Fox News On-Air Clinic and NPPA Boot Camp at 2014 NAHJ Convention

Photo courtesy:  Saul Garza, Fox 4 News

Photo courtesy:
Saul Garza, Fox 4 News

Fox News and NPPA are bringing their expertise to the NAHJ convention next week. They will be holding a clinic and boot camp for those registered.

Fox News is offering an on-air clinic. Learn some of the best tips in the broadcast business from Fox News professionals. Sign up to get a one-on-one session. Here’s the link–make your appointment now. http://foxnewsinsider.polldaddy.com/s/fox-news-on-air-career-clinic

NPPA is offering a photojournalism boot camp. Learn how to use photos,video and audio to produce great multimedia projects. Get there early on Thursday, August 7th. Your NAHJ convention registration will cover the cost of this workshop for you.

In journalism you constantly have to grow and that means watching and learning from the best. For veterans in the business, a refresher course is always a good thing.

See you at the convention. Don’t forget you can still register in person. For more on our convention visit NAHJConvention.org

Rebecca Aguilar
NAHJ VP of Online

Travel Europe with an open mind and heart

Visiting the Coliseum

Visiting the Colosseum with my son

I just spent 14 days in Europe. My husband and I saved up for this trip for 10 years. Thanks to credit card points we had collected we were able to take our son on the trip.

Before I went to Europe I asked for tips from my friends on places to see in Paris, Venice, Rome, and London. I got some awesome advice.  I will keep the list forever.

I also got a lot of warnings about pick pockets in Italy, and rude people in France who would refuse to speak in English, and cab driver who would jack up the prices.

I went to Europe with an open mind and heart.

The people in France were charming and kind.  I must have had the “pick pocket” repellant on because they did not approach us in Italy. One cab driver outside the Vatican did not have a meter, but he was fair when he took us to our hotel.

My advice, don’t walk around looking like a “paranoid wanna-a-be victim.”  Whether I’m in the U.S. or a foreign country, I’m always aware of my surroundings but I also enjoy myself.

When I’m out discovering, I don’t bury my face in my cellphone. I don’t walk around looking down at my feet. I walk like I own it. My body language says “I belong here.”  I also smile at people. Sometimes they smile back and sometimes they don’t. But at least I look like I enjoy life.

I met a lot of Europeans and Americans during my vacation. Most times I would start the conversation. Everywhere I went I met people from Texas and right from my backyard in Dallas.

I’ll be sharing my experience in Europe in the coming days and weeks. And most of you know me, I do everything on a budget.

 

TV host walks off set during Michael Sam’s “kiss” debate and is invited to Fox News

Screenshot: The Broadcast

Screenshot: The Broadcast

Amy Kushnir’s life changed overnight.  The stay-at-home mom turn TV host became the target of haters on social media this week, but now she’s headed to talk on Fox News.

Tuesday, her Dallas television station posted a video of her walking off the set of her show The Broadcast. Haters started pounding Kushnir and co-host Suzy Humphrey’s viciously on social media.

The controversy actually started on Monday, when the pretty blonde unleashed her disappointment in ESPN’s coverage of Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend after he was drafted into the NFL. Kushnir  and Humphreys verbally duked it out with the other co-hosts about the “kiss.” Here’s Monday’s video- Instagram

 

TUESDAY – ROUND TWO

My gut tells me producers were looking for ratings and that’s why they continued discussing Sam on Tuesday. The show needs help to stay on the air. According to Dallas media critic, Unclebarky.com The Broadcast gets on a good day just over 400 viewers.

Tuesday the conversation got louder and louder about Sam’s public affection on TV. Suddenly, Kushnir quietly picked up her papers and the video tells the rest the story…

Once the video was posted, Gawker.com got it.  Hundreds maybe thousands on social media started attacking Kushnir and Humphrey’s for their views. They were called every ugly name you can think of.  I just find it surprising that KTXD posted the video. They had to go know the haters would surface once they saw the video.

Today Kushnir was not on The Broadcast because she was headed to Fox News to be interviewed by Megan Kelly. Another group of co-hosts will be on Hannity on Fox.

My sources at the KTXD-TV say Kushnir doesn’t have much television experience. Just a few months ago she was a stay-at-home mom who blogged about food.

I’ve watched Kushnir for several months and I must admit she does a decent job on cooking segments and fashion shows.  But her walk of the set proved that she doesn’t have the experience yet to handle controversies, heated debates, and hot tempers.  Hopefully KTXD will give her the training she needs

TELEVISION IS A TOOL TO EDUCATE NOT DISCRIMINATE OR HATE

I’ve been a broadcaster for 32 years. When you’re paid to give your opinion on TV, you have a bigger responsibility to the station and the viewers. The airwaves should always be used to educate and empower, not to discriminate or to hate. Those are also my views on social media.

FYI, I used to work at KTXD-TV on a different television show. I met Amy Kushnir one time and she was very kind and friendly.  I also met Suzie Humphreys and she too was kind, friendly and outspoken.

 

Dallas TV co-hosts upset with ESPN’s coverage of Michael Sam’s draft-day kiss

Photo courtesy: @MichaelSamNFL Twitter

Photo courtesy: @MichaelSamNFL Twitter

By now everyone knows that Michael Sam is the first openly gay player drafted to the NFL.But his reaction – kissing his boyfriend after being drafted by the St. Louis Rams had the women on Dallas morning show The Broadcast in a battle of words on Monday.

Co-host Amy Kushnir thought the ESPN segment was not appropriate for children and co-host Suzie Humphreys thought the affection was an “exhibition.” The other two co-hosts defending Sam’s kiss on “live” television would not back off.

Here are my Instagram highlights from the show. These women are not journalists, they just get paid to give their opinions between cooking segments and fashion shows.  At least they are being honest.

