Unspeakable Horror (and Sloppy News Mistakes)

Monday, December 31, 2012
[NOTE: although I began this posting in the week after the shooting, it has taken me a while to compose due to a variety of reasons, which include the year-end holiday season and finding out that I have a personal connection with this horrific tragedy.  You will see a 'break' below between my first attempt and the concluding information.]

The front page of the December 15th edition of the New York Daily News says it all (graphic courtesy of the Newseum)

This past weekend was supposed to be when I would "regroup" and start up my postings here but that all changed with the news last Friday of a school shooting in Connecticut.  Although Americans have grown used to hearing such information with growing frequency in recent years, this one was different due to the setting and the method in which the gunman committed his heinous deed.  When Adam Lanza put a semi-automatic pistol to his own head and pulled the trigger as first responders arrived on the scene, he had already taken the lives of 27 other people (his mother back at their shared residence and 26 at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School).  Of the school fatalities, 20 were first grade students between the ages of 6 and 7 and all of them were shot multiple times with a semi-automatic assault rifle (one child, Noah Posner, was struck 11 times).  The other six were all women who worked at the school, to include the principal, the school psychiatrist, and four teachers and aides in the targeted classrooms.

An Unfortunate Pattern Returns

Monday, December 10, 2012

If one is gifted with the sense of deep introspection (although some might classify it as a neurosis), you sometimes get to be our own worst critic and I am taking this opportunity to introduce mine.  Due to a "perfect storm" of issues (a change in my work schedule and prolonged proposal writing at the office, the end of my current school term, and a lingering bout of some hearty strain of seasonal "crud" my body just cannot seem to shake), I have not been posting here with the frequency that I hoped I would be this far along into my journalism "journey".  I had a similar bout of this around the same time last year although that was mostly attributed to a death in the family and a sudden out-of-town trip for the funeral.  Since my job requires my primary focus (and energy), schoolwork and blogging have suffered for the duration.  I am supposed to go back to my normal schedule next week and should be able to reestablish my writing routine at that time (the semester ended on the 7th but I have until the 17th to turn in our last online assignment).

SNL: The Situation Room--David Petraeus

Saturday, November 24, 2012
Wolf Blizter (Jason Sudeikis) attempts to provide his viewers with the most complete coverage of the unfolding Petraeus scandal

As I have done here on several other occasions, I like to share Saturday Night Live's takes on journalism, specifically the cable news channels.  This past weekend, they highlighted the Cable News Network-- and its venerable news anchor Wolf Blitzer--about their coverage of the current scandal surrounding former CIA director David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell.  One of the more interesting side stories to emerge has been the activities of a 37-year old Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, who initially tipped off the FBI about harassing emails from an anonymous woman (later determined to be Broadwell) and that investigation turned up evidence of an affair between the writer and her subject.

Here was SNL's take on how CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer might try to unearth additional information about Kelley:

A "Quintuple Threat" Journalist

Friday, November 9, 2012
[NOTE: for a change of pace from politics, I am posting an article I wrote about a local reporter for my Newswriting and Reporting class this past spring.  I recently met her again at the Romney event in Kettering in late October and asked if I could share it with the world--she graciously agreed.  Please bear in mind that it was written over six months ago and some items may not reflect their current statuses.]

A “Quintuple Threat” Journalist

May 1, 2012

Amelia Robinson—reporter, columnist, online aggregator, mentor and union official

One of the first indicators about how deeply involved a journalist is within their local community is the level of difficulty trying to arrange an interview with them.  Such was the case when I initially contacted Amelia Robinson, beat reporter and weekly columnist for The Dayton Daily News.  The ‘30-something’ graduate of Ohio University’s prestigious E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and 12-year employee of  Ohio’s fifth most-read newspaper took nearly two full days to respond to my initial request and several more to coordinate a face-to-face early morning meeting at a downtown coffee shop last Friday.  Our 45-minute session addressed her activities, her unique personality, and her professional and personal goals that helped explain her delay.

BTS: Romney Relief Rally

Saturday, November 3, 2012
[NOTE: I usually do these features in sequential order based on the events I cover; however, since this one has attracted so much attention in the press, I decided to put it ahead of the two Obama-related events I attended in late September and just over a week ago.]

