May 18

Now here’s something of a different time

I had lunch with this guy today. It was, as you might imagine, very cool.

Dean Martin died when I was a freshman in college. And I wasn’t yet hip to who or what could bring about a lasting cool. I suppose he was always the guy that played drunk, or did the occasional telethon. He was one of the old guys that ran around with Sinatra and was old. I’m sure I knew he had done movies, but I didn’t know much about the Rat Pack and I certainly didn’t know much of his music. It was too far removed for me to be anything but too far removed myself, I suppose. (“Little Ole Wine Drinker Me” was a Charlie Walker song that Martin covered. It stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks. It peaked at fifth on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart and was also a hit in Australia that year.)

I really discovered him after college. His music. His cool. His sound. Dean Martin had the best sound of the Rat Pack.

And, man, he was funny. Just look who is on the stage with him here:

There’s a great Christmas-themed Pillsbury Flour spot and a too-artsy for 1975 America Revlon promo in the middle of the video, too.

And even when he was playing a song for laughs he could sing and sing:

I love that song.

One of our hallways at work has a lot of historic photos from the program. This lady is a part of one of the pictures:

She’s a copy editor in the 1940s at the IDS. But she’s given up her seat in the slot for Ernie Pyle, who has returned to Indiana to visit family and friends. And when he was home he was never far from campus, so here he’s back and reading the paper. The front page story that he’s reading is about the Romanian armistice, so she is looking over his shoulder as he reads a late-August, early-September paper from 1944.

I wonder what she was thinking about, sitting there, posing with the great Ernie Pyle in her seat. He’s a legend now, and he was well-venerated then. I wonder where those lamps got off too.

I looked her up. She might have become a school teacher. The woman I found online passed away just a few years ago. But I’m not 100 percent convinced I have the right person.

Tonight I’m hanging out with Allie, The Black Cat:

No better way to wind down an evening.

Apr 18

There’s so much to hear and see

I did an important podcast today. You should listen to this one, please:

If you haven’t listened to it yet, I talked with a reporter who has been covering the Rohingya refugee crisis and the genocide that precipitated it. This is a good conversation. You should listen.

Also, the religion in media conference wrapped up today, but not until we enjoyed two more sessions. This quote was somewhat thematic of part of the day:

If you weren’t there you missed out, but we streamed them, so you can still catch up. If you’re interested in visual storytelling the first panel is for you. The second is about gaming and while that’s not my thing I must say the presenters were quite compelling. You can watch both panels right here:

Then, another night in the studio with these guys:

I think I hit my 40 hours for the week before noon today, but the shows must go on. And these were the last sports shows of the semester. The sports folks are graduating their sports director. He’ll be working in the production unit for some professional franchise before long. He did a nice job here, and we’re expecting more big things from him, and from the rest of these guys too.

And tomorrow, an entirely new conference begins here. That kind of week.

Apr 18

I practiced media things today

Today is the fourth of April. We had more snow flurries today. For much of the day, in fact. If felt like 32 degrees this morning. Because, in April, you should still be using wind chill.

This is silly talk in the face of all of that, I know, but maybe there is hope.

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. That makes today the 50th anniversary of an important newspaper column. We talked about it on the podcast today:

Also today I talked to Raju Narisetti. He’s the CEO of the Gizmodo Media Group, and an IU grad. He’s in town for a campus-wide program and we had him in the studio for an interview today. I’m not sure when that one will get published — it takes some time — but I’ll get to share it eventually.

Apr 18

The weather is better, almost springlike even

It is warmer today, and sunny. So that’s better than yesterday. But I saw this at one of the nearby sandwich shops.

So I am not, as they say, shook.

So I went back into the studio. I played with the jib and made visual composition jokes:

No jokes here, its an important and serious and informative podcast we created today. Dominick Jean is a smart guy like that:

A late night show some of our students produced:

And their news show:

So much media!

Feb 18

Where I remember journalism class things

First the shooting in Parkland, Florida happened. And then the boycotts of businesses that do business with NRA came. And then a few of those businesses reacted, or just acted. (One can never be sure and, for our purposes here, it doesn’t matter all that much.) One of those businesses was Delta, which said they would pull their NRA travel deal.

Then, the great state of Georgia decided this was a political moment with which to motivate. So there’s this moment where one state office-holder wants another office and figures, if Delta doesn’t back NRA, I can make some hay in the next election by picking a fight with Delta.

And this impacts Delta because the carrot in this “and the stick” formulation is a $50 million gas tax chit. Georgia will vote on this sooner or later, but civic officials elsewhere aren’t wasting time, and the courting of the airline has begun.

This is the basis of today’s podcast, which features a return of one of the original way-back-when guests, my old friend and now Knight Journalism Fellow, AndrĂ© Natta.

The only problem with having Natta on this particular program is having to cut about 10 good minutes of material to keep the show in its format. That’s one of those good problems to have, really, but it doesn’t make any nicer to edit. Also, he tends to select stories that let us recycle the program several times, which is very nice.

Anyway, he’s out at Stanford just now with this fellowship, and it is the first time I’ve spoken with him in person in some time. Sounds like he’s doing well, too, plus he also met Ted Koppel today, which is one of those things you can do at these great big programs. Last week we had Diane Foley, the mother of James Foley, a freelance journalist killed in Syria, in to speak. Anthony DeCurtis, from Rolling Stone, was just in a class. So was Pat Walters, from Radiolab. That’s just the last few days around here, and just on the journalism side. Kathleen Jamieson Hall is here right now doing her usual amazing work with political communication. It was really neat to meet her this week. (As a journalist, I used to interview David Lanoue. As a grad student I studied under the great Larry Powell and Gary Copeland. You can fairly say my political science communication cup has runneth over.) Oh, and Dan Balz will be here next month. Balz is a chief correspondent at The Washington Post, where he started in 1978. He’s been covering politics there my entire life.

The only speaker I remember from my undergraduate program was a guy from the local paper and a man who was a bombardier shot down over Schweinfurt, Germany during World War II. The guy that taught us photojournalism was the biggest star they ever managed to land. And he worked there. He’d also cut his teeth in the business covering the Civil Rights Movement, the Freedom Riders and Bloody Sunday, so this was no small thing. He was far and away the best journalist we ever heard from, and he was on the faculty. And that was, for the time, a decent journalism program. Maybe its different now.

Tomorrow night I’ll hear Hall, who is the director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center for the third time this week. You might say that’s working out in my favor.