Gayle King had to work her own job (which definitely meant anchoring the 5:30pm news and probably included planning the nationally syndicated Gayle King Show) and then fill in with Al Terzi at 11pm.
I don’t remember talking details at the time but I suppose she went home, fed her children, and put them to bed. Then, she’d head back to the station for the second time, looking presentable, and trusting the Nightbeat news team to be accurate and make her look good.
It was never hard making Gayle look good.
Just before Denise returned, it was the end of the May ratings period (“sweeps”) and leave it to Gayle — she had a full dinner catered for all her co-workers. (Do you know how many people it takes to run a station and put on a newscast?) I don’t remember plastic nor styrofoam. I can hardly imagine her eating off of those.
She had invitations made (on top, because we had no external email), and singled Al and me out. That was 20 years (and 4 days) ago. I forgot to post it on Sunday. (You know, work.)
But that’s Gayle for you!
I’ve worked with many brilliant, patient people who have taken time to teach me a lot over the years.
This was one unique memory and a lesson on appreciation. For that, I’m grateful — and yes, should remember to be a lot more often. It was a good group of people having good times.
(By the way, in case you haven’t heard, such a deserving person managed to go on to bigger and better.)
Maybe that’s from age, or having done a lot of things in a lot of places. Maybe it’s from having been in the news and teaching fields, where you see and experience a lot.
But going through the weekly ads this week got me.
I’ve never seen “non-Kosher” as being a requirement on a coupon.
Sure, must buy two, only certain sizes, purchase before the expiration date. But non-Kosher?!
Welch’s, do you realize how you’re coming across?
You know the people who tend to buy products that are kosher and avoid those that aren’t. Obviously, they’re Jewish people. So it looks like you’re targeting Jews.
In other words, you don’t want people who keep kosher — meaning Jews — taking advantage of your lower prices.
Do you blatantly assume the stereotype all Jews are rich and can spend more money? Or are you just discriminating? Excluding? That doesn’t sound very American, especially now, when the country is polarized and everyone seems so touchy.
Of course, I don’t think that, but that is how it appears. No business is perfect.
Not the Center City Philadelphia restaurant that offers latkes (Jewish word for potato pancakes eaten during Hanukkah) with BACON as an appetizer.
Or the granddaddy of them all, the Hanukkah HAM at Walmart.
As far as I’m concerned, you’re the company that had to be brought kicking and screaming to offer anything kosher.
Yes, you finally teamed up with Manischewitz a few years ago. (But I didn’t see their name on your bottles.)
I just used the search engine at the top of your website’s homepage to find “kosher” and got only three results, all recipes that require kosher salt!
I don’t need to tell you kosher is big business and growing. You don’t need to tell me kosher items cost more. (I look at friends’ faces when I show them the price of kosher meat.)
Yes, there are rabbis and rules, and special rules for grapes.
But from what I’ve noticed, most major American food companies that sell nationally get most of their products certified kosher, except the ones with obvious ingredients that aren’t (like BACON and HAM).
You’re a pretty big and old company, founded not far from a large Jewish community in Philadelphia and based near a large Jewish community in Boston.
Let me tell you: The prices for your juices at stores are the same, kosher or non-kosher. People just have to check the labels carefully.
The major supermarket I went to today sells your 46-ounce bottles for $3.99, but had them on sale for $2.99. Two of your coupons came this week, so I bought two bottles and saved $2 from the sale.
And I used both coupons. They scanned on the store’s register just like any others. So I saved another $2 and paid just $1.99 each! That’s less than half price.
So maybe you did have a little point with your stereotype. Some of us are good shoppers.
But your company needs this lesson: It can and should know better and do better.
I also thank the 21 Facebook friends from all over the country, with different backgrounds and different political views, who shared the link — which I’m sure Facebook’s algorithm, whatever it may be these days, used to help me come across it. I really don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, outside of work. I may click and see the first few personal posts, and check for birthdays. So please don’t feel bad if I don’t comment or “like” something you put on there.
Besides, I’m grateful for the opportunity to get some deep thoughts out, once and for all, since everything stays on the internet forever. And I’m about to pay for another year of having this site.
(I should add, I spent most of Thursday writing this. Then I slept on it. Now, Friday, I’m adding two brand new items that occurred after the author published her original article.)
Since I figured out how to post again, I won’t say I agree with the article 100 percent, nor would I expect to, but I’ve studied, read, traveled, worked in several newsrooms in different cities with different managers with different companies, and noticed over two decades:
First, what everyone wants answered.
We are definitely aware of and have access to the latest ratings, so we know what you choose to see, when you change the channel, and when you turn your TV off. Online, we know what you click on and what you don’t. Plus, what you comment about and react to. The numbers we get cannot be perfect but they are the best available and the only thing the industry plus advertisers have to go by. They are certainly not the Bible, but we and our bosses certainly look at what works, what doesn’t, and try to please you. Honestly.
