Dine-Out For ATL Tornado Relief


Tonight’s a great night to get out of the kitchen and into a resaturant. Numerous ATL restaurants, most in the areas that were hit the hardest by the recent downtown tornado, are hosting Dine-Out For Tornado Relief tonight. 15% of your tab will go to the Cabbagetown Initiative Disaster Relief Fund. All the details and participating restaurants are here.

ATL bloggers will be eating BBQ for torrnado relief, FYI.

Hillbilly Music Fest For Tornado Relief


From James Kelly of Slim Chance and The Convicts:

On Friday April 4, Dave Weil (from the Blacktop Rockets) and Slim Chance (from the Convicts) are co-hosting a 75th Birthday Tribute to Willie Nelson at the world famous Star Bar in Atlanta, and we would be honored if you would attend this big event. The show has been deemed a benefit for the Cabbagetown Tornado Relief Fund which is handled through the Cabbagetown Initiative, (address below). Many of Atlanta’s local musicians live in Cabbagetown, and some were hit pretty hard by the storm. This show is both a celebration of the great songs of Country music icon Willie Nelson, and to help out the victims of the recent tornado.
Participating in this celebration will be members of the legendary Redneck Underground, featuring Slim Chance & the Convicts, the Blacktop Rockets, Jon Byrd, Caroline Engel, National Grain, the Downer Brothers, and many other surprise guests.
Here is a link to an AJC story:
Willie Nelson tribute to aid Cabbagetown relief efforts | AccessAtlanta
Admission: $8.
Start Time: 10PM.
Location: Star Bar, 437 Moreland Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30307. 404-681-9018.
www. starbar.net

Best Downtown Atlanta Post-Tornado Scene Photo Stream Yet


A very compelling photo stream of downtown Atlanta scenes from Tom Roche is here. Even though he lives in the ‘burbs, Tom grabbed his cam, laced up his work boots, jumped on MARTA and hit the streets as soon as daylight became available on Saturday the 15th, walking numerous downtown neighborhoods for over 4 hours, shooting amazing pictures all the while.

It was Tom who called-in (to me) reports of just how badly damaged Vine City was. I then alerted Shelby Highsmith, via Twitter, and someone at CBS46 by text messaging, making those news outlets the first to have video coverage of the Vine City area. Shelby here, and CBS46 here.

Thanks Tom. You are a civic treasure! And an all-around great guy too, of course.

Tornado Damage in Atlanta’s Vine City Neighborhood


From Shelbinator:

Tornado Rips Downtown Atlanta


No One Tweeted. No One Facebooked.


“Once we heard the gunshots and got up, we were watching out the window, and I actually started Tweeting it, what was going on,” said Jeremy Powell, who is the morning show producer on Dave FM.

Everything plays out now, moreorless, in real time. (Witness the dude in Pakistan inadvertently Tweeting bin Laden’s demise.) Via Twitter, uStream.tv, Facebook and YouTube. Everything except for crippling disasters in the rural American south.

NPR’s Morning Edition today focused on a small town in AL ravaged and wrecked by the storms of Wednesday, April 27, 2011. The worst series of tornadoes ever recorded in the United States.

We were able to watch this tornadic mayhem play out in real time from the Tweets, and the seemingly endless stream of citizen media, coming out of the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, AL areas; Tuscaloosa being the home of (fully wired) University of Alabama, so it’s little wonder so much media came from there.

There was so much out there to follow I gave up trying to curate it in real time, such as with a paper.ly product, as I like to try to do with real time disasters in the nearby (GA) area.

I just slapped a #tornado hashtag-generated column onto my TweetDeck and let that serve as my eyes and ears until I collapsed from pan media-watching exhaustion later that evening.

But there was no real time media coming from the more rural areas of AL, places also in the paths of some 300-plus  tornadoes that day/night. Morning Edition finally caught-up with what’s on the ground now, for a national audience, almost a week afterwards, in Hackleburg, AL.

That story is here. No mention whatsoever of any Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. Internet = zero in rural AL? Or just another case of MSM herd mentality? Could be some of both.

One has to assume that rural AL is not wired for real time crisis communication use the way we’re becoming accustomed to now, though. And that needs to change.

