Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pizza Problem

I saw this on my local TV news last night, that an 86 year old woman in Charlotte, NC was arrested for abusing 911. She called more than 20 times in 38 minutes. You can read the story here.

Why is this national news?
I live near Charlotte, so I could understand why another nearby city might pick up the story and run with it. It's certainly unusual -- news of the weird. But come on, this woman is 86 years old. She may be suffering from the onset of senile dementia. She may just be an ornery old biddy. What she did was wrong, the police first warned her, then arrested her. But why do I need to see her mugshot on TV, hear it on the radio, and read it in the newspaper when there's so much other news out there?

Not one of the stories I heard or read added any cautionary language about why you shouldn't call 911 for a non-emergency. That's the natural follow-up to this story.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I also heard it wasn't this woman's first time abusing 911. I think her actions are regrettable, and I think she should face sanctions. I just don't want a story like this wasting news time in my area.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Teaching about blogging

You just can't believe how simple it is to update this blog. It's so simple, you'd think I'd do it every day, but I'm not there yet! Try blogging when your six, nearly seven-year-old is begging you to play ponies with her!

Friday, May 13, 2005

More about Blog Nashville

I just have to tell you that I thought the audio blogging and video blogging seminars really struck a chord. When I was a kid, my dad took Spanish lessons and had these conversation tapes on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. The machine had a microphone and I was fascinated with it, so he and my mom bought some blank tapes and let me record. I took that microphone all over the house ... or as far as the cord would stretch, anyway. I was probably 4 and interviewed my brother who was 2, read books, sang songs, told jokes -- anything to record my voice on tape.

Ten years later, I'm recording stuff on cassettes with those blocky tape recorders that predated boom boxes, and a few years after that, I got my big break. I got to do my high school radio show when I was a junior. I did all the writing and recording on campus and put it together with help from WJNC-AM's Craig Thomas for air on the radio station before every football game. It was called Cardinal Soundspot (and we used this cool reverb on the intro so it sounded like this "Cardinal Sound-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot" ) I ended up becoming a DJ on Jacksonville's #1 AM radio station (I know, I know) and then moved over into television after college.

While I was at WJNC (I even served a stint as assistant news director) I used patch panels, reel to reel, cassettes and turntables to work with sound. My news director even figured out this ingenious way to change tapes for soundbites while we recorded audio packages. He pulled the cover off a Marantz recorder, so we could slip cued up cassette tapes in there. You had to practice until you could do it soundlessly. For those of you who remember cassettes, you remember what they sounded like going into the machine. They were noisy. Then you had to push all the buttons silently so there was no clicking. When you did it all live, it felt so good and seamless. I like CD's, but without a digital solution to editing, I felt kind of cut off from audio.

Sure, there was splicing available, but we had figured out a way to do all the editing electronically. Because of that, when I was in college at UNC working on Student Television, I picked up video editing in one session. I already understood about inpoints and outpoints, having done the same thing, crudely, with a few cassettes, carts and that Marantz. I loved editing video, and decided I would go into television news. So I did.

I left TV at the end of 2000, just when the station had started switching to the SX editing system. The system wasn't great, but watching the AVID editor doing it all on a computer was really amazing. Now that I've seen video blogging, I'm dying to get in there and create some video pieces on my computer. I'm not sure I have the right software, but that's not too hard to fix. What I don't have is lots of home movies or a digital camera. Did I mention my husband's a photojournalist (chief photographer no less)? We don't have any video or own a camcorder. Pretty amazing, huh?

So ... finally getting around to my point ... I thought the idea of audio blogging and podcasting was amazing. A way to create your own show that other people would listen to! (Beware of copyright laws!) And the same with video blogging -- creating your own packages or greetings for people to check out. It's like having your own broadcast station right inside your pc. And you can decide if you want to be in radio, television ... or both at once.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Allison and I are here at BlogNashville, getting ready for the second seminar. The first was about committing journalism, led by Staci Kramer. The group seemed to struggle for a definition of journalism, citing objectivity and transparency a lot. The chasm between the mainstream media and blogging seemed to be too wide to overcome until John Jay Hooker stood up and gave a rousing oration that basically said "You're a journalist if you want to be one." The notion of self-defined journalism resonated with me, since I decided at age 10 that I would become a journalist. I've never seen so many laptops in one room, ever!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Runaway Bride

I can't decide whether the fiance of the runaway bride is the world's coolest guy (next to my husband) or a total sucker. I admire him for standing by his fiance, giving her back the ring, and saying people make mistakes. How secure is he to stand by her? That is so awesome.

On the other hand, the fact that she apparently bought a bus ticket a week before her "disappearance", cut off her hair and waited days while it made national news before putting her family and fiance at ease, makes me think this could be a very troubled marriage. How can you live that down?

She'll be asking him to put the toilet seat down AGAIN, or to not throw his boxers on the bathroom floor and he'll come back with "Oh yeah? At least I didn't lie to the nation about my cold feet before our wedding!" She'll lose every time. Or maybe those little things won't matter to them, with this big thing hanging over their heads.

I did read an intriguing theory in Lorraine Ahern's column in the Greensboro News & Record. She blames the whole mess on the bride's mom. Check it out.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Jumping in

Okay, I've been thinking about blogging for a few months now. I've been reading news about it for more than a year. I could study it some more ... or I could just dive in. splash! Here I am.