The original Dayton Daily News ad for the Romney "victory rally" (that eventually turned into a "storm relief event")

If you are a regular visitor here, you would know that I have been focusing my live reporting almost exclusively on political events.  Since there were no Democratic primaries in Ohio this year, I visited several Republican campaign rallies leading up to the state's primary on "Super Tuesday" back in March (I was able to attend events for three of the four serious contenders, with Ron Paul being the only exception, as well as seeing Herman Cain right before he suspended his campaign in early December).  Once President Obama started his own reelection drive back in May, I covered two of his Ohio rallies as well as one by Vice President Biden right down the road from me at Wright State University.  I took a pass at the joint Romney/Ryan event out at the Dayton International Airport (the same location I went to when Air Force One brought the president to the area last week) and, as I wrote earlier, I regretted that decision.  When I saw the ad for a "victory rally" in neighboring Kettering earlier this week, I was not going to let another opportunity slip away again.

A/V: Romney Hosts Kettering Relief Rally

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney addresses supporters gathered for a "storm relief event" in Kettering, Ohio on Tuesday

KETTERING, OH -- In a move to dampen down politics in the immediate wake of Hurricane Sandy's historic damage to portions of the country's eastern seaboard, former Massachusetts governor and current Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney turned an originally scheduled political rally into a "storm relief event" in Ohio on Tuesday afternoon.  Kettering's Trent Arena hosted the gathering that was originally billed as a "victory rally" and was supposed to have Arizona senator John McCain and NASCAR racing legend Richard Petty in introductory speaking roles.  Randy Owen, country music performer and former lead singer of the group Alabama, performed several songs and provided personal testimony about disaster relief after tornadoes ripped deadly swaths through several Southern states back in April 2011.

MSNBC Gives Dayton No Respect

Saturday, October 27, 2012
MSNBC host Chuck Todd hosted "The Daily Rundown" from Cincinnati on Thursday morning...and Dayton is nowhere to be seen behind him

I often wonder to myself (and now, thanks to this blog, publicly) if I take some things that I observe in my daily life a little too seriously for my own good.  I have a wide variety of roles that occupy the majority of my waking hours but I have been known to fixate on things that do not directly impact them from time to time.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you would have seen an item that I recently posted about how Dayton, Ohio was being incorrectly positioned on graphics displayed on the cable news channel MSNBC back in late September.  Since this is my main source for television news, I was forced to endure repeated airings of this error and, as the post documented, I 'tweeted' my dissatisfaction.  It finally took a venue change for the event they were using that graphic for (an appearance by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Dayton was being moved to the city's airport in nearby Vandalia and had become a joint appearance with his running mate, Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan).  At the end of that piece, I selflessly credited my actions in perhaps playing a minor role in that on-screen revision and I privately hoped that such a recurrence would not happen.  Almost a month to the day later, that hope was, regrettably, extinguished.

A/V: President Obama Flies in for Dayton Rally

Friday, October 26, 2012
President Obama greets well-wishers upon his arrival at Dayton International Airport on Tuesday afternoon

VANDALIA, OH -- Fresh off of his final debate performance against Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Monday night and a rally in Florida earlier that morning, President Barack Obama flew to Ohio on Tuesday afternoon for his 17th trip to "the Buckeye State" this year to hold a joint appearance with Vice President Joe Biden at Dayton's Triangle Park.  Air Force One arrived at Wright Brothers Aero, on the grounds of the city airport, at approximately 2:30PM where the president was transferred to a waiting motorcade for the 10-mile drive to the rally venue.  During that short stay at the airport, Obama met with a small private crowd of supporters and Secret Service family members who waited up to three hours for him to arrive.  Biden, who was already campaigning in the state, flew in on Air Force Two from an event in Toledo shortly after Obama departed and was separately shuttled to the park to introduce the president. 

BTS: Biden Fairborn Rally

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
I was getting into that event by any means available

Much like the character in the 5th century poem Psychomachia, patience is a virtue that triumphs over anger in the end.  If you read my last political event blog posting, you would know that there was a slight misunderstanding about my credentials at the Obama campaign kickoff rally in Columbus back in May.  In my 'BTS' about that event, I described how I did not get in as a credentialed journalist but attended anyway in the general seating area.  While I was not happy about how that day turned out, there was one 'silver lining' that made that trip worthwhile.  When discussing my press status with the staff, I was able to talk directly with a campaign media representative and we exchanged contact information.  She apologized for not letting me in for that event but said that I should keep in touch for future Ohio events.  That opportunity finally surfaced early last month just a few miles from my house.

