journalism


10
Dec 19

And now, two quick television stories

When I got here smilin’ Joe Canter was a freshman. He was probably born good at this, but he’s gotten better at it. And someone here, no one seems to remember who now, has given him a franchise he can carry for years: Banter With Canter.

This was the last Banter With Canter on the last show of his college career. He’s graduating in a few days. It’s been a pleasure to work with him, to watch him grow and develop a very steady confidence. Plus, he’s just an all around pleasant guy. Some newsroom is going to get a good one with him.

And of course we took the “So I can say I knew him when” photo.

He told us tonight — it is a bit of a tradition now, I guess, sharing this news with the crew at our last productions — the stations he’s been interviewing with recently. It is exciting to see the notice our crew gets right out of the gate. I’m eager to see where he lands. Of course you can follow people pretty closely these days, but there will come a day, in two or four years, when he will make a market change. And maybe then, or in the year or two after that, he’ll make a big market change. And I’m excited to see what that’s like for him.

Speaking of sports, which is what Joe does, my old be-ready-at-every-moment anecdote around here used to be about sports, but now it is about weather. The old story was that the sports guy didn’t turn up one night. He’d taken ill, apparently, and we only realized this at the last minute. So a producer stepped in. And she’s was, and remains, one of these people that does everything well. She wasn’t a close follower of sports, she said, but you wouldn’t know it by how she just did the job that night. And they chose her to fill-in because she was awesome anyway, but also because she was camera-ready. It’s a good story. (And today, she is a producer in a top 35-market, which is a nice place to land in your second job still freshly out of school.)

Well now I can update that story to weather. My friend Charlee is a pop culture show host, but when the student who is actually training to be a meteorologist couldn’t make it this evening, Charlee stepped in. And, being another one of these people that does everything well, she also drilled it.

She won’t be a meteorologist anytime soon — that takes some science and know how — but if she isn’t updating her LinkedIn account this week and figuring out how to parlay that into a job interview anecdote then I didn’t sell her hard enough on how she should be updating her LinkedIn account and figuring out how to parlay that into a job interview anecdote.

And with that, the calendar year and another semester of television wraps. A tweet-sized summary:

More details fleshing out the numbers at some later date.

More on Twitter and please check me out on Instagram as well.


9
Dec 19

A random assortment from Monday

On Saturday, Poseidon had the howling cat blues:

He looks like a different animal with his mouth open. It’s weird.

Phoebe, meantime, was unimpressed.

What’s nice is that, as you can just see from that side view of the window, it was a gorgeous day. You can even see it based on the light bouncing off this Chick-fil-A window:

That’s one merry dairy cow, I said on Instagram. And not enough people appreciated that word play and my taking advantage of every chance possible to point out that, for decades now, Chick-fil-A has been using the wrong breed of cattle in their promos.

But it was a lovely day to make that argument. Today, today was less attractive in every way.

I used to count how many times I’d seen someone leave their cart in this particular parking lot’s handicapped spots. It’s a rural area. There are a lot of older people shopping in those particular stores. I visit once a week, or so, on a regular errand and I have met plenty of people that might take advantage of that spot.

The last thing anyone that needs a handicapped spot wants to deal with, besides the rain and the cold and whatever condition they feel like that particular day, is the laziness of a person who can’t push the cart to the corral not 25 feet away.

I’m sure you were just in a hurry.

So I pushed the cart up to the store. Someone ought to.

Every once in a great while you get to read a real treat of a story. I consume a lot of news, part of the job, and over the years I’ve written or read almost every kind of formula covering most any kind of story you can put in front of your eyes on any given day. They still have value, but you sometimes just know where a story is going.

But once in a great while, you get a treat. Here’s one now.

The first time he spoke to her, in 1943, by the Auschwitz crematory, David Wisnia realized that Helen Spitzer was no regular inmate. Zippi, as she was known, was clean, always neat. She wore a jacket and smelled good. They were introduced by a fellow inmate, at her request.

Her presence was unusual in itself: a woman outside the women’s quarters, speaking with a male prisoner. Before Mr. Wisnia knew it, they were alone, all the prisoners around them gone. This wasn’t a coincidence, he later realized. They made a plan to meet again in a week.

On their set date, Mr. Wisnia went as planned to meet at the barracks between crematories 4 and 5. He climbed on top of a makeshift ladder made up of packages of prisoners’ clothing. Ms. Spitzer had arranged it, a space amid hundreds of piles, just large enough to fit the two of them. Mr. Wisnia was 17 years old; she was 25.

You can’t excerpt a story like this, to give it justice, and you will find yourself glancing over at the scroll bar and sad to see how you only have so much of the story to go. You’re going to want it to go on, like a great book. You’re going to run through almost every emotion possible. And you’re going to want to keep reading it. So go read it.

