2009년 1월 31일 토요일


자료: http://www.answers.com/guild

Association of craftsmen or merchants formed for mutual aid and for the advancement of their professional interests. Guilds flourished in Europe between the 11th and 16th century and were of two types: merchant guilds, including all the merchants of a particular town or city; and craft guilds, including all the craftsmen in a particular branch of industry (e.g., weavers, painters, goldsmiths). Their functions included establishing trade monopolies, setting standards for quality of goods, maintaining stable prices, and gaining leverage in local governments in order to further the interests of the guild. Craft guilds also established hierarchies of craftsmen based on level of training (e.g., masters, journeymen, and apprentices).

or gilds, economic and social associations of persons engaging in the same business or craft, typical of Western Europe in the Middle Ages. Membership was by profession or craft, and the primary function was to establish local control over that profession or craft by setting standards of workmanship and price, by protecting the business from competition, and by establishing status in society for members of the guild. In the Western world today the term guild is used for certain associations that have little connection with the medieval institution. Some of the great professional associations (e.g., in medicine and law) fulfill some of the functions of the old guilds but are rarely given that name.

Medieval European Guilds

By the 11th cent. in Europe, associations of merchants had begun to form for the protection of commerce against the feudal governments. Those merchant guilds became extremely powerful as trade in the Mediterranean and across Europe increased. Some of the Italian merchant guilds, such as those in Genoa and Florence, became dominant in local government. In England and in Germany the merchant guilds also exercised enormous power in the growing towns. Commerce was becoming less and less a local affair, and the guilds in some cases developed into intercity leagues for the promotion and protection of trade. The most striking example was the Hanseatic League of N Europe, which established and controlled some of its own trading cities. The merchant guilds had vast influence in the development of commerce during that period.

No less important were the craft guilds, the associations of artisans of a particular industry, e.g., the weavers guild. These grew with great rapidity as towns developed in the 12th cent. and tended to share power with the merchants or even, in some cases, to supplant them in power. Generally the members were divided into masters, apprentices, and journeymen. The masters were the owners of the shops and instructors of the apprentices. The apprentices were bound to the masters; they were accepted for a stipulated sum paid to the masters for training and were given a subsistence wage for a number of years; the amount paid and the length of time varied from one craft to another and one place to another. The apprentices were strictly under the control of the masters, but the conditions of control were set by guild regulation. The journeymen were men who had finished their training as apprentices but could not attain the status of masters, the number of masters being limited.

The guild reflected a predilection for ordering society. Each guild set the terms of its craft: the forms of labor, standard of product, and methods of sale. With the rise of nationalism in the West, those things were increasingly subject to royal and national law. The relationship of the feudal ruler to the guilds was ideally one of cooperation. Actually the wealthy guilds were able to gain some immunity from interference by noble or king either by paying them large sums of money or by intimidating them. Sometimes, as in the weaving towns of Flanders, the guilds led revolts against feudal authority (e.g., in Bruges and Ghent). The tendency in the industrial towns was for the guilds to assume dominance in municipal government, and traces of that control have persisted in the local governments of Western Europe. The guilds of London (see livery companies) had wide social obligations and prominence in the city government.

The strengthening of the power of nations in the 15th and 16th cent. tended to increase royal power, and the king in some instances was able to reduce the guilds to subservience. The improvement of communications, the expansion of trade, with the introduction of foreign-made goods, and finally the appearance of the capitalist and the entrepreneur hastened the end of the guild system. The guilds, with their rigorous controls and emphasis on stability and quality, were not equipped to cope with the expanding production of a more capitalistic age. They tended to guard their monopolies jealously and to oppose change.

As time went on, the guild system became increasingly rigid, and the trend toward hereditary membership grew very marked. Thus the development of new trade and industry fell to the capitalists, who adapted themselves to new demands in an age of exploration and expansion. By the 17th cent. the power of the guilds had withered in England, and their privileges were officially abolished in 1835. In France the guilds were abolished (1791) in the French Revolution. The German and Austrian guilds were abolished in the 19th cent. as were those in the Italian cities. In Eastern Europe guilds grew numerous in the great market cities, and the power of some long persisted, notably in Novgorod and Kraków.

Other Guilds

Guildlike organizations of merchants and artisans have been known at various times in many parts of the world. Greek merchants' associations were of considerable significance in both the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Under the Roman Empire each provincial city had, as did Rome, its various collegia (some of which were clubs as well as economic guilds); Constantinople later had its efficiently organized corpora. Those guilds were continued in the East and in some of the cities of Italy, where they persisted at least until the 10th cent. Their effect on the creation of medieval guilds is debatable. Some scholars have found the origin of guilds in the old tribal or religious guilds of the Germans.

Elsewhere in the world associations of merchants and of artisans developed and followed a pattern similar to that of the medieval European guilds, flourishing as protective devices or as regulatory instruments of the state. The guilds of the Muslim Middle East developed in the 9th cent. and persisted into the 20th cent., although they never attained the political influence equivalent of those of medieval Europe. In India guilds were highly developed before the time of the Maurya empire, and they continued in existence long after British control was established. The history of the Indian guilds was closely tied in with the caste system. The guilds in Japan were opposed and weakened by the stronger medieval rulers, but they were later used as powerful regulatory devices; they were swept away in the Meiji restoration in 1868. Chinese guilds of unknown antiquity persisted as powerful bodies into the 20th cent.


See C. Gross, The Gild Merchant (1890, repr. 1964); L. F. Salzman, English Industries of the Middle Ages (new ed. 1964); H. Sée, Economic and Social Conditions in France during the Eighteenth Century (tr. 1927, repr. 1968); S. Kramer, The English Craft Gilds (1927); H. B. Morse, The Gilds of China (2d ed. 1932, repr. 1967); G. Unwin, Gilds and Companies of London (4th ed. 1963); G. Clune, The Medieval Gild System (1943); R. Mackenney, Tradesmen and Traders: The World of the Guilds in Venice and Europe (1987).

