Mark Andrew, a former Hennepin County Board Chair and former chair of the Minnesota DFL Party, is the owner of GreenMark, a leading environmental marketing agency. GreenMark, the originator of the Minnesota Twins/Pentair Rain Water Recycle partnership, is currently finalizing the state's largest solar energy installation while delivering sustainable results on behalf of leading brands, nonprofits, public agencies and the public.

Returning to publishing columns after, oh, a few decades

Posted by: Mark Andrew Updated: April 27, 2014 - 5:44 PM

It's been a long time since I wrote regularly for a publication. While I can trace my brief writing career back to my U of M Minnesota Daily days, my writing later suffered the failing that befalls most elected officials--they quit writing.

Today inaugurates a return to scheduled published views that I've committed to do for the StarTribune. I will be writing on a variety of mostly current events-politics, policy, the arts and issues of public concern. Once in a while I'll write about personal stuff, too, but it will be in the context of my life as an incurable activitst and the public issues that consume me. I'll try to avoid too many personal meanderings about the condition of my life-this isn't self-help therapy.

I'm interested in the relationship between media and public policy--how media coverage, such as it is, affects public attitudes on issues of our time. Is the media really too liberal or is CNN and MSNBC's reach dwarfed by the impact of FOX and the Murdock media conglomerate? Do most American's accept that the nation's daily newspapers usually endorse the Republican in Presidential elections? Does the media drive public opinion or reflect it? 

I'll also stay hard-wired into environmental stories. That sustainability is also the mission of my for-profit small business touches me in the pocketbook as well as the heart. I'm a true believer in Climate Change, have been since before the term was popularized. So I'll continue to espouse a life-long passion for cutting edge environmentalism. Cutting edge means making a difference, not just making a statement. What is feasible and not just pie-in-the-sky? And how do we get government, especially the Feds but all levels, to take more dramatic action and more American businesses to get serious about building sustainability into their business model? The clock's ticking on "Climate". Let's get a move on.

I'm happy to be writing because the quality of American journalism has changed, in my view, for the worse. Facts are more likely to be subverted by planned distortions of moguls who view fear mongering and hysteria as a pathway to profits. And the plethora of information sources that was supposed to be so liberating for consumers of information has actually morphed news source choice into "balkanized" bubbles of informational blather. Really, as is the case with health care, who has the time to shop around? The illusion of choice mimics real choice; time-strapped consumers default to media flavors that reflect personal views or offers high calorie, low nourshment entertainment that is a little too shrill or just plain dumb. I dont need 15 brands of mustard on my grocery shelf. 3 or 4 are plenty.

But that is another topic about which I will no doubt write another time.

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