DALLAS TV HOST  AMY KUSHNIR  “NOT SURE IT SETS A GOOD EXAMPLE”


TV CO-HOST UPSET KIDS SAW THE KISS 

TV CO-HOST “I’M NOT BASHING ON GAYS”

TV CO-HOST  SUZIE HUMPHREYS DOESN’T WANT TO SEE “EXHIBITIONIST”

CO-HOST SAYS “I DON’T WANT TO SEE THAT EITHER” 

I was on a show The Texas Daily earlier this year and it was produced in the same studio as The Broadcast. I know a few of the people behind the scenes on The Broadcast are gay. I kept wondering what were they thinking as these women stood their ground.

Dallas TV critic, Uncle Barky has reported the show struggles in the ratings on a good day it can get about 400 viewers.

 

NEWS STORIES: MICHAEL SAM

Washington Post: Showing Michael Sam kiss was not up for debate at ESPN, NFL Network

Huffington Post: Talking to your kids about Michael Sam shouldn’t be hard at all

Rolling Stone: Michael Sam made history as the first openly gay player drafted; now comes the hard part:

Happy Birthday Cesar Chavez

Graphic Courtesy: National Museum of American History

Graphic Courtesy: National Museum of American History

Today is the birthday of Cesar Chavez. Most Latinos I meet know the Chavez legacy, but it’s amazing how many non-Latinos I meet who don’t know anything about this labor leader.

I was fortunate to meet him when I was a child and then again as a reporter in Phoenix, Arizona. When he died in 1993, I was put on the story too. At the time I was working in Los Angeles at KNBC-TV.

Chavez inspired my parents in the 1960’s when they fought for union rights, equal rights and the rights of migrant workers in Ohio.

Here’s a short documentary on Cesar Chavez. A man who committed his life to improve the lives of others.

 

 

More facts on Cesar Chavez on Biography/Chavez

The Texas Daily fades to black in Dallas

Many of you know that a few months ago I joined the TV show, The Texas Daily.  Tuesday I got the news that station bosses cancelled the Dallas program. Friday they will tape the last show.

That’s the TV business – here today, gone tomorrow.  You just have to roll with the changes. 

When I joined The Texas Daily I  thought it was one of the most unique television concepts in the Dallas/Fort Worth market. Finally a news-discussion program aimed at the baby boomer/generation X audiences. 

The show had former journalists and current reporters like myself on to give their opinions and thoughts on “hot topics” trending locally and around the country.  We discussed many stories that were usually given a minute or less on the evening news on other local stations.

RATINGS DECIDE EVERYTHING

Talking "Hot Topics" on The Texas Daily

Talking “Hot Topics” on The Texas Daily

The Texas Daily started 18 months ago and had gone through a few transitions. It just never caught on. Station managers have decided to concentrate on other programs on KTXD and future programs. Read more details on Uncle Barky’s blog.

Today viewers have too many choices on television.  If you don’t grab their attention in the first few months after the launch of a show – it’s an uphill battle.

Even though I joined The Texas Daily at the tail end, I’m glad that I was part of an interesting television experiment.  I thought the station did an excellent job of  putting together a team of former reporters and anchors who had worked before at other local stations.  They had experience and credibility.

DIVERSE VOICES COUNT 

(L-R) John Sparks, me and Jeff Brady

(L-R) John Sparks, me and Jeff Brady

The station also made sure the on-air talent was diverse on The Texas Daily. African-American’s and Hispanics were part of the show. The team reflected the diversity in Dallas/Fort Worth.

I have to admit, when I applied for the job I told the General Manager that I thought the show lacked the perspective of a Hispanic woman. The Texas Daily had been syndicated in many Texas TV markets with growing Hispanic populations, and I thought it was important that we had representation at the table. Maybe that got me a spot at the news desk. I don’t know. I am thankful I was able to give my views as a journalist and a Latina.

OK on to the next opportunity. Thanks for the memories KTXD-TV.  It was a fun ride!

Give us a reason to “like” your Facebook Like page

Everyday someone on Facebook asks me to “like” their Facebook Like page, but the biggest mistake they make is they never tell me why.

Right now there are 672 requests waiting on my Facebook to be “liked.”  They are businesses, reporters, nonprofit organizations, different causes, but not one person who invited me over –told me why I should “like” the page.

What’s in it for me if I “like” the page? A simple reason can help me make a decision.

And once I “like” your page, you need to make sure it’s a two-way conversation. Social media is not just about what you post, but what your followers post on your page is also important.  Many people with “like” pages make the mistake of not engaging with their followers.

COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR FOLLOWERS

If a follower posts a comment on your “like” page, you should respond with at least a thank you for the contribution.  A reaction is a good thing. If a follower stops by your “like” page and asks a question–they deserve a response from you.  Remember they took the time to come to your page.

With millions of people on the web and a billion on Facebook, you have a lot of competition.  Here are my tips on getting people to get through that first step–to “like”your page, and to get followers to stay with you.

  • When you send a request, give the person a real reason to like your page? For example: “Rebecca I hope you like my page, because I think as a reporter you’ll find some good ideas for stories.”
  • Find people to “like” your page who have something in common with you, the product or service you are pitching.  Let’s say you make organic cosmetics. Obviously you want women to know about your product.  Maybe you run a motorcycle shop. Find people who love motorcycles or love road trips on motorcycles. Find a personal connection because those followers will stay loyal and will stay with you.
  • Don’t make your “like” page just about “YOU.”  It’s not about you.  People especially strangers  don’t care how many products you sell. They don’t care to hear every day “Watch my story at 6pm.”  And they definitely don’t want to feel like you’re using them to make money.  No one likes to feel used.  Make it about them.  What’s in it for them? How will your “like” page empower them and better their lives.

