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Vanishing Americana?

So, as I previously blogged about the NY Times ongoing series American Album, this MSNBC multimedia project (Vanishing Americana) is another reminder of the power journalists have to tell the untold or un-thought about stories. Seriously, when was the last time you considered the average age of barbers? (It’s 57.) And did you even know that milkmen still exist? (I didn’t.)

It’s something to think about. I like the idea behind this package/series in that MSNBC is taking a look at cultural icons everyone knows and many identify with and holding up a mirror to ask, well, whatever happened to?

It could be an interesting project for any newsroom. Either a quick and dirty 10-inch ditty on the topic/person or something more. (It seems MSNBC did both. Though, there’s no real explaination why.) Maybe a day-in-the-life-of for several different jobs or people or places? (Full disclosure: For feature writing a few summers back, I spent 12 hours riding around in 90+ degree weather on an ice cream truck. It sucked. But the story turned out to be pretty humorous and the reporting experience was something worth doing. Would I do it again? Probably, but I’d rather take on the day in the life of something entirely new.)

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