Copyright 2019 Master Theory. All Rights Reserved.

ROBERT SHOWAH

Robert was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut to first-generation Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. At the age of two, the family moved to Williamsburg, Virginia where Robert grew up until he moved to Richmond, Virginia to attend and graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011. He has six years of experience in mostly audio but also print media as well as five years in high-volume sales. After a few years in digital marketing, he founded Master Theory with the aim of leaving the journalism environment in a better state. He's currently seeking full-time opportunities to share his versatile marketing, copywriting and communicative skill set.

highlights

9 AUDIO, PRINT AND SOCIAL MEDIA

5 YEARS IN SALES LEADERSHIP

DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGEMENT

 2 YEARS IN STATE GOVERNMENT

experience

2015 - 2018

Main Street Hub

Social Marketing Manager

2010 - 2015

Apple, Inc.

Sales Lead 

2008 - 2014

WVCW

Producer/Host 

2010 - 2011

The Commonwealth Times

Opinion Editor

2016 - PRESENT

Master Theory

Founding Editor 

2009 - 2011

Virginia Senate

Legislative Aide

DIGITAL COPY SAMPLES

R usty Cannon Pub is where you go to let your hair down and wind down from a long day. You will find our Texas-themed menu has some of the best fixins including our Chicken Fried Steak sandwich, burgers, and pork shank wings. Our full bar is stocked with the finest Texas beers and spirits. Follow us to stay up to date on our daily specials and Happy Hours. We have eight 50-inch TVs perfect for watching the games as well as a pool table, darts, Golden Tee, and shuffleboard. Don’t forget - after 9 p.m., it’s 21 and over only. At Rusty Cannon Pub, everyone is meant to have a good time. 

In 1941, Gus Girves opened the first Brown Derby across from Akron’s Goodyear Tire on East Market Street. After seeing great success, Gus opened a second Brown Derby in 1957 and many more followed. As the years of success passed, the Girves family was able to build a successful business by being innovative, staying current with business practices, and recognizing that the demands and tastes of their customers changed with time. At Girves Brown Derby, we promise a high quality, fine dining experience. We hand-cut our steaks every day using only the best USDA Prime & Choice Beef and then grill them to perfection on our wood-fired grill for your dining pleasure. We recommend pairing your steak with a selection from our enviable wine list. We believe in supporting quality first, in everything we do.

Vincent Anthony Jewelers was founded knowing how important a purchase of fine jewelry is to you. It signifies a precious occasion: a wedding, anniversary, joyous holiday or a celebration of a life success. We are committed to customer focus, unique designs and quality pieces that one cannot find just anywhere in Tulsa. From rings, earrings, pendants to our watch collection that includes a variety of brands, we think you will find something that will give yourself or someone you love that unmistakable look. We welcome you to visit us soon!

“We’ve got the best team and collection in town for all of your jewelry purchasing and service needs. At Vincent Anthony Jewelers we seek to make every customer feel valued. With decades of experience and a wealth of knowledge that goes beyond reading prices, we have been helping South Tulsa find that perfect piece time and again. You can usually find me in the store so visit us soon and let’s talk about how we can find something special for that special someone.”

Our team at Pickrell Veterinary Clinic is committed to educating our clients in how to keep your pets healthy year round, with good nutrition and exercise. Our appointment system allows us to efficiently book your appointments, or you can find an appointment on our website. For emergencies, we have a veterinarian and a team of personnel on duty six days a week who are trained and equipped to handle any urgent care your pet has. Our clinic is also an open hospital so pet owners can be in the company of their pet at any time during their pet's visit. Pickrell Veterinary Clinic stays on top of the latest advances in veterinarian technology and above all, remembers that all animals and pets need to be treated with loving care in every check-up, procedure, or surgery.