So the next time you’re going to ask someone to “like” your page, think about it and tell them why they should join you on Facebook.  Give them  a reason to connect.  FYI, I don’t have a Facebook like page, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have one in the future.

Spirit Airlines gets in on the Justin Beiber “egg throwing” scandal

You have to give the marketing department at Spirit Airlines points for creativity.  They’re not about to let a juicy scandal get by them, especially if it involves Justin Beiber. 

I got an email from Spirit Airlines today about some special deals.  It got my attention with “JustIn time” and “before you get egg on your face.”

Smart marketing? Definitely.

Spirit Promotions

Spirit Promotions

Love SPJ internship description, very honest, wimps and “a***s” don’t apply

Logo courtesy Facebook

Logo courtesy Facebook

Today a student, a journalism major sent me a link to an internship being offered by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). Full disclosure, I’m a Vice President with the SPJ Fort Worth Chapter.

I love this description for this internship.  I don’t know who wrote it, but I appreciate the honesty.

Here’s what SPJ wrote under “What we’re looking for.”

— Someone who is so organized, they know the birthdays and anniversaries of all their relatives.
— Someone who is a whiz on social media, has experience with marketing and is capable of sharing information in ways that make people listen.
— Someone who can jump from task to task with cat-like nimbleness.
— Someone who knows stuff about journalism, even a little.
— Someone who isn’t an ass and gets along with just about anyone.
— Someone who asks a lot of questions, but knows when to shut up and get to work.
— Someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
— Someone familiar with AP Style.
— Someone who cares deeply about the quality of their work.
— Someone who isn’t a wimp.

I want to work with the person who wrote the description.  Clever, honest and to the point. Now the applicant will know what SPJ really needs in an intern.

If you’re interested in this internship follow this link and apply : Communications Postgraduate Internship

The deadline is January 29. Good luck!

Support your friends and co-workers during challenging times

I’m writing this blog today, because I have a friend who is going through a challenging time.  My friend is a reporter.

People expect us reporters to be PERFECT. We do the best we can to not make mistakes. We work hard even when we are juggling multiple assignments and the boss is thinking of adding one more.

So with that said…

Don’t run away from co-workers or friends who are going through a challenging time, especially if it happens at work. Move towards them.

No matter the situation, always be the one who lends a word of comfort and hope. Keeping silent is not a good thing. Put yourself in that person’s place. Here’s hoping my friend, the reporter gets out of a slump.

 

Reporter passes out during live shot, watch what happens next

Photo courtesy: TwinTested

Photo courtesy: TwinTested

I hope Brooke Graham of KUTV in Utah is doing fine. I saw her video of her passing out during an interview and thought this woman is a trooper.  She actually passed out and then came to and kept interviewing a man on skis.

Her video of course went viral. Brooke said in her blog that she is known for passing out when she’s in high altitudes and cold temperatures. She also added…

 

“I could feel myself getting light headed and tried to warn the producer that I was sick. After I went down I sat up and had no idea how long I had been out but saw the camera pointed at my face and decided to keep on talking!”

 

 

 

 

 

Anchoring 102, anchors don’t laugh at your reporter especially when they faint. Those two anchors at Brooke’s station looked as compassionate as a tree when the camera cutaway to them laughing.  They could have at least asked Brooke if she was ok or taken control and said “Brooke we’re going to make sure you’re ok” and then cut to a commercial break.

Brooke’s fainting spell landed her on national television, CNN and CBS to name a few.  She and her twin sister are feature reporters at KUTV. They’re known for testing products and talk fashion on their blog.

Brooke you’re definitely one brave reporter. But take care of yourself first, TV always comes second.

 

 

 

SPJ Fort Worth Chapter adds Spanish-language categories to 2014 awards contest

The Fort Worth Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is breaking new ground in the 2014 contest area. This year the board voted and approved two new categories in the First Amendment Awards. Two  Spanish-language categories have been added:  Spanish-language General News and Spanish-language Investigative

Full disclosure, I’m the Vice President of Membership and a social media contributor for the chapter.

No one in the past had ever suggested to the board to add Spanish-language categories. This year I pitched the idea to our president Kim Pewitt Jones and VP of Awards, Tracy Everbach. They welcomed the suggestions with open arms and so did the rest of the board.

We have a huge Spanish-language media presence in North Texas with Telemundo 39, Univision 23, Al Dia and La Estrella newspapers. And then when you check across the state there are plenty of other Spanish-language media. Locally, Spanish-language news teams have done great investigative stories. They’ve also had exclusive news reports, often beating  English language media.

So a big thank you to the SPJ Fort Worth board members for adding the new categories in the First Amendment awards. Now my hope is that other SPJ Chapters and the National organization can follow our lead.

SPJFW Board Meeting

SPJFW Board Meeting

TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA MEDIA CALL FOR ENTRIES 

The First Amendment awards competition recognizes work that defends the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, furthers the people’s right to know how governments and businesses affect their lives, and champions the powerless and disadvantaged

Who may enter - Broadcast and print/online journalists in Texas or Oklahoma or whose work is used by news organizations in those states
FEES • $35 professional entry, $15 student entry

Deadline to enter – Jan. 15, 2014

For more information and to enter your work,  follow this link:  http://www.spjfw.org/pages/4awards.html

The awards will be given out at our awards/scholarship banquet in April. This year our keynote speaker is WFAA-TV’s Brett Shipp. He’s a multiple award winner and one of the best investigative reporters in the country.

For more information on scholarships follow this link:  Scholarship applications, deadline is January 31st.

