Friday, June 29, 2007

Story Ideas From The Assignment Desk

From the Bank of the West website:
Celebrates America | June 29, 2007 | Omaha, Neb.
Bank of the West sponsors this free outdoor concert, which draws record crowds to Memorial Park each year and kicks off Independence Day weekend. A spectacular fireworks display follows the show.

Two years after its purchase of Commercial Federal Bank, the Bank of the West is continuing the tradition of a concert and fireworks in Memorial Park. Is the bank paying for Omaha Police to provide traffic and crowd control? What does it cost to clean up the park afterwards? Were people surprised at the length of this year's fireworks show (less than six mnutes) compared to previous years?

How about the Omaha World-Herald's fireworks show at Rosenblatt Stadium? Does the newspaper foot the bill for police assistance for that event? If not, what is the cost to taxpayers?

Newsblues Follows Up

The TV insider website Newsblues has a follow-up to Media Watch's story earlier this week regarding WOWT anchor/reporter Mike Cronemeyer.

Writes publisher Mike James in Friday's edition of the newsletter:

Following yesterday's report on Mike Gonzalez-Cronemeyer, we learned that Phil Grimshaw, a reporter at News 12 New Jersey, has been shopping his resume tape as “Phil Sanchez Grimshaw.”

Newsblues did a little digging and found out Sanchez Grimshaw's agent, Julie Eckhert of Eckhert Talent Management, also represents Cronemeyer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Who Is Mike Gonzalez And Why Is He Doing Sports?

A search of TV industry website MediaLine turned up a familiar face with a not-so-familiar name in its "talent showcase" section for on-air TV job-seekers.

Yes, that is WOWT (Cox Channel 8) reporter/anchor Mike Cronemeyer identified as "Mike Gonzalez" in the screenshot from his resume tape on the right. (More on that later.) First, some background on the unusual, public - and sometimes uncomfortable - process of finding that next job in the TV news business. It is much more than just typing up a resume and mailing it around.

A large talent pool, a limited number of TV markets (210, according to Nielsen Media Research) and the finicky nature of newsroom hiring managers makes it a competitive, and sometimes complex, process.

For Cronemeyer, it will be nearly a year of applying and interviewing for a job he hopes is in TV sports. Cronemeyer has worked at WOWT since March of 2006, but with his contract coming up for renewal in about 10 months, said he is already "testing the waters" to land his next job.

"A lot of the feedback I've gotten is that sports is a natural fit for me," Cronemeyer said. "I still love the news and would to stay in it if the right opportunity came along.

"I would love to stay at WOWT if the opportunity presented itself. My family and I really like it here. Omaha has great schools, nice people and I love the College World Series."

Hardly A Secret Search
Finding a job can be a much more public process in the TV business than for someone in the private sector. For one, Croneyemer is using a public, non-password or membership protected website to post his resume and highlight tape. Secondly, compiling and producing a resume tape often means using station equipment and resources - though anchors, reporters, producers and photojournalists rarely risk doing this during "business hours."

In Cronemeyer's case, he offers up two highlight tapes to potential employers: one entirely devoted to showcasing his sportscasting talents. The other focuses solely on his news reporting and anchoring. But in both tapes, he is identified as "Mike Gonzalez" and his resume points out that he is fluent in Spanish.

"My name is in fact Gonzalez-Cronemeyer," the former North Carolina State University baseball player said. "It's a combination of my mother's maiden name and my dad's name. My mother is Puerto Rican and my father is Anglo."

Changing your last name in the broadcast business is hardly a rarity. KETV (Cox Channel 9) reporter Lisa Stites is the latest Omaha reporter to have done it. Known by her maiden name of "Boschert" before coming to Omaha, Stites is using her husband-to-be's last name.

But some TV talent have raised eyebrows with their name changes.

In 2005, Miami WSCV-Telemundo Spanish-language weathercaster Fidel "Felipe" Ferro changed his name to "Phil Ferro" when he went to work for English language WSVN-7-Fox.

"(It is) easier to roll off the tongue," Ferro told Newsblues at the time. "One less syllable."

Other name-changers include Seattle KOMO meteorologist Jim Castillo - whose real name is Jim Phillips - and Dallas WFAA reporter Cynthia Vega, who worked in El Paso as "Cynthia Weyand."

Croneyemer, who did not go by "Gonzalez" when he worked at KOLN in Lincoln, said he is very proud of his heritage.