 

Dr. Glaesemann's passion for animal agriculture helped shape her veterinary medicine career while growing up on her family's Fairbury dairy farm where she grew up with cattle, sheep, rabbits, and various poultry species. As she focuses on growing her practice, Dr. Glaesemann often reminds herself why she chose a veterinary medicine career. The everyday opportunity to make a positive difference in another’s life makes it easy for her to get out of bed each morning. She marvels at the magic of the human-animal bond and its relevance with any species. Dr. Glaesemann enjoys the mental and emotional engagement of challenging medical and surgical cases, and she gets great satisfaction from seeing a patient return to wellness after an effective rehabilitation program. There’s also the hands on work with livestock species that she’s enjoyed all her life, and, of course, introductions to all the adorable puppies and kittens.

The Lion’s Share delivers a unique, eclectic and comfortable experience without a nose in the air. Dine or drink at The Lion’s Share, and you’ll have the opportunity to do more than engage in a staring contest with one of our undefeated mounted antelope, but enjoy meticulously-crafted cocktails along with a menu prepared with only the highest quality ingredients for your jubilation. Venture into the wild with popular dishes like antelope sliders, our game sausage board or bison tartare. Indulge further by pairing these with one of our 40 craft cocktails or variety of beers, wines, and spirits. Here, we proudly share our labor with you. Sit back and enjoy your share.  

Johnstown Jewelers is a Williamsburg family-owned jewelry store putting to work decades of experience in the wholesale and retail jewelry industries to offer what you deserve. Specializing in custom jewelry and restoration, and also offers a range of repair, inspection and cleaning services for your most precious pieces. Johnstown Jewelers is also the perfect source for ready-made jewelry. You will always find something new, something different, something creative. Unlike the same commercial product you can buy anywhere, here the quality will be superb. Johnstown Jewelers will inspect, clean and maintain anything you buy from them, from the smallest item to the most important jewelry pieces. And if a customer wants to upgrade a piece of jewelry, Johnstown Jewelers will give close to full credit for the original piece. 

 

In 2008, Johnstown Jewelers opened as late founder John Showah’s vision for what a local jeweler should be — a master of his craft, dependable, honest and compassionate. John knew that even his three-plus decades of experience at every level of the jewelry industry wouldn’t be enough to fulfill this. It would be the trust and relationships he built with his community. Today, John’s legacy continues through his wife, Moona Showah. Johnstown Jewelers continues to set itself apart through it’s unique selection while committing to a warm and personable customer service experience with integrity.

MASTER THEORY

Master Theory is building a non-partisan, local inspired platform that is as committed to quality journalism as it is to increasing community engagement and supporting local commerce.

 

Today, Most Americans do not trust the press and believe the national news media is dividing the country. Restoring faith in the press will not only mean pursuing truth but rethinking the role of journalists as accountable people who share responsibility for leaving our society better than we find it.

Distrust in the press is driven by both an ad-dependent business model that perversely rewards conflict paired with a politically polarized media landscape where misleading information exacerbates political animus via social media. Worse yet, much of journalism today is mass-manufactured in high-rise echo chambers detached from places Americans spend their time.

22%

Americans think the press cares about the people they report on

26%

Americans under 49 who have “fair amount/great deal” of trust in the press

64%

Americans who believe the national media is dividing the country

Design conscious journalism

 

Providing a safe, neat and responsive experience is a top priority. Digital media has made great strides in user experience, but there’s much more progress to be made.

Viewpoint diversity

 

Staff in many digital media outlets are prone to groupthink. Conversely, viewpoint diversity acts a check by reducing blindspots and revealing more than just partial truths. In commentary, it allows readers to both have their views affirmed and use ideas with which they disagree to sharpen readers’ own thinking.

Community engagement

 

A goal of Master Theory is creating and promoting opportunities for community engagement. That includes social hours, interviews and forums but also volunteerism, civic education and other happenings that enhance social integration.

TEXAS

Sitting at one of the most vibrant cultural and geographic intersections in the country, Austin is a political, academic, lifestyle and artistic hub with a strong hyperlocal sense of community. In Texas, life moves at a slower clip than it does in New York or Washington. That ease fosters a culture that allows us to step outside the monoculture of modern journalism to engage with communities, businesses and individuals on a more personal level. 

