Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Black Lives Matter Protests in Huntington June 2020

#BLM protests started May 31 in Huntington and continued for several days afterward, with marches into Huntington Village, protests at two restaurants, and marches from Greenlawn to the SCPD Second Precinct stationhouse.

May 31

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Stories I Won't Read at Nytimes.com

Along with its many question-mark riddled headlines, NYTimes.com continues down its path of trying to have something for everyone, and giving no weight to what's important, what would be a good cover story on Elle and the problems of the rich and famous on Sunday afternoons and who can whine the most about their difficulties when it comes to planning their weddings.

I'm old enough to remember when the Times told me what to think, and while I could rebel against that, at least the paper wasn't confused about who it was: it didn't bother writing over and over about who trims their bushes, if you know what I mean, why, and the cultural significance of it.

It's not that it's wrong to write about those other topics, though I do wonder who is whispering in Dean's ear to convince him that these stories matter. But it's not why I read the Times and I'm pretty sure that's not why MOST people go there.

Our Republic is in danger. Stop littering the main page of the website that could and should run somewhere else.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The News About the News---LIBN Takes a Look

My friend Adina Genn wrote about the state of local media, given buyouts, cutbacks and other things happening here on Long Island, and around the country, of course.

 She did a great job capturing the big issues of what happens when major players are diminished and what could fill the void.

Facebook comments and people jumping to conclusions about the news do not replace reporting, no matter how tempting it might be to just buy into the latest flippant remark. I saw someone commenting on a local community page the other day, complaining about a post and wondering how it would be considered news. And of course, it wasn't news. The post was a gripe about how someone had parked. So there is a blending, a slippage perhaps, in what constitutes news.

But I know people miss real reporting, just based on the emails I get asking me to find something out for them. 

Local publications, usually weeklies, have always done the school lunch menus, fire reports, obituaries, etc., but in the past, there's usually been a strong daily to get the big stuff. That's no longer the case, meaning the publications, whether print or digital, are often left to figure out what to do next--try to step up in to the gap left by the big guys or continue on as they have in the past. The jury is still out. It is annoying as hell to see out of town organizations pretend to be covering the local news (and no, I'm not talking about Patch.com) But that's definitely happening. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Take It Easy with the Coding. And the Caps

Dear PR Friends,
Please stop hyper-coding all your press releases. When you do, that means I'm less likely to use your information because I don't have time to go and remove 10 lines of xxxx in your overly long list of details you want me to write about.

And for the Love of God, stop randomly capitalizing Words so that you'll get my Attention.
We are, after all, not Germans.

Putting Reporters Through Hoops

What reporters do and why we need them: When a green card holder was (falsely) accused of smuggling drugs, he was arrested and tossed into jail for more than 2 months. This is some of what reporters did to try to find out what happened to him.
When asked about the case, Customs officials directed The Washington Post to Maryland Transportation Authority Police, which directed a reporter to prosecutors in the Anne Arundel County state’s attorney’s office. Prosecutors answered some questions about their case but directed The Post to the Department of Homeland Security over questions on Haughton’s detainer.
ICE directed The Post back to Customs, where Steve Sapp, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said privacy laws prohibit the agency “from discussing specifics of any individual traveler’s arrivals inspection.”

Monday, August 26, 2019

'Active Shooter' Language

From the Virginia Beach mass killing.

“I thought someone had fallen down the steps,” she said. “Then, someone yelled, ‘There’s an active shooter in the building’ and they told us to get out.”

Please stop using this lingo. That's cop talk and that's fine for them. But normal human beings shouldn't be using it to talk about people with guns.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Cracks in the Foundation of Press Freedom

Strange and bizarre things are happening to the press in the land of Oz.

Australian federal police raided a reporter's home after a story about secret correspondence between government ministries over a plan to expand intelligence agencies’ surveillance powers. and the next day, the newsroom of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, investigating how the broadcaster learned that Australian special forces were being investigated over possible war crimes in Afghanistan.

The New York Times notes that Australian law forbids government officials to disclose classified or secret information. "This is a serious development and raises legitimate concerns over freedom of the press and proper public scrutiny of national security and defense matters,” the broadcaster said.

