By John Ensslin, 2011-12 SPJ President | June 26th, 2012
1) Alec Baldwin needs to take a chill pill, judging by his altercation with a New York Daily News photographer on a public sidewalk outside New York City Hall last week.
In the chatter that followed the incident, Baldwin tried to describe the photographer as a papparazzi, those folks who follow celebrities around snapping pictures of their every move.
But in fact, the photographer in question is a veteran photojournalist who was on assignment that day outside City Hall where Baldwin was picking up a marriage certificate.
As for Baldwin, I think my friend and colleague Mickey Osterreicher, the general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, did a great job of airing out the issues in this open letter to the actor.
2) Eddye Gallagher deserves a tip of the fedora this week. Recently, she agreed to fill a vacancy on our national board and on June 16 the SPJ board appointed her as interim Region 8 Director after Scott Cooper resigned.
I first got to know Eddye when she attended the Scripps Leadership Institute a few years ago. If you talk with folks in our Fort Worth chapter, they describe her as a human dynamo who is responsible for many good things the chapter has accomplished in recent year.
Me, I’m just glad to have Region 8 represented again and to welcome Eddye onto the board.
3) Politics should not trump programming in public television.
I understand that people should have the ability to have their say about what goes out on the air. That’s why it’s called “public” broadcasting.
But still, it was disturbing to read this report recently about a controversy involving Alabama Public Television.
It’s hard to say with precision what happened, because the station’s former director is not saying much. But this is certainly a situation that deserves a close watch going forward.
4) Who says there are no heroes anymore? I met three of mine in one evening recently while attending our Washington, D.C. Pro Chapter’s Hall of Fame banquet.
-Sander Vanoucur is a journalist I’ve admired all my life, from when he served as one of the panelists in the first Kennedy-Nixon debates through the Watergate era, when he wound up on President Nixon’s enemies list. He’s a bit frail now, but sharp as ever when you talk to him.
-Carl Kasell is a National Public Radio rock star for his role in the popular news quiz program “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.” But I came to admire him for all those years in which he delivered my first of news each day NPR’s top-of-hour newscasts.
-Brian Lamb revolutionized public access broadcasting when he created CSPAN. But for me, I’ve long admired his deadpan and thorough interviewing style. His program, “Booknotes,” served as a template for much of the programming I’ve done with SPJ through the years.
5) Another tip of the fedora to Michael Koretzky, our Region 3 Director, for helping kickstart our SPJ webinar series earlier this month.
Michael put together a great program called “Weird Careers in the Media” which was an updated version of a talk he gave at one of our national conventions a few years ago.
Now as then, the “virtual” room was packed with more than 100 people tuning in from around the country to listen and watch the webcast.
I fielded several emails from attendees who said they found Michael’s talk incredibly useful to their own job hunting strategies.
So stay tuned, we’ll be producing more webinars in the months ahead.
6) Holly Fisher is an excellent interviewer, doing a series of interviews with journalist who won this year’s SDX Awards. Here’s a link to a podcast, a recent conversation with Corinne Reilly about an award-winning story she wrote for the Virginian-Pilot.