For years, NPR has been soliciting ideas and stories from its member stations, and WXXI has responded. Today, Bud Lowell will be filing a story about layoffs at Corning; a couple of weeks ago, he submitted a piece about the Rochester City School District and its efforts to keep kids from missing class on cold days - by picking them up at their doorsteps. My most recent submission was about Sentry Safe.
PBS, on the other hand, rarely uses local reports in national programming. To begin with, it is not as easy to transfer video quickly - and it can be expensive. But, under the direction of PBS President Paula Kerger, there is a growing effort to develop the news staffs at member stations.
I am tucking the front page of today's Democrat & Chronicle into that box in the back of my closet - the one with clippings of birth announcements, kindergarten art work, and dance recital programs. The box that will one day be handed down to my children, and then their children. The box that will remind them how far they have come, and what they have left behind.
Finally, my garden is settling down, but now I'm facing an abundance of a different sort.
When I got started in this business, about two decades ago, July and August were "slow" months in the newsroom. It was hard to get any officials on the phone, election campaigns were still in startup mode, and people were thinking more about vacation than important issues of the day.
Reporters typically welcomed these two months. It gave us a chance to pursue some stories we had on the back burner - stories that took investigation, or lots of sound or video, or a little bit of travel to find just the right person to interview. It was a time to think about the big picture, and the best ways to bring it home to our audience. It was a much needed change in pace from breaking news and pressing deadlines.
But yesterday, we found ourselves in full court press.
At this moment in time, two-thirds of the space in my refrigerator is occupied by zucchini.
So I probably won't be able to resist asking "Chef Carlo" what he would do in my situation. Carlo Simon Peretti spends a lot of time in the kitchen with local produce. The London native is the new Executive Chef at the New York Wine & Culinary Center. I'll interview him this week for our special summer edition of Need to Know.
Driving to work this morning, I saw a tractor trailer crushed under a low railroad bridge across St. Paul Boulevard. Perhaps it was a sign of things to come...
According to the NYS Department of Transportation, railroads can move a ton of freight an average of 436 miles with each gallon of fuel. A single intermodal freight train (those trains with containers placed on flat cars) can take nearly three-hundred trucks off the Thruway.
But that doesn't mean you are just like everyone else under forty living in the Rochester area. In fact, Generation XXI is a very diverse group with many different perspectives. And we want to hear them.
"If you don't change direction, you'll end up where you're going."
I'm sorry about the lack of attribution, but I don't know who came up with that quote. I read it recently, and it struck me as a simple way to explain what is happening to news organizations across the country.
It's most apparent in the newspaper industry, but broadcast news providers are going somewhere they don't want to go either. Namely - out of business.
I was just thinking about how the news media responded the day we found out former Governor Eliot Spitzer was allegedly paying to have sex with a prostitute. In the ensuing hours, days, and week, reporters were turning over every stone to find people who were even remotely connected to the story. News teams brainstormed to come up with every possible angle. Thousands upon thousands of articles were published or broadcast. Every new detail became a headline, no matter how small.
There was not much stone turning going on last week, when Daniel Davis was murdered.
"Ten years ago, coming out was an adult process. Now it's an adolescent process."
That's a quote from Jim Anderson, a former spokesman for Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in New York Magazine, about six years ago.
And the trend continues.
There are hundreds of area teenagers who are openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. They are coming out at 12, 13, 14 years of age. Many adult gays and lesbians will tell you they knew their sexual identity at that age, but they didn't tell anyone until they reached their twenties (or beyond.)
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that came out of nowhere.
I was recently in Boston for a weekend with the family and a Monday morning meeting at WGBH. We were supposed to take the kids to the aquarium on Sunday. But then I heard about the whales.
An exceptionally large gathering of endangered right whales was apparently feasting on plankton in Cape Cod Bay. Despite my husband's objections - all valid and practical - I spent several hours on Saturday afternoon trying to find a way out on to the water. I was unsuccessful, but tenacious (a character trait valued by journalists, but not necessarily by husbands.) I woke up Sunday and called Captain John in Plymouth at 7:30 a.m. A woman answered the phone and told me to be at the dock by 11:30 a.m.
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