Freedom House finds the raids occuring in a liberal democracy are part of a downward spiral for press freedoms.

The report's key findings:
  • freedom of the media has been deteriorating around the world over the past decade.
  • In some of the most influential democracies in the world, populist leaders have overseen concerted attempts to throttle the independence of the media sector.
  • While the threats to global media freedom are real and concerning in their own right, their impact on the state of democracy is what makes them truly dangerous.
  • Experience has shown, however, that press freedom can rebound from even lengthy stints of repression when given the opportunity. The basic desire for democratic liberties, including access to honest and fact-based journalism, can never be extinguished.

The report comes at the same time that an American president routinely refers to reporters as the enemy of the American people, disputes anything he doesn't like as fake news and  threatened to punish reporters and others who say things he doesn't like.

I know from personal experience that ordinary people seem much more willing to challenge the reasons and motivations for stories. It has become almost routine for people to to believe reporters have an agenda, a reason for reporting stories that they don't like or don't believe. I don't know how this ends.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Kansas State Senate Kicks Out Reporters Covering Protest

So reporters were doing their jobs, covering the protests against the Kansas State Senate's decision not to expand Medicaid, and the politicians had them kicked out for giving the dissidents "an audience?"

We should all remember this when the same politicos can't wait to invite to to come cover a tree planting or Scout award.
>“We never denied the press access to government proceedings,” communications director Shannon Golden said in an email. “Removal was purely due to safety reasons, and any other account is an embellished story.” Was anyone really in danger? Journalists — who cover wars, national disasters, violent protests and criminal behavior — are pretty good judges of what is threatening and what isn’t. They wanted to stay, the Kansas City Star wrote.

Speaking in very general terms, it's almost always the people in authority who cause reporters problems at protests, not the demonstrators, including those in clerical collars.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

No Free-Lunch Reporting

Sometimes we want stories to be true. It would help if companies were more forthcoming with the facts and got away from BS statements like "This is not who we are." I  recall this company seeming to confirm her account by saying she'd violated policy and then offering her job back.

It wouldn't be the first time someone got a story like this wrong. A combination of speeding to deliver a powerful story and a  breakdown in the traditional editing process that might have stopped an inaccurate story are part of the story. Standard reporting would have required interviewing the family  involved or at least an explanation of why they weren't available.  And the beginning of the mother's statement doesn't really make the case that the worker lied, although later it does.

And maybe, just maybe, a dozen TV cameras don't need to show up.  We don't need to act like a mob. I'm a big fan of returning to relying on local news operations to produce news for the national networks or the Associated Press, instead of hordes of reporters showing up. Especially since outlets are supposedly so shorthanded.


Not Funny, Not a Right to Threaten Someone

No doubt someone thinks this "game" is clever. I suppose if someone gets hurt, the creators will claim their First Amendment rights, thinking it's okay to harm those who actually do live by the First Amendment.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Love for Huntington

It's been about 37 years since I arrived in Huntington and have never regretted moving here. Well, there was that time right after I moved here when, blissfully unaware of the many anti-renter issues, I got a visit at 1 a.m. from the town attorney's office, the building inspector and a cop. Turns out I'd unknowingly rented from a guy who had previously been in court and sworn never to rent illegally again.

One of the things that always catches my attention is how people stamp themselves as "real Huntingtonians."

The response to a such a question as, 'Did you grow up here?' is, almost invariably "Yes, I grew up here, I was born in Huntington Hospital." I heard it again today. It makes me laugh because it often is said with a bit of firmness, proof of people's bona fides. I've lived in three other states as an adult, and can't recall a similar kind of statement about those places. It's a point of pride, and it's charming.

Done and Down With Facebook

Facebook's horrible decision to allow the fake Nancy Pelosi video to spread, knowing full well it's fake,  so "people can make up their own mind about the truth" is such a gutless, dishonest decision that I'm done.   While it's  difficult to walk away from Facebook entirely, I'm going to do my very best to post here. Some things may have to up on Facebook until I'm ready to cut loose completely.

Good luck to everyone else.

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