A/V: Base Reclaims Road to Bolster Security Posture

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Concrete barriers block off the former southbound lanes of Ohio State Route 444 that, until yesterday, ran between portions of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's Area A

FAIRBORN, OH -- On Tuesday, workers began the task of permanently closing off  a 1.5 mile span of Ohio State Route 444, a major commuter artery for Fairborn, a city of over 32,000 residents east of Dayton situated in Greene County.  The decision to close the portion of this 8.4 mile thoroughfare that ran through the base was first announced in March 2010 in response to neighboring Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's need to meet Department of Defense installation anti-terrorism/force protection standards.  The now-shutdown stretch of this route, which sits on federal land originally leased to the state back in 1932 for the purpose of building the road, provided easy driving access to patrons of the base's Kittyhawk retail area as well as to the Wright-Patterson Medical Center.  This closure now consolidates all parts of the base's Area A into one contiguous region and users of those facilities will now have to use alternative routes within the military perimeter to get to their destinations.

SNL: MSNBC Debate Fallout

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

This past weekend, Saturday Night Live caught my attention (in regards to this blog) with a scathing skit that portrayed several of the NBC's own news channel's on-air personalities in a prolonged  "funk" over President Barack Obama's lackluster performance during a debate with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney last Wednesday.  Here's the clip from the highly politicized show (courtesy of Hulu):

Guest Papers: At the Supermarket

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Normally attracting only a cursory glance at the check-out counter, this newscaster-featuring edition of the National Examiner piqued my curiosity

 In the United States, there are over 36,000 supermarkets (defined as having $2+ million in annual sales) and many more other retail and convenience outlets that share one common trait:  newspaper racks.  They could be of a modern metal variety or crafted out of wood.  They might hold several editions from all around the local area or just display the town's daily or weekly offering for purchase.  They can be free standing all by themselves or integrated into the structure of the cash register and optical scanner at  the check-out counter.  However your favorite location is configured/stocked, I will openly predict that there is at least one (or perhaps both) of the papers I am featuring in this post available to you to thumb through--and perhaps even purchase.

You Take One Day Off...

Saturday, September 29, 2012
The full-page Dayton Daily News ad that greeted me on Tuesday morning

If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you already know that I have made it a point to exercise my reporting 'legs' over the past 10 months with coverage of national politicians visiting my local (as the crow flies) area.  I started last November with one of Herman Cain's last rallies before he suspended his campaign in the wake of a then-breaking sex scandal.  I followed that one up with Dayton- and Cincinnati-area events for former US House speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the run-up to Ohio's Republican primary, part of the 10-state "Super Tuesday" slate on March 6th.

Is Twitter Just a One-Way Street?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Twitter...'tweeting'...the 'Twitter-verse'...if you are currently involved in any kind of media-related activity, you cannot shun this micro-blogging phenomenon that has attracted over 500 million users and produces over 340 million updates daily.  Started in 2006, the allure of this service is in its brevity--all 'tweets' must be 140 characters or less.  While the user can attach photos or embed hyperlinks to provide some subject context, that self-imposed limit supposedly allows for more spontaneous submissions and simulates a public 'chat' among a group of individuals who 'follow' each other's postings.

I joined Twitter a little over a year ago and have 'tweeted' 149 150 times (my 150th 151st will be announcing this blog posting).  Along the way, I have acquired 24 'followers' whom I became acquainted with during my pursuit of my lifelong dream either directly, through others already subscribed to my feed, or complete strangers who were merely attracted by my content.  I follow 78 other 'Twitizens' who hail from the world of journalism, the media, my UMass classes, or were the subjects/settings for my published pieces.

I will honestly admit that I do not keep as current with this account as I do with my personal Facebook page but I do receive notifications when I get a new 'follower' or when I am mentioned in someone else's 'tweet'.  When such an email hits my in-box, I log in to check on that activity (and some very interesting people have tried to befriend me which resulted in 'spam' notifications to the service).  This is a rather mundane process for someone who only interacts with two dozen others on an irregular basis so I cannot imagine how someone with 10,000 times more 'followers' handles the deluge of daily comments, 'retweets', and direct messages that might be generated.  And this dilemma is what has me posting today.

A/V: Obama Energizes Supporters During SW Ohio Campaign Rally

Thursday, September 20, 2012

President Barack Obama greets supports at the conclusion of the "Grassroots Event" held at Cincinnati's Eden Park on Monday afternoon.

