Recalling The Governor

30 06 2011

Every day there is a new recall coming out of the government. Whether it’s Toyota hybrid cars or toasters that may catch fire easily, consumers can count on there being an issue.  However, have you ever thought about the possiblility of the governor being recalled? Well, in Michigan it’s a fact that The Committee To Recall Rick Snyder is in full swing.  The group, in big numbers and small, attend community events, Governor Snyder’s appearances and just about any visible place they can get exposure trying to get signatures they say they desperately need.  Justin Palomba, a member of the committee, was recently out in front of The Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on MSU’s campus, protesting Governor Snyder and looking for signatures.  “We need to let the Michigan voters try again, because they got it wrong on the first try,” Palomba said.  He also stated that he became involved in the committee’s efforts after realizing that Governor Snyder was attacking unions; something he believs is completely wrong.  When asked what his main issue with Governor Snyder and/or his policies was, Palomba mentioned a number of things from school cuts to the major overhaul of the state’s business tax plan.  “He’s giving them tax break on my back, and in my experience, trickle-down economics have never worked,” Palomba said.

The idea behind the tax plan Palomba referenced is to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax and to only apply a tax to larger corporations.  Governor Snyder has been quoted saying that he believes old tax plan was “dumb” and that this new tax plan is a jobs plan, but Palomba says he’s not convinced. “I don’t think the gas station on the corner is going to hire someone or stay open later just because the governor put money in their pockets,” Palomba said.  However, across the street from the protest, Governor Snyder was speaking to the Small Business Association of Michigan and the President and CEO of the organization said this plan, put into action is going to work.  “I’ve heard four people tell me today that they’re going to hire one, two or three just because of what the legislature is doing,” Rob Fowler said.

When asked about the protest and similar others that have taken place across the state, Governor Snyder simply stated that it is “a part of the Democratic process….we have to make some tough decisions during the course of our administration.”  

I asked Palomba how many numbers the group had currently received and he said that number is difficult to calculate however, he say he collects about 200 per week himself, and there are countless other committee members out doing the same thing. Palomba said that the committee is in need of 8.9 million signatures in order to make the recall a success. However, they cannot just get that exact amount; they’ll have to get somewhere between 1.1-1.2 million signatures in order to account for voters who sign but are not registered in the state of Michigan.

If you’d like to view the story click here:


Best Blogger: Perez

26 06 2011

This week I was supposed to choose the best blogger I could think of, but sadly, I really could not think of one for a very long time. Why? Well, I usually don’t do the whole blog thing.  In fact, this blog is the first time that I’ve actually used this type of medium to tell stories and what that being the case, I haven’t actually followed other bloggers and their writing.  So after long and hard consideration, I have chosen none other than, Perez Hilton.

I chose Perez, and his blog, because it’s witty, funny, and it keeps all of its followers in tune with whats going on in the world of entertainment.  The writing is not so great but if you’re looking for a daily fix of celebrity news, this is quite possibly  your best bet. The best thing, Perez rose to fame by doing his makeshift journalism blogging over the internet. Want some tips on blogging success? Perez gives his advice here:

Layman’s Terms

26 06 2011

Organization or Business Name: The Center For Political Knowledge (CPK)

 Annual Operating Budget: $200,000

Project Title: “Layman’s Terms”

Requested amount from Knight News Challenge: $100,000

Expected amount of time to complete project: 1 Year

 Total cost of project including all sources of funding: $250,000

Describe your project:

Layman’s Term is the answer to the inherently flawed system of journalism used today.  Why?  Well, when it comes to politics, there are just so many things a journalist can include in the story.  There’s the legal aspect, there’s the legislative views from either party, and of course, there are the random man on the street opinions that give the story color, but what happens when all of those aspects actually come together?  The story gets convoluted.  Convoluted: meaning the words and ideas become wrapped around each other and difficult to understand.  While it may be inevitable to produce convoluted content or partially convoluted content, this shouldn’t be the end all of the story because how can journalists rest at night knowing they left the seemingly  less knowledgeable citizens of their city, area, or maybe even the world, clueless about a certain subject?  That is where Layman’s Terms comes into play.  While the term is usually used in a joking matter, if used to break facts and figures down to their  basic form and meaning, could quite possibly solve the many issues in journalism and getting information out to the public.  After all, if you don’t work in government or if you rarely ever pay attention to it, why would you know what a deficit is?  Better yet, almost everyone knows what medical marijuana is but if you add on the word moratorium, things get slightly confusing.  Layman’s Terms would help to fix that issue in two ways.

First, the program would be an online resource for journalists.  So while they’re writing and in the conception processes prior to publishing or exporting, they can log on to the website and click through the list of definitions  to get a better understanding of what their story is about, but it wouldn’t stop there.  As a rookie reporter, I know how daunting it is to have to grasp the idea of a millage in a matter of hours before the broadcast, or better yet, to struggle to find a way to convey that idea in dollar amounts during a standup.  Layman’s Terms would be the answer in that situation.    We’re talking about a millage calculator that would allow a journalists to type in a mortgage rate and say, the proposed millage, to actually get a dollar amount that they can provide to viewers who would be voting on the issue.

