Friday, November 24, 2006

More insights on Gerald Boyd

One of the biggest benefits of the online media is the ability to link and read other insights on subjects of interest. Even after I posted my comments about the death of Gerald Boyd, I learned two other things that underscore my point about Boyd's legacy. They come from those who knew him personally.

1- He was the first president of what today is the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists. I learned that through reading a 2003 column by one of Boyd's close friends from college, editor of the now-defunct Emerge Magazine George Curry.

2- Before becoming managing editor at the New York Times, he covered the Reagan and George H.W. Bush's administrations. In his Gerald Boyd obit, Richard Prince's posting on JOURNAL-ISMS, an online journal about media diversity, includes a link to Boyd's remarks at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in 2003 in Dallas.

The NABJ website also includes a tribute to Boyd.

The loss of Gerald Boyd

What a shock to awaken this morning to the news of the passing of former New York Times Managing Editor Gerald Boyd.

My first thought was "I didn't know he had been sick."

In reading some of the coverage in today's New York Times and the Washington Post story, apparently, most did not know that Boyd had battled lung cancer for the last few months.

One of the benefits of a web log is that you can type out your own personal thoughts on something while they're fresh on your mind. And to be honest, I'm not sure these thoughts will get lost in everything else I'm doing on this day after Thanksgiving.

As an African-American journalist (now journalism professor), I've been struck by the loss of so many brothers who have made such an impact on our profession.

Some might argue that Gerald Boyd's departure from the New York Times was the biggest loss. But, as you can see and read from his post-NY Times speech at the University of South Carolina and even his presentation a few years ago at the University of Missouri, Boyd took lots of time to contribute to the next generation of journalists.

According to the Washington Post report today, he also had played a role in the development of some courses at the Columbia School of Journalism. So, in spite of the fact that he got caught in the Jayson Blair debacle, he still made a contribution to our profession (present and future) beyond just his own personal achievements.

That's something that is significant.

As journalism educators, we have to make sure to call attention to the legacies of Boyd and Ed Bradley, who also died recently.

Notice I said both Boyd and Bradley. Even with the Jayson Blair scandal, Boyd still leaves a legacy that looms larger than his handling of one failed black journalist's career.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Huntsville from a Different Vantagepoint

HUNTSVILLE-- Usually when I come to Huntsville, it's not to stay very long. This weekend, I made two separate trips to Alabama's Rocket City.

Thursday night Huntsville was my stopover on the route from Piedmont, Alabama to Nashville for the JEA/NSPA Convention.

But, Saturday on the trip back to Anniston, I got the chance to stay in the city's newest hotel-- the Embassy Suites in downtown. It just so happens the place just opened about two weeks ago.

Except for a few glitches with my room key and parking, the place was simply MARV-elous.

Best of all, there was the view of the Tennesssee Valley and the downtown Huntsville skyline that sits down in a bowl...a beautiful bowl.

Sunday morning when the sun finally came out, it was a site to behold. The photo from my hotel window came out ok.

The Podcast Team in Nashville

NASHVILLE-- Before moving on from the wonderful weekend in the Music City, I had to reflect on what I thought was a wonderful workshop on podcasting.

"Pegging the Podcast Potential" was presented at the Fall 2006 Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association Convention.

It would NOT have been possible without the hard work and preparation of my expert colleague, Aaron Manfull, a teacher in St. Charles, Missouri.

Aaron and I met last January at the Poynter Institute where the Scholastic Journalism Division of AEJMC (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication) Midwinter Meeting.

In Aaron, I finally found someone who is MORE detail-oriented than I. Down to the order and content of our presentation, Aaron made sure that we had it all planned out.

In reflecting on this experience, I have to say that it was he who made this a success.

In the photo, you'll notice his most able student, Jennifer (whose last name escapes me), who also videotaped the presentation.

It was my first JEA/NSPA convention and my first time working with Aaron. He's a devout Iowa Hawkeyes fan and now a particularly proud Cardinals fan.

What a great weekend!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

George Daniels, CJE

NASHVILLE-- A lot more to tell about what I learned at the JEA Convention. But, with my pin and certificate in hand, I am officially a Certified Journalism Educator.

That's a designation only bestowed until 413 teachers. It's great to be a part of this special group of people who have a special place in their heart for high school and middle school journalism education.

I'll have to write more about this later.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Back in Nashville at JEA

NASHVILLE--- For the third autumn in a row, I have made a trek up to the Music City. This weekend I've joined almost 5,000 delegates attending the Fall Convention of the Journalism Education Association and National Scholastic Press Association.

In all my years of working with high school journalism, I've never seen this many of the young journalists in one place. This hotel is just PACKED with students and their teachers.

The last time I was here at Opryland Hotel was in the late 1990s for a Stellar Gospel Music Awards in December. I had come to cover the Stellar Awards that our Minister of Music, Byron Cage, was receiving. The story would later run in the Christian magazine for which I worked.

This time, journalism is the focus, but the audience is not magazine readers, but students who are learning through their work on newspapers, yearbooks and literary magazines.