CINCINNATI, OH -- President Barack Obama made his twelfth trip to Ohio on Monday with a "Grassroots Event" stop in Cincinnati early Monday afternoon in the city's Mount Adams neighborhood area.  Addressing a crowd of approximately 4,500 supporters at the Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park, Obama stressed the stark differences between his campaign and that of his opponent, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and the decision voters will have to make over the next 50 days concerning the direction the country takes for the next four years.  He told the gathering that "it's not just between two candidates or two political parties, but it is a choice between two fundamentally different visions on how we move forward as a country."

A/V: VP Stumps in Miami Valley for Obama Ticket

Sunday, September 16, 2012
Vice President Joe Biden addresses the "Grassroots Event" held at Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio on Wednesday afternoon.

FAIRBORN, OH -- The Obama 2012 presidential campaign paid another visit to Ohio when Vice President Joe Biden addressed a "grassroots" gathering of several hundred enthusiastic supporters Wednesday afternoon at Wright State University, located just outside Dayton.  Air Force Two arrived at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base just after 12PM, and he was greeted by a military delegation headed by General Janet Wolfenbarger, the Air Force's first four-star general and commander of the Air Force Material Command.  The vice president's motorcade made the short trip to the campus and passed several demonstrators expressing their dissatisfaction with the Obama administration from a location just across the street from the venue.  Before coming into the main hall, Biden visited with folks who were in the event's overflow area to express his thanks for their turn-out for his appearance.

The Home Stretch

Monday, September 10, 2012
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and President Obama making their acceptance speeches at their respective nominating conventions

With the banging of a gavel at 11:18pm last Thursday night, the Democratic National Convention came to a close, ending their three-day gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina to nominate President Barack Obama to represent their party and seek a second term in the Oval Office.  Just one week before, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney received the Republican party's approval to stand for them at their weather-shortened event in Tampa, Florida.  Both men, along with their respective running mates, have begun a 60-day sprint in which they must entice more of their voters to show up at the polls than their opponents for the November 6 general election.  In addition to general campaigning, there will be three presidential debates as well as one for the two vice-presidential contenders to give any undecided people a few last opportunities to weigh their options. 

In Memorium: Neil Armstrong

Monday, September 3, 2012

If you are a reader of my blog, you will know that this is only the second time that I have used "In Memorium" in the title of a post.  Many others have deserved such recognition in the period between that November 2011 item on Andy Rooney and this piece on the passing of American astronaut Neil Armstrong and I apologize for not being as vigilant as I should concerning my submissions.

In that previous post, I said I would use that slug individuals "deserving thanks for their contributions to journalism and/or the media."  You might be scratching your head right now trying to see the connection between the Ohio astronaut and those two areas but, for me and scores of millions of people around the world, his July 1969 achievement was the first news story that we can actually remember happening in our lifetimes.

One Year In

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Journalism or Bust!, the online documentation of the  actions taken in my quest of achieving a lifelong dream of becoming a journalist.  Over that span, I've upload 78 items here about a wide variety of subjects and personal experiences with the intent of showing an evolutionary improvement in my skills and overall journalistic perspective.  I've completed three classes in my UMass program and will be taking a journalism ethics course in the fall term.

I'd like to thank the folks from all around the globe who have come by here either by accident or perhaps on purpose.  A few of my posts have been very popular (the Obama rally in Columbus last May, the Santorium event outside Cincinnati back in March) and Blogger is showing that over 5,000 pageviews have occurred over the past 12 months.  Granted, this is just a drop in the bucket when compared to the volume of visits The Huffington Post, The New York Times and other media "giants" see on a daily (or even hourly) basis but I'm not doing this for the exposure (or any revenue).  Right now, this blog is a labor of love that I will look back at in a few years' time to help me gauge just how far I really advanced towards my goal.

Year #2 starts today...I can't wait!

Creating a Publishing Platform: Frank Rich

Monday, August 20, 2012
[NOTE: I listened to Frank Rich this morning during the last half hour of The Bill Press Show on Current TV and that reminded me that I just wrote about him during my recently completed Intro to Online Journalism course.  I was to find and analyze the online channels used by my favorite writer and detail how they use them to capture audience attention and create conversations. Just thought that I should share the assignment, which was written in the middle of July, with my readership.]

