November 2002 Newsletter

Gridiron 2002: Photo Enforced wows Hawaii

Hawaii is still recovering from Gridiron 2002: Photo Enforced.

The Oct. 25-26 show was a sellout, generating total revenues of about $45,000, up about $10,000 from last year. Proceeds go to fund summer internships for college journalism students.

The cast, led by co-producers Keoki Kerr and Garett Kamemoto, even got compliments from Gov. Ben Cayetano, who was a major target in the second half of the show.

Corky Trinidad, Star-Bulletin cartoonist who designed the program cover, said: “Once again we had a thoroughly delightful time. Hard to top last year, but Keoki and group succeeded.”

Cathy S. Cruz of Hawaii Business and Louise Kim McCoy of KGMB sing about Kamehameha Schools admissions

Floyd Takeuchi, Pacific-Basin Communications president, said: “As a former chapter officer, and as one of the group of journalists who 20 years ago help-ed to revive our chapter, I can't tell you how proud I was of the event, all participants and the impact the chapter is having among professionals and the public.”

Chuck Parker, former television news director and deputy city editor at the Star-Bulletin, said: “Gridiron was excellent. Thoroughly entertaining. I am glad we went. Two other couples we know, who have nothing to do with the media, also went and raved about it. Congratulations! You guys should all be very proud. Looks like it was a successful fund-raiser.”

Jodi Leong contributed $250 for John Rampage's choreography help. Eileen Mortensen donated an additional $150 to the internship/scholarship fund, and Betty F. Hirozawa gave $500 to the fund in memory of her late husband, Shurei Hirozawa, a former chapter officer and retired Star-Bulletin labor and business editor.

While there are a large number of people to thank for putting on the show, a good deal of thanks should go to the cast members for their dedication and talent:

The SPJ National Convention

By Emily Viglielmo

SPJ-Hawaii Board Member

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the Society of Professional Journalists' national convention held in Fort Worth, Texas Sept. 12-15.

The delegates passed seven resolutions. Most were simply thanking the host chapter of the national convention and that sort of thing, but two are noteworthy:

One of the interesting events of the convention was the Women in Journalism stamp dedication. Renowned female journalists Nellie Bly, Ida M. Tarbell, Marguerite Higgins and Ethel L. Payne were pictured on four new stamps. It made me want to read more about their work. Fabled White House correspondent Helen Thomas, 82, was the keynote speaker.

It was also fun to attend the roast of CBS journalist Bob Scheiffer, host of “Face the Nation.” Scheiffer is from Fort Worth and wrote for the Fort Worth Telegram.

NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw took a few swipes at his pal Scheiffer during a videotaped presentation.

I also attended several workshops.

“Journalism Can Be Hazardous to Your Health”

Reporters often to have to cover difficult and even tragic situations, yet we must maintain a professional demeanor and not show how we are affected by these events. This can take a toll on our health - mental and physical.

Psychologist David Welsh spoke about this as the “don't let 'em see you sweat” syndrome. “That's really the trap - to deny your humanity.”

He spoke about the need to be “responsibly selfish” and recognize when we're stressed out, so we can remain healthy and continue to work.

The other speaker was Jaye Douglas Crowder, assistant professor of psychiatry at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He identified various personality disorders and how to deal with people who have them. For example, a person with a histrionic personality disorder is prone to fits of dramatic self-expression. The best way to handle such a person, according to Crowder, is to show caring without responding to displays of emotion.

Project Watchdog: The First Amendment in Time of War

Since the events of 9-11, America has been in “an undeclared war that could last for years against enemies who are undefined,” according to independent journalist Peter Y. Sussman. “After a while, it's a war against whatever the president thinks is evil.”

When military officials refuse to divulge information, “it's the excuse of national security that we are challenged with,” he said.

Maj. Robert Bateman stressed the importance of keeping troop movements secret. Referring to the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II, he asked the journalists. “Don't you think surprise helps?”

Several members of the audience challenged Batemen and said the recent U.S. military action in Afghanistan cannot be compared to World War II.
At the Sigma Delta Chi Awards Dinner Saturday night, the speaker was Paul Steiger, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper's offices were damaged in the 9-11 attacks.

Steiger said the paper temporarily relocated its offices to New Jersey. “Some people were worried about the emotional and physical effects of returning to the site.” Some of the New York offices are starting to be occupied again.

He said year following the attacks “was the most challenging year of my 36 years in the business.” Not only did the attacks occur, but Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan.