In October 2005 and October 2004, I came up to Middle Tennessee State University for the Broadcast Education Association District Meeting.

Like last time here at the Opryland Hote (in December)l is all decked out for the Christmas holidays. I hope to take some photos here tomorrow before heading back South down I-65.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Baquet ousted

Well, it's a good thing we journalists got a chance to talk with Dean Baquet, now former editor of The Los Angeles Times while we had the chance two weeks ago at the Associated Press Managing Editors luncheon in New Orleans.

When Baquet became executive editor last year, he made The Los Angeles Times the largest American newspaper ever to be led by a black journalist.

During the question-and-answer period at the APME luncheon, I asked Baquet to comment on where he thought the newspaper industry was in terms of its efforts to increase racial diversity. He indicated that he still needed to do a better job of understanding the experiences and perspectives of some of his reporters.

Baquet was let go just months after his publisher, John Carroll (Seen listening to Baquet in photo), was fired by the parent company, Tribune. The two refused to make further cost cuts at the paper that were demanded by the Chicago-based Tribune Company.

He recounted some lessons learned in the experience during his speech to fellow journalists at the APME Convention.

I wonder what he will do now.

Even though I only got to ask him a question in a public setting, I feel like Baquet represented other African-American male journalists like myself who are out there taking on the issue of diversity front-and-center. For him, his stance against Tribune cost him his job.

Still, I believe his willingness to stand on principles will GAIN HIM MORE than he will lose.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in this story.

Loss for Broadcast Journalism

I never got a chance to meet him personally. But, Ed Bradley had an influence on most of us young journalists who wanted to make inroads in broadcasting. This was especially true for African-American journalists.

He proved that an African-American man COULD cover the White House, even if one had never occupied it.

I was at The Anniston Star today when I saw the file photo and banner indicating that he had passed away. Like many of his viewers/fans, I was completely oblivious to the fact that had been ill.

Bradley leaves a legacy of excellence in broadcast journalism that all who tell stories via the electronic media (or print media for that matter) should follow.

He will be missed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Podcasting Piece Published

Big victory today for a spring semester teaching project on podcasting.

The latest issue of the Broadcast Education Association's correspondence journal, Feedback, has our article containing our preliminary research on podcasting among broadcast stations.

"Pegging the Podcast Potential in the Class and the Newsroom: Lessons Learned from a 2006 Experiment" is a summary of our research both in the industry and in academe.

Bobby Puppione, executive producer of the PROTOTYPE Podcast here at Alabama Public Radio, and I presented the industry research at the AEJMC Midwinter Conference in Bowling Green, OH at Bowling Green State University in February.

Dickie Cox, top guy at the Sanford Media Resource & Design Center, which stored our iPods, also was a co-author on the article.

It's great to see that research in print before the end of this year.

Now, if we can complete the more sophisticated academic research from that experiment. The work continues.

Kirk Franklin's Testimony & Rev. Haggard

I rarely pick up those magazines you see at the supermarket. But, today I have to admit the cover of Gospel Music's Kirk Franklin and wife, Tammy caught my attention.

With all I have to do this evening, I have little time to be reading magazines. But, this particular article was interesting.

It tells a lot about the couple struggles since Franklin revealed his own struggles with pornography.

The story comes out as the nation deals with yet another sex scandal. I think the media's coverage of The Rev. Ted Haggard, who up until this week was senior pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, has been completely overboard.

It's apparent that Rev. Haggard had some struggles just like most men.

Kirk Franklin's story and Rev. Haggard's story reflect the fact that in the Body of Christ, even high-profile men make mistakes.

For now, the best thing Christians can do is pray for both of these men and their families.

The important thing to remember is God forgives and Kirk Franklin has a testimony to tell. I'm sure Rev. Haggard will have one to tell soon as well.

Quiet Week in Tuscaloosa

After two weeks on the road and two previous trips to Anniston, it was nice to be back in Tuscaloosa for a relatively quiet week.

While I did have a quick meeting in Anniston on Wednesday, I was able to catch up on a few things at home base.

Next, week it's back on the road as we head back to Anniston on the day before and day after Election Day. Then, on the Nashville for the Journalism Education Association Fall Convention.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Eating Alligator

BATON ROUGE-- As I close out my memorable trip here to Louisiana's state capital, I do so in grand style. Cajun cuisine was on the menu tonight as I joined a small contingent of Southwest Symposium attendees for the farewell dinner at Boutin's.

As an appetizer, I thought I would brave and try this thing called fried alligator. Well, it was pretty good.

The grilled catfish, my main entree was also good.

I'm still not sure this place beats Mike Anderson's, where I had dinner with my parents the last time I was in baton Rouge. But, it's a close second.

What makes Boutin's so different is the live Cajun music and dancing that was going on.

I got a t-shirt to remember this Cajun cuisine experience.

Top Paper Award

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Well, I was blown away last night with one of the biggest research awards of the year (for me). The paper that Dr. Lillie Fears (Arkansas State University) and I wrote on student interest in broadcast journalism was chosen as one of the TOP PAPERS for the Southwest Symposium here at LSU.