If given the choice of any writer I would aspire to be (or one that would require a natural disaster for me to miss their latest work), the hands-down choice would be Frank Rich.  A one-time theater critic turned op/ed columnist, Rich has been one of the leading progressive voices in America’s ‘mediascape’ for the past decade who came into his own during the country’s lead-up to the Iraq War and the later years of the George W. Bush administration.  On a weekly basis, he penned hard-hitting 1,500-word columns on politics, current events and culture which anchored The New York Times’ expanded ‘Week in Review’ section in their Sunday editions from 2005 until early 2011 when he left to join New York Magazine.  Rich has slowed down just a tad at his new employer (he now does a monthly column and weekly ‘interview’ sessions with editor-in-chief Adam Moss) but this new tempo has not diminished his veracity nor his desire to seek out the truth from among the multitude of media outlets and political operatives.  While already a devoted weekly reader, his 2006 book The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth and its blistering expose of how Bush and his team ‘rolled out’ a campaign to coerce the American public to sanction a war with Iraq cemented his place as my favorite writer.

My Media Weekend

Sunday, August 19, 2012
[NOTE: this article addresses what I experienced last weekend, not the current one. I really have to start focusing on my deadline "issues".]

From top clockwise, the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics, the unveiling of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's vice-presidential nominee, and a promotional graphic for the movie The Campaign

After a week of getting reacquainted with my job and completing the final project for my Intro to Online Journalism course, I had the chance to relax a bit and take in some television and movie watching and get back into my regular routine of sampling the many media sources I have access to.

Mitt Romney's Pending (and Perhaps Only) Presidential-level Decision

Saturday, August 11, 2012
(NOTE: this is my final project for JOURNAL 397W, Intro to Online Journalism.  I was tasked to create a comprehensive profile on a subject of my choosing and present it as a multimedia feature through pre-selected online tools--I relied upon Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, and the Google News data aggregator.  Once compiled, I was to then use Storify to bring those images, videos, quotes, and tweets together and display them in a blog setting.  Luckily, that site provided a code that allows me to embed the piece here just like it appears at the original location.  Unfortunately, I cannot insert a "jump break" within the Storify item so you will have to scroll through the entire posting when navigating on my page.)

(UPDATE: while I was finishing the project and preparing it for posting, it appears that Mitt Romney announced that he will introduce Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential pick at a campaign event this morning in Norfolk, Virginia.  The Storify piece was updated at 1:30AM on the 11th to reflect this information.)

(FOR MY INSTRUCTOR: when prompted for the embed code, I opted for the "HTML for SEO" option.  I hope that will give me some extra credit points ;-)  )

Guest Papers: Vacation Edition (Part 4 and Final)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Here is the last grouping from my trip back to Ohio on Saturday, featuring papers from the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  My only regret is that I could not find copies of The Onion or Politico in any vending machines around the District.  Represented are Washington, DC (The Washington Post, The Washington Times), McLean (USA Today), Frederick (The Frederick News-Post), Morgantown (The Dominion Post), Charleston (The Saturday Gazette-Mail), Washington (The Observer-Reporter), Pittsburgh (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Tribune-Review), Wheeling (The Intelligencer) and Columbus (The Columbus Dispatch).

Guest Papers: Vacation Edition (Part 3)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Another batch from along my route, featuring papers from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Represented are Philadelphia (The Philadelphia Daily News), Upper Derby Township (The Delaware County Daily Times), Wilmington (The News Journal), Baltimore (The Baltimore Sun) and a variety of community and issue-focused editions from Washington, DC (Street Sense, The Washington Examiner, The Epoch Times, The Washington City Paper, The Washington Blade, The Washington Informer, and The Washington Diplomat).

Guest Papers: Vacation Edition (Part 2)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

More from along my route, featuring papers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.  Represented are Wilkes-Barre (The Citizens' Voice and The Times Leader/Sunday Dispatch), Scranton (The Times-Tribune), northern New Jersey (The Record), Newark (The Star-Ledger), New York City (The New York Daily News, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times) and Philadelphia (The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Weekly).

Guest Papers: Vacation Edition (Part 1)

Friday, July 27, 2012
As you've probably noticed, I haven't posted here in a little while.  Part of the reason is due to the compressed nature of my current college course and another is a lingering bout of bronchitis that I can't seem to shake.  One last cause for this absence has been the preparation for a summer vacation I've been planning since the spring.  My high school class is having a get-together this weekend and I have traveled by car back to Pennsylvania to attend.  It's been many years since I've seen many of these folks and I'm looking forward to meeting them and talking about the 'good old days'.

Morning News Review - 'Good Morning America'

Thursday, July 12, 2012
[NOTE: this is the second of a five-part series critiquing morning news offerings from US broadcast and cable news providers.  It has taken me quite a while to get this piece up but I'm hoping that the other three will follow on a much quicker pace.]

