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