Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Crescent City

Stepped from the door of the plane and was doused by an ocean of warm humidity. The sun glanced under the clouds as it went down and painted a far-flung arm of Hurricane Dolly with streaks of purple and orange. Gary, our shuttle-bus driver, pointed at a water mark remarkably high on a bridge as we sped by. He and his wife and kids were flooded out by Katrina but have recently returned. He said the people of Houston are good people, but New Orleans is home and he’s glad to be back.

Feathered masks for $5.99 at the tourist traps. Alligator heads for $15. I miss my sons already - they would appreciate a good varnished alligator head. Lots of people out on the warm streets tonight. Music plays from somewhere. Turned down a dark street at 8:45 p.m. and found an Indian/Pakistani restaurant called Salt & Pepper ("All kind of meat is Halaal - guaranteed"). Ordered fried catfish.

Full agenda tomorrow (click here).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

NCSL Annual Meeting

NCSL is holding the 2008 Annual Meeting July 22-26 in New Orleans.

For those of you unable to attend, a team of LINCS bloggers will bring you summaries of selected sessions from the Annual Meeting, including those below:

Eyes of the Storm

In the flood following Hurricane Katrina, photographers from the New Orleans Times-Picayune captured life-changing moments that helped the paper win a Pulitzer Prize. Hear how the photographers found themselves making difficult personal decisions as they covered the evolving tragedy.

Speakers: Kathy Anderson, The Times-Picayune, Louisiana; Ted Jackson, The Times-Picayune, Louisiana; Doug Parker, The Times-Picayune, Louisiana

What Reporters Want to Know

What do reporters want? Learn some of the best tricks of the trade from one of the most respected and well-known political reporters in the West. Learn how to get the media's attention, what types of stories reporters want, and how to conduct yourself during an interview. It's more than just writing a press release, it's the entire package.

Speaker: Adam Schrager, KUSA -TV, Colorado

LINCS Staff Section Luncheon

The LINCS Business and Networking meeting will provide a forum for sharing ideas for LINCS' professional development meeting in Louisville, Ky., this September.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Breaking point for the media?

Two events from the presidential campaign trail this past week make one wonder if we are nearing a breaking point for the media in politics.

The New Yorker magazine ran a controversial cartoon cover depicting Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, fulfilling various stereotypes of the candidate perpetuated by some of his more vociferous opponents. The cover drew criticism from both presidential campaigns and those who said the cover, intended as a satire, will only serve to reinforce the stereotypes.

Sen. John McCain, whose surrogate was recently quoted referring to America as "a nation of whiners" in terms of the economy, lamented the need to "feed the beast". The beast he was referring to, of course, is the 24/7 cable news media cycle. McCain told the New York Times, “We are in a situation today where all words are parsed, all comments are diagnosed and looked at for whatever effect they might have.”

Has the media overdone it with respect to covering presidential politics? Is the public becoming more wary of the media in general? If so, what effect, if any, could that have on how the public views media coverage of other governmental and political institutions, including state legislatures?

Friday, February 15, 2008

To blog or not to blog...

The New York Times is reporting that CNN senior producer Chez Pazienza was fired for blogging.

Pazienza said CNN fired him for violating journalistic standards through his blog Deus Ex Malcontent. CNN's response thus far, other than declining to comment about personnel matters, has been to cite company policy forbidding employees from writing for a non-CNN outlet without permission.

Readers can form their own opinion about the Pazienza case from reading his posts. But the case raises some interesting questions for people in our own profession:

  • At what point do our ethics as communications professionals and our right to express ourselves outside the workplace conflict?
  • Is blogging itself an inherently career-endangering activity, or is it a matter of the appropriateness of the content?
  • Blogging and other technological innovations make it much easier for people to express themselves without taking pause. Do the same standards applied to people in our profession regarding letters to the editor apply to blogs and the like?
Your thoughts?