Tag Archives: Georgia

The Craptastic Digital Life Of The AJC

Standard

ComingSundayAJC

Don’t vote? Then don’t complain about politicians.

No doubt you’ve heard that one before. Exactly why I never miss a voting opportunity, as I sure don’t like missing out on a good political whine.

But the matter of digital at the AJC.com (and other Cox digital products too, but I’ll worry about the others later) has gone beyond whining to just embarrassment at and for our flagship, hometown, news delivery outlet. (I’d call it a paper, but I’m not referencing any print product here. Just the digital stuff.)

I think of gorgeous pictures from the Atlanta Beltline lantern parade last night that could have enticingly filled out a compelling homepage this morning, 9-7-14, shifting to exciting sports-related photos later in the day to enhance the Falcons’ season opener, alongside the numerous political stories from the week in some kind of overview wrap-up. And, yes, even that craptastic Ross Harris (the dad accused of murder-by-hot-car) story somewhere in an appealing homepage-in-my-head Sunday edition presentation… and well, I just wanna cry for what could be AJC.com. And WSB-TV.com too. (They should be one e-product really, but that’s another rant altogether.)

When you don’t give a shit about digital, guess what? It shows! “Coming Sunday” on Sunday, plus all the cliched copy and grade school headlining imaginable? Gawd, today’s AJC digital product is so pitiful I wouldn’t dream of sharing it with my social network; I’d rather bury it out behind the woodshed.

My head is reeling, because the hard-working journalists, the few left around there, the proud, have done plenty of heavy journalistic lifting all through the past week, especially regarding the nasty level of corruption all through Georgia state and local politics. There’s been great work from numerous Cox employees reporting a massive amount of hanky panky straight out of DeKalb County, our bustling courtrooms, the AG’s and the governor’s offices, etc.

Only to piss it away on digi-crap you see a sample of in the above picture/screen grab. And on a Sunday too, the prime news reading and media consuming day for a serious journalism audience. And I’m not even highlighting their hideous homepage, whatever’s there, or not, now. Nor the online AJC’s rampant level of daily copyediting (or lack thereof) boo-boos. I’m scared to go back to their weekend-neglected homepage.

Since I gave-up on the AJC’s digital presentation with my croissant, second cup, and screens this morning, I thought about buying the paper product with which to properly absorb the Georgia political and otherwise news of a busy past week.

Not now. I’ll just put my $2.50 towards a NYT and call it a Sunday.

Advertisements

How To Be An Old Media Bully. A Primer.

Standard

Nigut

UPDATE: Seems GPB has abandoned their attempt at a “two way street” and removed all comments and commenting from Bill Nigut’s blog post referenced in this post and associated hyperlinks. Too bad. Loved the “Whatever Saruman” one! 

Bill Nigut is “thrilled” to be back on the airwaves of radio, via WRAS. That makes one person in Georgia. The rest of us? Not so much. (See the comments, coming fast and furious, at his blog post trumpeting his latest broadcasting theft thrill.)

Mr. Nigut’s on-air and in-real-life persona has always been loud, large, and obnoxious. He’s that person who insists on being heard through the din of a crowded networking event or cocktail party. Sucks the wind right out of any space, and takes it all for himself.

It helps that he’s a tall guy, but Nigut can bray and preen with the best of ’em. I once made the mistake of walking past Bill Nigut and Neal Boortz chatting together at some random Atlanta Press Club event. I was hurled three city blocks away by the gasbaggery posturing alone.

Nigut makes claim to being a champion for pretty much everything and everyone he can think of: the helpless, the homeless, the voiceless, the poor, but especially Richie Rich Chamber-types, in his windy GPB blog post declaring his latest radio show intentions with WRAS, awww shucks, ma’am style:

I am thrilled to be back in radio and hope you’ll join me to meet extraordinary people, hear important ideas and explore the rich arts and cultural work being done in Atlanta and Georgia. It should be fun; it should be illuminating, and if I do it right, it should make us all just a little more aware of what a remarkable place we live in.

Beware a wolf in sheep’s clothes. Nigut is merely an old media bully worming his way into a place, space and time where he is not wanted because he believes his own hype, and is still in love with the sound of his own voice, and has sorely missed hearing it bellowing hither and yon from whatever Atlanta microphone he can grab first before anyone else has a chance to get there. Everyone knows this, because they’re watching it happen. In real time, more or less, given the enduring popularity of the #SaveWRAS hashtag.

GPB stole programming out of the mouths, minds and hearts of numerous Georgia State University students, and took it for a very select, very few one old media talking heads. No one’s believing a wisp of spin put on the matter by anyone at GSU or GPB leadership. They’re operating in an echo chamber, as that deafening sound you don’t hear anywhere in Atlanta is anyone other than Bill Nigut and Teya Ryan themselves coming to their own sorry little defense of what they’ve done to raid WRAS.