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Chicago Bulls cheerleader gets the surprise of her life on the basketball court

There’s nothing like a marriage proposal that will make you tear up, and I don’t even know this couple.  But a cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls will never forget the moment when she went from cheering on the basketball court to facing her future husband in front of thousands of Bulls fans. Get your tissues out!

 

 

 

 

 

“Live” TV can be one crazy experience

News anchors eating vomit, sports anchors being out done by wild fans, and x-rated surprises! Those are actually things that have happened on “live television.”

News consultants beat into the heads of TV news managers that the audience wants to see us reporters live, live, live! That’s why when it’s snowing outside, we’re standing on an icy road telling you “It’s snowing outside.” When it’s hot outside, that’s why we’re locked in a car “live” as the heat rises and we’re almost passing out. Ok I’m exaggerating a bit.

But sometimes things can get really weird. These “live surprises” will make you laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNT Rap Anthem more than just one clever and catchy tune

UNT_RAPHire these rappers! That’s what I would say to every college and university president in the U.S.

Someone posted this video on my Facebook page. It was produced by students at the University of North Texas in Denton. The UNT Rap Anthem- (Official Unofficial) is catchy and clever.

UNT should hire these marketing geniuses. What a great way to recruit new students to the school.

Awesome video.

Congrats to the producers: Steve Meehin, Desmond Thomas, & Caleb Ward and the rest of your UNT team.

Now is the time to live a life with no regrets

Every time I drive by a cemetery, I think of the people who were buried there. Did they live a good life? Did they accomplish everything they wanted before they left this earth? Were there any regrets?

I ran across a blog from 2011 written by a nurse that revealed the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed.  After looking at the list, I felt that I was on the right track of no regrets.

Here are the 5 regrets the nurse revealed:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

When I look at the list I think I’m doing OK. I’ve always believed in being myself and not trying to “keep up with the Kardashians.”  My parents taught me to be an independent person; to choose what I wanted to become in life and choose the career that would make me happy.  My parents were about follow your passion and not the money.

I was also taught not to fear speaking up even if sometimes it was not the popular thing to say. I know many people who hold everything in, because they’re afraid of getting fired, not being liked or fear criticism.   I couldn’t live like that and be happy.

I’ve always been good about keeping in touch with friends from my elementary and high school days. I’ve also kept in touch with college friends and many friends I made along the way in my career. And with Facebook, you really don’t have an excuse not to keep in touch.

One of the best things that happened to me was getting fired from my job in Dallas.  Ok I didn’t agree with the lame reason, but that’s another blog.  But getting fired gives you a big reality check on your life.  I didn’t realize until that happened that my life was 24/7 news. Thank God I stopped for a moment to have a kid. That decision is another blog.

Speaking at KXII-TV

Speaking at KXII-TV

I used to work on vacation. I know–crazy!  If a source called me with a story, I would immediately call in to the bosses.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being a reporter, but when you put your entire heart and soul in one job–well you’re bound to miss other things in life.

Being fired is FREEDOM. Remember that if it happens to you. Today I spend time with my family, friends, and volunteer work.  Being a freelance reporter may not help me buy Gucci shoes or a trip around the world, but right now I have no regrets.

I think there is one regret missing from the list. I think people regret not building a spiritual relationship with God.  After 14 years working as a reporter, getting fired allowed me to go to church on Sundays.

Spiritual nourishment is important no matter what religion you follow.  Sometimes that’s all you need to make you happy.

Now go out and live your life YOUR way and with no regrets.

The bravest girl on the planet: 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai

Screenshot: The Daily Show

Screenshot: The Daily Show

My inspiration of the week comes from 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai. She has to be one of the bravest girls on the planet.

She’s the Pakistani activist who survived being shot by the Taliban. The Taliban targeted her because Malala has been outspoken about the need for education for girls in her homeland.

This past week she was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Malala was the youngest person nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. She’s also the author of I am Malala.

I saw many interviews with her this week while she visited the U.S., but I thought Jon Stewart did one of the best interviews. Though the topic was serious, every once in a while Stewart got a laugh out of Malala. He told her “Nothing feels better than making you laugh.”

Here’s more:

 

 

More sources: Malala Fund

“I Quit” YouTube video pays off, Queen Latifah offers job to Marina Shifrin

Courtesy: YouTube

Courtesy: YouTube

I told you in my last blog that I was hoping someone would see Marina Shifrin’s “I Quit” video and see her creativity and courage. Well Queen Latifah noticed this young video producer’s talents and invited her on her talk show.

Marina’s video has surpassed 12 million views on YouTube as of October 3rd. Just in case you’re not one of the millions who has seen it—it’s Marina quitting her job on camera as she dances to a Kanye West song.  

Today, Marina told Queen Latifah that she has no regrets about the video “No sometimes I think you need to forcefully close one door, in order for the other to open a little bit easier.”

By the end of the segment, Queen Latifah asked Marina “So are you looking for a job?”

Marina “Yeah, do you, are you hiring?”

Latifah “I like to be surrounded by cool,creative and interesting people.”

Queen Latifah created a position for a producer of digital content, and offered it to Marina. She thought Latifah was joking.

It was no joke.

Congrats Marina!

Marina Shifrin’s “I Quit” video hits a nerve and makes her a YouTube star overnight

Courtesy: YouTube

Courtesy: YouTube

Marina Shifrin is a video producer. A few days ago she turned the camera on herself and decided to send a message to her boss in a video she posted on YouTube. I QUIT!

As I write this blog she is close to 10 million views on YouTube.  And from many of the comments on YouTube and on her blog—she hit a nerve.  People don’t feel appreciated or inspired at work.

Marina set out to be a journalist six years ago when she graduated from the University of Missouri which has a great journalism program.  But after 6 years–she’s done.  She talks about it in her blog. 