At the same time, while we have the responsibility to report the issues, the public has the civic duty to pay attention to what’s going on. If the people choose fluff, nonsense and BS, then it’s their fault and the industry will ultimately provide more. It’ll end up being society’s loss. So please stay away from that. Besides, I don’t feel fulfilled writing it.
Nobody is perfect. Experience as an employee taught me when to ask questions, when to bother people, and when to know when something is going wrong, or could be about to go wrong.
Even if you’re perfect, you can’t please everyone. People will always complain, way too many thrive on it, and often the people who bitch and moan have different opinions for opposite reasons. (One: “You’re too liberal.” The other: “You’re too conservative.” My reaction: We were probably fair.)
Sometimes the people who complain are right and we learn from whatever we did wrong, or could’ve done better, or what to think about the next time the situation arises. (And it will.) Sometimes it’s an accident and sometimes it’s technical. We apologize and correct. And every industry has a few bad apples. Hopefully they don’t last long.
We do the best we can to provide the best content, often under difficult situations. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a big city or small town. Recognize that. Say something nice and encourage, rather than complain. This article just came out TODAY.
Computers are slow or break down. Programs have bugs that providers have to fix. Not every day is everyone’s best. And I can’t even begin to talk for my colleagues who have to travel far out in the field, despite weather conditions, and gather information, get a signal out, be completely accurate while getting both sides across, and perform calmly while making their slot in the newscast.
These days, it’s a shame there are so many cowards who hide behind their keyboards and tell us we are wrong. They should grow up and make themselves known, provide evidence of the error and a suggestion to make it better. Then, they would earn people’s respect and be the real influence they supposedly want to be.
In the newsroom, I frequently take opportunities to walk up to higher-ups, knock on doors, and email others at home when necessary to ask questions or get clarifications. And never has anyone taken sincerity badly in any way. I actually like it when people ask me to explain myself, because there is always a reason for what I do. Everything should be done professionally, not randomly.
At least in America, when you make yourself famous by running for office, or powerful for running a company that does big business, or rich for having a contract with the government, or even by receiving a paycheck from taxpayers, you are putting yourself out there and the public has the right to reasonably scrutinize you for answers. Those people don’t always like it and have tried lots of ways to avoid publicity. Public relations people know that getting ahead of a situation honestly is often the best course. People respect others coming clean, asking for forgiveness and showing improvement over time, because they tend to like underdogs and are usually willing to give second chances.
In this case I just learned about, did the commentator ask a follow-up to an untruth? Or tell her he’d never heard of what she was talking about on his broadcast? Or become adversarial, play devil’s advocate because it never happened? Or was he just happy one of his producers booked her and she showed up, so she got to say whatever she wanted?
That’s a media error by not challenging the person on the media’s air, and that goes for public call-in shows and comments on social media sites, as well. It this case, it’s ironic because it started with a prominent member of a team that has been criticizing the media.
So besides knowing our stuff and being well-rounded, we in the media have to be good, honest people, and above the board on everything. No appearances of any dishonesty, ulterior motives, etc. Always open with the highest standards.
We are often a diverse group in every sense of the word, and I don’t mean the automatic liberal, bean-counting way many would first assume. Consider so many different backgrounds, hometowns, families, experiences, friends, connections, etc. But we all tend to be curious, ask questions and tell stories. And everywhere, I’ve quickly learned who to defer to for background information on a subject. We should all listen more to each others’ stories.
I agree with the part of the article about news happening too fast. With technology these days, and the 24-hour cable world, decisions have to be made faster. That means there’s less time for thinking, planning, asking other opinions, and other important tasks. We’re not just TV or radio or newspaper people. There are also the websites and the social media that goes along with it. Like it or not, it’s social media that gets people to the web. Don’t automatically believe something if you don’t know the source.
Unfortunately, it costs money to run a newsroom and I wish that was out of the equation. News directors would love to have the best coverage and most crews on every story, especially the most important, yet they also have budgets and bosses to answer to. Unlike the past, we’re on most of the time from morning to night, and always on call for emergencies. There is never enough of something, but the results are usually darn good.
We have journalistic ethics and responsibilities. Journalists should be trained and reminded about these regularly, like politicians should reread the Constitution now and again, but that takes time and money. There are also specific procedures, which vary by station. But, as a former boss put it, there should be guidelines rather than rules, since every situation, story, and circumstance is different.
Like the public, journalists should know who to trust, in and out of the newsroom. People and organizations earn their reputations over time and often generations. Of course, things change. Organizations that were once good are sold, or there is other turnover. And newer organizations can bring in the right people. Look at everything and be skeptical.