2009년 1월 30일 금요일

deal with

[Cobuild]2. PHRASAL VERB
If you deal with an unpleasant emotion or an emotionally difficult situation, you recognize it, and remain calm and in control of yourself in spite of it.
  • She saw a psychiatrist who used hypnotism to help her deal with her fear.
[cf: Thesaurus/WordNet 3.0]
  7. be in charge of, act on, or dispose of
  • "I can deal with this crew of workers"
  • "This blender can't handle nuts"
  • "She managed her parents' affairs after they got too old"
  • = handle, manage, care
[Cobuild]1. PHRASAL VERB
When you deal with something or someone that needs attention, you give your attention to them, and often solve a problem or make a decision concerning them.
  • the way that building societies deal with complaints.    
  • The President said the agreement would allow other vital problems to be dealt with.
  • = handle   
[cf: Thesaurus/WordNet 3.0]
  2. take into consideration for exemplifying purposes; 
  • "Take the case of China"; "Consider the following case"
  • = look at, consider, take
  3. take action with respect to (someone or something); 
  • "How are we going to deal with this problem?"
  • "The teacher knew how to deal with these lazy students"
[Collins Essential Thesaurus] deal with something or someone
1. handle, manage, treat, cope with, take care of, see to, attend to, get to grips with, come to grips with
2. behave towards, act towards, conduct yourself towards

Issue as a noun revisited

4(a). A point or matter of discussion, debate, or dispute: legal and moral issues.
4(b). A matter of public concern: debated economic issues.
4(c). A misgiving, objection, or complaint: had issues with the plan to change the curriculum.
4(d). The essential point; crux: the issue of how to provide adequate child care.
4(e). A culminating point leading to a decision: bring a case to an issue.

5. (Informal) A personal problem or emotional disorder: The teacher discussed the child's issues with his parents.

1. an important question that is in dispute and must be settled; 
  • "the issue could be settled by requiring public education for everyone"
  • "politicians never discuss the real issues"
3.  some situation or event that is thought about; 
  • "he kept drifting off the topic"
  • "he had been thinking about the subject for several years"
  • "it is a matter for the police"
... Thesaurus/Word Net 3.0: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/issue

Issue as a verb seen through its synonyms

Synonyms: appear, emerge, issue, loom(1), materialize, show

These verbs mean to come into view
  • a ship appearing on the horizon
  • a star that emerged from behind a cloud; 
  • a diver issuing from the water; 
  • a peak that loomed through the mist; 
  • a job offer that materialized overnight; 
  • a shirtsleeve showing at the edge of the jacket. 
  • ..... See Also Synonyms at seem.

Synonyms: stem(1), arise, derive, emanate, flow, issue, originate, proceed, rise, spring

These verbs mean to come forth or come into being
  • customs that stem from the past
  • misery that arose from war
  • rights that derive from citizenship
  • disapproval that emanated from the teacher
  • happiness that flows from their friendship
  • prejudice that issues from fear
  • a proposal that originated in the Congress
  • a mistake that proceeded from carelessness
  • rebellion that rises in the provinces
  • new industries that spring up.

2009년 1월 29일 목요일

get on

If you say how someone is getting on, you are saying how much success they are having with what they are trying to do.
  • Livy's getting on very well in Russian. She learns very quickly.
  • When he came back to see me I asked how he had got on.
If you try to get on, you try to be successful in your career.[mainly BRIT]
  • Politics is seen as a man's world. It is very difficult for women to get on.
... Cobuild
cf. get on
2. To manage or fare with reasonable success.
3(a). To make progress; continue: get on with a performance.
3(b). To advance in years.
... Am-Heritage

If you get on with someone, you like them and have a friendly relationship with them.
  • The host fears the guests won't get on.    
  • What are your neighbours like? Do you get on with them?
  • =    get along   
... Cobuild


자료: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9805E4DB1338F936A35752C0A962948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

The New York Times, Home and Garden Section
Published: January 5, 1984

THAT the barns were not for sale never bothered Mariette or Raymond Gomez. Nor did the fact that a large portion of the roof had collapsed or that there were still dirt floors. ''The minute we saw the barns we knew they had to be ours,'' Mrs. Gomez said. ''Even as a wreck they were beautiful.''

The gabled roof and perfectly weathered shingles, classic symbols in American architecture, are what the Gomezes found so compelling. ''Also the great volume of space, 5,800 square feet of it,'' Mr. Gomez said. ''After coping with cramped city apartments, I knew there was something substantial here to work with.''

And work they did. The minute they found out who owned this property on the East End of Long Island, the couple asked a real- estate broker to make an offer on their behalf. It was accepted, and eight months later the three attached buildings - two barns and a stable, which had barely been touched since they were built in 1850 - had become a fully renovated, delightfully livable home.

Because it was the charm of the exterior that originally drew them, the outside looks almost the same now as when the couple first surveyed the property. The grounds are now well tended, and no drastic changes were made to the facades. But inside, while there are still unmistakable signs that these were once working farm buildings, the plan is surprisingly modern.

The Gomezes knew what they were doing. She is a seasoned interior designer who runs her own business and he is a partner in the architectural firm of Edward Durell Stone Associates.

According to Mr. Gomez, one of the biggest mistakes that can be made in renovations of this kind is trying to transform the buildings into conventional houses with lots of small rooms. ''It simply doesn't work,'' he said. ''Farmers intended barns to be large, purely functional places to house equipment and animals. Therefore, as modern interiors, they must be left as open- flowing space.''

The first floor bears this out. While the kitchen and garage, on opposite ends of the house, are enclosed rooms, the rest of the space is not as formally separated. It is divided into two areas by a wall with openings at either end. On one side is a playroom for the Gomezes' two children; on the other the grown-ups have a large combination living and dining room.

In the process of rebuilding the portion of the roof that had caved in, the Gomezes also removed a hayloft above the area where the living room and kitchen are now. This left 20-foot ceilings, which seemed too high for the proportions of the room. The biggest design problem, then, was how to scale down the ceilings without losing the charm of the building.

The solution was a bridge that spans the length of the house, connecting the master bedroom suite on one side of the second floor to the children's bedrooms across from it. ''The eight-foot-high bridge stops the eye, visually breaking up the space,'' Mrs. Gomez said.

Heating such large rooms can also be difficult. The Gomezes chose hot- water heat because they felt it was the most economical. The house has five heating zones, and ceiling fans on the second floor redirect the heat to the rooms below.

Since the main living and dining rooms were built for storing equipment - they housed farm paraphernalia and fire engines during the years the town had no fire department - the space was too dark to live in. The Gomezes kept the sliding barn doors and a row of four small windows above them and added a matching set of windows just below the ceiling. On the opposite wall they designed four pairs of French doors with another row of windows above.

''These additions were the only changes we made to the facade,'' Mr. Gomez said. As a result of this approach, the interior achieves a fresh, modern geometry enforced by the designer's decision to keep the walls plain white.

''Most of the architectural embellishments were ones that were a consequence of buying a barn,'' Mrs. Gomez said. The railings on the bridge, for example, were originally along the perimeter of the hayloft.

The Gomezes were also careful to retain the stalls where the farm animals once lived. Lined up along the south side of the building, all seven of the original stalls, complete with their swinging doors, still exist. Three stalls in the kitchen have become a laundry room, a tool room and a tiny niche for cutting flowers from the garden. Of the four remaining off the children's playroom, two were joined to make a guest room large enough to hold a twin beds, another is a smaller guest room and the last was converted into a bathroom.