Marina quit her job at an animation company in Taiwan where she was producing news videos. On her own video she posted “For almost two years I’ve sacrificed my relationships, time and energy for this job.”

 

What do you think? Would you quit in a video?

Marina pointed out in her video  “And my boss only cares about the quantity and how many views each video gets.”

Well her former boss was not going to let Marina get all the attention.  A few days after she posted her “I Quit” video he posted his own video response.

By the looks of likes, dislikes and comments; most people like what Marina has done, but her former boss isn’t getting much love.

I’ve already heard talk show hosts, journalists, and people on Facebook say Marina’s video is going to hurt her.   Come on–we’ve all felt like her at least once in our careers.

I’m going to be more positive.

I think a good news boss out there is going to see this woman for her creativity and courage, and hire her.  I hope Marina will find a new job where she can write from her heart and stay in the field of journalism.

Marina,  journalism is like a marriage. Sometimes you have to get a divorce to find the right soulmate.  Good luck!

 

Slam Poet Dylan Garity puts ESL education into perspective

Before today I had never heard of  Dylan Garity or  ” The National Poetry Slam.”

But one video now has me wanting to meet him.  Garity through is poetry has shined the light on ESL (English as a second language) teachers and students.

Garity’s sister teaches ESL to children in Boston who can’t speak English.  By the sounds of his poem she’s frustrated with the rules and regulations that are getting in the way of educating the ESL students.  But his poem also points out the weaknesses of ESL. Is it failing our kids?

Here’s Garity’s “Rigged Game” poem—in his words.

 

 

 

WXYZ-TV big reunion in Detroit reconnects old friends

When I heard that WXYZ-TV in Detroit recently had a reunion for former and current news employees, I thought what a great idea. I’ve worked at seven television stations.  Dozens of my coworkers moved on to other TV stations or got out of the business all together.

I’ve always wondered what happened to many of my old TV friends. Four women planned the WXYZ reunion and 300 former employees showed up. What a great way to reconnect and share memories.

I may have to steal the idea.  Check out the event>>reunion covered by WXYZ.

Thank you for your votes! 2013 LATISM Social Network Leader

It’s never too late to learn something new. In 2008 I took the plunge into social media.  I thought as a journalist I needed to learn everything about social media from blogging to starting a group on Facebook.

In 2009, I started “Wise Latinas Linked” on Facebook.  Two of my girlfriends helped me launch the group that would help empower and inspire Latinas around the world. Today we have close to 5,000 members on Facebook, and more than 600 on LinkedIn.

Friday (Sept. 20) my work paid off.  Latinos in Social Media better known as LATISM, recognized me with their national award for 2013 Social Network Leader.  It’s the second time I have won the award. I also won in 2011.

I couldn’t be in New York City to personally pick up the award, because of earlier plans, but when I got the text that I won—I was in shock.  I was up against tough competition–people with thousands ands thousands of followers.

A big thank you to everyone who voted for me for this award. I share the award with all the members of Wise Latinas Linked who have put us on the map and a few newspapers and online news sites.

What I hope you take away from this blog is to take the plunge–learn something new. Don’t be afraid to jump out there and conquer.  Don’t let age, doubters, or fear of the unknown stop you.

Today I am a proud reporter, proud Latina Leader and most of all a woman who is not afraid to just get out there and work it!

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Singer and Actor Ruben Blades

Photo Courtesy: Biography

Photo Courtesy: Biography

Latinos have made great contributions in music.  One of my favorite singers is Ruben Blades.

Blades is a Panamanian salsa singer, songwriter, actor, and Latin jazz musician. He attended Harvard Law school and is also an activist.

As songwriter, Blades brought the lyrical sophistication of Central American nueva canción and Cuban nueva trova as well as experimental tempos and politically inspired Nuyorican salsa to his music. (Wikipedia info)

 

Enjoy his music.

Why everyone should celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

I was 10-year-old when President Lyndon B. Johnson designated September as Hispanic Heritage Month. President Reagan would later expand the honor to four weeks from September 15-October 15.

I appreciate that our country honors what Hispanics/Latinos have contributed to the U.S. in the past and in the present. As a Mexican-American, I celebrate my Hispanic/Latino heritage every day.

You don’t have to be Hispanic to learn more about us.

This month we should all open our hearts and minds as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.  The more we learn about each other the better foundation we have in our country and the more we chip away at the problem of racism.

Who hung up on Oprah? Chicago station has a big oops! moment

 

When Oprah speaks, people listen, well that is until she was on Chicago’s WGN-TV. I love how this morning anchor team handled an awkward but funny situation.

 

 

Spirit Airlines has a “Weiner Rises Again” special for vacationers

Check out this promotion I got from  Spirit Airlines in my email on Wednesday afternoon. You have to hand it to the marketing department at Spirit, they figured out a way to take advantage of Anthony Weiner’s sexting controversy.

As you may recall, the former U.S. Congressman and current New York City mayoral candidate admits he sent lewd photos and texts to a woman who told her story to TheDirty.com.

We’ll have to see how this “Weiner Rises Again” special works out for Spirit.

NTSB Admits Agency Intern Confirmed Fake Names of Asiana Air Pilots to KTVU-TV

KTVU-TV in the Bay Area can’t take all the blame for their terrible mistake of airing fake names of the Asiana Air pilots as “Ho Lee Fuk” and “Sum Ting Wong.” KTVU apparently called to confirm the list of four names with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). An intern at the agency confirmed the fake names.

After that confirmation the anchor read the names on the noon newscast on July 12, and minutes later apologized for the mistake.  On Friday night, NTSB confirmed its mistake in a press release.

July 12

The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.

Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.

The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crew members or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today’s incident.

Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated. (More)

On Friday (July 12), KTVU  apologized on its social media pages for the mistake, and so did the NTSB.

