Monthly Archives: January 2011

Recalling the Challenger Disaster

Twenty-five years ago today, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, and all seven of its crew members perished.

It was one of the moments, like the JFK assassination and the 9/11 attacks, which we always remember where we were and what we did in the aftermath of learning the news.

At the time, I was a State House reporter for The News Tribune, and what I remember vividly was the Associated Press taping photos on the walls outside its bureau office Continue reading

Is Obama Returning to His Old Playbook?

During his successful campaign for President in 2008, Barack Obama used the internet with great innovation and creativity. He may have lost some of that momentum during his first two years in office, but his administration is bringing back his old playbook – and adding some new twists – for tonight’s State of the Union address. Here’s what is taking place: Continue reading

An Anniversary with Relevance for Today

Fifty years ago today, for the first time in American history, a presidential press conference was televised live. This marked the first time that the American public could hear exactly – and in full – a President’s responses to questions from the White House press corps. Previously, citizens had to rely on news reports, which by their nature, only contained portions of a President’s remarks.

First Live Televised Presidential Press Conference

First Live Televised Presidential Press Conference

We are experiencing a similar development today. Thanks to the Internet, Presidents and other elected officials now have the ability to send news and information directly to the public via websites, social networks, and email. This gives them the opportunity to bypass the scrutiny of journalists.

Christie Was Right to Pass on SOTU Response

Governor Christie made a smart move by declining overtures from Republican leaders that he deliver the GOP’s official response to the president’s State of the Union address tonight.

On the surface, the decision appears out-of-character for Christie, who has built a strong following among Republicans across the nation. Delivering the GOP rebuttal tonight would have given him national exposure on every major television network.

But the rebuttal is not as high profile an event as one may think. Continue reading

He Didn’t Really Want to Hurt You

It was nice to read some good news about Boy George for a change. It seems he recently discovered that a religious artifact he bought from a London art dealer in 1985 had actually been stolen from the Church of Cyprus after the 1974 Turkish invasion, so he has returned it to its rightful owner.

Boy George and me at Epic Records circa 1983

Back in 1983, I was one of the first American journalists to interview George. We talked by phone while I was in New Jersey and he was at a recording studio in Great Britain. Later when he and Culture Club came to the U.S., I had a chance to speak with him in person. Continue reading

What Olbermann’s Departure Says About Today’s Media Industry

Keith Olbermann’s sudden departure from MSNBC is illustrative of an overriding tenet that characterizes the media industry.

News organizations are businesses first – businesses that exist to make a profit. Providing news and information is secondary, just a means to bring in revenue.

In the world of big business, journalists are just tiny cogs in giant machines such as Continue reading

NJ and Miss America

For more than 80 years, the Miss America Pageant was synonymous with Atlantic City, but in 2006, the annual event moved to Las Vegas, where it will take place again this year – on Saturday evening at Planet Hollywood.

How ironic that Atlantic City, the East Coast’s answer to Las Vegas, has lost one of its oldest attractions and sources of identity to what once was its only domestic competitor for casino gambling dollars. Even for those of us who love the Garden State, it is another sign that New Jersey is destined to be a second-class state. Continue reading