Also salvaged during the renovation was a attractively faded blue door. ''I found it hanging by a thread above the hayloft,'' Mrs. Gomez said. It is now a closet door in the kitchen.

Even the outbuildings that came with the barns were a source of inspiration for the design team. ''We think of them as antique sculptures,'' Mrs. Gomez explained. Although the goat house and outhouse are too small to convert into, say, a guest house or study, on the drawing boards are Mr. Gomez's plans to make the grain house a changing room for a pool that is to be built once the ground thaws.

''Even in their original dilapidated state, the quality of all these buildings makes them infinitely greater to work with than modern houses,'' Mr. Gomez said. ''What you are able to achieve in the end is far more interesting and timeless.''

For people considering converting a barn, Raymond Gomez makes the following suggestions:

* To decide whether it is worth purchasing, consider carefully just what you will get for your money. ''It is important to realize that all you're really getting is the shell of a building,'' he said. ''Anything beyond that is a bonus.''

* Hire an expert to check the condition of the foundation and the frame. If the barn is old, the foundation has usually settled properly. And if the exterior is fairly intact, there is probably enough to work with.

* In designing the space, do not attempt to change the load-bearing beams or the existing frame. Follow the character and integrity of the existing space. Too intricate a plan will often prove impossible to build.

* Be prepared to modify the design as you go along. No matter how much design planning is done on paper before renovating the building, there are always unknowns hidden behind old walls.

* In hiring a contractor, try to get someone who will be flexible enough to handle the changes that will occur and who may be able to act as an on-the-job craftsman.

The Men who Make Goldman Sachs....

자료: http://fintel.blogspot.com/2008/10/men-who-make-goldman-sachs-goldman.html

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Men who Make Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs

If I opened a toilet bowl business, my aim will be to tell you everything about the toilet bowl. When I love something, I just want to find out everything about it - true of companies, people and subjects. I was just studying the great people who made up its history and today I just want to bring up 3 people who are key: Sidney Weinerg, Gus Levy and John Weinberg.

It's really inspiring to read the lives of these men but more importantly the values they carry. Sidney Weinberg started out as a porter in Goldman Sachs, clearing the trash and emptying spitoons. He worked his way up to Chairman of Goldman Sachs. He didn't even complete his PS13 education but had the right skills to bring Goldman Sachs through the Great Depression as partner of the firm.

As for John Weinberg, his son, you only have to read part of his orbitrary.

JOHN L. WEINBERG was the longtime senior partner and chairman of Goldman Sachs. He was a no-nonsense manager dressed in off-the-peg suits who looked more like a lantern-jawed boxer than a banker but who became the last true gentlemen to run a major Wall Street institution before it fell prey to charmless profiteers.

In the cut-throat world of banking and securities in the Eighties and Nineties, where the bottom line came to mean everything, Weinberg was a lone resister, careful to put his clients first even when loyalty ended up costing millions. Notwithstanding his old-school ways — he would not work on hostile takeovers, for instance — under his stewardship Goldman’s became the most profitable securities firm in the world.

British taxpayers would come to benefit from his sense of rectitude. When the sell-off of British government stock in British Petroleum in 1987 coincided with a stock market crash, he stood by Goldman’s obligation to underwrite the sale, losing at least $100 million. “We are going to do it. And those of you who decide not to do it, you won’t be underwriting a goat house — not even an outhouse,” he told his wavering partners.

Weinberg’s example of personal rectitude became an inspiration for a generation of influential New York money men, among them Henry “Hank” Paulson, US Treasury Secretary, who eventually succeeded him at Goldman’s.

Weinberg hoped his honest approach to business and his egalitarian style would become an industry standard and to that end he endowed the John L. Weinberg Centre for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware.

It was inevitable, perhaps, that John Livingston Weinberg should become a banker. He was born on January 25, 1925, in Scarsdale, New York, to Sidney Weinberg, who began at Goldman’s in 1907 as a porter, brushing hats and emptying office spittoons.

Although Sidney rose to become chairman, John L. Weinberg never forgot his father’s humble beginnings. And his understanding of the common man was reinforced further by his experiences in the Second World War.

Having left Deerfield Academy, a Massachusetts boarding school, Weinberg became a lieutenant in the US Marine Corps serving in the Pacific, where as a teenager he was responsible for the wellbeing of grown men.

Weinberg resumed his studies at Princeton, graduating in 1947, then re-enlisted as a captain to fight in the Korean War before returning to take a masters degree in business administration at Harvard.

Although he worked for his father during university vacations, it was by no means automatic that he should join Goldman’s. Before he was made an associate at the firm in 1950, his father sent him to consult the heads of the rival banks J. P Morgan, Morgan Stanley and First Boston, to ensure that he was doing the right thing. Weinberg told a biographer that “his father was hard on him” and that “he wasn’t going to get where he was going because he was the boss’s son. He had to prove himself.

He was made a partner in 1956 and later served as a member of the board, chairman of the management committee and senior partner.

In 1976 Weinberg and John Whitehead were appointed co-chairmen, with Whitehead expanding international business while Weinberg remained in New York, cultivating the bank’s top clients. After 1984 he ran the company on his own until his retirement in 1990.

It was his relationship with the CEOs of America’s landmark companies that ensured Goldman’s success. He remained close to the Ford family, whose car company his father had taken public, and to the Sears retail family. He endeared himself to the young Jack Welch, who became the driving force behind General Electric’s success, and he was particularly close to the Bronfman family, which ran Seagram; he was both friend and neighbour to Edgar Bronfman, living in the same building.

Weinberg believed success would come about only through team effort. He was an egalitarian who despised the loftiness which affected many. To that end he cancelled the 4.30pm limousine collection his top managers had come to enjoy. Above all Weinberg hated the arrogance that he believed would lead to the firm’s undoing. “The culture was very much about fighting arrogance. Arrogance gets firms into trouble,” remembered a Goldman’s managing partner. 

It was such an unwarranted sense of invincibility that Weinberg believed had inspired the worst periods of his career: a scandal which accompanied the bankruptcy in 1970 of the Penn Central railway, a Goldman Sachs client; and accusations of insider trading levelled against a Goldman’s partner in the mid-1980s.

These contrasted with the coups for which he is most often credited: his decision to buy the commodities trading firm J. Aron in 1981; and his acceptance of an approach by Sumitomo Bank of Japan in 1986, which allowed him $500 million in new capital with which to compete with firms such as Morgan Stanley that were raising money by going public.

