Saturday, March 15, 2008

The ides of March... a backstabbing holiday?

Over the years I've worked with hundreds of people in many different markets. Some have gotten out of the business, some have struggled, others have hit it big with the networks or major markets. I remember the first time I spotted one of my former co-workers on a major network. She was a very nice person and I was glad to see she'd caught the brass ring.

I was done with reporting by then, but I'm sure if I'd called her up and asked her to put my resume tape on her supervisor's desk she would have done so. This business is a perfect example of "It's not what you know, but who you know."

So right now I want you to look around your newsroom. Because the person sitting at the next desk might just be your ticket to a great career. I'm not advocating false friendship here, but merely treating all your co-workers with respect. Why am I telling you to be nice to the people you work with? Well, in the past year I've heard several stories that make me think newsroom backstabbing is on the rise. Here's a newsflash, McFly.... the people in your newsroom are all working for the same team. While you have different individual goals, teamwork must supersede them.

Now think about where everyone will be in ten years. Some will be out of the business, some will struggle, but a few will have the jobs about which we all dream. If that person is someone you've treated well, welcomed into the newsroom, or given a helping hand, you'll have a connection that might help you.

If that person is someone you've treated badly and backstabbed, you'll have no shot. A bad reference from one person is enough to send your tape into the trash.

I shouldn't have to say this, but treating others well is common courtesy. So put the knives away and play well with others. You'll have a happier and more productive newsroom, learn the value of teamwork, and maybe have a friend in high places when you need one.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday's story ideas

Guns on college campuses. Several states currently have legislation in the works regarding this.

Seat belt laws. Only 26 states have laws that permit police to pull you over for not wearing a seat belt.

(Thanks to Megs for those ideas.)

Chemicals designed to give popcorn a buttery flavor can damage your lungs.

"Building green." New construction implements energy saving devices like on-demand water heaters, solar lighting, etc.

New federal budget. What does this mean to Joe and Mabel Sixpack?

"Victimless crimes." Do citizens want police to spend time and money on these?

New York's new Governor is legally blind. What exactly does the term mean, and how do legally blind people cope with everyday life?

Got story ideas? Share 'em after you've shot 'em.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Microwave madness

I'd thought Eliot Spitzer had won the "bad decision of the week" contest hands down...

Until I read the story of the people in El Paso using live trucks for drag racing. This boggles the mind so much I don't even know where to start.

Twenty years ago I was in the passenger seat in a live truck accident, and even though we were going five miles per hour at the time it scared the hell out of us. Had the mast been behind one of our chairs instead of between them, one of us would have been killed.

I've driven live trucks many times and never liked doing it. The things are top heavy, not as stable as a normal truck, and have to be driven with extreme care. Saint Christopher medals should be standard issue on these things. Though they are safer than they used to be, you still have to remember that you're not driving a normal vehicle.

The people involved in the live truck drag race should count their lucky stars that no one was hurt.

Years ago they made everyone in the news department watch a video on live truck safety. This latest incident should be a good reminder that everyone who gets behind the wheel of a live truck needs to know how to operate it.

Thursday's story ideas

Carpooling. Not terribly popular outside of big cities, but it may be getting a boost due to gas prices. Anything being done in your market to implement ride sharing?

Can recycling. Becoming more popular as prices go up and consumers think green.

Victory gardens. With food prices thru the roof, more people are planting vegetable gardens and fruit trees.

Brain exercises. As you get older you tend to forget stuff. (Trust me, I know.) What can you do to keep the gray matter working?

This week's reason to quit smoking. Babies born to non-smoking women are happier. (Probably because they're not getting their diapers changed next to an ashtray.)

Allowances. How much is a fair amount for a kid, and what sort of household duties should kids do to earn it?

And for those in Georgia markets... the Macon minor league baseball team is holding an "Eliot Spitzer night" in which the ninth fan gets a prize. (We assume the prize doesn't break any local laws.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wednesday's story ideas

Center for Disease Control says one out of every four teenage girls is infected with a STD.

Solar powered stuff. More and more items fill the shelves in home improvement stores.

The feds have no regulations regarding pharmaceutical residue in bottled water. Will this finally hurt the bottled water industry?

Speaking of water, how effective are those home filters or reverse-osmosis systems?

Spring is here, at least in some parts of the country. So what are the most fuel efficient lawn mowers, and how well do those electrically powered ones work? You can still buy the old fashioned push mowers, by the way.

Oil prices. Many say the hike is investor driven, and has nothing to do with supply and demand.

Diesel prices. They're close to four bucks a gallon. Check with a local independent trucker to see how these guys are coping.

And just for fun, check out the New York Post's Eliot Spitzer headline writing contest.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday's story ideas

Does daylight saving time actually save energy? Many studies say it wastes energy. Talk to some energy companies in your area.

And car wrecks apparently increase by ten percent the first week of the time change, as people are short on sleep and cranky. Here's a chance for those of you who work for stations that actually think a car wreck is news to do a real story on the subject.

Fast food restaurant moratoriums. Some communities consider limiting the amount of fast food joints, as the thinking is that they contribute to poor eating habits and obesity. (Thanks to Steph for that idea.)

With the stock market down, some are switching their under performing IRAs to Roth IRAs. (Less tax.)

Study shows that even hands-free devices in cars don't prevent you from being distracted by a phone call.

Consumers are cutting back on their purchases of electronics as disposable income disappears due to the economy.

Are public colleges, especially community colleges, becoming more popular as private school tuitions skyrocket?

Feature: Dark chocolate is now becoming popular for Easter candy. (I write this as I bite the head off a dark chocolate rabbit.)