Friday, July 11, 2008

Journalists: "Open the Freezer"

Photo: Howard Schneider, Dean of the Journalism Department at Stony Brook University in New York and former reporter and managing editor with Newsday.

The New England News Forum

Photo: Doug McGill, Journalism professor at Carleton College, former New York Times staff reporter and International Bureau Chief with Bloomberg News

The Community Radio Hour recently attended a one-day workshop sponsored by the New England News Forum. "Sharing the News: Fresh Approaches to Reaching Students and Training Citizens" was held at UMass Lowell on June 28. The NENF is headed by Bill Densmore, a professor of journalism at UMass and the project director/editor of the Media Giraffe project.

I was captivated by the words of two of the speakers, both veteran journalists who have moved into academia: Minnesota-based Doug McGill, formerly with the New York Times and Bloomberg, and Howard Schneider, who did his time at Newsday before founding the journalism school at Stony Brook University in New York.

McGill encourages reporters to "Welcome Xenia" and to "Talk to Strangers," while Schneider insists that his students "Open the Freezer"--referring to the story of a New Orleans Times-Picyune reporter who failed to verify second-hand information about dead bodies with his own eyes.

Thanks to Bill Densmore, who agreed to let me record this event, and thanks to blogger Tish Grier who encouraged me to attend.

howieschneider (#01).mp3

dougmcgill2 (#01).mp3

dougmcgill (#01).mp3

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lawyers to the ZBA: Yadda Yadda

It was not for the faint of heart. For a full three and a half hours on June 26, lawyers representing the Northampton Department of Public Works, Ameresco Energy Services Company, and a group of 42 Appellants addressed the Zoning Board of Appeals.
(First Photo: Thomas Mackie for the DPW)

The issue? Building Commissioner Tony Patillo has denied a request for code enforcement from the appellants, represented by Boston lawyer Peter Koff, who maintain that the regional landfill on Glendale Road is operating without proper permitting. The appellants wish the ZBA to overturn Patillo's ruling.
(Second Photo: Peter Koff for the Appellants)

The DPW, represented by Thomas Mackie, and Ameresco, represented by Arthur Krieger, disagree. (Ameresco operates the gas-to-energy facility at the landfill.) For a good overview, read Fred Contrada's article here.
(Third Photo: Arthur Kreiger for Ameresco; Huntley and Laurila from the DPW)
For a definition of the Laches defense, used by Atty. Mackie, check this out.
(Fourth Photo: City Soliicitor Janet Shepard)

As many of you know, the policy wonk community in Northampton can always count upon the large, well-paid staff at the Community Radio Hour to show up with a microphone, a stand, an xlr-to-5mm cable, and a digital recording device when the situation really calls for it. Here are some highlights from this compelling event, as broadcast on the CRH.

If anyone is super-interested, let it be known that I have a recording of the entire event. I'll burn you a series of CDs. Some people actually like this kinda stuff.