Feb 18

A bunch of journalism and storytelling stuff

We turned our eyes north, to Wisconsin, to talk with Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Jonathan Anderson today. He joined the program to talk about a brand new ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court. It has to do with unions and votes and public records, and it could have some long reaching implications.

Yesterday’s story was about a man, his mop and criminal intent. The one before that was about iPhones, and before that we talked gerrymandering. The variety is such a neat thing, I think. Also, these shows are short. The idea is you can listen to this while you’re running an errand. You don’t have to be running a marathon.

This morning Dan Wakefield visited the television studio. We recorded a brief interview with him. Here’s a man who covered the Emmett Till murder trial, had a full journalism career, then wrote two best sellers and then had both of those books turned into movies. How do you get that down into a seven-minute conversation?

Wakefield is one of those journalists you study in school. He always gets asked, and is forever reciting, the lead to one of his stories for the magazine “The Nation.”

The crowds are gone and this Delta town is back to its silent, solid life that is based on cotton and the proposition that a whole race of men was created to pick it. Citizens who drink from the “Whites Only’ fountain in the courthouse breathe much easier now that the two fair-skinned half brothers, ages twenty-four and thirty-six, have been acquitted of the murder of a fourteen-year-old Negro boy. The streets are quiet, Chicago is once more a mythical name, and everyone here “knows his place.”

We should probably send the same amount of time on the themes of insularity, maintaining the status quo, parachute journalism, long memory, the other Others, and irony, which are all found in the last three paragraphs of his story:

It took the twelve jurors an hour and seven minutes to return the ver­dict that would evidently help close the gap between the white and col­ored races in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Tradi­tion, honor, God, and country were preserved in a package deal with the lives of Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam.

Reporters climbed tables and chairs to get a glimpse of the ac­quitted defendants, and the news­paper, magazine, and television cameras were aimed at the smiles of their wives and families in a flash­ing, buzzing finale. Then the agents of the outside world disappeared in a rush to make their deadlines and the stale, cluttered courtroom was finally empty of everything but mashed-out cigarettes, crushed paper cups, and a few of the canvas specta­tor chairs that the American Legion had sold across the street for two dollars each.

The trial week won’t be forgotten here soon, and glimpses of the “foreign” Negroes who don’t till cottonfields but hold positions as lawyers, doctors, and Congressmen have surely left a deep and uncom­fortable mark on the whites of the Delta. But at least for the present, life is good again. Funds are being raised for separate-and-equal school facilities in Tallahatchie County and on Wednesdays at lunchtime four of the five defense attorneys join with the other Rotarians of Sumner in a club song about the glad day “When men are one.”

Wakefield’s interview will be a part of a program next week. I watched two other shows being produced this evening. They’ll make it online at some point this week, I’m sure.

Jan 18

The day’s efforts and progress

Yes, we love technology. We still love technology, always and forever.

Chris Pollone, who you’ll see on all your quality NBC newscasts across the country, joined our little podcast once more to talk about a big moment in the communication sector. We’re going 5G and that phrase is going on to take a ride on the hype train. Why, one day, we’ll look back at this message, and that you read it over LTE or wifi and have a great big laugh. And just think about what it will do for your industry, dear reader. It could do a lot. Pollone tells us more:

On the podcast we have now gotten the good news that the show has been picked up for syndication at Google Play. And you can also find the show among the many other quality programs on Stitcher, as well. Next, iTunes, then, if I survive that bit of silliness, the world!

But, tonight, the television studio, where I have studios making television shows that cover and discuss things generally related to news. I’m sure the online versions will be live tomorrow, and I can share them with you. Watch, as they say, this space.

Meantime, here are four more photos I took this weekend, including this guy, a peregrine falcon, which is the fastest species on the planet:

It was a lovely little sunset on Saturday, clearly, which is why I’m goosing this well into the next week.

I may have a few more pictures for tomorrow too. Then we can get to some really interesting stuff around here, he said, hoping that would be a tease sufficient to bring you back. So do come back.

More on Twitter, check me out on Instagram and more podcasts on Podbean as well.

Jan 18

We are one famous house

The Yankee and I recorded an episode of my show today. We played it all cool, because it seemed the best approach considering the subject matter. Anyway, the ultimate goal has been reached. We are famous on the Internet:

That’s what we tell Allie, The Black Cat, when we take her picture. She is famous on the Internet:

Of course she’s more famous than both of us put together. Cats and the Internet, after all.

