Saturday, December 5, 2009

For Harold

This is for our departed friend, Harold McIntyre. This is "Il Silencio" trumpet solo that is a vague variation of "Taps" I had never heard before. In honor of Harold's military service I'm posting this here today. It may not be "Taps" but it is just as beautiful.

For some more information on the connection of "Il Silencio" to the more common military "Taps" I found this reference.

'I believe'

My friend Drew, who I have known since high school in La Crescenta, California, is a priest and sent these to me in an e-mail. I'm sure he got them from someone else, but I think all, or at least most of us can find hope, comfort and understanding in all of them.

I Believe

A Birth Certificate shows that we were born. A Death Certificate shows that we died. Pictures show that we lived! Have a seat . .. . Relax . . . And read this slowly.

I Believe... That just because two people argue, doesn't mean they don't love each other.
And just because they don't argue, doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe... That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe.... That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe... That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I Believe.... That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe... That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe... That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe.... That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe... That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe.... That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe... That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe... That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe... That my best friend and I can do anything, or nothing, and have the best time.

I Believe... That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe... That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe... That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had, and what you've learned from them.....and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe... That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe... That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I Believe... That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe... That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I Believe... Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe... That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I Believe... That even when you think you have no more to give, if a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I Believe... That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe... That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

Here's a little more wisdom.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything.

Thank you God for all the wonderful people who help us throughout the journey of life. May Angels guard you and guide you.

Don't tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Harold McIntyre, RIP

Harold McIntyre, a former colleague at the Flint Journal, died today. Harold, I believe was in the second group of buy out employees (my group) and retired about the same time that I did.

I understand he had been ill in recent weeks, but don't know the details of how he died. (Sometime this afternoon another former FJ colleague sent me two additional photos of Harold, I thank him).

No one who worked with Harold will forget his kind and gentle nature and his always present smile during those years he worked the desk in the lobby of the Flint Journal.

According to his Facebook page (just now when I went to look up his page his picture flashed on my home page asking me to suggest friends for Harold) he was 64. He was married and had a daughter.

A few years ago he posed with me and several other military veterans for a photo of Flint Journal veterans, he could still get into his uniform (back row, second from the left).

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Swanson Funeral Home in Flint. When the arrangements and obituary are available I will post them here.

Three big huge, tragic and fiery inferno cliches in one day

Just had to vent about hearing several news cliches in one day on broadcasts.

No. 1: There have been several "fiery infernos in this neighborhood tonight." I guess that's in contrast to a non-fiery inferno.

No. 2: "Big, huge." in reference to Christmas sales. Which I guess is different from "small, huge."

No. 3: "A tragic murder." As opposed to the non-tragic ones. Only one worse is the "brutal murder" sticker put on by some reporters. Is there a murder that is not brutal?

And while I'm on the subject, the word tragic is often used incorrectly. Not finding a popular Christmas toy or even losing your home is not really tragic. Some things are horrible and awful, but if you walk away alive, it was probably not tragic. Nothing should be tragic unless someone loses a life.

When I hear more, I'll share again. If you are guilty of using these, in the name of all that is journalism, please stop.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Every newspaper journalist will love this cartoon

I'd love to post the cartoon right here on my blog, but the cartoonist sells them and I don't want to violate the copyright. But apparently the artist doesn't mind people stopping by to look so here is a link to a very apt cartoon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An inside view of the newly departed Detroit Daily Press

(Update: Just to be clear this column was written by James Briggs and is posted on his blog - link on headline. This was not written by Jim Smith the author of this blog. I agree that it is very well written and completely describes the love and passion we all have/had for the business. If you have direct comments for Mr. Briggs please head over to his blog and make them there.)

The Detroit Daily Press was fool's gold
by James Briggs

I’ll remember my week at the here-today-gone-tomorrow Detroit Daily Press as the week I didn’t see my wife.

Hired to cover the Lions and Red Wings for the Daily Press, I logged (well, that’s probably not the right word, since my hourly count held no relation to payment) about 80 hours, not counting the mandatory pro bono work prior to Nov. 19, and filed 14 articles. I was not scheduled for a day off at the time of the Daily Press’ demise.

Perhaps that should have been a clue that the Daily Press wouldn’t appear on anyone’s best-places-to-work list. But to the extent that I was responsible for the startup newspaper’s success, I reasoned, I’d take a paper route if the paper needed me to (apparently it did).

I received word via Facebook that the Daily Press had ceased publication on Friday, while I was at Ford Field for a high-school football state final. My initial reaction was not horror – that came later – but rather relief. I called my wife and told her I’d get to spend the rest of Thanksgiving weekend with her.

