Monday, July 30, 2012

(Heart) Breaking News

Breaking News. As a news reporter I've used the term, but found the term doesn't say enough. In most cases it should be "Heartbreaking News."

Often that "Breaking News" carries information that is heartbreaking for someone or a group of people. Imagine for example how many people were affected by the movie theater shooting in Colorado.

I've learned from personal experience that most news stories affect someone or a lot of someones. A story about an automobile accident that claimed a life or lives can impact a lot of people.

As you become entrenched in a community you come to know more people and sometimes find yourself reporting on someone you know or someone you know knows them. I recently reported on the death of Fond du Lac County's Social Services Department Kim Mooney. We weren't friends just acquaintances, but she impressed me as someone who cared about the people she worked for and with. Covering a Habitat for Humanity dedication ceremony I spoke to someone who knew her and was impacted by her death.

I was coverning news live at the scene of a deadly standoff in March of last year in Fond du Lac where Police Officer Craig Birkholz was shot and killed. I saw that day the effect it had on seasoned law enforcement officers and the way it affected the whole community in the weeks to come. That was "Heartbreaking News."

We saw the Fond du Lac County community rally behind a bunch of motorcyclists from Michigan when their group was hit by a Hilbert man driving on Highway 151 at the end of May. Lives were touched on both sides of Lake Michigan in the weeks and months since. "Heartbreaking News" that united people who until then knew nothing about each other.

The term "Breaking News" should be used judiciously because often it's accompanied by "Heartbreaking News."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tiny Voices

It's a tossup whether I like them or not, but the new Subway commercials featuring adults talking in child-like voices got me to thinking.

How much child-like behavior do you see in the workplace? Sounds like a strange notion, but not if you give it a little thought.

Remeber the kid that never put his or her toys away? Exhibit number one is usually a person's desk. Then there are those who literally expect someone to go behind them and clean up after them. Mounds of paper left anywhere no problem. Things left not where they are supposed to be, but where you would never guess.

The know-it-all. When you were a kid was there another kid who constantly said, "I know, I know, I know." When you grow up it's the person who thinks they know everything and constantly gives an unsolicited opinion. And they don't like anything or at least it seems that way.

It's unfortunate that a lot of kids today eat in front of the TV and don't sit down for meals because at least they would learn some table manners. The office pig is a person who for some reason only gets half of what they are munching on in their mouth. The rest ends up somewhere else on their person or on the floor. You can usually find them by following a trail of potato chips back to their cubicle.

Mr. or Mrs. Loud. Always the loudest kid on the playground, now the loudest in the office. I'm not sure sometimes whether it's intentional or not. You know that person the one you can hear no matter where you are in the office. Sometimes this can be a bad thing if they are spreading office gossip. Sometimes it's annoying and sometimes just plain funny. They must be a joy during the family Christmas gathering.

Honestly we can probably count ourselves lucky if we do still have a little kid in us. It keeps things fresh.

Monday, July 02, 2012


When it comes to radio talk-shows where are you more likely to find a "Diva" in front of the microphone or behind it?

I've interviewed thousands of people over the years on the radio and to be honest have rarely had to interview someone with "attitude." In fact only one person readily comes to mind. I could easily dismiss her as being a perfectionist and wanting to have things done just, so but I'm not the only one who thinks of her as having a "Diva" like complex.

That being said I have run into a number of radio talk-show hosts who are Divas in their own right. They bring their ego and opinion to the show and think that is why people are tuning in. Of course they may not be wrong. How many people tune in to nationally syndicated talk-shows because they love disagreeing with the host.

I however was referring to talk-show hosts I've worked with on the local level. I ran into one early in my radio career who had a higher opinion of himself than those around him. He was entertaining though and reminded me a lot of the Les Nesman character in the TV series "WKRP in Cincinnati." Another I worked with was simply better than anyone and let everyone know it.

More recently my "Diva" experience had to do with a colleague who 98 percent of the time was a very good talk-show host, loved doing interviews, and the people he had to talk to. Enter politics. That was his one obstacle. He hated doing political interviews. The interviews he didn't like doing were usually with someone whose political affiliation he didn't agree with.

I have to confess I don't enjoy every interview I do, but generally do enjoy the people I interview. Then again a good talk-show host will recognize that radio is about entertaining and informing. Don't be too quick to take a bow. It's a bad position to be in if someone is planning to give you a good swift kick.