Weinberg had a strong sense of public service and was director of the DeWitt Wallace Fund for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, a trustee of New York Presbyterian Hospital and a trustee emeritus of Princeton University. He was a donor to the Jewish Museum and to the Republican Party and he funded a sports pavilion at Vassar, his wife’s alma mater.

He was joined at Goldman’s by his brother, his nephew and his son. He is survived by his wife, Sue Ann, and two children.

The gentlemen on Wall Street. I want to be like these guys. I am currently reading John Whitehead's biography and I think it's going to be a great read.

I need to pay more attention to details and be sharper in my work. I think I didn't do a very good job on my Corporate Advisory presentation. I need to re-evaluate my use of cognitive resources.

underwriting syndicate

underwriting syndicate 인수단

발행증권의 인수를 위하여 구성된 관계업자를 말한다. 인수단은 발행유가증권의 인수업무에 공동으로 참여하며 공모 후 청약 미달 분이 있을 경우 이를 인수할 책임을 지는데 인수회사는 발행가격으로 주식 또는 사채발행금액을 인수하여 자기책임 하에 일반투자자에게 주식 및 사채를 매출한다. 인수단은 인수회사의 자격요건을 구비한 회사 중 주간사회사가 정한 회사로 구성하는데 주식의 경우 주간사회사는 간사지정법인으로 인수단을 구성하되 간사단을 포함하여 3사 이상이어야 한다.

Underwriting syndicate

A group of investment banks that work together to sell new security offerings to investors. The underwriting syndicate is led by the lead underwriter. See also: Lead underwriter.

lead underwriter

The main underwriter of a new security issue. The lead underwriter forms a distribution system to sell the security issue and is generally responsible for the largest part of the offering. Also called house of issue, managing underwriter.

2009년 1월 28일 수요일

walk the walk, talk the talk

walk the walk:

to show that something is true through your actions. 
  • He says the team will be just as good without Groncki as they were with him, but we'll have to see if the team can walk the walk.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the full form talk the talk and walk the walk to say something that appears to be real or true and show it is real or true through your actions
  • Most of these guys say they have religious beliefs, but only a few of them can talk the talk and walk the walk.

cf. talk the talk:
to say something in a way that appears to be true or real. 
  • For a woman whose criminal-law practice is only 11 months old, she sure can talk the talk.

2009년 1월 25일 일요일


1(a). A seasonally flooded bottomland with more woody plants than a marsh and better drainage than a bog.
1(b). A lowland region saturated with water.

2. A situation or place fraught with difficulties and imponderables: a financial swamp.


1. VERB : usu neg

If you flinch, you make a small sudden movement, especially when something surprises you or hurts you.

  • Murat had looked into the eyes of the firing squad without flinching.
  • The sharp surface of the rock caught at her skin, making her flinch.


If you flinch from something unpleasant, you are unwilling to do it or think about it, or you avoid doing it.

  • The world community should not flinch in the face of this challenge.
  • He has never flinched from harsh financial decisions.

... Cobuild

iron grip

iron grip

  • That latter certainly would suggest they don't control the series with the iron grip you always say. (출처: USENET)
  • The year is 1142, and all England is in the iron grip of a civil war. (출처: Internet Book List)
  • But their iron grip could not contain Solzhenitsyn's reach. (출처: Herald Tribune)
  • There were two games which held an iron grip on the #1 spot in the list. (출처: Wikipedia)
  • The iron grip of democrats will even control sun spots. (출처: USENET)

... http://engdic.daum.net/dicen/exp.do?q=iron+grip

cf. firm grip
  • Now that the president is back in his seat, I hope he will take a firm grip and work his way out of the last two months’ confusion.” (출처: The Korea Herald)
  • Although the communist party has a firm grip on politics in Vietnam, this sweeping political change marked a watershed. (출처: 세계일보 WT논평)
  • Sociologists see this as a big development, creating the potential for democracy to take a firm grip in Korea. (출처: The Korea Herald)

... http://engdic.daum.net/dicen/exp.do?q=firm%20grip

2009년 1월 24일 토요일

a leap of faith

If you take a leap of faith, you do something even though you are not sure it is right or will succeed.

  • Take a leap of faith and trust them.

... Cobuild
  • Such a belief obviously requires as great a leap of faith as does any religious creed or confession.
  • Why does an endorsement from a New York senator warrant such a leap of faith?
  • That is why a leap of faith is needed, applying for both the belief and disbelief of God.

2009년 1월 19일 월요일

A critical and functional analysis of the mirror metaphor with reference to the media’s responsibility towards society

자료: A critical and functional analysis of the mirror metaphor with reference to the media’s responsibility towards society

Zigi Ekron
(the editor of WegSleep-magazine and currently enrolled in the MPhil. programme at the University of Stellenbosch’s Department of Journalism)

Attempts to define the media’s role and function as the fourth estate often rely on the use of the mirror metaphor to describe its relationship towards its audience. The metaphor suggests the media and its contents are merely a reflection of reality. The assumption is that this reflection serves society’s need to have an unbiased, objective and critical view of itself. The image presented in the reflection should therefore enable society to evaluate and adjust itself accordingly.
Although this apparent pragmatic approach satisfies the most basic description of the media’s role as a mediator of reality, it fails to consider the factors that may influence the reflection that is presented and the manner in which it is received.
This paper applies critical theory to examine the manner in which factors, such as media concentration and commercialisation, distort the reflection in the mirror. It also analyses the notion of a mass audience which consumes media content. The paper challenges the outdated assumption in normative theory that the media serves a homogenous society. Instead it proposes a move towards pluralism of the media as a means to address the needs of diverse and multicultural societies.

Key words: 
Mirror metaphor, commercialisation, concentration, mass audience, pluralism, diversity, society, 



‘Journalists hold up a mirror to society’. From the media’s perspective this statement may at first glance seem like an accurate description of a worthy industry. From society’s point of view it may, however, seem like an inept attempt to describe the way in which the media perceives itself as mediator of reality. Neither of these opinions can unequivocally be called true or false, but as McQuail (2005:83) states ‘the notion of mediation in the sense of media intervening between ourselves and ‘reality’ is no more than a metaphor, although it does point to several of the roles played by the media in connecting us to other experience’.
McQuail uses seven communication images through which the media is perceived to connect us with reality. The images are that of a window, a mirror, a filter or gatekeeper, a signpost, a forum, disseminator, and interlocutor, each with its own function. 
About the media as a mirror McQuail (2005:83) says: 

As a mirror of events in society and the world, implying a faithful reflection (albeit with inversion and possible distortion of the image), although the angle and direction of the mirror are decided by others, and we are less free to see what we want.

