory Booker and will donate to his campaign. The same for Julián Castro. And I include Amy Klobuchar in this list of the ones I’d like to see rise. These are candidates I wish were now front and center because they bring the perspectives we need. And maybe there’s still time. I won’t accept the pundits’ predictions, not until voters vote. Now I have some new hats and hoodies to buy.

Thank you, Kamala Harris

I’m sorely disappointed to lose Kamala Harris from the race.

I am angry at the parade of white men; old, white men; and old, white, male billionaires who came marching into the campaign because they felt they had to mansplain the race; because they apparently believed they had to rescue us from wonderfully diverse, young, and fresh slate of candidates; and because: ego.

I am angry at journalists and pundits — my own field — for their bias in covering candidates of color and women, a bias they will not acknowledge and will not cover, even though it is a huge story in this campaign and the last one. I am angry at them for holding candidates of color and women to different expectations. I am angry at them for learning nothing from their mistakes in covering the 2016 campaign. I am angry at them for still believing it is their job to predict elections — which they do terribly — rather than inform the electorate. I am angry at them for publicizing the opinion polls that preempt democratic conversation.

I am angry at Democrats — my party — for thinking they can mobilize women and people of colors without actually listening to them, without representing them, without paying attention to the issues that matter in their lives.

I am grateful to Kamala Harris for her candidacy, for her stands on the issues, for her intelligence, generosity, representation, determination, inspiration, and prosecutorial zeal — and her humanity.