SHOWGood Morning America
DATE/TIMES:  12 June 2012/0700-0730
LOCATION: Times Square Studios, New York, NY
HOSTS: Robin Roberts (co-anchor), George Stephanopoulos (co-anchor), Josh Elliott (news), Sam Champion (weather), Lara Spencer (lifestyle)
CORRESPONDENTS: Ginger Zee (Bellvue, CO), Jake Tapper (Washington, DC), Jim Avila (Bellefonte, PA); Linsey Davis (in studio), Neal Karlinsky (Seattle, WA),
GUESTS: Dr. Richard Besser (in studio)

FLOW: the show started promptly at 7AM with urgent music to highlight the pending tease of the days news events.  Roberts and Stephanopoulos traded 'teasers' for highlighted stories (wildfires in western US, a yacht hoax off the New Jersey coast, a mysterious hit-and-run incident in Los Angeles, dangers in spray tanning products) as well as updates on Commerce secretary Bryson's erratic driving over the weekend and Roberts' announcement on Monday's program that she is suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS.

Intro to Online Journalism Class Begins Today

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

After a two-month hiatus from formal studies, I am back on the scholastic calendar with the start of my Intro to Online Journalism course (JOURNAL 397W).  While it officially begins today, I have been on the school's website since last Friday to be fully prepared for the first day of the term and to introduce myself to my fellow classmates.  It looks to be a fast-paced block of instruction and student interaction (it ends August 14th) and I'm hoping that I will be able to apply some of the things I learn to this website and to others in the future.  I'll be sure to let you all know when those changes will start to happen.

A/V: Fairborn Celebrates the Fourth

Saturday, July 7, 2012
One local family was not ashamed to openly display their patriotism at the Fairborn 4th of July parade

Despite sweltering temperatures, the town of Fairborn, Ohio held its 65th annual 4th of July parade through the city's downtown area this past Wednesday morning.  Starting promptly at 10AM from Fairborn Plaza in near 90 degree heat, a large contingent of floats, marching bands, vehicles and dignitaries made their way along the designated route, shortened this year due to on-going street construction in the Main Street/downtown area.  Jack Wilson , a local businessman and 50-plus year city resident served as the 2012 Grand Marshall.

You can scroll below to look at more photographs from the parade.

What a Thursday!

[NOTE: This post was supposed to be completed earlier in the week but I contracted a 'summer cold' that has put me off to pretty much anything doing with writing since Monday. I've made the appropriate changes to reflect the delay.] 

Starting with Ann Curry's goodbye early in the morning and going late into the late afternoon hours with the House contempt vote, June 28th was a remarkable media day

If you are a financial (or advanced political) wonk, you might know what the investing term 'quadruple witching day' means and how it relates to specific occurrences every fiscal quarter when contracts for stock options, stock index options, stock index futures, and single stock futures expire on exchanges all around the world.  If I can borrow this enchanting phrase and loosely apply it to the media,  four remarkable and/or historic events occupied a good segment of American television news outlets' available air time on June 28th and I was able to directly witness three of them (one happened when I was at work but I could not break away to our organization's cafeteria to view on its bank of television monitors).  Two were directly related to the news media while the other two relied on those elements to transmit images and information from the nation's capital to all corners of the country (as well as to the wider world).

A/V: High Winds Wreak Havoc at Military Celebration Event

Saturday, June 30, 2012
[NOTE: I was originally going to call this a 'Breaking News' item but since I didn't file it until over 24 hours after the event, I decided to go with the 'A/V' slug instead.  My photos were taken with my cellphone and it is times like this that I need to remind myself that I should always have my better camera close by at all times.]

An view of the damage and clean-up activities at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's Freedom Tattoo site early Friday evening

Friday evening nearly produced a moment that I would never forget in my fledgling career as a journalist.  If not for the fortunate timing of severe weather conditions, Dayton, Ohio--and Wright Patterson Air Force Base--might have been the scene of a very serious human tragedy that would have made headlines around the nation for probable mass injuries (and possible casualties) and I was supposed to have a front row seat for all of it!

First Impressions -- 'The Newsroom'

Cast of the new HBO series, The Newsroom: (from left to right) Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Sam Waterston, Olivia Munn, Dev Patel, Thomas Sadoski, Alison Pill and John Gallagher, Jr.