If one therefore reconsiders the initial statement it becomes apparent that it is an oversimplified notion that does not take into consideration external factors that distort the reflection or disregard the beholder. Any attempt to understand the true dynamics of this relationship inevitably raises two pertinent questions. Firstly, whose mirror is it and, secondly, which society are we talking about?
Within the context of mass communication studies the first question stems from critical theory while the second seems to be informed through functionalism. In this article I will use aspects of these approaches to investigate these questions. 


According to Fourie (2007:130) critical theorists focus mainly on the media’s ideological impact on the masses. The central argument stems from the work of theorists such as Karl Marx about the possibilities for media owners to abuse their power to further their own capitalist ideals. In short, Marxist scholars argued that institutions such as the media, the church, industry, and educational institutions could manipulate the masses to either consciously or unconsciously accept the manner in which they perceive the world – i.e.  capitalist ideology.
The concept of ideology, however, is not restricted to Marxist theory about a class struggle, but can also be used to describe an individual’s world view or that of an institution or company. Once the ideology of a certain individual or institution has been ascertained, one is in a better position to judge the motive and goal of their actions (Fourie, 2007:133). 
In critical theory it is assumed that there is a close relationship between politics, the economy and the media (Fourie, 2007:134). This relationship, known as the political economy of the media, provides the context in which to analyse the impact of media ownership on media content and the resulting pervasive ideology.

Commercialisation of the media

One of the determining factors in the political economy of the media is the commercialisation of the media (Fourie, 2007:141). In its efforts to show a profit, the media are reliant on the same business principles as a factory that produces any other commodity. 
Even though journalists see themselves as objective observers and messengers, the production of mainstream media is a capitalist venture and is therefore controlled by economic considerations. The aim of a free market media industry is, after all, to sell content – whether in print, digital or broadcast media.
It would be unreasonable to assume the public interest would remain paramount in the boardrooms of media houses if it contradicted the interests of the company. 
Whilst the business approach to journalism is not necessarily contradictory to the ideals of the profession, the over emphasis on the profit factor by the industry and the resulting ‘skewing of media content towards commercial ends’ is reason for concern (Picard, 2004:55). 
McQuail (2005:125) shares this view and agrees that whilst the term ‘commercialism’ may on the one hand refer objectively to the way the media functions in a free-market economy, it also has the implicit negative connotation that suggests adverse influences on the quality and type of media content which is mass produced and sold as a commodity, and the relationship between the media institutions and their customers.
Picard (2004:61) argues that, because newspapers mainly carry commercialised, cost effective content designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience, and whose attention can be sold to advertisers, news judgment is adversely affected. Stories that are judged to be less appealing or entertaining to a publication’s intended target market are therefore not deemed newsworthy.
For example, a South African newspaper with a predominantly older, white, readership such as Volksblad1 might rather devote column space to the popular soapie 7de Laan than to health or educational issues in a black township community.
As a result stories that may be deemed offensive to the readers’ sensibilities are not covered, while those that seem more palatable and entertaining to a potentially larger audience receive prominence. Content that carries cost implications determines which stories are covered and which are downplayed or ignored. ‘This leads to a homogenisation of newspaper content, to coverage of safe issues and to a diminution of the range of opinion and ideas expressed (Picard, 2004:61).

Concentration of the media and diminishing diversity

Fourie (2007:141) also highlights the tendency towards media concentration and shrinking diversity as propositions of the political economy of the media and a concern with regards to its impact on the public sphere. 
The right to a free and independent media is of very little value if it is not used to express diversity of opinion. 
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) reiterates the need for a free and independent media unhindered by government, political and economic control and which is, most importantly, pluralistic. (UNESCO, 2005).
Although McQuail (2005:125) regards the issue as the subject of normative theory his argument can just as easily be applied to the critical approach, specifically in the context of political economy of the media. He claims the prevailing norm in debates about media and society opposes a concentration of media ownership in favour of plurality in order to present audiences with diverse views, opinions and ideologies. 
McQuail (2005:166).writes: 

The guiding principle is that the media should not be dominated by a few controlling interests and that citizens should have access as senders and receivers to media that reflect their ideas and meet their interests and needs.

The need for media diversity in South Africa has manifested itself in the establishment of the Media Diversity Development Agency (MDDA) which aims to encourage ownership and access to media by previously disadvantaged communities. Diversity of media ownership in itself does not, however, imply progress.
Since 1994 and the advent of democracy in South Africa, there has been significant change in media ownership in South Africa, particularly in the print media section. Before 1994 South African print media was divided into two distinct groups, the English press and the Afrikaans press. In turn, each group was divided in two whereby the Argus Group and Times Media Limited (TML) constituted the English press and the Afrikaans press consisted of Naspers and Perskor. In 1995 the Irish Independent group gained control of the Argus Group and the following year the black empowerment consortium Johnnic Communications bought a controlling share in TML. In 1998 another change in ownership saw Caxton assume control over Perskor. Thus, even though the ownership of the South African print media has changed and become more racially diverse, it remains under the control of just four companies (Wasserman & De Beer, 2005:39 - 40).
The market dominance of these companies indirectly threatens the diversity of opinions in the public sphere. As their stature as powerful institutions in society grows so does their political influence and the potential to stifle debate (Meier & Trappel,1998:39).
Meier & Trappel also make an important distinction between media diversity and a variety of media. In this distinction variety merely signifies a choice of products and diversity represents disparate views.
The advent of the new millennium saw new newspaper titles such as This Day and Die Wêreld make brief appearances on the South African print media scene. The economics related to establishing an independent title in a market dominated by the four companies mentioned above however proved too hard and both newspapers floundered. 
However, since 2000 the newspaper market has witnessed the rise of a multitude of tabloid newspapers in South Africa such as the Daily Sun, Die Son, The Voice and Sondag. All of these newspapers belong to one or the other of the four main print media institutions.
Wasserman & De Beer (2005) contest that even though the variety of media has increased, it has done little to expand media diversity. Viewed from a critical perspective and assuming the arena of public debate and interaction should be open to all citizens, they pose the question as to whether the South African media landscape is diverse and pluralistic enough – even ten years after the advent of democracy – to truthfully ‘represent the “public interest” in as wide a sense as it purports to’ (Wasserman & De Beer, 2005:40). 


