Tag Archives: media

Local Data Mining: Where No Georgia Press Dare Go


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.

Crisis Management As Reality Show

Photo by Brett Zongker, WIVB.com

District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier

A crisis nowadays brings out the hardcore working women in positions of leadership. Unfortunately, that’s the only time we really see them in wide media, as they are certainly not pop stars, singers, actors, dancers, and two-bit celebs and such.

Two we met yesterday, via mass media, were District of Columbia Police Chief, Cathy Lanier, and Dr. Janis M. Orlowski, chief operating officer at Washington Hospital Center.

Youths, these are the faces of career women in positions of genuine leadership. Not made-up and styled-up for a TV show or a date-night-out, but caught out doing their jobs. And in a crisis at that.

There’s your reality show.

Loose DeKalb Lips Make Waves (Of Oppression) For AJC


Ahoy! Botched metaphor. I know.

Loose lips might sink ships, circa 1942, but they never torpedoed any ships of journalism. To the contrary. Lip flappers, whistleblowers, gossips and media whores power and embolden entire journalism empires, causing ships to rise off of copy tides. Just look at the numbers for the Guardian empire lately. Off the charts!

Over in less high profile seas, say here down South, in today’s 1-minute news cycle there really is no such thing as a genuine “scoop” brought about by wildly exclusive information. Except when there (rarely) is, of course.

But don’t tell that to the powers-that-be at the AJC, as they’re lashing any remaining, hardworking reporter-bees left on their deck to the mast and thrashing them mightily, as punishment for having failed to sight enough scoops in their cruddy little scopes.

Two independent sources have now told me how Atlanta Journal & Constitution reporters, good ones, are being “written up” (or threatened with some type of disciplinary action) for failing to bring home the bacon fast enough. Failing to reel in genuine news “scoops.”

(“Scoops” being 100% exclusive 411 about specific, non-public events – but before the event occurs, allowing for a news organization to be first out of the gate on disseminating word of that particular news situation; to “own the story” in other words, something that’s increasingly hard to do in our hyper-connected world unless Edward Snowden or Julian Assange just happens to waltz by your office and dump raw intel on your desk. And “written up” being a documented threat by one’s superior to take away one’s job, rank, authority, paycheck and/or general livelihood should you, the super’s underling, not perform in some sort of, subjectively, better manner.)

Mark Winne at WSB-TV, for example, often gets genuine scoops about soon-to-be-made arrests by various Georgia law enforcement, and is thus frequently the first and only reporter in place for that classic, high-value video, law enforcement-enhancing moment – ye olde perp walk.

Of course it’s one of those open secrets in Atlanta old media circles that Winne’s brother is an FBI or GBI agent (I forget which agency) who tips his family member, Mark, off to lots of special events soon to happen. If that’s the case, they’ve had a lock on a good-visuals franchise for years now, and will continue at that game for as long as the gig works, I suppose.

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Holy Media, Batman! Someone Just Made A Perfect Political Ad


Drive-By Georgia Political Journalism


Listen, Georgia media kiddies. No one really cares what Charles Bullock (of UGA) thinks about Georgia politics. Name one person who does. Thus, can we stop with the tired, sad media (print, TV, blogs, etc.) formula of:

a.) Go call-up same ‘ole same ‘ole SOT from Bullock or Merle Black (of Emory).

b.) Bang a keyboard for an hour or so.

c.) Call it journalism and a day.

Those two haven’t said much fresh or insightful since 1988. Jeez.

Reason I like Lori Geary of WSB-TV on Georgia politics is she always goes for something slightly different for her Georgia politics perspectives and insights, rather than merely cooking-up the go-to box of mac ‘n cheese news formula in her kitchen. Not that she wouldn’t go for a Merle or Charles SOT here and there, but only if she felt it was absolutely necessary.

Hell, I used to get shuffled out the door and on over to Emory about 2X a day (during political season) to go sweep-up Merle Black SOTs when I was in my 20’s. And that was a while ago.

So, you’ve got less than a year until the 2014 primaries. Can you, our clearly fearful Georgia media leaders and deciders, take a day or three to think-up just one teensy tiny innovative way to cover politics in Georgia?

I think what I’m wishing for is a “summit” focused on nothing but brainstorming new ideas for media-izing Georgia politics. And before 2014 shows up on our doorstep.

Google Glass — Can I Get A Witness?


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Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand gardening. But the first thing that came to mind when I put on Google Glass was my mother’s organic garden.

You won’t catch me outside in broiling 98-degree southern humidity struggling to hack through a dense, painfully stinging row of okra, or pulling nasty, squirming wormy things off dozens of tomato bushes. No siree! But you will catch my mother doing that crazy stuff. For hours on end, day after day, week after week, throughout the south’s high summer months.

That said, if you can get past the oppressive heat and humidity there really is no more verdant and glorious vision of bounty, robust health and natural beauty than a southern organic garden at its summer harvesting peak.

Thus the thought of me strolling, beatifically wired, through rows of an organic garden in full, wearing a pair of Glass with my mother narrating the purvey and provenance of every lush plant and vegetable, set my pan-media-tuned mind into high and sunny gear.

Who wouldn’t want to document and share that kind of rich media in our connected world? To be fresh content-enabled, breezily so, by merely putting on glasses, something I’ve done every day since I was 7-years old anyway.

One of the great things about living near the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech, of course) is participating in some of the innovations and events churned from there. Whether beta testing products in development, networking, attending concerts or lectures, there’s a wealth of experience and knowledge available to the university’s surrounding community, so last night (July 11) I hopped over to nearby startup nurturer, Flashpoint on West Peachtree Street.

There, Randy J. Mitchell, the founder and CEO of Plisten, along with Google and Hypepotamus, hosted a meetup for Google Glass developers and designers. My friend/mentor and sometime colleague, veteran political reporter Tom Baxter, who’s always up for some new media-creation adventures, tagged along too.

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Skewed Georgia Political Journalism On Most All Georgia Media Farms


There is a good bit of chatter (on Facebook) about Nikema Williams’ excellent decision to open-up the process of electing a new Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) chair to more than white male-only candidates.

A little background… seems there was something in the DPG’s by-laws about if a white male (or black woman presumably, or whatever was the most matchy-match) was serving as chair of the party and left that post early, then the person to fill the chair/leadership void would have to share not just a similar but also an identical demographic. Such as also being a white male, as was Mike Berlon, of course, who recently and unceremoniously left the chairpersonship of the DPG.

So Ms. Williams has changed the chairpersonship rules up a bit, in her interim, between-chairs-role and duty. And that’s ok, ‘far as I’m concerned.

But what concerns me as a writer/editorialist, and also as a pan-media and prolific content provider (of more than mere text, in other words), much more than the fate of DPG leadership, is the dearth, lack, and scarcity of women or minority writers at the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on issues and matters pertaining to Georgia-based politics. And other media outlets too, but let’s start with the most influencial.

DPG rules can change all they care to, and that’s fine. But there are some other unwritten “rules” around this town that need to change too, if you ask me. Which of course no one did.

Oh, but they should. Ask me.