Monthly Archives: February 2009

HOOT! The Barbershop Feels Empty

SKEITH08PPhiladelphia Inquirer high school sports reporter Keith Pompey documented the hangout of recently deceased former Frankford High basketball coach, Vince Miller.

Pompey created an image of the man who won 351 games over 27 seasons, impacting the lives of hundreds of young Philadelphians along the way.

The story goes beyond a traditional obituary, painting a portrait of a man everyone at the barbershop knew and enjoyed. The piece appreciates the life of a man who probably wouldn’t have made it into the Inquirer unless Pompey would have written about him.

Most importantly, this piece recognizes the value of community, and the influence of the people who inhabit them.

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What Is Local News?

fox13009bdOver the next few weeks, we’ll be studying the way local news outlets deliver information. The quest is to learn what is considered news, to locate trends in coverage, and to understand the relationship between the outlets and their audiences.

The image on the left represents the location of stories covered during the January 30, 2009 5 PM news on Fox 29. Click on it to learn about the stories and their locations. Continue reading

HOOT! Phawker’s Climate Change and Phrequency’s Music Reviews

Phawker: Expressing Climate Complexitytheevilsnowman_1

In a recent post on Phawker.com, the site’s loose format allowed for a compilation of blogs and articles that shed light on the issue of climate change, revealing one tangle in the impossibly complicated web of disaster creeping through the atmosphere.

Unusually cold temperatures in various locales this winter have led many to question the dire climate predictions that have been gaining traction in recent years.  These intuitive arguments have been especially forceful from right-wing pundits, readily offering weekly forecasts as counterweights to computer models and general scientific consensus.

In a post titled “Climate: The Winter of Our Discontent,” Phawker offers three sections highlighting the frigid weather from around North America: one post from a blogger showing a caribou frozen in Alaska at -80 degress Fahrenheit, an article from CNN about carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty heaters in Mexico, and a dispatch from the Chicago Tribune regarding freezing deaths in Wisconsin.  These articles are followed by a blurb from the Philadelphia Inquirer noting cold local temperatures as well as a graphic with today’s Philadelphia forecast. Continue reading

HOWL! NBC10 Flops with Both Conan and Football

conan_obrien_20Chattin’ It Up with Conan on NBC10

It is my opinion (for what it’s worth) that local television morning shows are often embarrassing to not only the cities in which they take place, but also to the stations and anchors/talent (whatever they want to call themselves) who preside over them. One of my pet peeves is the fluffy filling of the news hour on a local news show with absolute stupidity.

 NBC10 took the time to interview fellow NBC show host and semi-celeb, Conan O’Brien. They asked him a series of questions to test his knowledge of Philadelphia. They are not only stupid, but completely lack humor, which was their apparent attempt. The entire segment was an abomination. Not only does the station look stupid, but it makes Philadelphia look stupid. Maybe I’m alone on this, and perhaps I found this web video sort of last minute and decided to vent… either way, I don’t like it.

Watch the video and tell me it’s not a complete lack of creative planning on the part of the NBC10 morning show producers. I dare you to disagree. Continue reading

HOOT! Service Scarce at Philly School Libraries

“Cuts at libraries mean Philadelphia students could have nothing” RRXLIBRARY18C

The Philadelphia Inquirer Monday, January 26, 2009

Kristen A. Graham writes about the decline of the Philadelphia school libraries under the subhead “With city cuts, students will have few resources.” The possibility of the city closing 11 branches is only an excuse to write about the terrible state our city’s school libraries are in-and have been in for over a decade and a half.

The story is well-researched, and well-deserved, as the article describes the importance of libraries to many inner city kids. Graham uses many startling statistics in the article and interviews a wide range of people. From students who use their school libraries to librarians to Mayor Nutter’s education secretary, Graham incorporates many different voices in the article. Continue reading

HOWL! Cockfights and Parking Meters

20090126_dn_g1cock26c“Didn’t know about cockfight in the basement, she says”

Philadelphia Daily News Monday, January 26, 2009

Fifteen people were arrested recently for cock fighting, resulting in the seizure of over 50 birds, including roosters, cockatiels and hens.  Police discovered the cock fighting after getting a call complaining of loud music coming from the house, and as they approached they heard noise in the basement.  The owners of the house Ismael Rodriguez and Reina Villatoro posted bail and deny any involvement in the illegal cock fighting.  They insist that another occupant of the home is responsible.  All who were arrested were charged with cruelty to animals.

The story, though involving an illegal act, is not very interesting.  The angle that the writer chose to focus on may be to blame.  I’m not sure if the claim by Ms. Villatoro, that she and Mr. Rodriguez did not know what was happening in their basement, is believable.  If the police were able to hear noise and the animals from outside the home, it is possible that the couple could have heard the noise and the fighting from inside the home.  Aside from that, the couple refers to a tenant living in the home, who is ultimately responsible from the cock fighting, but he was not among those arrested and was not named.  Having more information about this person could strengthen this story by giving readers more context to go on; his relationship to Ms. Villatoro or Mr. Rodriguez is important. Continue reading