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Life Arts    H1'ed 6/11/19

Behind the Scenes at OpEdNews with Editor-in-Chief Rob Kall

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Rob Kall, Editor-in-Chief at OpEdNews.com
Rob Kall, Editor-in-Chief at OpEdNews.com
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Rob Kall, author of "Bottom-Up Revolution: Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity," is an award-winning journalist, inventor, software architect, conference founder and organizer, author and visionary, who calls himself an "awakener." Articles by and about him have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Huffington Post, and he has been interviewed on CNN and ABC. He founded OpEdNews.com on Feb, 28, 2003, designed from the onset to foster open dissemination of innovative information, and creative, energetic and cordial discourse.

Rob has given lectures and workshops to Fortune 500 executives, as well as at national medical and psychological organizations.

He organized the world's first conference on Positive Psychology in 1996, and in 2002, organized Storycon, the first conference bringing together all the worlds of story. He has served as an AAPB (Association for Applied Psychophisiology and Biofeedback) Board Member. Rob has conducted over 450 interviews on his Bottom Up Radio Show. His guests have included Bernie Sanders, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Frans de Waal, Howard Gardner, Daniel Ellsberg, Riane Eisler, Mary Pipher and Robin Chase.

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His book, "Bottom-Up Revolution: Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity," was released in May, 2019. His dedication to a new, bottom-up way of presenting news and encouraging citizen dialog has inspired a host of committed volunteers who participate in many ways on the OpEdNews site. Senior Editor Marta Steele and I celebrated the book release and Rob's upcoming birthday with him a few days ago.

L-R: OEN Managing Editor, Meryl Ann Butler, OEN Senior Editor, Marta Steele, and Rob Kall
L-R: OEN Managing Editor, Meryl Ann Butler, OEN Senior Editor, Marta Steele, and Rob Kall
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Unlike other sites, OEN has rejected the concept of a pay wall -- we don't believe in a hierarchy based on dollars, and OEN welcomes those who want to participate even if they are not in a position to donate financially. It takes a village of problem-solvers to create a new world, and we prefer to trust that folks with more finances to offer will balance out the folks with smaller coffers. OEN has remained afloat, but it takes a generous dose of faith and fortitude, because some months, keeping the site running costs more than what is taken in. But a dedicated, mostly volunteer staff is inspired by Kall's progressive vision, and by the opportunity to share an open forum in the quest for a greater manifestation of American Democracy.

Meryl Ann Butler: Thanks for creating such a great site, Rob, and for making it so accessible. Let's start with the story behind why you call yourself an "awakener."

Rob Kall: Thanks for interviewing me! In an article back in 2008 I wrote about being given a birthday gift of a $25 credit to use to make a small loan through kiva.org. As I signed up as a site member, the form asked for my occupation. In the past, I've answered that question with a variety of responses: while I operated my small business, futurehealth.org, I would answer "executive" or "entrepreneur" or "inventor." When I worked in the mental health field I'd answer "counselor." Or, I'd reply, "biofeedback practitioner," when I worked in that field. Or "writer," when I functioned as a freelancer, more recently I've responded, "editor" or "journalist."

But that day, I thought about what the common denominator was in those occupations, and I typed in "Awakener." I realized that throughout most of my life, my work has been aimed at waking people up. I think there are literally millions of people-- many millions, maybe billions-- who are on the awakener's path - people who volunteer for an NGO, non-profit, or grass roots politics, people who write about issues that others need to know about, or educators, therapists, marketers, ministers or coaches. It feels good to have founded a community that is filled with so many others who share the same occupation.

MAB: I like that -- and I think that's the mark of a true Renaissance-man or -woman they are never really sure how to respond to that question! And please tell us what inspired you to start OpEdNews.

RK: Two things. First, when I submitted articles to another progressive site, they published the first one within three hours. Then they ignored my next ten articles, and I had no idea why, or whether they'd been seen, or anything, because I had no response, not even a rejection. I'd already had a business website since 1995 and I decided to create my own progressive siteone that would let submitters know if their articles were accepted or rejected.

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Meryl Ann Butler Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)
 

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8 people are discussing this page, with 9 comments


Marta Steele

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Great interview, MAB, of a great and underappreciated hero of our times! It was a privilege to review Rob's book recently and I'm sure it will have a large impact and attract even more readers and doers, of which there are never enough! Thank you, Rob, and don't ever stop!

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 2:23:36 PM

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Rob Kall

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Thanks so much MAB for doing this. It was fun.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 2:35:01 PM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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It was indeed!

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 9:17:37 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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Thanks to Rob for all he does!

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 4:30:30 PM

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Michael Dewey

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Am glad to know someone like you Rob know the details of how this can be worked out. I think of cell phones and cyberspace paying our taxes. Not sure how to get the TV to serve society as the great communication tool it could be, well, is for the war machine and stuff. Think of it run at local elected levels, profits to paying taxes,,,figuring could have private investment too. This is way out there but figure the TV is the clouds of heaven, said of a son of man coming on, and am "thinking is the powers of heaven to said to be shaken in Matthew 24:-some where around 24:30 or 28.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 12:17:12 AM

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Joan Brunwasser

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Wonderful interview, Meryl Ann and Rob!

Glad to be a part of this operation! I hope that your new book really takes off, Rob. Can't wait to read it.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 12:59:49 AM

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Ramani K V

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Rob has done a terrific job starting OEN from scratch and building it into a genuine forum for free expression. He deserves all the kudos he gets.

I have a suggestion. It will involve a fundamental rethinking at the policy and structural levels. In the 16 years since OEN was created, the world has changed at an astonishing pace across multiple frontiers. From societal values and governance to technology and discovery of new vocations and pursuits, a deluge of ideas and innovations is carrying humanity into a future of unprecedented possibilities and uncertainties. We are on the cusp of an epochal transition from the West-led unipolar world we have accepted as a fait accompli for more than 70 years to a multipolar world in which competing values and ideas across the East-West divide must find a common ground for mutual enrichment and peaceful coexistence. The alternative is unthinkable.

OEN has a unique potential to step out beyond the borders of the US to reach a wider global audience. American politics and current affairs will matter less and less to the world in the coming years. Except perhaps for their disruptive potential as its current leadership wages a frantic rearguard battle to hold on to its increasingly slippery grip on the world. But even if the US becomes one instead of the only superpower, its enormous creativity will still matter to the world. On their part, the more ordinary Americans learn about the world, the easier it will be for them to make the adjustment.

A progressive forum like OEN can help facilitate the transition, both for the American public and other people across the world. At this point, there really is a vacuum of such a global marketplace for ideas.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 1:41:18 AM

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nelswight

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Reply to Ramani K V:   New Content

Righto, Ramani, I fully wish for this to happen

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 3:35:53 PM

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nelswight

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We should have had more of Rob long ago.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 3:10:44 PM

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