Step away from the newsfeed

There's more to life than politics

LAW

MARKETS

DATA

CULTURE

POLITICS

An elegant and approachable brand for thinkers and creators alike

EDITORIAL

Journalism is not activism

In 1893, Finley Peter Dunne, a journalist-turned-humorist at the Chicago Evening Post, introduced Martin J. Dooley to the people of Chicago. Mr. Dooley, as he was best known, was a thick-accented bartender from Ireland who owned a tavern in the Bridgeport neighborhood. Mr. Dooley became popular among Chicagoans for his rich satire of politics and society. Of course, Mr. Dooley wasn’t real. He was a fictional character created by Dunne. His work included countless sketches and wide-ranging commentary, but he may be best known for his biting one-liner on newspapers, since reclaimed by journalists as central to the profession’s creed: “The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

The original quote is from Observations by Mr. Dooley, one of several works Dunne produced as the character, in which Dunne specifically satirizes the press’s penchant for trial-by-media. He presented Mr. Dooley through Irish dialect pieces, hence the diction, so the “affliction” quote below has been lightly edited for comprehension:

When anything was wrote about a man ’twas put this way: ‘We understand on good authority that…is on trial before Judge G. on an accusation of larceny. ‘But we don’t think it’s true.’ Nowadays, the larceny is discovered by a newspaper. The lead pipe is dug up your backyard by a reporter who knew it was there because he helped you bury it. A man knocks at your door early one mornin’ an’ you answer in your nighty. ‘In name of the law, I arrest you,’ says the man seizin’ you by the throat. ‘Who are you?’ you cry. ‘I’m a reporter for The Daily Slooth,’ says he. ‘Photographer, do your duty!” You’re hauled off in the circulation wagon to the newspaper office where a confession is ready for you to sign; you’re tried by a jury of the staff, sentenced by the editor-in-chief, and at ten o’clock Friday the fatal thrap is sprung by the fatal thrapper of the family journal. The newspaper does evrything for us. It runs the police force and the banks, commands the militia, controls the legislature, baptizes the young, marries the foolish, comforts the afflicted, afflicts the comfortable, buries the dead and roasts them aftherward. 

 

That journalists of all stripes have touted a scathing critique of their profession and repurposed it as a mission statement is a textbook definition of irony that belongs on a Roman pedestal behind bulletproof glass in the Smithsonian. What is most vexing about the modern interpretation of Dunne’s quote is that its new meaning is implied to be synonymous with dispassionately seeking truth, which it necessarily is not.

 

More than afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted, what requires consideration is who gets to determine who the afflicted and comforted are. The greater threat to the institutional press is less the lie set against the backdrop of reality, but rather the gradient of the myth that, as John F. Kennedy observed, provides “the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” It’s the dogged interrogation of claims that contradict one’s values, and a corresponding acceptance of those that reinforce them. It’s the heightened scrutiny of ideological rivals that makes ‘analysis’ read more like a rebuttal. It’s the routine conflation of disparate outcomes with disparate treatment. It’s the astroturf controversy cloaked in the dress of journalism that will ultimately lose the profession far more esteem than a lie that can be easily cleaved from the rest of an otherwise reputable herd.

 

This past spring, a debate erupted among journalists that reminded me of Dunne’s quote. During a segment on CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter asked Rebecca Schneid, an editor at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student newspaper, whether she saw a difference between journalism and activism. Schneid responded:

I think that for me, the purpose of journalism is to raise the voices of people that maybe don’t have a voice…and so I think that in its own right journalism is a form of activism…Journalists can use the facts to describe an issue that plagues society…It’s journalists who present these facts and elevate the voices of the oppressed that allow for actual change to occur.