The functionalist approach proposes that society consists of a serious of subsystems that each make an essential contribution in order for society as a whole to maintain equilibrium. The media is seen as one of these subsystems (Fourie, 2007:186).
As such the media has five basic functions relating to information, correlation, continuity, entertainment and mobilisation (Fourie, 2007:188). Each of these functions can be divided into a variety of tasks ranging from the provision of information about events and conditions in society (news) to campaigning for societal objectives (McQuail, 2005:97-98). In other words, the media are expected to serve a purpose in society. As a subsection of the functionalist approach, normative media theory concerns itself with what this supposed purpose is and what it is that society expects of the media. 
One of the main objections to functionalist theory, however, is that it takes a homogenous society for granted and assumes consent about the media’s responsibility towards such a society (Fourie, 2007:187).
The concept of mass communication not only suggests the existence of mass media, but also inherently supposes the existence of a mass audience. Deuze (2004:282) refers to Morris & Ogan when arguing that in an increasingly globalised and multicultural society, where the mass audience is understood to transcend traditional divisions such as nationality, race and religion, a ‘one size fits all’ view of society is no longer adequate in determining the public service of the media.
 In fact, in this context in can be disputed as to whether the media have any obligation towards society whatsoever, as the established notions of ‘public interest’ and ‘the public good’ become vague and almost impossible to qualify (McQuail 2004:7).
New thinking about normative media theory acknowledges that multiculturalism is one of the foremost issues that faces the media and its perceived responsibilities in contemporary society (Deuze, 2004:281).
Pluralism in media seems to be a ready made solution and Fourie (2007:194) quotes McQuail who argues that ‘the media collectively should represent all social groups and reflect the diversity of society by giving people access to a variety of viewpoints and the right to react to these viewpoints’. This forms the basis of the argument to promote pluralism in the media.
The pluralism of media is understood to mean the manner in which it serves democracy by providing citizens with a variety of views and information which enables them to exercise their citizenship. It is also a vehicle for minorities and marginalized groups to voice their opinion (Meier & Trappel,1998:40).
Media pluralism can therefore be seen as a vital prerequisite for effective civil participation in democracy with distinct political functions that compliment the functions that McQuail(2005) defined. Whilst a single newspaper with one dominant ideology may serve the needs of a particular group or society it cannot be assumed that it also serves the rest of society.
In South Africa, where societies are divided by race, language and culture, the need for media pluralism becomes self evident. Tabane (2007) argues that pluralism in the media is especially significant in South Africa, not just because of the country’s diverse populations, but also because of the challenges of access to media – and what implicit effect it has on whose views are heard. He posits that less than half of the South African population have access to the print media due to language, literacy and distribution impediments. 
The vital role of media pluralism in our young democracy is perhaps more visible when one considers the history of the South African media under the apartheid regime where alternative print media played a significant role in bringing about social and political change. Newspapers such as The Weekly Mail and Vrye Weekblad aimed to counter the predominantly white mainstream media which either served as mouthpiece for the ruling party or fought a seemingly never ending battle against oppressive state intervention and censorship. Alternative print media played a significant role in bringing about social change (Wasserman & De Beer, 2005:38). Once democracy was established in 1994 these newspapers disappeared after apparently having served their purpose and those sectors of society which embraced the changing political landscape (14th World Editors Forum Report, 2007).
The most pertinent question, however, is not about the need for media pluralism, but rather how to establish it.
As noted before, changing media ownership and diversity of ownership does not automatically imply a change in media content or an expansion of the public sphere. Wasserman & De Beer (2005:39) point out that: 

The [South African] mainstream print media still operate according to the same functionalistic logic that….has as their target market the lucrative – and arguably white, or at least affluent black – elite market. In the tabloid media, where these titles are mostly aimed at a black/coloured audience/market the commercial imperative seems even stronger. Consequently, despite the ostensible diversity…questions may still be raised about whether they have significantly broadened perspectives. 

Tabane (2007) concurs that changing ownership is a move in the right direction, but not the only one to be taken. He proposes that government should strengthen the MDDA and increase its annual budget if it is serious about creating an alternative voice that can reach as many people as possible.
He acknowledges the fact that the South African media has transformed notably with respect to ownership and management, but reaffirms Wasserman & De Beer’s (2005) scepticism about whether this means the news media really reflects the broad aspirations of the country. 
Tabane (2007) suggests that transformation should also be spread through all levels of the media right down to the rank and file of the newsrooms. In this way the plurality of society can be reflected in the individual journalists who cover stories, each with their own ideology and historical frame of reference that represents a certain perspective from society.
 The recent revival of the Forum for Black Journalists (FBJ) sparked heated debate about the segregation of the industry along race lines (Makoe & Direko, 2008). Abbey Mokoe, the political editor of the SABC and chairperson of the FBJ, however maintains that even after the advent of the new democracy and the subsequent changes in the media, it is indeed his race and cultural background that dictates his perspective as a journalist (Makoe & Direko, 2008):

Granted the dynamics may be different, but the reality we still face as media practitioners, and the manner in which we deal with it, is based on our different approach to issues as a result of history, schooling, culture, traditions and comprehension of issues among others.

Tabane (2007) argues that only when journalists are educated to pay attention to social interest as inherent to all human beings and rid themselves of the notion that they are blessed with a superhuman sense of objectivity by virtue of their profession, will they be in a position to represent the diverse needs of society.


In his description of the metaphor in which the media fulfils its obligation to society as a mirror which reflects reality, McQuail (2005:83) warns that the reflection may be distorted. 
The influences that distort the image may be legion, but it is clear that commercial pressures and a concentration of ownership have a significant impact on the ‘reality’ that is reflected in the mirror. As in real life, the metaphorical mirror should be used to examine and evaluate the reflection in order to affect change where it is needed. Knowledge of the factors that distort the image would place the beholder in a better position to make exact and pertinent changes or at least better evaluations.
In its eagerness to serve society, the media should be aware of its own shortcomings. Its moral, ethical, political or emotional stance on a particular issue may suffice for one segment of society, but unless it has the ability to address the same issue from a different perspective in order to satisfy the needs of other citizens its job is only half done.
It therefore becomes apparent that the original statement might have more value if it was stated in the plural so that journalists can hold up many mirrors to diverse societies.

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Ads 24. 2008. Daily Newspaper Profile : Volksblad. http://www.ads24.co.za/DailyNewspapers/Volksblad/tabid/1245/Default.aspx. Accessed: 2008-02-25:

Deuze, M. 2004. Jouornalism studies beyond media: on ideology and identity. Ecquid Novi, 25(2):275-293.

Fourie, P.J. 2007. Media studies: media history, media and society. Cape Town: Juta

Makoe, A. & Direko, R. 2008. FBJ a necessary evil? City Press, 2008-01-03. http://www.news24.com/City_Press/Features/0,,186-1696_2280582,00.html. Accessed: 2008-03-03.

McQuail, D. 1992 . Media performance: mass communication and the public interest. London: Sage.

McQuail, D. and Siune, K. (eds). 1998. Media policy, convergence, concentration and commerce. London: Sage.