2008 – The Year In CJ Videos


Wow. What a year it’s been! 2008 was one for the ages. And one whereby I got out the camera and the Windows Movie Maker and became a hardworking citizen v-journalist… or whatever you care to call it. Here are some of my video highlights for 2008. In no particular order:

1.) Coming in with the most views, over 32K on YouTube alone, is Tornado Rips Downtown Atlanta. My queendom for a bat-light with that one. But people still clicked-on. I have since picked-up a light at an Abracadabra Video yard sale for about $20.

2.) The video quality came out poor in this one. The  usual compression  issues I struggle with. But I have since decided that Vimeo’s quality is so much better that I will use that sharing site from here on out, rather than YouTube. Still, Obama SC Volunteers remains a fave for 2008 as  even though Obama didn’t win SC, it captured the essence of the Obama win overall. Eyes on the prize. Eyes on the prize.

3.) By far THE best, most informative conference I’ve been to in the new media realm was the heavy hitter-ridden 1st Computation & Journalism Symposium at Georgia Tech. An interview from that with Michael Skoler, Executive Director, Center For Innovation In Journalism, American Public Media is here.

4.) Although it didn’t come to be for Georgia, Obama’s Phantom Swing State turned out well and made a nice HuffPost’s Off The Bus offering.

5.) The feel-good All Saints’ Episcopal Church Habitat build video was fun to shoot, and is now featured nicely on the All Saints’ website.

6.) Brrrrrr… this one done for Insider Advantage (a client) makes me cold because it was so freakin’ cold that King Day outside of Ebenezer Baptist Church on Auburn Avenue during a Presidential election year. It makes me laugh though. Poor FP Bill. His meds were way off that day. Heck, Bill’s meds were needing adjustment all year long!

7.) I think my personal, all-time favorite moment captured on tape in 2008 was the infectious laugh of an unsuspecting Bernita Smith. Bernita battled not only Republicans all year long, but a wicked-ugly diagnosis of breast cancer too. Bernita is the face, the laugh, of one tough fuck-you-to-cancer Georgia peach.

Thanks for clicking-on throughout 2008. May our 2009 be half as interesting and exciting as 2008!

Cox Plantation’s Death Star 2 Annihilates Competition. As Usual.


Channel 2 Action News wins March sweeps. Story here now. No need to wait ’til 11. Tornados helped. But bloggers were there first.

The Dirt On Atlanta Local News


Welcome to the blogosphere, Live Apartment Fire! Former Channel 5 reporter Doug Richards has a delightful new blog about Atlanta media, mostly the local TV “news” scene he’s intimately familiar with.

Live Apartment Fire is terrific, as not only does it take the piss out of the often very funny abomination that is (most) local TV news coverage, it offers a delightful place to place your comments about your fave Atlanta Johnny On The Spotters too. And trust me, the industry folk are going to be reading LAF as much as the dot gov’ers hit Peach Pundit on a daily basis. Where else can they get daily, real-time, uh, insight into their very own MO?

In between is some much-needed analysis of the entire industry. This blog fills an enormous void created by the lack of commentary and feedback on the Atlanta TV news broadcast industry… an industry that discovered, for example, I-related interactivity and the power of YouTube only last weekend.

Go Doug Go!

Remembering Bonnie Turner. She Did Not Escape The EF-3.


From the AJC today:

Bonnie Turner, 63, a retired veterinary assistant, died when the EF-3 tornado, stronger than the EF-2 that ran through downtown Atlanta, plowed through their living room and threw the couple 50 yards. Mike Turner, 65, a Lockheed Martin retiree, had surgery Monday in Chattanooga for a shattered pelvis.

The Turners were talking to relatives on the phone shortly before the tornado hit, saying they were about to take shelter in a stairwell, nephew Tim Jackson said as he surveyed the damage. They had no basement or cellar to take cover in, Jackson said.

“Mike has no memory other than they were fixing to take shelter in the stairway and the next thing he remembers is being out in the pasture,” Jackson said. What is left of the chain-link fence from the kennel lies twisted and stretched out into a nearby pond. Fish were sucked from the water and thrown into the pasture, Jackson said.

Full story here. For all the extensive damage we have, we got lucky in downtown. Very lucky. A Facebook Group for Bonnie Turner is here.

The Virtual Newsroom


The tornado that ripped through Atlanta has been a perfect social media storm for citizen journalism. Citizens on the scenes are using text messaging, cell cams by the droves, live Internet broadcasting, Twitter and more Twitter, blogs, and video to communicate amongst themselves, give updates, alert friends and family, and of course… alert MSM as to what’s going on on the ground in the hardest hit neighborhoods. 