   July 12-Twitter

Then on the evening news, KTVU anchor Frank Somerville apologized to the viewers:

Tonight we want to take a moment to say we are sorry. Earlier today during our noon newscast we misidentified the pilots in the Asiana Airline crash. We made several mistakes when we received this information. First of all, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out.

Then during our phone call to the NTSB, where the person confirmed the spellings of the of the names, we never asked that person to give us their position within the agency. We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were, and then we rushed their names on to our noon newscast.

The anchor goes on to read the statement released by the NTSB and then finishes the KTVU apology:

Now even with this serious statement from the NTSB, we want you to know here we accept full responsibility for this mistake. We issued an apology later in the noon newscast. We also apologized on our website, and on our social media sites. That fact is we have a lot of good people here at Channel 2 and on behalf of all of us, I want to tell you that we pride ourselves on getting it right, and having the highest of standards and integrity.

Clearly today that did not happen. We made a mistake. So again from all of us here at KTVU, we can only offer our sincerest apology in this case.

 


 

WHAT NEXT?

As journalists we can all learn from this horrible and embarrassing situation. For some reason, I don’t think we’ve heard the last about this issue.

KTVU-TV Pranked, Reports “Sum Ting Wong” and “Ho Lee Fuk” as names of Asiana Airline Pilots

Photo courtesy: YouTube

Photo courtesy: YouTube

Read these names out loud.

Sum Ting Wong. What does that sound like?

Wi Tu Lo.  Any ideas?

Ho Lee Fuk.  Yep, sounds like what I’m thinking.

Those were the names that a noon anchor reported Friday on KTVU-TV as the names of the pilots involved in the San Francisco plane crash last weekend. Here’s the problem–those are all fake names.

Now check out the video.

My contacts out in the Bay area say that KTVU immediately apologized.

“Earlier in the newscast we gave some names of pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines crash. These names were not accurate despite an NTSB official in Washington confirming them late this morning. We apologize for the error.”

Gawker reports that NTSB Public Affairs Officer Peter Knudson told them NTSB’s policy is to never give out pilot names in these situations. Meanwhile, KTVU’s VP and GM has issued an apology on the station’s website that partly reads:

“Nothing is more important to us than having the highest level of accuracy and integrity, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again.”

IN MY OPINION

KTVU-TV is a good news station. I have friends who work there now and in the past.  Pranks like these are pulled on television and radio stations all the time. Yes, people send in fake information on fake stationary via email and fax, but most of the time it doesn’t make it past the computer or fax machine.

The Fox station has learned an embarrassing lesson. As journalists we have to be on alert all the time and slow down, make those extra phone calls to confirm, confirm, and confirm.

More importantly, read the copy out loud in your head.  I’m not sure who did that at KTVU, but something that simple would have helped in this situation.

Join a local social media group and expand you knowledge

Photo: Social Media Club of Dallas

Photo: Social Media Club of Dallas

I don’t know how many people ask me questions about social media: whether it’s how to start a “fan” page on Facebook to starting a blog on WordPress.  I have learned a lot about social media because, I do run some or all the social media pages for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Hispanic Communicators DFW and Society of Professional Journalists Fort Worth Chapter.

What I have learned is that everyday new social media experts pop up in the social media scene.  I’m not sure about some of “those experts.”  I’ll leave that topic for another blog.

Instead of hiring one, why not join a local social media club and meet a bunch of people with interests in different social media platforms. It’s a great way to grow your knowledge in social media and learn for free by networking.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me to be the moderator for a panel on online videos. The event was being  put on by The Social Media Club of Dallas. It was a week night and I wasn’t sure how many people to expect. Surprise! There had to be more than 100 people.

That night I met bloggers, video producers, social media managers, brand creators, and many other professionals. Each one is now a source for me when I have a question about a specific area in social media.

Tip #1-Find a social media club in your area by looking on Facebook or just “google” for one.

Tip #2-If there isn’t one, start a group on Meetup.com and find the people who have social media in common with you.

In the end, it’s about networking and learning more about social media.

Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Vine App great for video storytellers

Yay! The Vine app finally came out for the Android, and I signed up right away. You can tell a quick story on video with the 6 second looping video application.

Here is one of my first Vine videos. Since you only get 6 seconds for the video, you have to make every shot count.

 
Vine: The making of a pretzel

I think this is a great tool to use when you’re on an assignment. Get some quick shots and send your Vine out on Twitter to promote your story that you’ll later have in the newspaper, on television, online or even the radio.

Whether it’s a feature or hard news story, Vine will come in handy for all storytellers. But to produce a good video from beginning to end, practice, practice, practice. Learn how to use the 6 seconds to tell a story.  Yes, it can be done.

Facebook admits failure, plans to block hate speech and rape ‘humor’

Posted on Facebook

Posted on Facebook

The photo to the left is the kind of rape ‘humor’ that has been posted on Facebook for a long time.  Facebook users and women rights organizations said they complained to the social network, but no one really ever took them seriously.

Facebook is listening now.

It took an army of activists and advertisers to pressure the social network to pay attention to concerns and complaints.  They used Twitter and emails to get their message across.

Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) was one of the organizations pushing for Facebook  to make changes.  It posted an open letter to Facebook , here’s part of  it:

“Specifically, we are referring to groups, pages and images that explicitly condone or encourage rape or domestic violence or suggest that they are something to laugh or boast about.”

WAM’s message inspired women and organizations to come together to make Facebook listen. Here’s what WAM! posted this week on its website:

“Last Tuesday, Women, Action & the Media, the Everyday Sexism Project and author/activist Soraya Chemaly launched a campaign to call on Facebook to take concrete, effective action to end gender-based hate speech on its site. Since then, participants sent over 60,000 tweets and 5000 emails, and our coalition has grown to over 100 women’s movement and social justice organizations.”