Why, it is entirely possible that the entire agenda of domesticated catdom has been aiming to this moment. Cats knew they should be famous and so they have spent generations buttering us up for the inevitable day that we would create something they could use.

And also, head scratches.

But it begs an important question. They have what they want, now what?

We had a speaker in the building tonight. I spent the night going from the studio to the commons listening to television shows our news crew were producing and Jamie Kalven, who has won a Polk and a Ridenhour Courage award.

And here’s the reason, you should always take the time to listen to people who are passionate about their subject matter. Kalven has that, in spades, for his journalism and what it means to our communities. And so he talked about the importance of what journalism students should set out to do. Truth, authority, power, the man, all of that remains.

“The danger,” he was saying as I took this picture near the end of his visit, “is that we make concessions of our own freedom.”

This is the story Jamie Kalven was talking about.

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

Jan 18

I produced a new-old show and you can listen to it here

I drove on this today:

Fortunately, most of the roads between here and there and back again weren’t like that. Just the first road and, logically the last road.

Now, what you can’t see, because I faced the wrong way for that photograph, was the house about four doors up the road. The man that lives there runs a landscaping company and, this time of year, he also does some road plowing. I know this because he has two pickup trucks and he puts a plow on both of them and then leaves them on the side of the road.

There’s probably an insurance issue at play here. And I’m not being mean-spirited; just yesterday I saw the guy do two really thoughtful snow-related acts of kindness for strangers. But, man, drop the plow and dry the road.

I’m thinking of going door-to-door and collecting a little extra gas money for the guy. How much would it take to plow one simple street a few times? I bet I could get that after just a few doorbells.

The mighty Jordan creek River has frozen over again. Just on the surface this time, and not quite to the extent that it did a few days ago. I’m assuming there are names and ways to measure and express all of that. Other than, “Wow, a moving body of water has frozen. Again. That’s an eight on the Demoralization Scale.”

Ahh, but it looks pretty you say, sure:

Know what looks better? Viscosity.

I have re-started an old podcast series. It might sound familiar to you. Problem not. It was always small and humble. And, guess what, it is going to stay that way! The premise seems to work, though. I invite guests, media members and people who just read a lot of news, and ask them to tell us about the most interesting story they’ve found that day.

And so here’s my colleague, Joe Coleman, on the re-launch episode, talking about, well, you’ll see:

I put together the music this weekend. A little jazz drum sound, some Brazilian guitar and a Cuban horn. I like how peppy it feels. But most importantly, what did you think of the show? Leave me a note in the comments. And then come help me clear off the neighborhood road.

Jan 18

Still flowering

The flowers I picked up last Friday? They still looked great this morning:

Which, I don’t know how you’re supposed to estimate the value of a bouquet, but I turned down the options at the first grocery store I went to that day because the flowers in their stand were running for $8. There was nothing wrong with the flowers, but they don’t have any actual floral department there, or anyone pretending to be a florist. Someone just ships in the finished bouquet. And that’s fine, but it makes you wonder how long they’ve been there. Plus, I figured, since I was going to the other, larger store too, and since they have an actual floral department staffed with people at least pretending to be florists — and perhaps some legitimate florists, too — I would find better options and maybe some fresher cuts. It is a bigger store, you see.

And at that store I had options aplenty. There was this cooler and that wall, and this bundle bin thing in between and in that bin there were bunches of flowers of one variety and several, all wrapped up in that crinkly, premium cellophane that feels substantial and let’s you, as the consumer, think you’re getting a great deal. And you were! Almost all of the flowers were less than the $8 at the other store. But you have to be careful, because not all of these bundles are the same price. And this wasn’t for a special day, but a Friday, so there was no need to go crazy here.

So I spent about five or six bucks on those things and they’ve been sitting on the bar in the kitchen since Friday evening and aren’t showing any real signs of giving up yet. So I guess I got a good deal on those.

And of course I know how to estimate the value of a bouquet. The Yankee saw them and smiled and thanked me and gave me a hug and a kiss and those flowers were a steal, and I should go back and thank the florists at the great big, ridiculous grocery store.

Like I’m going in there again anytime soon.

Here, watch this. It is rather amusing:

Now that makes the second time Forrest Gump has come up in conversation today. And somewhere along the way I wondered, Has anyone turned that into a horror movie yet?

Once again, the web provides.