The best thing Bill Nigut can possibly do for his rapidly fraying Georgia media legacy, and trust me, he surely thinks he’s still got a shot at one, is to give the programming of WRAS back to the kids of GSU. Now.

Top 5 Ways To Fall Back In Love With The South

Standard

Ah, springtime in Crackerstan! As we recover from the flood of goober politicians and their moronic policies polluting our state legislatures, while ignoring the pending tsunami of awful political media designed to make Gomer Pyle’s chest swell, there really is no better place than the Deep South for springtime frolics. We’re prettier than the rest, so let’s get on with our fun, sun, and glory. Here are my suggestions to help remind the world of our beauty and our elegance. And yes, we do have a little bit left.

1.) The Spoleto USA Festival in Charleston, SC. May 23 – June 8. You’ve stumbled into as much Old Euro elegance, grace and glamour as you’re going to get within our mostly Moon Pie walls with this one. Gorgeous people, gorgeous events, beautiful city, beaches, fabulous weather created just to show-off your best sundresses and sandals, even with its notoriously haughty and dull Charlestonians. And heck, even those people are on their best behavior during Spoleto. Just go.

 

2.) The Carolina Cup. A steeplechase race. Camden, SC. March 29. This one’s just genuine Old South. The ponies and understated 100% cotton finery give it away. And where else can you see adorable little college students hurling their cookies into the grass whilst wearing their Sunday best? (Other than on every southern college campus, of course.) Forget the SC colleges mass-partying on the infield though, and take in the horses and the serious equestrian scene around the paddock area. Southerners do horse stuff almost as well as rich Saudis. (You’ll even spot a few of those there too, but they’ll be wearing their Aiken-inspired southernwear as camouflage, and their womenfolk won’t be all covered up.) If you want a true Garden and Gun culture-feel of the South, you’ll find it at the Carolina Cup. Drink when you see an aspic on a tailgate eaten by a startlingly handsome young buck in a seersucker suit. You will, if you can stay sober for just a minute or so. Some of the gents are so comely they could give even Ralph Lauren’s male model, Nacho, a run for his horse-people money. Besides, it’s no secret now, not since that Appalachian Trail business, that South Carolinians and Argentinians have been mingling for generations. It’s a polo thing. Don’t forget your Croakies, menfolk. Even if rain is predicted this year.

 

3.) Intown neighborhoods – Atlanta. Now until late May. If the traffic and the freeways and the Braves moving to bland, kinda ugly Cobb County have just worn you down, a calming Sunday afternoon drive through Atlanta’s oldest intown neighborhoods such as Ansley Park, Peachtree Battle, Brookwood Hills, even the more gaudy nouveau riche Buckhead enclaves like Blackland Road, will perk your spirits right up with their display of floral riches and lush, leafy tree canopies. Picture pretty lawns galore, and until some piece of shit ’95 Toyota Corolla wrapped together with Bungee cords and fishing line lunges into you, you can close your eyes and think you’re on the prettiest boulevard in France. Tom Wolfe describes it well in A Man In Full. Springtime as tonic.

4.) Lakes, rivers, and water-skiing. Anywhere South. Friends-with-boats are a good thing. Make some. Borrow some if you have to.

5.) The fields and valleys of Western North Carolina. Just go driving up there until you find them. You will. Take someone you’ve been hoping for with you, if you need to fall in love somewhere special. You will.

Local Data Mining: Where No Georgia Press Dare Go

Standard

Investigative tech reporting in Georgia is non-existent. Other than cheerleading, Chamber-type stuff from the Atlanta Business Chronicle. There are startups incubated at Georgia Tech in the for-profit business of scraping data from social media sites, and then selling it back to organizations and business people, particularly folk in law enforcement. What’s commonly called “enterprise data mining.”

I know this because one company tried to sell me their lovely dashboard thingee. To which I replied, in a business-like manner of course at the meeting, “No thanks, I roll my own.”

Georgia law enforcement stores (years of) data scraped and mined from the general (presumed innocent) public, via such technology as license tag scanning. Lord knows what they then do with such data, and where (NSA?) they then feed that data, and the associated metadata, on to.

The head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Vernon Keenan, announced that factoid, rather proudly, to a room full of journalists at the Atlanta Press Club this summer. Not a single follow-up story on that matter, at least any I’m aware of. Not one.

Hasn’t the data-mining dilemma revealed by Glenn Greenwald piqued the slightest bit of interest on local angles to the dilemma just a little bit amongst Georgia press leadership? Seems not.

Come on MSM in Georgia. Do better.

Exploitation of Georgia’s Children In Reality TV Programming

Standard
After telling the officers in Douglas County, GA that she's a gangbanger, Deja'neke continues the jail tour in shackles. Photo courtesy of AETV.