The FCC loosening regulations over the decades led to most TV stations being owned by out-of-town corporations. There used to be a limit of five stations per company, and only one in a market, and not in the next city, because people living in between can watch you in both places (a grade B overlap). But the government loosed the rules, companies slowly started to own or run stations in 100 places, and local decisions about public airwaves are made and enforced by layers of strangers, who lack of knowledge of certain communities, and require paperwork be sent (electronically), profits rise every quarter despite local conditions, etc. Whose fault is that and what would any business do?
Still, we are responsible for the public airwaves in the areas our stations are licensed to cover. Deregulation and relaxing the rules created a lot more sharing between stations, and blindly relying on others, rather each station doing its own independent work. Not to mention vertical integration and controlling both the means of getting the signal (cable, satellite, internet), plus providing the original content and perhaps denying the competition a fair shot.
Budgets mean sacrificing the best, the experienced, and the most connected. This past year, one of the biggest media companies offered the bulk of theirs golden parachutes and nearly everyone accepted, knowing their contracts will eventually end and likely not be renewed, so they’d work longer and leave with much less. Instead, cheaper, inexperienced replacements are doing their jobs. Hopefully, they have potential and are getting great mentoring.
It would be nice if hard workers could grow old in the industry. I learned early on to respect my elders and their staying power. These are the folks who have been there and done it many times before, learned from long-ago mistakes and earned their respect. Yes, the technology always changes but gathering the facts to put on the news has not. Media corporations seemed to get rich with last year’s election, even if Donald Trump didn’t spend as much money as they would’ve liked during the primaries. NBC stations did especially well with the Olympics. Playing poor in 2017 doesn’t cut it and the public should know and be angry about it.
On the other hand, all other industries play the same game. Shareholders invest to make money, and that’s not helping the product. Times have changed and there are so few sole-proprietors or family-owned businesses. Another bad thing about that is not knowing where the buck stops. Huge corporations have layers upon layers of managers, in-house, regional and at headquarters. We need another Harry Truman.
It’s always good to check out the competition, but just out of curiosity. There are good folks on every team. Some of what another station does may be better and some not. Everyone has good and not-so-good days. We can learn from each other and each other’s mistakes. But every organization has to be true to itself, its values and its audience. It’s another reason why more independence for stations would be a good thing.
The author’s views on breaking news are correct. It seems to take too much time to get to the truth. We want facts and video as soon as possible, before anyone else, and we’re doing it faster than ever before. Almost anyone can send pictures with their smartphones. We can describe what we see. We can discuss the area around it because we should be familiar with all parts of our region. We can call neighbors around the situation to ask what they see and hear from their homes, because we should have contacts around the region we are responsible to cover. However, there are time, coordination, and safety issues to consider before arriving at a breaking news story. Sometimes we are lucky to be in the right place at the right time, and sometimes the competition is. That’s life.
I’m blessed to be working on the web and not going out, meeting new people in person and having to remember their names. I stink at that and also did as a teacher. (“Is that kid one of mine?”) I’ve come to dislike being in the spotlight, and love learning new stuff every day.
I usually like what I do and want to keep doing it indefinitely, but I also regret I can’t do more. I’m pretty fast, but there are only a certain number of hours in a day and too many stories to do correctly, at least where I live. Nobody can be everything to everyone and trying is impossible and detrimental. Right now, I’m doing what I like best and learning other skills that support it, my organization, and also others should the need ever arise. In this business, you never know, and that’s also unfortunate.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I haven’t blogged in months. Actually, it’s getting close to a year. Between moving and working, I haven’t had time to fully explain myself. But spending most of my day off on this is worth it. I thank the author of the article for writing, also my friends who shared it on Facebook for arousing my thoughts, and of course everyone over the years who taught me something. I hope you know who you are because I have recognized you for it.
I’m going to stay in the middle, avoid extremes and remain questioning while keeping an open mind. And I’m going to end by stealing the author’s last line, which I think may be the best and totally sums up this imperfect industry: “The truth is, we don’t even have time to create an agenda if we wanted to… and if we found extra time, we’d eat!”
I got to Philadelphia and it rained. For a week. And it was much colder than normal for late April. And I saw my new apartment for the first time.
Then, the movers couldn’t get into little Quince Street. That was a disaster. Anything that could’ve gone wrong that day did. Read on.
They called when they were close, but their truck was eight feet wide. Vehicles more than seven feet wide won’t fit past poles or trees on the sides of the street. Then they walked over and saw how they’d have to maneuver things inside the basement-level unit from the outside.
The movers said it would cost $1,300 or so to load everything into a smaller truck and get close, but they couldn’t guarantee everything would fit inside.