YouTube video spurns conversational gathering point. Despite a ruined newsroom, CNN’s iReport has more news than it can handle. Twitter alerts coming in every few seconds. Shelby should be going live from somewhere soon.

Keep it going folks. Please comment here if there’s anything from shelters or aid stations. Nothing from such places yet.

“Read This Crappy Magazine Or Four Reporters Die!”


ROFL, as the above title was the kick-off comment after a short article in the New York Observer about how key print editors have been reduced to begging for their audience (online version of NYO of course, as we all know how hard it is to interact with a dead tree) :

“Look, I need you,” said (Newsweek editor) Mr. Meacham. “And I need—I’ve got people out there risking their lives right now. The Economist is not, by the way …” He changed tack again. “I’ve got four people in Baghdad who could be killed at any moment who are trying to tell the truth the best they can of that story. We have people in 13 different countries. We have a guy in Afghanistan who has Taliban sources who the federal government has asked about because we have better intelligence than government does—he’s risking his life.”

Granted, I’d not want to face the graduate department of the Columbia J-School, where this inglorious exchange took place as I cannot imagine a more pompous, elitist-grown crowd on the planet. Full story here, but the Comments section is the best part.

Interestingly enough, Newsweek isn’t really so awful as the young guns at Columbia J-School make it out to be. (And doesn’t their attitude kinda remind you of a similar attitude, say one belonging to a special-needs local scribbler at a fading “alt” paper around Atlanta who firmly believes he’s God’s gift to journalism too? As if such little yappy wankers could stand a moment of hard news coverage in a place like… Iraq. Hell, Special Needs Scribbler from the ATL couldn’t cover a tornado aftermath scene in Rome, GA without whining to his creepy boss about how hard it was, but I diverge…)

After all, Newsweek was hot on the trail of the McCain lobby-ette eruption story too; the NYTimes just beat ’em to the punch. As one commenteer said about Newsweek, “try re-branding.” Works like a charm, eh? Let’s “re-brand” Iraq while we’re at it. Maybe send over Caren West to re-decorate stuff.  It’s a Re Re Re kinda world.

Atlanta Mediarati



Many modes of Atlanta media collided in the midst of a tornado-warning storm with aplomb, and some help from Hair Color For Men, yesterday at the lovely Buckhead home of film critic, Eleanor Ringel Cater.

At a cocktail party given by Ringel, her husband Arthur Cater, Lisa & Bill Tush, and Tom Houck to celebrate the release of their mutual friend Richard Zoglin’s new book, Comedy At The Edge: How Stand-Up in The 1970’s Changed America, politics edged into the drawing room, quite literally, when Rep. John Lewis, the subject of national media buzz on every political hack show just hours before, dropped-in and said a few funny, mostly non-political bon motes for a crowded foyer, unless you call announcing the pending marriage of Tom Houck something political. (Who exactly Houck is to be marrying remained something of a mystery as no one could seem to find more than the usual supply of former Houck fiances on-hand at the Ringel-Cater home.)

Even alt-media trekked up Peachtree in driving rain to make this seriously uptown party. Stomp and Stammer writers Glen Sarvady and Tom Roche were standing by lest things got too crashingly MSM. Sarvady’s writer wife, the wicked-funny Andrea Sarvady, found lately traipsing through the AJC, was delightfully along for the soiree as well.

Best thing spotted all night? No, not David T. Lindsay (who was of course not there), but the custom-built shelving created just for Ms. Ringel Cator’s real-deal movie schwag. You might have a house at St. Simon’s. You might have an iPhone and a trust fund. You might have a beautiful third spouse and a home theater, but I doubt you have the authentic schwag to go along with your rental DVDs. And oh yes dear, the logo-edorned Bridget Jones’s Diary granny panties were hard not to slip into my latest Target purse.

Fortunately, this Mostly Media maven came safely home through all the challenging elements, via her own carriage, to a deeply satisfying Colin Firth-as-the-ultimate-Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) on Masterpiece, the show formerly known as Masterpiece Theater. Change the title all you want, but never mess with my smoldering, plucky Brits.

But here’s a little Cowboys and Colored People if you woke-up feeling a bit raunchy and kinda 70’s America.