McQuail, D. 2004. Publication in a free society: The problem of accountability. Open lecture at University of Minho, Portugal. http://www.cecs.uminho.pt/activ/mcquail/D_McQuail_openlecture.pdf. Accessed: 2008-02-27.

McQuail, D. 2005. McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory. London: Sage

(Meier & Trappel in McQuail and Siune, 1998: 39). Media policy, convergence, concentration and commerce. London: Sage.

Picard, R.G. 2004. Commercialism and newspaper quality. Newspaper Research Journal, 25 (1):54-65. http://www.poynter.org/resource/63500/picard.pdf. Accessed: 2008- 02-27.

Tabane, O.J.J. 2007. Media needs radical surgery. Mail & Guardian, 2007-10-15. http://www.journalism.co.za/insight/media-needs-radical-surgery.html. Accessed: 2008-03-03.

UNESCO Bureau of Information Report. 2005. Media Pluralism. http://www.unesco.org/bpi/pdf/memobpi46_mediapluralism_en.pdf. Accessed: 2008-02-24.

Wasserman, H. & De Beer, A. 2005. Which public? Whose interest? The South African media and its role during the first ten years of democracy. Critical Arts. 19 (1 & 2):36-51.

14th World Editors Forum Report. 2007. The South African newspaper industry: an overview of the industry. 60th World Newspaper Congress. http://www.capetown2007.co.za/articles.php?id=92#. Accessed: 2008-03-01.

hold up a mirror to something or someone: examples gathered through web search

“In fact, the whole novel is intended to hold up a mirror to our urban society and to show its noise, its uncertitudes, its sense of crisis and despair, its standardization of pleasures. And the city is a universal for almost everyone in America.”

Ahmedabad: Their office is not air-conditioned, the stairways are betel-stained and lunch amounts to a Rs60 a thali. But as entrepreneurs Sridhar Rajagopalan and Sudhir Ghodke know all too well from their work with private schools across the country that looks can be deceiving.

They, for example, are graduates of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. And their company turned profitable by its second year.
That company, Educational Initiatives Pvt. Ltd, is holding the hands of hundreds of stressed-out students — ironically, by testing them — and using results to help schools move away from a system of rote learning.

Though experts in education wonder how long it will take before such efforts overhaul an assembly-line education system that encourages mugging, the company has grown to assess half-a-million children, and one government school examination board has contacted it to begin discussions on how to improve quality of learning in middle school.

“We want to create a system where children are learning with understanding. Can we show schools and parents that what children are learning is something they cannot be happy about?” said Rajagopalan, 39, the more talkative of the two.
A third partner, Venkat Krishnan, also an alumnus of IIM-A, is based in Mumbai.

To hold up a mirror to schools, the firm devises tests and sends them to schools. Once students complete tests, the data is collected and sent back to schools, showing teachers exactly where students are going wrong.

The findings are not surprising — students can memorize, but don’t comprehend. Nine-year-olds had trouble calculating the length of a pencil whose starting point is 1cm on a ruler, with the end point at 6cm.
The most common answer is that the length of the pencil is 6cm, instead of 5cm, which is the correct answer. Interviews with children yield why they made this mistake. Most thought that 1cm was the point on the ruler showing the 1cm mark and not the length between zero and 1.
It is this lack of understanding of basic concepts that lays bare the problem in India’s schools. This problem is spoken about anecdotally — often by the time students enter colleges or even the workplace. But Educational Initiatives, because of its tests, has hard data at its disposal, and intends to do something about it before it’s too late.
Driven by data
The tests use multiple choice questions to test a student’s understanding of concepts. A thin, inverted triangle, a cone, a figure with four points, and an open, three-sided maze-like figure are among the multiple choices to the question — which of these is a triangle. Of the 3,811 students tested, only 40% got the right answer. That’s because most students think the inverted, and thin triangle does not look like a triangle at all.

3. Mark Holm: Our photos hold up a mirror to the world and share the responsibility of reporting the news

By Mark Holm, Saturday, February 23, 2008

The contrast presented itself at my first weekly planning meeting as The Trib's director of photography.

Having previously worked at four newspapers — which tended to handle their photo departments more as quick-serve operations, with resulting pictures simply breaking up large bodies of gray type, often falling short of adding content to the story — I learned things worked differently at The Tribune.

All departments stood shoulder to shoulder in their effort to bring readers the best of their collective efforts. The professionals here — whether armed with cameras or notepads, pica poles or purse strings — had a sense of ownership about their craft and a sense of partnership with their colleagues.

In my first week on the job, one of our photo interns, Jennah Ward, captured pictures in southeastern New Mexico oil fields to accompany a story by Ollie Reed Jr. The photo department felt it would be appropriate, for a number of reasons, to present the pictures in black and white — in an era when color dominates.

Ward's photos were striking, full of a gritty, steel-and-dirt quality that put the viewer into this stark environment. Why not run with that quality, rather than complicate it with color?

My pitch was hesitant, but I'll never forget Managing Editor Kelly Brewer reminding me: "You're the photo editor."

As if to explain to the rookie that this decision wasn't something that required much negotiating or hand wringing.

As if to explain that I was trusted to do the right thing.

I pursed my lips and nodded my thanks. Inside, I felt like I had just been handed the keys to a really fine sports car.

So why wasn't I doing handsprings? Why, instead, did I have a knot in my stomach? I was struck by the gravity of my responsibility to uphold the tradition of excellence at The Tribune — a small newspaper with a huge national reputation for its use of photography.

If it was that easy to take those keys, start up the engine and ease that baby out onto the road, it would be just as easy to wrap it around a tree.

I couldn't let that happen — not on my watch.

The Trib's emphasis on photography is not just lip service. The newspaper has produced people who have worked for National Geographic; won Pulitzer Prizes at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver; directed the White House photo office; won countless journalism awards from coast to coast.

That success is the result of a choice — a mandate, really — by the newspaper's management over the years. The directive: Photography shares the responsibility in reporting to the readers. It's a massive change from the news-conference-and-portrait style of photography that dominated U.S. journalism for decades.

Our approach to telling stories has remained fairly constant over the years. It's a documentary approach that calls for honest images of real people, artfully portrayed living their lives, reveling in their joys or coping with their misfortunes.

We've tried to hold up a mirror to the community and not spin what we find in one direction or another.

The Trib's approach allowed it to regularly appear with some of the big dogs in the business in competitions that rate newspapers' use of photography. In the past 20 years, it's been common for The Trib to place among newspapers such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News and Hartford Courant.

In my nearly seven years at The Trib, the photography staff members have been my friends, colleagues, teammates. In some cases they've been like my own kids. In others, my mentors. It's been indescribably satisfying to be able to step out of their way and watch so much good work happen — just like punching the gas pedal on that sports car.