After telling the officers in Douglas County, GA that she’s a gangbanger, Deja’neke continues the jail tour in shackles. Photo courtesy of AETV.

Shame on Douglas County, Georgia. Shame on Disney (A&E’s parent company) for supporting and funding (but mostly exploiting Georgia’s children), for profit, the production and broadcasting of the reality show Beyond Scared Straight on A&E.

The episode airing tonight, Thursday July 25, 2013, on A&E’s Beyond Scared Straight at 9pm features a juvenile reform program in Douglas County, Georgia that was created and implemented using tactics and practices of fear, violence and intimidation.

Of such tactics, Leonard Witt of Kennesaw State University’s Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, has this to say in an editorial:

They (academics studying conflict management) can tell you a few things about how violence begets violence and why piling trauma on kids who have suffered trauma their whole lives is not such a smart approach. Ever hear of programs like restorative justice?

Governor Nathan Deal should weigh-in on this media matter, as he has spoken out recently on matters of criminal (and juvenile) justice reform in Georgia, and he, Deal, fully supports reforming Georgia’s juvenile justice system.

However, this exploitative show features a method of “reform” that is not only dangerous, cruel and unusual, but has been demonstrated to be grossly ineffective; thus significantly undermining the effort, and new legislative mandate too, to legitimately and wisely reform our system of juvenile justice here in Georgia.

Georgia Politics Continue To Inspire Georgia Media To Heights Of Status Quo

Standard
mnunn_headshot

I am concerned about Michelle Nunn’s campaign for U.S. Senate already. And not because of her qualifications as a candidate to represent us here in Georgia. (Those seem just fine. Far better than most, come to think about it.)

But rather, what concerns …me is that, IN LESS THAN 24 HOURS, this candidate for U.S. Senate has already done two Georgia media-related things that annoy me something awful:

1.) Given Karen Handel yet another reason to NOT shut up and go away.

2.) Inspired Georgia’s usual-suspects-posse of mostly white male political writers to even greater heights of their predictable copy/keyboard pounding.

Perhaps my favorite example, thus far, is the AJC’s Jim Galloway attempting some Pat Conroy-like (gooey) prose in his “exclusive” interview with candidate Nunn, whilst sitting at Thumbs Up diner, of all non-interesting settings to announce one’s senatorial aspirations:

… a last name that bespeaks Georgia centrism.

Wake me up when anyone in Georgia political media ever does anything remotely innovative, disruptive, or interesting.

How Committed To Your Constituency Are You?

Standard

Smyrna

I started reading Ron Fennel’s (Smyrna, Georgia, City Councilperson, Ward 7) newsletter to his constituents, and several weeks later…

The exhaustively comprehensive newsletter was nothing if not long, detailed, and ridiculously informative. Seems the Smyrna councilperson loves pounding the keyboard almost as much as another Smyrna resident, Bob Barr.

Heck, within a few graphs I found out who the police chief was from a detailed photo, noted an email address I needed, and saw at least two Facebook friends mentioned in the copy.

Now I’m all for brevity on online communications, but the darn thing was so informative I say… go for it. Inform your constituency! And don’t stop until you’re done.

But how I wish other public servants who represent us would do the same.  And comprehensively and exhaustively so is just fine by me — if you’re elected to serve us the people.

In fact, our elected servants should seek clarity and transparency of communications on their keyboards until they drop from exhaustion, you ask me. That’s what good writers do. Write to the point of exhaustion, right?

You don’t have to thrown in what you had for breakfast three Tuesdays ago, as Councilperson Fennel almost does, but if  you do not yet have a newsletter but you do have a constituency (to serve) I suggest using Fennel’s newsletter as a model… for how to improve and clarify your community outreach and communications. After all, it really is your responsibility and duty. To us.

Your newsletter certainly doesn’t have to be as long and detailed as this one, but don’t forget some photos! Videos are good. Kitchen sink, too. And don’t be intimidated at the thought of starting one. Just a few graphs and an e-mail distribution list (you already have that) will do for a first effort. Set a time expectation too. Will you publish/send a newsletter every month? Every week? If so, let your audience know what exactly you’re going to be doing. Then go do it.

You can add bells and whistles to a newsletter as you gain confidence with your writing and your multimedia inclusions. Up the quality of your photos, eventually. Follow-up on things mentioned in a prior newsletter. Add a helpful link or three.

For example, I’m hoping the next newsletter from Mr. Fennel of Smyrna, Ga. will include a link to that Instagram account mentioned in the July letter regarding some Smyrna Boy Scouts and a sidewalk mapping project. Sounded interesting!

And if you need a newsletter written, edited, and distributed for you, well… you know who to ask.

BTW… if you haven’t been to Smyrna, Georgia lately you should go. Do a drive about. Snoop around over some pretty real estate. Place looks great.