If I can carry on the Christmas anticipation theme of my last post about this show, I am slowly coming down from the post-unwrapping 'high' that I got late Sunday evening after watching the debut episode of HBO's newest drama series, The Newsroom.  Estimates put the number of people who caught the premiere on the television outlet (and through various other online places like HBO.com and YouTube) at a respectable 3 million total.  Reviews have been mixed to negative by media critics, many posted before the show actually aired, with most of the criticism focused on series creator Aaron Sorkin, his 'brand' of drama, and his general unfamiliarity with the news industry.  Sorkin readily pleads guilty to the last one while the others are subjectively related to how familiar the reviewer is with his work.  I will admit to the world that I am not a professional television critic but I do want to mention here what I liked, what I didn't, and my overall impressions of the show so far from the perspective of a regular (although perhaps biased) viewer.

Morning News Review - 'Today'

Saturday, June 23, 2012
[NOTE: this is the first of a five-part series critiquing morning news offerings from US broadcast and cable news providers.  In these pieces, I will provide my take on the composition, the hosts, the 'aesthetics', and any overt/covert 'messaging' that might be present and meant to attract your attention at the breakfast table.]

Today--the 'granddaddy' of morning television

DATE/TIMES:  11 June 2012/0700-0730
LOCATION: NBC Studios, New York, NY
HOSTS: Matt Lauer (co-anchor), Ann Curry (co-anchor), Natalie Morales (news), Al Roker (weather) [MSNBC's Willie Geist filled in for Lauer on this edition]
CORRESPONDENTS: Charles Hadlock (Bellvue, CO), Chuck Todd (White House), Michael Isikoff (Bellefonte, PA); Peter Alexander (Washington, DC)
GUESTS: Meghan McCain, Christopher Hayes (both in studio)

FLOW: the show started promptly at 7AM with a different three-note 'NBC' theme than I am used to hearing.  Curry and Geist traded story 'teasers' for upcoming stories (Colorado wildfires, US Commerce secretary John Bryson's hit-and-run accidents in California, Lady Gaga getting hit in the head with a pole during a concert appearance in New Zealand, an update on Mary Kennedy's recent suicide, and the 'reboot' of the Dallas series on TNT) with B-roll footage accompaniment.  The show's familiar theme music (composed by John Williams) along with the announcer voice-over and outside footage of Rockefeller Center brought this introductory segment to a close.

'The Newsroom' Premieres Next Sunday--I Can't Wait!

Sunday, June 17, 2012
This is what greeted me this morning on the back cover of today's New York Times Magazine

I'm not quite sure if it's due to my college program or if it's the thought of a television show of the same (or perhaps better) quality of The West Wing but I am anxiously counting the hours (less than 168 from this posting) for the debut of Aaron Sorkin's latest drama, The Newsroom, much like a young child does late into the third week of December in anticipation of Christmas.  I read the piece about the show in last week's New York Times and today's back cover of that publication's Sunday magazine section featured a full page advertisement for the series premiere a week from tonight.  A quick comment to HBO's marketing people--mission accomplished!  Count me in!

Upcoming 'Morning News Review' Series

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Due to a temporary change in my work schedule this week, I am waking up at dawn and coming home in the afternoon time frame--almost completely opposite of my routine.  Needless to say, it has been taking its toll on me both physically and mentally and I am feeling totally out of whack, especially after lunch.  I should be back to normal come Monday when I return to my regular more-forgiving hours.

BTS: Turner Luncheon

Monday, June 11, 2012
[NOTE:  these 'BTS' features were created to document my personal experience in covering events that I report on here in this blog.  While I have been letting a little partisanship slip out in some recent postings, I will try to keep this and other 'BTS' items apolitical in nature and stick to the 'nuts and bolts' of getting and producing the stories.]

Representative Mike Turner participating in a debate on amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act on the floor of the US House of Representatives on May 17, 2012.

I was first made aware of Congressman Turner’s appearance through an announcement that was posted on the main Sharepoint site in my office's computer network.  The National Military Intelligence Association, with a chapter in the Dayton area, holds monthly membership meetings and tries to secure guest speakers from the local military and corporate community to speak to the gatherings.  On occasion, speakers from outside the area, to include Louis Andre, Senior Vice President of Intelligence Business Strategy for CACI International, Inc, and US Representative Steve Austria of Ohio's 7th Congressional District, have accepted invitations to address the membership.  To maximize participation at those events (and to help grow overall membership in the group), announcements are disseminated through a variety of online methods in and around the Wright-Patterson Air Force base community.  I will admit that I have attended a few luncheons over the past two years and the attendance averaged between 30 to 40 people and I assumed that this figure would be higher with someone of Turner's stature as this month's guest speaker.