Speaking of books …

It’s dense. It’s detailed. We’re starting to catch up to the period on electricity. I’m going to finish that one, some day.


14
Nov 19

And in 5 … 4 … 3 …

In the studio tonight, watching IUSTV make television magic:

I haven’t put any of their programming here recently, so let’s do that!

The power went out last Friday just as the morning show was about to start their show. We learned the power wasn’t coming back anytime soon (it took about 10 hours) and they found another way to produce their show, demonstrating some nice flexibility.

Want to know what’s up this week? They have a show they call What’s Up Weekly:

News, sports and weather:

Or, if you prefer, a deeper dive into campus sports:

And here’s the show from the photo above:

That’s five shows — three of which routinely are recognized nationally — in less than a week, all produced by students, all around their classes and internships and jobs and their lives. They’re an impressive bunch.


13
Nov 19

Historic parchment

Seventy-five years ago today Indiana awarded alumnus Ernie Pyle an honorary doctorate. He grew up not far away, attended school here, worked at the campus paper, left a bit early for a professional newspaper job.

He’d said “(M)y idea of a good newspaper job would be just to travel around wherever you’d want to without any assignment except to write a story every day about what you’d seen.”

A decade after that he got to go on the road and write all of those columns that made him mildly famous before the war. It was there that blogging began.

Anyway, when the war came, one of the most well known domestic reporters would become the best known war correspondent, first in Africa, then Europe and everywhere he went, really. He was beloved, because he wrote about the GIs and the Marines, and not about all the generals. He lived it with the soldiers and sailors. It was tough for him, just as it was for all of those in the fight. They loved him because they thought of him as theirs.

And in November of 1944 his alma mater gave him a lovely little sheepskin. He belonged to Indiana first.

He would become something more than an accomplished and famous alumnus. The journalism people at IU, over the years, essentially canonized him. For decades they worked in Ernie Pyle Hall. Outside the new building is the famous statue. And his desk today sits one floor above my office. (I used to be one floor above that desk, but they moved me for reasons that still surpass understanding.)

On this floor there’s a display with some of Pyle’s personal effects, on loan from owners or university collections.

Here are his medals, and a not-often circulated photo of Pyle and Generals Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower.

Of Bradley, Pyle wrote in September of 1944:

He is so modest and sincere that he probably will not get his proper credit, except in military textbooks.

But he has proved himself a great general in every sense of the word. And as a human being, he is just as great. Having him in command has been a blessed good fortune for America.

Here’s Pyle’s entrenching tool. They said that the writer was the foot soldier’s best friend. But they also say that a soldier’s best friend is the earth. And this is what Pyle would have used to dig holes for cover, for sleep and so on. It’s not difficult to see that spade, in hand, digging frantically into all different types of soil and sand. It’s easy to see the wear on that handle and wonder about the fear and worry that any man would have felt when they had to dig and dig and dig.

He wrote about being a part of the tragedy of Operation Cobra, which brings home the importance of all of that digging.

In 1943 Pyle wrote a column calling for combat pay for members of the infantry, airmen, after all, were granted “flight pay.” Soon Congress voted for an increase in pay of $10 a month for combat infantrymen. The law was entitled “The Ernie Pyle Bill.”

Pyle was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence that year, for “distinguished war correspondence during the year 1943.” He typed some of his work on this very typewriter:

Of course he also wrote in his letters, and perhaps in his columns — it gets hard to recall directly from memory, because his style was the same in a letter to his friend or to readers or to his colleagues — about his typewriters. A true devotee of his craft, he thought of his tools.

This is what he wore in Europe. The standard issue field jacket. He didn’t have a rank, but on the left shoulder was a simple patch: war correspondent.

And his passport is there as well.

He received that honorary doctorate 75 years ago today. The next April he was killed in the Pacific, and we all lost a talented scribe.


25
Sep 19

Hey! News!

I went for another run this evening, and soon enough, perhaps, it will become something between habit and de rigueur once again.

Today I got in 3.1 miles, a full 5K, if you will. And I didn’t run-walk it 50-50. I’m told that, given my particular foot issue the run-walk interval is the ideal way to ease back into things. Take it easy is the strategy, and I’m fine with that. But I did run more than I walked today. It’s a no particular-goal-progression I’m after here.

While still stretching, taping, doing exercises and icing if necessary. So if you see my feet going weird directions, it is probably deliberate.

Probably.

Here are the shows the news crews produced on Tuesday night. First the newsier news show, now with a new intro:

And then there’s the pop culture news show:

Hopefully that show will get a new intro soon, as well.

But, right now, I need an outro.

…. Bye!