|New York, March 8, 2017 | Read on Web
Dear Friend of Planet Waves:
I want to thank you again for your support in a membership drive that's exceeding all hopes and dreams. Today, I'm writing to you in my capacity as an internationally accredited journalist.
We live in times of a crisis of truth. For as long as we've all been on the planet, this problem has existed -- but nothing like it is today.
Planet Waves is primarily an astrology service, though I have a background unlike any other astrologer, now or (so far as I know) historically. My professional experience outside of astrology is one of the primary benefits of getting your information and viewpoints from Planet Waves. If you have a moment, I would like to express why that is.
My current credentials for the National Union of Journalists of the UK, and for the International Federation of Journalists.
Astrology, for its part, has a little truthiness problem: there is no proof of anything. Most astrologers proceed without a hint of irony as if what they say is "the truth."
Astrology, however, must answer to a higher authority, and that would be established facts, documentation, references, research and context -- and of course, proofreading.
And one other thing: it should be exciting and interesting to read, not a sleep aid.
In the spring of 1995, when I entered the astrological profession, I arrived with 12 years' experience as a journalist, investigative reporter and supervising editor. My publishing credits include Sierra, The Ecologist, The Guardian, The Las Vegas Sun, WBAI-FM New York (working with both Amy Goodman and Gary Null), and an award-winning series in Woodstock Times.
I started young. At age 20, I published a major investigative feature on the proposed resettlement of the dioxin-contaminated Love Canal neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York.
When the Chernobyl incident happened in 1986, I was called to be a professional environmental journalist, but I had no idea how to make that happen.
Still, it happened. In hindsight, it was unavoidable. My coverage of PCBs, one of the most serious environmental issues of our lifetimes, is second to none, and remains a reference for scientists, activists and other journalists worldwide. I've covered Monsanto, General Electric, Westinghouse, the EPA and the New York State Department of Health, making myself a persistent nuisance to them all. One of my award-winning series cost New York State $50 million in cleanup costs for toxic campus buildings.
During that episode, I sued New York State in federal court for messing with my right to expose the truth about their poisonous dormitories, and they backed down and, incredibly, paid a cash settlement.
I've been written about on four occasions by The New York Times, and I've also written for a journal specifically devoted to uncovering fraudulent stories in that newspaper, called Lies of Our Times. They still kept writing about me, advancing my career considerably. [Here is a sample from their archives.]
Mixed in with my background are tours of duty as a municipal reporter, plus extensive experience covering public higher education, K-12 school administration, medical and nursing education, the American Medical Association, and beverage alcohol regulation.
I was on my way to the top of my field when I decided I had to do something more human. I needed to get away from the problem and closer to the solution. I was eight years into my esoteric and astrological studies when I chose to take up astrology as a profession.
I began with a horoscope column, which today is called Planet Waves. I quickly imported my journalistic ethos, and my writing style, into my new subject area, and I am one of the most influential developers of what today is called "astrojournalism."
I have both the astro and the journalism. It turns out that the major journalistic forms (the inverted pyramid, the feature story, the investigative feature and the editorial) bring out the very best in astrology. And that is what I offer you.
When a new person joins the Planet Waves team, they are put through the paces on research and fact checking. If someone is going to work for me, they must know the difference between truth and falsehood, as determined by a fact-checking process; they must know how to ferret out a story.
When you receive Planet Waves, this is what you get. In a later letter, I'll tell you some of how I learned astrology, with the help of the modern masters, from Patric Walker to Robert Hand to Melanie Reinhart to Barbara Hand Clow to Jonathan Cainer: that's for another day.
Clipping of the first article in a three-part series on PCBs in The Las Vegas Sun, appearing on page one in the spring of 1993.
When you support Planet Waves, you're supporting an approach to astrology that all of astrology could stand to learn from: how to remain grounded in fact, how to avoid speculation, and how to get the message across in a way that humans can understand.
It was Chiron pioneer Dale O'Brien who pointed this out to me: the clarity and fact-based writing that honest journalism demands are the perfect fit for astrology. Hence, I can write an article like Notes from Downwind, on the Fukushima nuclear crisis, covering the history and the astrology, and fact-checking the Nuclear Axis chart, on which all nuclear-industry astrology is based.
One thing I know is that in the 21 years I've been publishing astrology, I have set a standard for the profession. Planet Waves remains the publication that upholds that standard with daily devotion, with passion, and with respect for our readers.
Yes, we live in troubled times, when truth is seen as a disposable item. Not for us.
This is what you get when you support Planet Waves.
Please renew your membership today.
Thank you for making what we do possible.
PS -- You may read the first letter in our membership drive at this link.