Besides providing journalists with a new resource,  Laymen’s Terms would be open to the public as well because it’s fact that even with a great tool like this, some convoluted stories will definitely slip through the cracks and when they do, average Americans can log on to find out what all the political jargon they just read or saw on television really means.

 How will your project improve the way news and information are delivered:

Layman’s Terms will improve the way news and information is delivered by allowing stories to air or get published that are completely told in their truest sense.  Hopefully, with things like an online dictionary, a deficit forecast by state, among other features, reporters would be able to completely eliminate half of the information they add to stories that is not transferable to their audience.  In terms of broadcast, this could be revolutionary since so many reporters make the mistake of just using whatever sounds best or official without even knowing what idea they’re actually committing to. In the end, the world would be better off since it’s citizens would be truly informed on the facts.  While this may lead to some unhappy moments in the history of democracy in the United States, would it not be amazing if every person was able to fully understand the laws, financial crises, and decisions that potentially rule their lives?   I think that would be amazing.

While fact-checking is only one piece of the issue that Layman Term’s would address, watch what Jon Stewart has to say about this issue as it pertains to CNN: cnn-leaves-it-there
How is your idea innovative?:

My idea is innovative because, well, I have to believe that if so many misleading stories surrounding politics actually are out for the public’s use, no one has come up with a solution to fix the problem.  The idea is also parallel with the new systems of journalism.  It would be completely an online tool and it’s interactive allowing users to plug in information and be given something back in return, like in the case of the millage calculator. Layman’s Terms would also be a different idea than ever seen before because it would require the cooperation from local and state governments across the nation.  Only then would the tool truly be able to work. How?  Well, if state and local governments release information that is already public record, it can all be taken and organized on one web site for anyone’s perusal.  That way, the definitions are placed with something tangible instead of just an idea. Also, for budding journalists, one thing that helps is having a repeated practice in a subject.  So, for them, the site would also have government and crime tests where the newbies can answer questions surrounding arraignments, hearings, conviction, and other terms that easily get misplaced in the newsroom.  Layman’s Terms would also be available on the go in a mobile version for journalists who are on the fly and need an answer to an answer to a complicated question quickly.

What experience do you or your organization have to successfully develop this project?

The Center For Political Knowledge includes journalists, both seasoned and inexperienced, who have come together to talk about the issues they’ve faced over the course of their careers and what they wished they’d known back when they started or just a few days ago in the field.  CPK has also enlisted a small group of political, legal, language, and math experts who have been able to provide the Center with a basis for it’s facts and figures that will be used if the project is approved.  At that time, The Center For Political Knowledge would then like to employ more experts who can actively update and maintain information on state financial information or community residential figures, or whatever their “beat” becomes.  The Center is also interested in employing more journalists to be online bloggers who could provide answers to the many questions that will flood the site and provide us at Layman’s Terms with more information on what we’re doing wrong, what we’re doing right, and what content we don’t have enough of so that we can always stay up to date on what the public needs are and hopefully meet them. My own talents and experiences will be of use to The Center For Political Knowledge as well as Layman’s Terms as I have produced broadcast content in television news as well have experience as a reporter and host.  In all three of those jobs, I became skilled at grabbing the attention of viewers. In the case of being a producer, I learned to do that with words and not my face or voice.  I drew people in with questions, made them laugh with jovial story teases, or reported the facts dead on and straightforward.  Having those skills will definitely come in handy when it is time, if selected, for Layman’s Terms to get off the ground as they can be used in marketing situations, advertising campaigns, as well as social media use. In those ways, I would be devoting myself to this program to make it a success and to make sure that the great idea actually becomes a widely known resource for journalists and the public to become more well-informed citizens.  That day will be glorious.

And the winner is….

19 06 2011

For this week’s assignment, I covered the 2011 Miss USA pageant live and I have to say, I really enjoyed the experience. My only regret? Not having more live readers! To get the job done, I used two simple live blog tools; one called, Posterous  and the other, eloquently called, Cover It Live. By logging in to both and linking things like my Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, I was able to have an “interactive” conversation about the dresses, the swimsuits, and of course the ladies that actually made it to the televised competition. Since I was lacking a huge bunch in not having live readers, I used a whole lot of tweets to make up the difference. I quickly learned that there were plenty of people who up, alive, and watching the event waiting to see who would be crowned and they had lots of things to say from knowing the contestants personally to having a harsh opinion on the girls’ and their appearance.  This year, the organizers and producers of the event made it very easy for any blogger like myself to do the job.  The show included looks back at recent years’s winners and the most memorable moments which were a great source of reporting content.  Take for instance the 1983 Miss USA pageant, where African-American beauty, Halle Berry competed.  This was the first flashback to air tonight and it really gave some perspective for how many different shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds have entered the show and won. Take a look at the flashback from 1983 below:

Another highlight was getting to see the former Miss Michigan, and now, former Miss USA, Rima Fakih who said tonight that she enjoyed this entire year mainly becuase she got to improve the opinions many people have on Arab-American women.  I admit, I asked questions tonight like, “is the swimsuit competition necessary?”, and I definitely giggled seeing Lil’ Jon at the judge’s table but in moments like that I can definitely see that the pageant still has some great characteristics and if used in the right way, can do tremendous things in a woman’s life.

