So I consider it a stroke of luck when a grant application calling for a "hypothesis" crossed my desk -- just one day after I helped my daughter put together a middle school science fair project. I actually knew how to phrase a hypothesis, and WXXI was awarded money to conduct experiments to test my hypothesis.
So what is a broadcast news director doing in the laboratory?
That is a big part of my job -- making a connection between you and what's going on in the community around you.
It's particularly challenging for me at election time. Research, and my experience with Voice of the Voter, shows most people feel disconnected from politics, government, and community. My sense from the Voice of the Voter participants is a lot of folks have lost faith in ANY politician's ability to affect positive change within the "system." Even the "good" politicians don't stand a chance when they get into the legislative chambers. (If they can get there in the first place.)
But if enough people care, the "system" can't stop progress.
Whether Barack Obama wins the Presidency or not, he has already made history.
On February 10th of 2007, Barack Obama announced his campaign for the Presidency. He was speaking before a crowd in Springfield, Illinois. But thanks to 21st Century technology, the entire nation can watch the full speech - unfiltered by the news media or pundits - simply by logging on to Obama's Web site. This includes citizens who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, since the speech is closed-captioned.
Obama was the first Presidential candidate to caption videos on his Web site.
Just before Christmas, WXXI Radio News Director Peter Iglinski stopped by my desk and suggested we use our growing partnership with WDKX-FM to do something innovative around the appointment of Jean-Claude Brizard, the new superintendent of the Rochester City School District.
We called a meeting with WDXK's Tariq Spence, whom I rate as one of Rochester's best radio personalities (and just an all-around good guy.)
The "Brizard Blizzard" was born.
(Okay, that is not the official name of our project. But the snow was swirling the day we met, and that's the name that found its way into the space between my ears.)