Friday, May 20, 2011

Somebody Flunked Travel Marketing

Forgive Me If I Don't Drop What I'm Doing to Make a Reservation

The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York is spearheading an important fellowship for law students that will enable them to study professional identity and ethics by looking at the role lawyers and judges played in the Holocaust.

It's nothing if not a laudable project. But as Eric Muller on The Faculty Lounge blog noted, one of the hotels he (as a professor) and other participants will stay in for a couple of days is in Oswiecem, Poland, near the site of Auschwitz. Maybe a little too near, as the conference's hotel (above) is a little too pleased about its location.

How do you say irony in Polish?

All Crumpled Up: The Katie Couric Metaphor

Then CBS Will Make Sure the Door Hits Her on the Way Out

Katie Couric anchored her final "CBS Evening News" last night. And judging by the looks of this banner of her perky mug, which used to adorn the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th St., she won't be missed (thanks to my bud Kathleen Biggins for the snap).

Hell hath no fury than a network scorned.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Story Stinks, But That's A Good Thing

Wall Street Journal A-Hed On Sewer Tourism Reeks of Cleverness

Rupert Murdoch was professed not to be a big fan of the A-hed, those indelible features on page one that are part of what makes the Wall Street Journal a must-read.
While the long feature that used to run down the left column disappeared, the main A-hed, whose prominence has been somewhat diminished below the fold, has soldiered on. We're all the better for it, as it allows editors and writers to showcase their finest wares.
A prime example comes today from this item about the growing interest in sewer tourism in Europe. Seems that if it smells, it still sells.
The headlines are brilliant:

It's Flush Times for the Darkest Stop on the Grand Tour—Europe's Sewers

If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Vienna or Paris; Love Among the Effluent in Brighton
Great stuff. But it'd be a shame not to read the story by Daniel Michaels, which is, um, flush with clever writing about a stinky subject. Think it's easy to be effusive about effluent? Try it sometime. Or, at least thank Michaels so you don't have to.

Charlie Rose--Globetrotter

A Man with a Plan, er, Plane
So there was Charlie Rose last night, interviewing Dan Abrams and Adam Gopnik about Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
After they gave their analysis about the the legal particulars surrounding the IMF big, Rose said he was going to play an interview about the case that he did with several journalists in Paris---"earlier today."
That's right, he conducted the interview at noon Paris time, then hot-footed it over to Charles de Gaulle Airport (who knows, maybe on the same flight Strauss-Kahn had taken on his ill-fated truo to New York) then trundled over to his studio at Bloomberg HQ to chat with Abrams and Gopnik, showing no signs of wear.
The interviews haven't been posted as of this writing. Maybe the webmaster has Rose's jet lag.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Spinning Katie

Why, or at least the CBS Explanation of Why, Couric Wasn't in the Chair for Osama Sunday Night

When news breaks in a big way, it's always a parlor game for media dweebs to see who's on the air where and when.
And so it was on Sunday night, when Osama lost out to Obama in a big way. Brian Williams was the only Big Three anchor in the chair when the networks started interrupting our regularly scheduled programming around 10:45.
Given that it used to be my former home away from home, I wondered where Katie Couric might have been, as I watched the eminently capable Russ Mitchell (the regular Sunday night anchor), QB the coverage before and after the president with his usual aplomb.
Nonetheless, that still begged the question of where was Couric. Never mind that she's on her way out. She was still in. But not on Sunday night. Broadcast & Cable put the Katie question to CBS News prexy David Rhodes. His response.

Russ [Mitchell] is the weekend anchor and was on the shortest string, so he had been in, he was suited up, so to speak. Events unfolded very fast. What the real strength last night for us was the Washington and national security coverage. We had Lara Logan, Bob Orr, Juan Zerate all part of the coverage because they were the ones pursuing this. It was basically a very tight timetable and we were able to get on the field with a very, very good team.

Yes, but....

Was she still traveling back from London at that point, or she just wasn't able to get in in time?

It doesn't really matter if she was able to get in or not able to get in. The thing that we were most concerned with as an organization was having the reporting that we had in there last night. If you look back from 10:45 up until the president did speak later in the 11 p.m. hour, we had more people on the story and more information about what was happening out there than anybody else.

Actually, it does matter. And Rhodes knows that. There's no way he would've spoken like that if Couric wasn't a lame duck. Answering the way he did gives the impression that she was indeed in New York, but they couldn't track her down or she didn't pick up the phone. That's not to say either of those scenarios is incorrect, but his response can turn perception into reality. Always better to say something than nothing.

Bin Laden Went Out a Coward, U.S. Says

Can't Wait to Read a Story That Says That, Right? Well, You'll Have To

Amid all the reporting, much of it excellent, on Osama The Day After, there really should be no hyperbole needed for a story of epic proportions. The Sacramento Bee feels otherwise.
On its home page, there was the above headline. But when you click through to the story from McClatchy's Jonathan Landay, it's the inside story on the raid.
Nothing about cowardice. In fact, since the story--in a somewhat different account than others--says "one of the raiders thought he recognized the leader of al-Qaida, and dropped him with a shot to his left eye," there was likely little time for Osama to do his Bert Lahr routine.
Something for the copy desk to consider going forward.