Without further ado, the winner is….(drumroll) Miss California! Great smile, great personality and she was wearing my favorite color so she’s always wonderful in my book! Congrats Alyssa Campanella!


19 06 2011

Learning Through #lrnchat

12 06 2011

Before this week, I had never even known that Twitter chats existed.  After opening a listing of hundreds of chats, I realized that people are on Twitter every day doing way more than just updating their location.   It took me awhile to find a chat that I could be apart of and after choosing #lrnchat, I have to say, I know how to pick them.

Organized and easy to access, #lrnchat even has it’s own blog where subscribers and Twitter participants can follow and get the latest information on the chat.  Like the new summer hours, transcripts from old chats or the topic of the month.

I thought cool, now I can start tweeting, but when the time came for#lrnchat to begin, I got extremely nervous.  Why? Well, it was #lrnchat enthusiasts like Mike Weisblatt (you can follow him at @weisblatt) who I mention several times in my Storify version of this experience, who were excited about the chat and what it could bring to their lives.  He was tweeting about the chat well before the chat even began for the day which made me feel like I was completely out of the loop, but boy was I wrong.

As I mentioned, the chat is extremely organized so getting involved in the conversation followed an easy pattern.  Questions for each session are posed within minutes of each other with time in between for participants to respond, retweet, or at others on the #lrnchat timeline.  So with my response to question one, I typed away and made sure to include the hashtag.  Minutes later, I sat there with no bites back and no retweets. So I started to tweet more and then retweet other people in the conversation.

By question four, I had gained two new followers, learned why I may have problems reading for long periods of time all while contemplating whether I really belong in the news industry or not.  That’s a wild ride of learning, but I have to admit that the process was fun.  Before joining in on the chat, I’d never thought of Twitter as a literal conversation.  Instead, I only imagined it in the short form that friends and family use the site in; an extended form of communication when cell phone calls and text messages don’t do the trick.

It’s something I’d definitely look forward to being apart of in the future. It’s sort of the new and more mature side of Twitter. See it doesn’t make us stupid! It’s enlightening!

You can visit the #lrnchat blog for more information on their Twitter chat at

Top 5 News Failures

12 06 2011

When you think of reporting you think of solid, trustworthy sources providing the freshest angle of the day’s best story.  However, in the midst of that, are human beings who are subject to making errors regardless of how  cool, calm and collected they may seem on air.  You always see the bloopers of the big-timers, but here’s a look at the everyday Katie Couric’s and Brian Williams who are just shy of perfect.

5. Ladies, there’s nothing worse than a man yelling at the top of his lungs, right?  Well, I’d say that rule probably applies to news personalities as well.  However, this meteorologist’s fear is enough to make him scream, not once, but several times:  

This on-air failure sits at the number five slot simply for humor.  I mean what you would have done in the situation? Right, you guessed it, screamed.

4. How’s this for a fail?  A Michigan reporter who seemed to find her job to be hilariously funny for no reason:

Originally posted on, I found this story on Youtube.  It is a grim and gruesome story beginning with, “Police have arrested a man who’s suspected of chopping up his wife.”  Surely, as a viewer you wouldn’t expect laughter moments later once the story unfolds but yet again, its a mistake of human error that sometimes you just can’t hold in.  Especially if the people in production want to taunt you and show the picture numerous times.  It’s a failure on her part to keep a straight face, but then again, the mugshot was anything but normal.

3. Speaking of not taking your job seriously, how about messing up the glorious live shot of a newscast? Watch and see why in news, you always have to be ready: 

Well, at least we know he can count, right?

2. Next up, “I’m Ron Burgandy?” Okay, no, I’m not taking quotes from Anchorman, but this news anchor definitely had a mix-up with the prompter or her psyche when she blurted out the wrong word during the newscast. Take a look:

Everyone has done at least once in their lifetime; slipping up and saying something that they did not mean to say.  It must be something in the brain that causes you to blurt out whatever is on your mind, even if it doesn’t relate to the situation at hand.  Regardless, the guy in the story was not by any means gay and in that way, this is a major fail.

1. And topping them all, if you thought saying the word ‘gay’ was inappropriate, wait to you see what one New York anchor said just before her 11 p.m. show:
I have to admit, I laughed over and over again at this blooper, but after working in television, I’m fully aware that this could easily happen.  Microphones are extremely sensitive and if the people in production aren’t watching, anything being said could end up on the air.  This tops the list as what this anchor said was most likely an FCC violation and cause for her to end up in major trouble. A funny blooper, yet not so funny situation.
This is not an exhaustive list of news bloopers.  I’m sure if you looked for just a short while you would be able to find others that tickled your fancy as well.