Monthly Archives: August 2011

Until Next Time…

At this time in 1971, I was getting ready to start my freshman year as a journalism major at Saint Bonaventure University. Forty years later, I find myself returning to Saint Bonaventure, about to begin a new chapter in my career as a member of the school’s journalism and mass communication faculty.

It makes for a nice story with a lot of symmetry. Not only is Saint Bonaventure my alma mater; it is the place where I met my wife, made some of my closest and lifelong friends, and acquired skills and values that helped to shape me professionally and personally.

But I am not returning to Saint Bonaventure for nostalgia. I’m heading back Richard Lee Office Sign to the university near Olean, N.Y., because I am passionate about journalism and the critical role it plays in our society.

Journalism in America is at a critical juncture today. The internet has Continue reading

Every Picture Tells A Story – And More

Forty years ago, Rod Stewart had a number one single and album named Every Picture Tells A Story. Last year at this time in New Jersey, we had a story that painted a picture – several of them in fact.

The story involved the state’s ill-fated application for federal Race to the Top education funds.  New Jersey lost out on $400 million, essentially because the state made a clerical error on its application.

As for the pictures that story painted, they tell a lot about Governor Christie, the media and more.

For example, Christie demonstrated Continue reading

Public Figures Have Yet to Learn an Important Lesson about their Personal Lives

Seven years ago today, New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey made international news when he announced that he was gay, had engaged in an extramarital affair and was resigning as the state’s chief executive.

Since then, it seems that America’s politicians have been playing a game of Can You Top This?

An Unlikely Trio Sets Rules for the Press

What do Chris Christie, Beyonce and Alex Rodriguez have in common?

Aside from being public figures, all three are telling journalists what they can and cannot do.

Christie’s press staff makes it a practice to pick and choose the public events at which the Governor will be available to take questions from reporters.

Beyonce took a similar attitude with the media when she came to New Jersey last week to shoot a music video at a South Brunswick trailer park. According to a news report, journalists who showed up to cover the shoot were asked to leave.

As for A-Rod, the Yankee third baseman spoke with the press about rehabbing knee, but declined to answer questions about allegations he had taken part in illegal poker games. In fact, reporters were warned that Rodriquez would end the press conference if a non-baseball question was asked.

This pattern is troubling. Public figures should not be able to set rules for the media, but journalists today often are between a rock and hard place. If they don’t agree to conditions imposed by those they cover, they risk losing access and getting beat by their competitors.

Friday Still is ‘Take Out the Trash Day’

Some traditions never die.

Even though news reaches us almost immediately today, it seems that the practice of saving unpopular announcements for Fridays — so they will appear in newspapers on Saturday when the news audience is small -– is still in use.

Case in point: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s announcement of a proposed toll increase was made on a Friday, August 5.

If you’re interested in learning more about the timing of such announcements, read my essay on the topic — A Good Day for Bad News?