Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anchors to Skank-ers

I can't take credit for the headline. It came from The Latest Word blog in Denver. See, the two apparently aspiring Playboy Playmates are actually television news anchors posing on the September cover of Denver Magazine.

Did their bosses at KDVR-TV recoil in horror when they saw it? Fire them for violating their contracts' morals clause? Accuse them of bringing "the station into public disrepute, contempt and ridicule"?

No. They put more images from the photo shoot on the station's website.

Any publicity is good publicity, right? At least no one will accuse them of knowing what the Enola Gay is.

Granted KDVR appears to target the Jerry Springer audience and you do have to shout your to be heard over the chorus of crying children in the double-wide. The station's sassy attitude shows up in the poll question on asking what suspended Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall should wear to the season's opening game.

The answer choices are:
      * A Denver Broncos jersey
      * Some other team's jersey
      * A diaper
We're not talking about people who claim to be carrying on Walter Cronkite's legacy here. So it's not a terrible surprise that the collective response, as summarized by Denver Post television critic Joanne Ostrow, is, "so what?"

True enough, as more people share more of themselves on line — through blogs, Facebook and Twitter — and as TV stations use those same tools to try to reach their audiences, stations are going to have to allow employees more freedom to express themselves outside of station controlled outlets.

That's quite a change since 2003 when I had to insist on language inserted into my contract with WCPO-TV that allowed me to have my website. The standard contract specifically prohibited employees from having any web presence without the general manager's approval.

I don't know how a station could do that now.

Who knows? If audiences don't mind, stations will grow more tolerant of people's extra-journalism pursuits — especially since they don't seem all that encouraging of their journalism pursuits. Maybe one local TV weather guesser won't need to hide a co-starring role in the movie "Assault of the Killer Bimbos."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't Forget Your Tripod

And that's your photo tip of the day. I failed to bring my three-legged helper on a shoot this morning at Tampa's Lettuce Lake Park. I went with other members of the Riverview Digital Photography Meetup Group.

The long path leads to...


I put a slide show of more images on my photo blog.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yes, He's Obviously the Problem

KTVE-TV in West Monroe, Louisiana fired a news anchor for a Facebook post. Photo from that party when he should not have tried the mushrooms? Something racist? Sexist? Something embarrassing to his station?

Sort of.

According to the Dead Pelican (how's that for a source!), Griffin Scott wrote August 14 that he "knew what the Enola Gay was and that makes me the only person under 40 who knew that in our newsroom. Not sure whether to be proud or not."

Five days later KTVE fired Scott, making it unanimous that no one in that newsroom under 40 knows what the Enola Gay was. His termination letter explained that his comment, "brought the station into public disrepute, contempt and ridicule and that it is otherwise jeopardizing the success of the station and the company."

Of course. Because the disrepute, contempt and ridicule heaped on the station could not possibly come from having a newsroom full of people who don't know what the Enola Gay was* but, if forced to guess, would say it had something to do with same-sex marriage.

No, the problem is obviously the guy who pointed it out. What have I said about TV stations being like the emperor in The Emperor's New Clothes? For them, it is perfectly OK for the emperor to stand there naked as long as everyone nods in unison about how fine his clothes look.

It's that kid, who points and says, "the emperor's naked!" who ruins everything.

So instead of doing anything to address the issue that really does cause people to view TV newscasts as an unintentional comedy of errors, the station fires the guy who didn't know he was blowing the big secret.

Talk about shooting the messenger. Whistleblower laws should cover this guy.

*If you don't know what the Enola Gay was**, Google is your friend.

**A nitpicker pointed out that the plane still exists. However since the act which made it famous and its active use ended more than 60 years ago, the verb tense in its context is correct.

You Shouldn't Wear This Haircut, Either

Video explaining what not to wear to the gym.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Catching Up & the $80K Personal Documentary

Stuff has been happening. I've been too lazy to document it here.

Let's see... I'm vice president of my homeowner's association. After the election, the new board members were asked to stand up and we received a round of applause. I said, "We should enjoy it now. That will be the last time anyone applauds the board."

Sure enough, it's been a lot of work. I volunteered to create and write a community blog, which is where my online writing has been directed recently. If you want to read about parking issues and Chinese drywall (which, fortunately, my unit does not have) visit the St. Charles Place blog.

I've got a freelance job coming up next month with the American Bar Association. Its magazine, the ABA Journal, wants to integrate video into its website more. Some of the details are still secret but I'll be doing some traveling and producing video pieces from the road for a project called the Legal Rebels Tour.

That, in turn, has made me fear that my laptop with which I'll need to edit the video pieces will explode at some point during the trip so I've been shopping for a new one. I thought about buying a small emergency backup camera too but I might trust my Canon GL2 to continue its reliable service.

I've made significant headway (more than 21 minutes) editing the family documentary I've been working on. There are a couple of clips up on if you're curious to see them.

They interweave historical archive footage that puts the subjects' lives in context of their time. I need to do a better job about asking people about events that were current at various points in their lives.

Speaking of personal documentaries, I came across an article in the about a Chicago TV news anchor who has started a similar business. Only he charges $80,000 and up per project!

I'm glad to publicity for the personal documentary. The more people hear about it, the more interest it generates for all businesses who create them. But I'd hate for people to think that if they're not spending $80,000 they're not getting a quality production.

I can produce them for less than a quarter of that. Like company featured in the article, I shoot and edit them with broadcast quality high definition equipment. I even have a background as a television news reporter, though not in as high profile a job as Robert Jordan, who anchors news for WGN-TV, and I would match the quality of my personal documentaries with any I've seen anywhere -- and, believe me, I have looked.

If you find evidence to the contrary, please point it out to me. I'd like to see what I can do better.

And, lastly, I've even played some guitar lately.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Pennsylvania & New Jersey Gardens

Here are more images from my recent trip to Pennsylvania. They include some of the gardens I shot, their designer, her cat and a table in her house. This is a downsized version of the slide show and the compression has slightly distorted some of the images. See it normal size on my photo blog.

Friday, August 07, 2009

OK, I'm Back

Not that you were waiting.

I just returned from a trip to Pennsylvania that was part business, part pleasure. While there I designed and built a website for a friend's landscape architecture business. I took all the photographs for the site except for three "before" pictures.

Click Image to View Larger Size

That's the gallery page. I was really pleased how the whole site turned out. My friend wanted something simple and elegant. We agree that she got it. I'm not an expert website builder but I know enough HTML, CSS and Flash to get by. It helped to have some stunning scenery to photograph.

I also attended a reunion gathering for members of my high school's swim team. Everybody and their brothers were there. At least everybody who graduated in my class who was on the team. Even my brother. One of them, anyway.

Some of them I hadn't seen in nearly 20 years. It was good to see them again. Even better since no one tried to fit into a Speedo.