My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 5 of 8)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
This is the fifth installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer season...as promised, a posthumously released, thinly veiled "tell all" novel kept media tongues wagging for the early part of the summer but it also drew new attention to a career--and a life--that ended way too soon.

5. "The Last Magazine":


With all of the books I have set aside for reading and the many boxes I have stacked up in my garage, it would take a lot of hype and buzz to get me to read one that has just been released. Michael Hastings' posthumous "novelization" of world and personal events during his time working at Newsweek in the early 2000s was one of those books. Although he was killed in an auto accident in June 2013 at the age of 33, his unfinished manuscript was found in a desk drawer and was released by his widow with little editing on June 17th to a host of critical acclaim. Coming in at 299 pages in its electronic form (352 in hard cover), it wasn't a long read but it was one that required frequent referrals to my own recollections of that time period or visits to Wikipedia for refreshers on the circumstances Hastings was retelling.


A/V: Community Displays Support for Police Officers

Sunday, August 31, 2014
Attendees gathered Sunday afternoon to show their support for the Beavercreek (Ohio) Police Department outside the city's Walmart Superstore that was the scene of a shooting on August 5th.

Despite overcast skies and a rain shower that forced many to seek shelter, approximately 150 to 200 people attended a Sunday afternoon Operation Shield BPD rally in support of the Beavercreek Police Department in an outer parking lot of the city's Walmart Superstore. This location was the same one used the previous afternoon for a rally by supporters of the family of John Crawford III who was shot in that same store on August 5th by one of two of that department's officers who responded to the 911 call.


Opinion Writing 101

Guest host--and op/ed columnist--Jonathan Capehart (far left) guides an insighful discussion about the role of opinion columns in today's news business with fellow columnists Froma Harrop, Clarence Page and Connie Schultz on MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki show yesterday morning.

I will try to keep my own comments to a minimum here but I was fortunate enough to watch an outstanding panel on the subject of opinion writing that was telecast on yesterday's Up With Steve Kornacki show on MSNBC. Guest host--and op/ed columnist for The Washington Post--Jonathan Capehart held a virtual roundtable with fellow columnists Froma Harrop, Clarence Page and Connie Schultz about the role of opinion writing in today's news landscape.


A/V: Rally Organizers Call for Release of Store Surveillance Tapes

Saturday, August 30, 2014
Several hundred people gathered on Saturday afternoon within sight of the Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart store where John Crawford III was shot and killed by a city police officer on August 5th.

On a very warm Ohio afternoon, approximately 200 to 300 people assembled in Beavercreek, Ohio to attend the Justice For John Crawford Protest and Rally in support of the family of the 21-year old Cincinnati-area man gunned down by police officers at that city's Walmart store earlier this month. Organized by the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the National Action Network, or GCCNAN, the peaceful protest featured one dozen speakers demanding Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine release surveillance video footage of that shooting that was captured by several of the store's 200 security cameras. On Friday, DeWine stated that such a release would not happen prior to any grand jury-mandated court actions because that evidence could influence potential jurors.


Soap Box: Good Deal, Eh?

One of these things does not belong with the others (but it legally can)

In a recent sign of the strange economic times we now live in, Burger King, the world's second largest hamburger fast food restaurant chain, announced this past Monday its intent to buy the Canadian restaurant and coffee shop chain Tim Hortons for $11.4 billion. The new holding company will become the third largest fast food company with over 18,000 restaurants in 100-plus countries, lagging behind only McDonald's and Yum! Brands. Once approved, 3G Capital, the company's majority stock holder, will move its corporate operations from Miami, Florida to Oakville, Ontario. While big money mergers have become almost commonplace, one significant component of this deal has transcended the confines of Wall Street to spark discussions on Main Street as well as on various social media outlets.


My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 4 of 8)

Thursday, August 28, 2014
This is the fourth installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer season...as promised, whether you remember it or not, this decade's influence on American culture is still evident today.