There was no way Facebook could ignore 60,000 tweets and counting.  Now Facebook is re-evaluating its guidelines on the posting of content.  Here’s part of Facebook’s statement:

“In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate. In some cases, content is not being removed as quickly as we want.  In other cases, content that should be removed has not been or has been evaluated using outdated criteria. We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content that violates our standards. We need to do better – and we will.”

Let’s see what changes Facebook makes in the coming weeks or months. Stay tuned.

News coverage of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado disaster

I’ve been watching hours and hours of the tornado coverage in Moore, Oklahoma.  The two-mile wide tornado took out everything in its path. Right now 51 people are said to be dead and 20 of those are children, but those numbers are changing. ( Update 5/21: State officials lowered the number of fatalities after rescue crews recovered the bodies of 24 people.)

Covering this assignment is not easy for reporters.  I’ve covered more than a dozen tornado disasters in my career.

KFOR-TV and KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City have been “live streaming” their coverage on their websites. The reporters and anchors have been informative and calm, and about now they must be tired.

I covered the 1999 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.  I remember arriving a couple of hours after a huge tornado destroyed parts of the city.  It did look like a war zone–everything destroyed.

As a reporter, your job may be one of collecting information, but there is no doubt it hits you emotionally.  I’ve been fortunate not to have to cover the recovery of the dead at any disaster area I’ve been sent to. But let me tell you–it hurts seeing people around you in shock, crying, confused or grieving.  I try to get through such an assignment by saying to myself “I’m helping people, I helping people.”

KFOR-TV had veteran reporter, Lance West immediately on the scene of the May 20th tornado.  For hours he covered the destruction, and rescue efforts. Suddenly when the story shifted from rescue to recovery, you realized everything was taking its toll on Lance.

I appreciate that the news anchors understood that Lance was having a hard time giving his report. I also appreciate that the producer realized it was time to take the camera off Lance.

Shifting gears, please give to the Red Cross. They’re on the ground helping all the victims of the tornadoes in Oklahoma. Now is the time to reach out.

KFOR-TV immediately started collecting bottled water, diapers, boots, tools, gloves and non-perishible food and more at their TV station. KOCO-TV has Feed the Children in their parking lot collecting donations.

Good luck to the Oklahoma reporters and news photographers who will continue covering this story long after all the national media is gone.

Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” Commercial Becomes a Viral Hit

Kmart is getting a lot of attention for its new ad that has gone viral.  The commercial tells shoppers to “ship their pants.” Yes, “ship” not “sh#@.”

And it doesn’t stop there.

Kmart put out this commercial to let customers know it is offering free shipping. Andrew Stein, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Kmart told Good Morning America that the commercial will air on cable television after 10pm ET. He says they are purposely putting the ad on TV during hours when kids won’t see it.

Kmart is already getting mixed reactions on its Facebook page. Some people love it and think it is hilarious, others believe it is insulting.   Adweek told GMA “Everybody can get a good laugh.”

 

Call it crazy or genius, but the commercial has paid off for the guy who created it . John Flannery has been promoted at his agency.

 

 

Bilingual professionals needed to fill teacher jobs in Fort Worth

Photo Courtesy: Geralt

Photo Courtesy: Geralt

Fort Worth, Texas is in desperate need of bilingual teachers. The city has a huge  Spanish-speaking community .  Here’s a note I got from Carmen Orozoco via  LinkedIn.com.  My hope is that some of you reporters will do a story on this need. It’s a great people story.

For those of you who are not journalists, just spread the word to your friends who are bilingual professionals and may want to become teachers.

Hi Rebecca,

The number one factor that determines whether or not a student will succeed is the person standing at the front of the classroom every day. My name is Carmen Orozco and I work with the Fort Worth Teaching Fellows program (FWTF). FWTF is an initiative of the Fort Worth Independent School District to bring in top talent from various professional fields and transform students’ lives through teaching.

There is a shortage of bilingual teachers in FWISD, so we need your help. It appears from your profile that you are bilingual, and I was impressed with your background and record of achievement. As a high-quality professional, you may have contacts in your network that might be interested in having a conversation with us in learning more about becoming a bilingual teacher. Many strong applications come directly from referrals – colleagues, family, and friends spreading the word about Fort Worth Teaching Fellows. Who in your professional network might be interested in becoming an elementary bilingual teacher?

Our next application deadline is April 29, although we’re planning to extend for bilingual candidates. Could you take a few minutes to support Fort Worth Teaching Fellows and help us deliver on the promise of a quality education for all children? Please reply with any names of people we should contact or let me know if you’d rather hop on the phone to chat. Or perhaps, you might be interested….

Let me know at your earliest convenience.

Warm Regards,

Carmen Orozco

Recruitment Ambassador

www.FortWorthTeachingFellows.org

=====

FYI anyone interested can contact Carmen at carmen.orozco@tntp.org

 

Life after the F-Bomb, not bad for fired news anchor A.J. Clemente

Photo Courtesy: Twitter

By now you’ve’ heard about A.J. Clemente or seen the video when he drops the F-bomb and s-bomb at the start of his news show.  A.J. was quickly fired by his North Dakota station on his first day as a news anchor.

The first time I saw the video, I felt for sorry for him.  But thanks to social media–there is a positive for this rookie in the news business.

His video has gone viral and A.J. is now a web star.  He’s living his “15 minutes of fame.”

Tuesday night he was part of Jimmy Fallon’s Monologue. (2:46 into video).  David Letterman also mentioned him.  He’s the top search name on Google, and A.J. continues to gain more and more followers on Twitter.

Wednesday, A.J. made pit stops at The Today Show, Kelly and Michael Live, and Inside Edition.