“Danny Pearl was killed because he was an American, possibly because he was a Jew, and because he was a journalist. Danny's not hype,” Steiger said. “He's the real deal.”

The Journal also was criticized by some news organizations for turning over computer files to the federal government. The files could have been from al-Qaida, and Steiger said, “We believed strongly that they contained information on another potential attack.”

He said he turned over the files because “I didn't want to risk hundreds, possibly thousands of lives, because I didn't want to appear close to the U.S. government.”

“On the Van with Jackals: Covering 'Dubya,' Hillary and Ventura”

Reporters who covered the campaigns of President George W. Bush, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Gov. Jesse Ventura of Minnesota spoke about the trials and tribulations of covering national figures.

Associated Press writer Beth Karpaz covered Clinton. She said she found it helpful to go to the opponent's press conferences. “There's nothing better than to hear what the person running against them has to say.”

Despite tremendous pressure from the Clinton campaign, Karpaz refused to change the lead on one of her stories. “You have to have good relations with the campaign, but you have to let them know that you are in control of the story,” she said. “You can't be their pawn.”

The keynote speaker at Saturday Mark of Excellence Awards luncheon was writing coach Paula LaRocque, consultant for the Dallas Morning News.

“Depending on how dense the jargon is, it can make our job hard,” she said. “If we read it and don't understand it ourselves, then we are not a vehicle for the truth.”

Using fancy words to impress readers is not the job of a reporter, according to LaRocque. “In an effort to elevate our language, we inflate it. In good communication, you leave a lot of those words in the safe.”

The News About the News

Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Washington Post, and Robert Kaiser, former managing editor of the Post, discussed their fascinating book “The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril.”

“The American media is at a crossroads,” Downie said. “We hope they choose the right course. Many news organizations are more interested in the price of their stock than in the quality of their journalism.”

He said the Gannett/USA Today brand of journalism is becoming the norm. “The vast majority of newspapers are owned by these large chains. Most TV stations are also owned by very large conglomerates.”

Kaiser said the thesis of the book was that “despite all that's happened in technology in the past 50 years, newspapers are still the most important medium.”

He said the events of 9-11 showed that true journalism is still alive and well. “It's been a real treat reading the best papers over the past year.”

That should send a message to those who put profits first, Kaiser said. “It proves that people are interested in good journalism and are willing to pay for it. Good journalism and profitable journalism can be the same thing.”

Dates of Interest

Nov. 19: Rick Blangiardi, general manager of KHON, KGMB, talks at luncheon at Plaza Club

Feb. 21-23: Region 11 conference in Tempe, Ariz. Joint presentation with Investigative Reporters and Editors

Blangiardi talks about KHON, KGMB

Rick Blangiardi, general manager of KHON-TV and KGMB-TV, will talk to the Honolulu Community-Media Council and the SPJ chapter in a luncheon speech Nov. 19 at the Pacific Club, 900 Fort Street Mall, 20th floor, Coronet Room.

Blangiardi will speak on issues surrounding Emmis Communications' ownership of two of the top four television stations in Hawaii.

Cost: $16 Deluxe salad bar includes soup du jour and dessert bar. $24 Buffet includes salad bar, soup du jour and dessert bar

Send checks made out to the Honolulu Community-Media Council at 6729 Hahaione Place, Honolulu, HI 96825. The speech is sponsored by the HC-MC and the Hawaii chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Where the line should be drawn in campaigning?

Honolulu Advertiser columnist Dave Shapiro says negative campaigning isn't necessarily bad.

But he told those gathered at a forum on "Campaigns: Where to Draw the Line" the negative information should be accurate and fairly presented - and relevant to the campaign.

For example, he said, it is OK for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mazie Hirono to question Republican opponent Linda Lingle's record as mayor of Maui on which Lingle has been running. On the other side, it is proper for Lingle to question what Hirono has done in her political career.

As long as the questioning is done in a fair, accurate and relevant manner, Shapiro said.

"Do we really want a totally 'Don't talk stink' campaign?" he said, noting that voters would have nothing to gain from nothing but "platitudes" without challenges from candidates.

Shapiro was on a panel of experts at the forum Oct. 30 sponsored by the Hawaii Pro-Democracy Initiative, University of Hawaii School of Journalism and the Hawaii professional and student chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. It was held at the Richards Street YWCA.

Shapiro said it is up to voters to do some work and find out about candidates. "The only way it (dirty campaigning) will change is if voters inform themselves and vote for people who do what they like or against people who do what they don't like."

Hawaii SPJ