As I reflect on last night, I am recalling the snowy Saturday afternoon in 1998 when I won my very first research award at the Southeast Colloquium at the University of Kentucky. There's something about having your research recognized. And, it feels great to be among this year's outstanding papers.

The Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication is an organization to which Lillie introduced me three years ago. We were working on a paper and she suggested we submit to this friendly regional group of scholars and students from states like Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, New Mexico, and YES-- Louisiana.

You have to be from a member state and Lillie being from Arkansas has encourage our participation in this conference. It is the only regional journalism group to have its own academic journal, the Southwestern Mass Communication Journal.

As one of the paper winners, Lillie and I will have our paper, "New Generation in the 'Pink-Collar Ghetto?' Student Interests in Broadcast Journalism" published in the journal next year. Wow! This is fantastic.

A Trip to Tiger Country

BATON ROUGE-- After going to New Orleans, the next stop on my "Louisiana" tour as one of my colleagues put it was here in Baton Rouge.

The first thing I realized after driving through the swampy areas that appeared along the I-10 West route between what used to be Louisiana's largest city and what is now the biggest, Baton Rouge, was more tree damage.

Before this week, I had been both to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. But, I had never visited BOTH in the same trip.

Again, I find the best thing to do with blog is to POST something. (Something I have NOT done all year until now). As anyone reading this can see, I have not updated this thing since January when I was in Florida.

Even now, I have something else to do, but am pausing to update my web log.

Most memorable about this trip-- the hospitality shown by our hosts at the Louisiana State University. Wow! I was here in 1999 for the National Black Graduate Student Association. While I had no formal meetings on the LSU campus, I made a stop on the campus and was very under-whelmed.

After the tour we had today and the experience of being in the newly-renovated journalism building, I am REALLY impressed.

Journey to New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS-- After watching on television all the changes in the Big Easy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I had a chance this week to watch it all up-close.

It's a shame that I have not factored in time to write a detailed account of my trip to the Associated Press Managing Editors Convention, which was held October 25-28, 2005 at the Astor Crowne Plaza.

You could tell as you drove in on Interstate 10 that this was NOT the same city that I visited two years ago when the National Cable and Telecommunication Association(NCTA) met at the New Orleans Convention Center and we had dinner at one of the Bourbon Street restaurants in the historic French Quarter.

The number of dead trees and the vacant strip malls and homes viewable along I-10 could easily distract a first-time (since Katrina) driver.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

About that NEW 5th TV Network

Now-- the to rest of the story. My original reason for posting tonight was the formation of the New CW, a network that comes from the merger of the Warner Bros. Network (the WB) and the United Paramount Network (UPN).

The good news for me is that "Gilmore Girls" is STILL going to be there on the CW.

But, it will be interesting to see how the various affiliates work out the programming in the new network.

With urban or black-oriented shows on UPN, we have to wonder how much of that programming will be found on the new merged network.

In my search for information about this latest change, I went to the Viacom website, which no longer includes info. about UPN. As a broadcast network, UPN is part of the new CBS Corporation, which split from Viacom last year.

I'm looking forward to talking about this in my upcoming Media Management course in May.

That's why I love following media organizations. They're always changing.

Stay tuned.

Changes at BET

For someone who is as keenly interested in media companies, the management of those properties, and diversity as I am, this has been an exciting week of change.

As it has been nearly a month since I posted some thought in the blogosphere, I was planning on saying my two cents about the merger of UPN and the WB.

But, when I went to the Viacom site, I learned that Bob Johnson, who helped start Black Entertainment Television stepped down as Chairman of the cable network, which is now owned by Viacom.

I think that speaks volumes about what Johnson thinks about the cable network that he started-- that at one point was a water cooler for black Americans and for young black communications students like me-- once a place to which we could aspire to work.

BET Headquarters was located in NE Washington, DC just a short drive from the Howard University campus, minutes from Slowe Hall, my dorm during the sophomore year (that would have 1989-1990).

Since Viacom took over the network, we've seen the news and information programming dwindle on BET. I can't remember the last time I watched it.

At one time, they were running re-runs of Soul Food, the drama from SHOWTIME. I never sprung for the premium cable channels. So, if it were not for BET, I wouldn't have been able to see this drama that was a spin-off from the movie.

Oh well-- I guess that's the best I can say about the new BET. I suppose it will be fun to see what Bob Johnson and his Charlotte Bobcats can do. I frequently visit Charlotte (a regular stop-off point on my trek between Alabama and Richmond, Va.) and maybe I'll see Bob at a Bobcats game.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Talking Scholastic Journalism in Florida

The annual pilgrimage to St. Petersburg, FL. is about over and much has been learned during this two-day meeting of scholastic journalism researchers, teachers and workshop coordinators.

During tonight's wrap-up dinner, I learned that this was the highest attendance ever for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Scholastic Journalism Division Midwinter Meeting.

Today we talked about new concerns about plagiarism, yearbook trends and new technology trends.

It's always nice to visit, meet, talk here at the Poynter Institute. Our hotel on the Tampa Bay -- is also nice.

More details later.