 

 

THE STORY BEHIND THAT TERRIBLE START

On the Today Show, A.J. was humble, apologetic and explained why those words slipped out of his mouth.  He says he had no idea he was on the air. He had no IFB (ear piece), no stage manager giving him time cues, and he was frustrated because he couldn’t pronounce a name right. When the red light on the studio camera lit up, A.J. was still looking down at his script. Here’s more from the Today show:

F-bomb anchor: Watching viral clip ’was gut-wrenching’.

 

There is life after a bad experience. Hopefully after all the attention dies down, A.J. will be offered another job. He can report, shoot and edit and of course…anchor.

 

 

Always assume the microphone is on! North Dakota anchor fired after cursing on-air

Anytime I see a camera or a microphone, I assume they are on.  I ALWAYS assume they are on.

Even when I was waiting to do a live shot and I knew I was not on the air yet, I never said anything while I had a microphone on.  You just never know what can accidentally come out of your mouth.

Today, A.J.Clemente knows what I’m talking about. His first day on the job as an anchor at KFYR-TV in North Dakota was also his last day. Here’s why–his first words on the air were (excuse my language) “fuckin’ shit.”  The video has gone viral.

I get the feeling that A.J. was just nervous and it happened. But there’s another lesson here. If you are in the habit of using curse words, it’s time to clean up your language and break yourself of such a habit, especially if you want to be in radio and television news.

A.J. did apologize on Twitter and let everyone know he was let go.

Today A.J. has more Twitter followers, and is fielding interview requests from radio and television programs from around the country. But as I told him on Twitter:

“This is your 15 minutes of fame, use them wisely. We all make mistakes. Be humble, send a strong message and move on.”

My hope is that A.J.’s ego doesn’t get lost in this attention and that in the end someone gives him another chance. He made a mistake, but hopefully he’ll use it to teach other journalists not to make the same one.

Update: (Tuesday afternoon) A.J. has been booked on The Today Show for Wednesday morning. He posted information on his Twitter page.

19-year-old Boston Suspect Tweeted on Day of Bombing

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Bombing suspect Photo Courtesy: Boston Police

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Bombing suspect
Photo Courtesy: Boston Police

 

UPDATE: Boston police captured Tsarnaev about two hours after I posted this blog.  He’s now in custody of the feds.

===============

19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has a Twitter account.  About now the FBI has probably contacted the people the suspect has communicated with since he opened his account. As I write this blog, law enforcement officers are still looking for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect and the city is on lockdown.

I was looking over Tsarnaev tweets and put together a collection of some of the more interesting ones he’s posted since January 2013. I don’t like reading anything into them, but you do wonder what he was thinking when he wrote a few of them.

There’s a tweet the day of the bombing and the two following days.

If you want to look at all the suspects tweets. Go to @J_tsar

At this hour (5:51pm, April 19) Boston police have no idea where the suspect could be.  Several thousand people are now following Tsarnaev on Twitter.

All wait to see if he will tweet something?

Stay tuned.

Law Enforcement Update on Boston Explosions

Here are my “live” tweets on the news conference on Tuesday morning that was live on CNN.  Federal and local law enforcement gave the latest on the two blasts in Boston.
[View the story "Latest on the Boston Marathon Explosions" on Storify]

Boston Marathon Explosions Covered with Twitter

I happened to be home when the two explosions happened at the Boston Marathon. I couldn’t just sit there and watch. I started “live” tweeting, because I knew many people were at work and probably not near a television to hear the latest.

Here’s a recap.

[View the story "Boston Marathon Explosion" on Storify]

Texas Rangers Arrest Man Suspected of Threatening Kaufman County Prosecutor on Facebook

Law enforcement officers in Kaufman County say they discovered a threat on Facebook made against a prosecutor as they were investigating the murders of District Attorney, Mike McLelland and his wife.

Robert Allan Miller is behind bars charged with Terroristic Threats. Investigators say there is “nothing” to link Miller to the murders of the McLelland’s or assistant district attorney, Mark Haase.

Here’s the press release issued by the FBI on April 5th.

Robert Allan Miller Photo Courtesy: FBI

Robert Allan Miller
Photo Courtesy: FBI

Words of Wisdom from Roger Ebert

Photo Courtesy: IMBD.com

Photo Courtesy: IMBD.com

I’m sad to hear that film critic, Roger Ebert died on Thursday, April 4th.  He is one of those celebrities who I was fortunate to meet in my early years as a journalist.

In 1984-85, I was a news writer at WLS-TV in Chicago.  Roger Ebert had a weekly movie segment at the station. I happened to sit next to his WLS producer.

When I met him he was nice, I also thought he was a bit shy.  One time we starting talking while he was waiting for his producer to get done editing his video package. Roger was surprised to learn I was Latina. He thought I was Hawaiian, because then I had long hair.

He knew I was a news writer at the station, but eventually I was able to tell him that my goal was to go back on television as a news reporter.  Prior to my job at WLS, I was a TV reporter in Toledo.

I told him that my dream job would be to cover the cop beat.  He happened to be one of the first who told me that I needed guts and tenacity to do a good job. He told me it was hard work, and commitment.  He also told me not to waste time being a news writer if I wanted to be a on-air reporter.

I was at WLS-TV less than a year.  I never got to say goodbye to Roger, but when I got a job in Corpus Christi, Texas, I did send him a postcard to let him know I was back on TV.  I don’t know if he ever got my postcard. Maybe it ended up on a pile of letters from his fans. All I know is that I never forgot what he told me.

Rest in Peace Roger. Thank you for sharing your passion for films and your words of wisdom with me.

Here’s a nice story produced by WLS-TV on the life of Roger Ebert>>Video

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