That exchange came around the same time Stelter, by his own on-air admission, neglected to call out multiple falsehoods made by MSD student activist David Hogg. Stelter also justified the disproportionate coverage in favor of gun control activists stating that it was reflective of the consensus of those students. Reasonable people can debate that justification. If, however, an editorial decision is taken to allot disproportionate coverage to any viewpoint then, as a journalist, Stelter should fully exercise the duties of his profession, or else admit that he is simply advancing a political agenda. It is disingenuous for Stelter, a media expert representing a network that has positioned itself as an arbiter of truth, to give a participant in a story both 95 percent of the media coverage while shielding them from scrutiny and accountability.

As for Schneid’s view, I’m sympathetic to her impulse but there is an overlooked distinction between journalism and activism. Journalism is a means-driven profession. The quality of a journalist’s final copy is determined by the integrity and care with which it is produced. This includes an adherence to a set of ethics and fairness guidelines and a drive to thoroughly research claims and accurately articulate a subject’s experiences and worldview.

Activism is ends-centric. Activists pursue a particular political objective and desired outcome. They do not have to abide by centralized codes of ethics, because their means are justified by the perceived nobility of their ends. Activist journalists begin with their own worldview and collect evidence that supports it. Schneid’s idea of elevating “the voices of the oppressed” is not the purpose of journalism. However, if journalists do their jobs fairly there is a high probability those voices will be a feature of any journalism worth its salt.

 

Every decent person who understands why America has a constitutionally protected press wants to see the press succeed. As the only unregulated private sector industry in America, the free press’s entire existence is based on afflicting the single most comforted institution throughout human history: centralized authority. Afflicting and comforting anyone else is secondary. The truth—and a genuine commitment to its pursuit—must take precedence, even when it runs contrary to the interests of whoever is deemed afflicted or comforted. Journalism humbles itself in finding truth in a complex world. Activism pursues its ends with righteous certainty. Journalism is the work of describing and understanding reality; activism is the work of refashioning it. Journalists act as impediments to the acquisition of power; activists pursue power.

 

That exchange came around the same time Stelter, by his own on-air admission, neglected to call out multiple falsehoods made by MSD student activist David Hogg. Stelter also justified the disproportionate coverage in favor of gun control activists stating that it was reflective of the consensus of those students. Reasonable people can debate that justification. If, however, an editorial decision is taken to allot disproportionate coverage to any viewpoint then, as a journalist, Stelter should fully exercise the duties of his profession, or else admit that he is simply advancing a political agenda. It is disingenuous for Stelter, a media expert representing a network that has positioned itself as an arbiter of truth, to give a participant in a story both 95 percent of the media coverage while shielding them from scrutiny and accountability.

 

As for Schneid’s view, I’m sympathetic to her impulse but there is an overlooked distinction between journalism and activism. Journalism is a means-driven profession. The quality of a journalist’s final copy is determined by the integrity and care with which it is produced. This includes an adherence to a set of ethics and fairness guidelines and a drive to thoroughly research claims and accurately articulate a subject’s experiences and worldview.

Of course reporters have biases, but that is barely the problem. Our life experiences that develop our blindspots are important because they lend urgency to covering particular stories. The goal shouldn’t be to remove bias (whatever that means) but to increase different variants of bias within newsrooms. When biases are not countered vigorously, facts get misrepresented, data gets cherry-picked, and ledes get buried. The first step to pursuing truth is breaking motivated reasoning and confirmation bias by institutionalizing disconfirmation through viewpoint diversity.

Journalists have a tough job. It’s not a glorious profession but, if done well, it can be a noble one. A fair share of criticism of the press fails to fully consider the circumstances—and even threats—under which journalists work. It is also true that the limitless discretion and right of a free press—and the lack of any organized institutional check on it—comes with an immense responsibility to continuously work to earn the public’s trust and never to expect it or take it for granted. The industry owes its existence to those who have held power to account in the past. In the present and future, it must continue to scrutinize those who acquire and consolidate power in order to impose their own will on free people, almost always in the name of the best of intentions.

Between an archaic business model and ideological divisions alone, the challenges the press faces today seem insurmountable. For now, readers and fair-minded journalists alike can renew their commitment to the primacy of truth without viewing the most inconvenient facts as existential threats to truth itself.