4. CNN's The Sixties:


Although my own recollection of this 1960-to-1970 period is primarily of its end years and from a very youthful perspective, I have been mostly entertained by this look back on this 10-year transformational period that produced so much news and nostalgia. This series actually started last November when they aired a two-hour special on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy but they premiered it in an announced 10-part episodic order on May 29th (with that earlier shown offering cut down to an hour). The final episode was supposed to air on August 7th but the scheduled end-date was postponed by one week due to the sheer volume of news due to the eruption of the current Gaza Conflict and the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in contested airspace over eastern Ukraine on July 17th. It was almost pushed back another seven days when the episode airing on August 7th was interrupted about halfway through by President Obama's announcement of US military intervention inside Iraq due to a quickly developing humanitarian crisis involving the Sunni jihadist group ISIS/ISIL. It apparently was rebroadcast in its entirety for West Coast audiences later that same night and in weekend reruns but, unfortunately, I didn't reprogram my DVR to catch that last half hour.


Buddy, Can You Spare 500 Words?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Local writers wanted...a nice headline to see in your morning newspaper!

With all of the many items that have been recently occupying my time and mental capacity, there was one thing that instantly caught my attention but took me far too long to post about it here. I was reading the Dayton Daily News on my tablet a couple weeks ago and scrolled onto the "Ideas & Voices" page, the very same one that I recently commented about on this site. In the upper right-hand corner of the displayed page were three words that immediately attracted my eye--local writers wanted! Knowing how financially strapped the newspaper industry is for content these days, I saw this as a potential opportunity to perhaps make my mark--or at least cut my teeth--as an "opinionator".  I continued reading Connie Post's submission.

Are you interested in contributing to our Ideas & Voices page?


My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 3 of 8)

Monday, August 18, 2014
[NOTE: I apologize for the long break between segments but I have been doing some employment-related activities with at least two potential opportunities in the journalism field. Most of the hard work--a resume and online portfolio--has been accomplished and they are now out for review by a few trusted mentors so now I can get back to writing about what I once thought was going to be a "journo-less" summer.]

This is the third installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer season...as promised, hard-hitting reporter, truth seeker, Curves membership. Nothing yet? How about justice hunter, philanthropist, has a Gmail account? You'll be shocked!

3. News Glance with Genevieve Vavance:


One of Roger's latest personas is news anchor Genevieve Vavance, a made-up character very much borrowed from a true-life television personality. (graphic courtesy of Fox)

- News Glance with Genevieve Vavance: after what I described in the last posting in this series, one of my few vices I will freely admit to doing is watching animated shows during the Fox television network's prime time and their re-airing on the Cartoon Network's after-hours Adult Swim channel. My favorite of the current selection has to be American Dad!, the story of the day-to-day antics of a fictional CIA agent and his immediate family (as well as a gay gray alien and a talking fish who live with them--his son-in-law, slacker/stoner Jeff Fischer, appears to have been written off near the end of this past season). For this post, I will go through the episode in-depth and then provide my own specific and generic critiques. (SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen the show, don't go any further because I do provide details in my review.)


A/V: Fairborn Siren Upgrade Program Nearly Complete

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Workers erect a new outdoor warning siren next to the existing one on Fairborn, Ohio's Black Lane last Friday afternoon.

Late Friday afternoon, Fairborn emergency preparedness officials came one step closer to finalizing a multi-year effort to improve that Ohio community's notification network with the installation of two new state-of-the-art outdoor warning sirens within the city. Erected in close proximity to existing Cold-War era omnidirectional alerting devices originally installed in the mid-1970s, the replacements' rotating high decibel outputs will provide a louder signal with a greater audible range than their predecessors. This increased signal distance will provide overlapping capabilities, where notifications from two or more physically separated units can be heard at the same time, in current fringe coverage areas around the city''s approximately 20 square mile area of responsibility. Technological advances in the newer models include battery backups and wireless communications to ensure greater reliability during adverse weather conditions.



Soap Box: Turn Out the Lights, This Race is Over

Thursday, August 7, 2014
An open letter to Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald:


Ed FitzGerald (center) meets with supporters at a Dayton campaign rally this past January.

Dear Mr. FitzGerald Ed,

Let me try to put this as delicately as I can--what in the wide, wide world of sports were you thinking? How could a former FBI agent believe that in the current age of bulk data storage and instantaneous access to public records that those potentially embarrassing issues from your past would not become known? And you thought that this would simply be ignored in a political climate where style—and its associated “political games”—trumps substance? In the hands of a wily opposition research operation, rather innocuous events could be spun so far out of proportion so quickly that even the most firmly established, textbook-perfect political campaigns would be vulnerable to such shenanigans (and as we have seen since you announced your desire to be Ohio's next governor, yours does not fall into that category).