Is Fox News Getting 'Snubbed' by Hollywood?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Two recent movies featuring television news clips but none were of Fox News...oversight or intentional snub?

I've written here from time to time about how journalism just seems to sneak up on me when I least expect it and my last two visits to one of our local cineplexes fall into that 'covert' category.  With the advent of the summer 'blockbuster' season, I've been drawn by the media hype and publicity surrounding several new releases of the 'action/adventure' genre.  During its opening weekend, my son and I went to see Battleship to see just how bad a movie based upon a board game could be (not good but not as bad as we anticipated).  Over the holiday weekend, the whole family spent part of a hot Memorial Day afternoon watching Marvel's The Avengers (which was good even without knowing the intricate 'back stories' of the characters or seeing any of the 'prequel' films like Captain America: The First Avenger or Thor).

A/V: Dayton Remembers their Sacrifices

Monday, June 4, 2012
Rows of headstones, featuring freshly planted flags to honor America's veterans and war dead, at the Dayton National Cemetery on Memorial Day.

A standing-room only crowd of over 300 members of the greater Dayton community turned out last Monday for the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Dayton National CemeteryMalcolm Maddox, former weekend anchor for local ABC/Fox affiliates WKEF/WRGT and current weekend morning anchor for Detroit's ABC station WXYZ, served as the master of ceremonies for the event with Glenn Costie, director fo the Dayton VA Medical Center as the guest speaker.  Charles S. Cooper III, a retired Air National Guard major general and current secretary of the Air Force Museum Foundation, provided the Memorial Day address.  Bernard Blizzard, director of the Dayton National Cemetery, gave the welcome and closing remarks while Father John Butler, chaplain of the Dayton VA Medical Center, offered the invocation and benediction.  Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 657 from  Riverside, Ohio performed the rifle salute while Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's Band of Flight and Honor Guard provided prelude music, played taps and conducted posting and retiring of the colors honors.  Four members of the US Armed Forces along with a representative of the Gold Star Wives of America organization laid two remembrance wreaths at the base of the Dayton Soldiers' Monument.

SNL: The Daily Post -- 1941

Zooey Deschanel as Marla Sneed, the Daily Post's new reporter

I had to laugh out loud when I saw this past weekend's repeat broadcast of Saturday Night Live that featured Zooey Deschanel, the quirky actress from the new Fox comedy series New Girl.  I must admit that I've never seen one show in that series but I do remember her from movie roles in Elf and The Hitchhiker;s Guide to the Galaxy.  The skit that got me laughing was one where Zooey and the SNL cast spoofed how movies depicted newspaper journalism during its heyday in the early 1940s.  Here's the clip (courtesy of Hulu):

I Guess This Means No

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My vote has been negated

If you read my earlier post concerning the recent change of typeface/font by the Dayton Daily News, you would know that I was not happy at all about it.  As a person who possesses a 'critical eye', such a change to a product that I've become very familiar with over the past dozen years or so was a shock to my system--so much so that I drafted my response to it here on the blog and sent Jana Collier an email with a link to my critique.  I didn't get a formal reply to my submission but I found this item related to the change tucked in the bottom corner of page A2 of last Tuesday's DDN

Two Down, Three (or More) to Go

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

This is just a quick blurb to update my status about my online studies with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's journalism program.  This past semester, I took JOURNAL 300, Newswriting & Reporting, and I'm happy to report that I got an 'A' for the course (and that grade helped me maintain my 4.0 GPA carried over from last fall's JOURNAL 201, Intro to Journalism, offering).  This was the program's only 'required' course and I can now choose from the remaining selections to complete the minimum of five needed for the certificate (but I would like to take more than that, if the VA allows).

A/V: Turner Updates Local Intelligence Group on DC Activities

Sunday, May 27, 2012
US Representative Mike Turner (R-Centerville) speaks at the monthly meeting of the Ohio Chapter of the National Military Intelligence Association on Tuesday.

The Ohio chapter of the National Military Intelligence Association held its monthly membership meeting at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's Twin Base Golf Course clubhouse this past Thursday.  United States Representative Mike Turner (R-Centerville), currently of Ohio's 3rd Congressional District (which will convert to the 10th Congressional District next January), was the guest speaker for the gathering, where he provided the approximately 50 attendees with a brief overview of his more recent legislative activities on behalf of the base community.  He was introduced to the membership by the chapter president, Dr. Deanne Otto.