I didn’t want to go along with that, so they said they’d take everything to the Atlas warehouse in Wayne, which was also bad. The stuff would have to be lifted by forklift at that place’s convenience and I wouldn’t be able to get to any of it. And I was supposed to start work in three days. With no clue when and how I’d pick it all up, or how much it would cost.
Turns out, the driver didn’t know what he was talking about.
It would simply cost $130 for another stop, so they took everything to a U-Haul storage facility in South Philadelphia.
Of course, the big unit I wanted — and had an online reservation for — didn’t exist. I could’ve gotten two smaller units next to each other, but the moving guy’s boss back in Bristol didn’t think it would be necessary to get both. It was. By far. So somebody else took it. And the place was completely booked otherwise. (Still was, a week later.)
So the unit was way too small for my stuff. My friend Scott had been a big help. He spent a week looking for a place for me to live.
Scott suggested renting a U-Haul moving truck since we were already there, but that also filled up quickly. Then we got a second moving truck. (Both were seven feet wide. Luckily, I didn’t have to back up. That wouldn’t have happened.)
Eventually, the movers loaded everything into the storage unit, the two moving trucks and also Scott’s car (which had more room than mine) – and it was still tight.
We did alright watching the movers, monitoring what went into the storage unit, and took most of what I needed. But not all. (See next post.)
Then we drove off. My friend Tony helped with the heavy lifting from the car and trucks into the apartment.
Eventually, everything was inside.
And we drove the trucks back.
Coming up next: the car situation. (And yes, things improve somewhat.)
Yes, you read correctly! I’m headed back after more than 12 years. I didn’t really think it was going to happen, especially considering the roller coaster my life has been over the past several years.
I left Philadelphia for family issues back in 2004. Got a good deal on my house. (But would’ve never expected real estate prices to skyrocket! That’s another story.)
Several good things followed. I got to do the web full time and loved that. I tried and succeeded in a whole new teaching career, and still can’t believe that ever happened! I met several wonderful people I would’ve never met had I not returned to Florida, and worked for one who took a chance on me in a place I’d never heard of.
I was asked not to put this news on social media until well after it became official, but I can tell because it’s only days away. I’m going to be a web producer at WTXF-Fox 29 and work with people I’ve already worked with twice, and some I watched and admired all those years ago. (So please take a moment. Click here to like the Facebook page and click here to follow on Twitter. They’re already doing great! Click here for the news, just out today.)
I leave work in the Tri-Cities on Tuesday, pack and have everything taken on Wednesday, and make the move Thursday. Hopefully everything will be delivered Friday!
Garry and Yeti moved to New York over the weekend.
I’m going to downsize and rent a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia, a block-and-a-half from where I used to live. I’m also going to put stuff in storage.
I really enjoyed working in the Tri-Cities, getting to run the digital operations at the number one station in the market. Changes will be coming to the desktop and mobile websites over the summer but I was the one who helped set up the migration to a new CMS.
I helped train new people out of school who know how to do SO much, took part in daily management meetings and was listened to, and learned the culture of a place that was very foreign to me.
But Philadelphia and the Tri-Cities are different places, and opportunities like this don’t come along often. It’s the only place I would ever consider moving and I have to do what’s best long-term.
So please wish me luck and I’ll let the Realtor know if you know anyone who wants to buy a house in far southwestern Virginia.
On the first day, early last week, Bob the contractor got the counters done. You may also notice he took the air conditioner out of the window, so the room is brighter. Now, check out the sink. We avoided getting a new one because Bob scoured it with steel wool and let it sit overnight.
The new counter covers the edge next to the dishwasher, so nobody can see insulation on the side.
Before the second day, we decided to replace the small microwave with a built-in across the room, above the stove. You see it installed. Also, Bob finished the sink. Now, it has the faucet Garry wanted. There are “fancy” knobs on the cabinets that look more like the doors upstairs. Similar handles had to wait because Bob had to drill new holes on the drawers.
Yesterday, the backsplash came. Bob installed it and covered the electric outlets, including some new ones. You can’t see it here but there’s a fluorescent light right above the windows. It was there but didn’t work, and I never knew it. (Surprise?) Actually, the switch for it was inside the cabinet, left of the windows. I don’t know why anybody would’ve put it there. Now, Garry won’t have to deal with shadows from the light above following him at that counter.
This is the area where the microwave used to be, between the tiny half-bath and the breakfast nook area where we have the refrigerator, washer and dryer. We’re keeping those appliances where they are, for now.
I wish we could’ve done the floor, as I posted last time. There’s some nice inexpensive tile that’ll go great, but too expensive at the moment.
We’re also not replacing the fluorescent lights on the ceiling with LED lights. There’s simply too much work involved.