Daily Press photo editor Rodney Curtis expressed similar relief in his blog, saying:

It seems my family is happy to have me back. Even if I’m not adding money to the coffers. Christmas won’t be, how shall we say, overly extravagant this year but the crazy enigmatic smile on my daughter’s face when she heard the paper closed after only five days of publication said it all. There was good and bad in that smile. Mostly good though. She just didn’t want to overly show how gleeful she was that Mr. Grumpy Puss had gone into hibernation and possible extinction.

What went wrong with the Daily Press?
The most commonly cited reasons for the paper’s failure have been advertising (there wasn’t any) and distribution (ditto). Reporter Wendy Clem has written a piece suggesting intimidation from outside influences led to circulation problems.

She might be right. But even if she is, it doesn’t matter.
At the end of the day, the Daily Press arose with neither the technological nor human infrastructures in place to get the job done. The newspaper chewed up its staff like a piece of gum and spit it out when the flavor had subsided. I think the paper turned out well for five days, but we wouldn’t have had the stamina to keep it up.

You could argue these words come from a jilted employee, and you’d be right. Almost immediately after I gave up a job I liked at, the broken promises began. “Give your previous employer whatever they need” became “we need to be your priority now.” A promised five-day work week became a joke – the Daily Press couldn’t fill its sports section unless I worked from morning until, well, the next morning.

While I might sound angry at the newspaper, I’m not. I’m angry at myself in the same way you might get angry if you fell for a Nigerian scam. You knew it was too good to be true, but you let greed take over and wash away common sense.

You vividly remember the last possible moment you could have backed out, when all your analytical instincts were screaming at you to walk away, and you want that moment back. But you – I – didn’t listen, and the moment passed. Now, all that’s left is getting over the embarrassment and moving on.

When I first heard about the Detroit Daily Press, I said it had no chance. Yet, when the paper offered me a job, I drowned my logic and dove for the scam. All of us who came on board made up reasons to believe this newspaper somehow would persist when all evidence suggested the battle was hopeless.

That’s how it is when you’re addicted to something. And I’m more convinced than ever that print journalism is a drug for those who love it.

Some of my colleagues remain hooked on the drug, believing the presses will roll again in January. But the Daily Press isn’t coming back. If you can’t sell advertising the week of Thanksgiving, how will you do it in January, the worst month of the year in terms of newspaper revenue?

The Detroit Daily Press was fool’s gold for dozens of people clinging to the hope that newspapers could still succeed in these-here hills, long after the hills had proved barren.

I gave up a job and poured every ounce of energy into dredging up that fantasy, and walked away with a check for $344 and the promise of another soon-to-come check.

On the plus side, I suppose that’s more than anyone ever recouped from a Nigerian scam.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A bedtime fairy tale: Once Upon a Time there was the Detroit Daily Press

It was understandably upsetting to staff members of the Detroit Daily Press that the experiment lasted less than a week.

But a former staffer, Wendy Clem, has written a fairy tale about what was behind the collapse of the venture.

I'm not going to go line-by-line, but I'm sure that any prudent printer would have demanded cash up front (most do for new customers). Printing a newspaper involves a huge investment of paper (not cheap) and labor so you certainly couldn't fault a printer for wanting money up front for printing.

From what I understand the issue with distributing the newspapers at CVS involved the refusal (or ignorance) of the DDP in knowing they would have to put a universal code on each product.

So I read Wendy's tome with an air of understanding that it must have hurt to put all that time in and have it collapse so quickly, but her assertions of a big media "mafia" is absurd. The paper collapsed because it was not well financed and not well planned.

And her other assertion that all employees have been paid is bunk. I know one of them and so far, no check.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A good column on the current state of journalism

Michael Gerson of the Washington Post has some decent thoughts on the current state of journalism and newspapers.

More Tiger nonsense from my Dad

My father's mind is in overdrive (pun intended) over the Tiger Woods accident.

"Thinking of Woods as the professional golfer he is, I wonder when he drove out of his driveway, did he swerve to the left taking out the fire hydrant and hitting the tree? This would be classified as a hook, something he does frequently with drives on the golf course. Maybe he swerved to the right and created a slice?"

"It is apparent to me that Tiger has awesome talent in driving golf balls, driving a car is an entirely another matter!"

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Let's hope no one pays White House party crashers a dime

Celebrity in today's America is a fleeting thing. People want it so badly they will pretend their small child hitched a ride on a weather balloon, will make people eat disgusting bugs and most recently bring an uninvited couple to a State Dinner at the White House.

Now comes word that the White House party crashers are shopping around their story to various networks.

A pox on the news company (and you know someone will find a way to pay these idiots) that sacrifices its ethics for a one-time spike in ratings.

There's a lot wrong with this story, especially the appalling lack of security for the President and his guests, but rewarding these two for this hoax would be the topper.

The biggest punishment for this couple would be the agreement by all news outlets that the couple's name is never used in any future stories. Now that would be punishment.