Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Covering Katrina

Interesting story in today's New York Times about the trouble Gulf Coast journalists are having covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Now that much of New Orleans is under water, the Times-Picayune has evacuated its building. Phones are out, too, so reporters are relying on the internet. The Times-Picayune is taking up residence in Baton Rouge and yesterday published a special edition e-paper. The Picayune is reporting that even cops and firefighters are joining in the looting.

Meanwhile, Dr. Kaye Trammell, who teaches at Louisianna State University, continues to blog the storm. Her regular blog site, "So This Is Mass Communication?" has received so many hits she's over her bandwidth limit. Instead, you can find her at "Kaye's Hurricane Katrina Blog."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Remembering Tom Csiszar

Sad news today in the South Bend Tribune that WSBT photographer Tom Csiszar was killed in a traffic accident. I have fond memories of Tom, when I worked at WSBT in 1985-1987. Very loveable guy. He wasn't afraid to speak his mind. We crossed swords a few times, but always made up quickly. He always seemed to have a smile on his face.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

CBC strike

It wasn't that long ago that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had one of the finest -- if not the finest -- newsgathering operations in North America. Sadly, since 1990, the Canadian government has steadily chipped away at the public broadcaster's funding, diminishing it's newsgathering abilities.

Yes, there was some waste. I was a lineup editor in 1990 and had more production assistants than I needed. I thought there were far too many unions in the shop. Yet, the current lockout may be the death of Canada's public broadcaster.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Rebecca's new show

Rebecca is taping a new television show this week. It's called "Home Grown" and it will air on KBYU-TV and BYU-TV this spring. I shot a few photos of her on set on the Southern edge of the BYU campus. She's still getting up at 3:30 a.m. to host her radio program, "Wakin Up with Rebecca and Kurt." You can listen online to her program between 6 and 9 a.m., Mountain Time.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Season tickets

Our season tickets arrived for this edition of BYU Football. The last few seasons apparently convinced some people to give up their season tickets, so we'll be in better seats in LaVell Edwards Stadium this year. Go Cougars!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

AEJMC Poster Session

Just returned from the conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in hot, sticky San Antonio, Texas. Thanks to BYU's Center for Instructional Design, I had a nice poster to show in the GIFT session.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Remembering Peter Jennings

It shouldn't have been a surprise, given his announcement just a few months ago, but I am stunned by Peter Jennings' death. I was to interview Peter for my upcoming book, a biography of Elmer W. Lower. The former president of ABC News, Lower hired Jennnings at ABC in 1964 -- even made him anchor of the ABC Evening News for a few years. Given his hectic schedule, Jennings deferred an interview until I had a publisher. After signing a contract with the University of Missouri Press, the first chance I figured I'd get was during the summer of 2005. My requests in January went unanswered, and by March it became clear why.

I had spoken with or met Jennings on four previous ocassions. I first met him in 1985, when I proudly told him that I was also a Canadian. As he shook my hand, he tilted his head and asked, "Oh really? Where?" When I told him Saskatchewan, the Ontario native shot back, "That's not part of Canada!"

In 1988 he graciously granted an interview for my Master's thesis, on U.S. network television of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. That same year, I met him while I was covering the Republican National Convention in New Orleans. He introduced me to his then-wife, Kati Marton, and to legendary anchorman David Brinkley. Then, in 1994, I watched a "World News Tonight" broadcast just a few feet away from the anchor desk. After the broadcast, I noted that Jennings had that rare talent to make one feel as though he is giving an individual his full attention, giving the impression that he would rather not talk to anyone else, and then gracefully extricate himself -- all within a matter of two minutes. I still use his scripts from that broadcast at the beginning of each semester in my television news producing class.

He will be missed.

Friday, August 05, 2005

KSL starts new newscast in September

KSL-TV will add a 4 p.m. newscast on September 12. Samantha Hayes and Jed Boal will anchor the newscast. Today Samanatha visited BYU where she spoke to Tom Griffiths' broadcast reporting class and my television news producing class. A 2000 graduate of the University of Georgia, Samantha came to Salt Lake in '02 with an "out" in her contract for Atlanta. She apparently likes KSL and Salt Lake, though, as she just re-upped with the station for another 3 years.
The opinions stated here are my own and in no way reflect those of Brigham Young University, its students, faculty, or sponsoring institution.