4. Who will hold up a mirror to the media?
Jayati Ghosh

They say the media holds up a mirror to society. If so, then this must be most true of the electronic media which, unlike the print media, is so instantaneous in their response and presentation that there is no time for sober consideration and adjustment. But that also means that many weaknesses of our society may well be not just reflected in but even reinforced and sometimes worsened by the media. This thought came while watching television coverage of the horrifying terrorist attacks in Mumbai last week.

There is no point repeating all the clichés. In any case, even the commonly used words — shock, fury, anguish, anxiety — do not suffice to describe all the emotions that most of us have been through while watching the horrific events in Mumbai. But while people across the country were glued to television sets to find out what was happening as the grim and tragic drama unfolded, the role of newscasters inevitably also came under scrutiny. And sadly, the electronic media too has been found wanting on this occasion.

The most shocking aspect may have been the fact that so many news channels persisted in the urge to be sensational and to come with scoops over other channels, over the most elementary sense of responsibility in coverage. It should be obvious to the meanest intelligence that if the enemy — in this case a handful of highly-armed terrorists — is provided with any information during an encounter, it is bound to give them an advantage and make the task of the authorities much more difficult. This is clearly even more the case in prolonged operations in urban locations when only the official side is hampered by the need to prevent civilian casualties.

This means that those covering such actions must be particularly careful not to provide any information that could be relayed back to terrorists and provide them with any advantage. Yet, during the extremely sensitive and fraught military-style operations in the three Mumbai locations, competitive journalism obviously trumped such considerations, even though it was suspected that the terrorists had satellite phones and could, therefore, access and use information that was being relayed on television.

At least one television channel openly bragged about the special information it had obtained from members of the forces brought in for the rescue operation. Some provided detailed descriptions of the ongoing anti-terror operations, down to details such as which rooms and which floors of specific hotels the National Security Guard commandos would enter. Most of the channels kept their cameras directed at the areas identified as "trouble spots" or areas where the militants were suspected to be hiding. And every time there was some movement on the part of the commandos, or even the police outside, the newspersons would be rushing to train their cameras on such movement and speculate on what it was for. We can only guess how much help this provided to the militants. But the prolonged nature of the operations in all three locations suggests that such media hyperactivity certainly could not have helped the brave men who were risking their lives in a very complex and difficult operation against deadly enemies.

On several occasions, jostling and confusion among the crowd of assembled journalists created such commotion that police had to step in to control them. At times when they were asked to step back behind cordons for their own protection as the possibility of crossfire grew, or to allow the military action to proceed, there was resistance and several tried to sneak back when they thought they could get away with it.

And then, once again because of the continuous presence of the cameras, we were treated to the sorry spectacle of complete lack of sensitivity of the TV journalists when they rushed to surround and interrogate the exhausted and traumatised survivors as they were brought out from the hotel buildings. Even when they begged for restraint and respect, microphones kept getting shoved in front of their faces and questions poured down on them, until finally they could manage to push their way through the melee of journalists into waiting vehicles. Those who had suffered personal tragedy, losing family members or close friends and themselves still in shock, were not spared media scrutiny as the cameras panned in on their tears and watched their agony.

Is this the sign of media gone crazy, an explosion of competitive journalism that is so obsessed with sensationalism and being the first or the most able to come out with certain news that it has lost sight of essential humanity? Or is it that we as a society are now so degraded that even something as ghastly, tragic and horrifying as these incidents of terror and their awful personal aftermath for the victims can be treated like a TV reality show?

It is common in such situations to call for introspection. But maybe introspection is no longer enough, especially if there is no subsequent change in behaviour. Since the prolonged encounters finally ended, we have had to suffer the main presenters, especially on the English language channels, hold forth pompously and at length on the need to change many things in polity, society and the nature of governance. "Enough is enough!" they announced, and said that citizens would not tolerate any more.

Unfortunately, none of them recognised any problems with the media’s own behaviour, or acknowledged that there was any need to change. Is it possible for society to now hold up a mirror for the media?

Every organisation has a unique mix of culture, business processes, history, technology and strategic directions (to name but a few factors).

When it comes to intranets, it can then be said that they hold up a mirror to the organisation. To put it another way: the most successful intranets are those that directly reflect the unique nature of the organisations they serve.

One of the most immediate consequences of this is that we need to abandon the naive idea of the ‘best’ intranet.

There can be no absolute measure of intranet quality and effectiveness, and the success of the intranet is only meaningfully measured within the local environment.

6. More on the Occupation

In his letter to the Mirror [Sept. 11], Ralph Hajj raises once more the issue of what he considers the illegitimate Israeli Law of Return and the flawed moral foundations of Zionism.

Zionism is the nationalist movement of the Jewish people. It is no less exclusive or racist than any other ethnic nationalism, be it Slovenian, Chechen, Catalan, Corsican, Kurdish, Palestinian or Québécois. From nation to nationality to bestiality, all ethnic nationalisms, including Palestinian and Israeli nationalisms, lead to the exclusion and dispossession of the “other.”

Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority refuse to silence the vile rhetoric of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to “kill the Jews.” Islamic extremists stand unchallenged at the forefront of the Palestinian nationalist movement. Is their intent any less racist or repulsive than the extremist elements within Zionism?

Balancing the right of return of Palestinians, there is also a Jewish counter-claim. Well over two-million Israeli Jews base their origins in the Arab world. From Casablanca to Basra, Jews lived in Arab society for well over 1,000 years, if not prior to the rise of Islam. While their role as a dhimmi, relegated them legally to second-class social status, they were active and contributing members of society in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Syria Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

The rise of Arab nationalism and the creation of the Jewish state put an end to all of that. More than a million Jews of the Arab world were forced into exile, abandoning forever their homes, their businesses and their graveyards. Do they and their descendants also have a right of return and a restoration of their property, or does that right belong exclusively to Palestinians?

Let me be perfectly clear. I am against the Occupation and for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, with just compensation for the Palestinian refugees. But it is pointless to argue the legitimacy or the existence of either Israeli or Palestinian nationalism. This will get us nowhere.

As a filmmaker, I have chosen to hold up a mirror to the ugly face of Israel and tell the stories of Israelis opposed to the Occupation and Israeli crimes resulting from the Occupation. I would respectfully suggest to Mr. Hajj that instead of wasting his time lambasting the morality of Zionism and the Law of Return, he and his supporters ought to try to make a documentary film that holds up a mirror to the underbelly of Palestinian nationalism, exposing its racist rhetoric, its flawed democratic structure, its appalling financial corruption and its choice of violent over non-violent tactics.

The solutions to the hell in which we have found ourselves reside within us, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs. Let us first try to look deeply within ourselves before we point fingers at each other.