"As my grandmother Petra says 'you are what you are,'" Cronemeyer said.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Putting the 'Press' Back In The Omaha Press Club

The Omaha Press Club is offering a special incentive to bolster its ranks of working members of the media.

A three-month, dues-free trial membership is being offered to working media who are not currently members. Trial members receive a membership number, which allows them to charge food and beverages to their account. After the initial three months has expired, an annual membership for working media is $96. (There are no longer any monthly or quarterly minimums.)

Visit or call (402) 345-8587 for more details or to sign up.

WOWT's Tracy Madden Gives Birth To A Girl

WOWT (Cox Channel 8) evening news co-anchor Tracy Madden gave birth to a daughter, Drew Marie, on Monday.

The third child of Madden and husband (and former KETV weekend sports anchor) Sean McMahon weighed seven pounds, 15 ounches and is 20 inches long. The couple also have twin sons, Ryan and Quinn.

Watch the story on WOWT's website by clicking here.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Two in Nebraska Media Fired After MSNBC Story

KPTM (Cox Channel 10) reporter Calvert Collins was fired Friday, according to station personnel who said they could not comment further.

Collins was the "poster girl" for an MSNBC investigative report this week that identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign season. Collins was pictured in the article with former Congressional candidate Jim Esch in a photo that appeared on her Facebook page.

At that time, only the political website "The Leavenworth Street Blog" reported on the matter, eventually getting Collins to reveal (in a comment to the original post) that she was "truly shocked how this photo has made such big news. It was an honest mistake, and I should've removed the photo from the website sooner." Collins said the photo of her posing close to Esch was originally posted on her Facebook page in June and removed in late October.

In the MSNBC story, Collins told reporter Bill Dedman that her father made the $500 contribution to Esch's campaign.

A Google search for mentions of Collins' campaign contribution turned up more than 250 stories, many of them also mentioning "KPTM" and "Fox" within the text.'

KPTM station managers could not be immediately reached for comment Friday evening. News Director Joe Radske, however, was not working at KPTM when the matter in question originally came to light in late October of 2006.

And She Wasn't The Only One
Collins was not the only Nebraska-based media member to lose their job over Dedman's story.

Lincoln Journal Star editorial cartoonist Paul Fell uses profanity in his reply and lashes out at the newspaper when asked about his $450 contribution to Maxine Moul, Democratic candidate for the House.

Wrote Fell in an e-mail to Dedman:

"They don't pay me enough money to be able to dictate how I conduct myself in political campaigns. I generally do not donate to political candidates, but Maxine Moul is a longtime friend and former newspaper publisher where I got my start as a cartoonist back in 1976.

"Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass what the Lincoln Journal Star or their parent organization, Lee Enterprises, policies are on allowing newsroom staff to give to candidates and parties. I do not believe they did disclose my donations. That's their problem, not mine."

In a story published in Saturday's editions of the Journal Star, Editor Kathleen Rutledge acknowledges that Fell was one of two employees of the newspaper mentioned in Dedman's story.

Copy Editor Sylvia Hermanson made a $250 contribution to the Democratic National Committee in January, according to MSNBC. Rutledge said Hermanson (who asked Dedman if she was "busted") notified management when MSNBC contacted her for comment. Rutledge said Hermanson was reprimanded.

Fell, though, did not tell Journal-Star newsroom managers about his political contribution at the time he made it or when he was contacted by MSNBC. Rutledge took particular issue with Fell's comments to Dedman, saying Fell made it clear he did not care about the newspaper’s trust with its readership.

"We don’t think he should treat our credibility with such disdain," Rutledge writes. "His comments to MSNBC follow an earlier incident in which he did not disclose to us that he had posted cartoons of a sexual nature on his Web site. He removed them after we expressed concern."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Collins' Cozying Up With Esch Is News Again

MSNBC Screenshot

KPTM Reporter Calvert Collins is featured in an article today on the MSNBC website.

MSNBC Investigative Reporter Bill Dedman dredges up an incident KPTM (Cox Channel 10) reporter Calvert Collins would certainly like to put behind her.

In a three-page story on, Dedman writes:

A few journalists let their enthusiasm extend beyond the checkbook. A Fox TV reporter in Omaha, Calvert Collins, posted a photo on with her cozying up to a Democratic candidate for Congress. She urged her friends, "Vote for him Tuesday, Nov. 7!" She also gave him $500. She said she was just trying to build rapport with the candidates. (And what builds rapport more effectively than $500 and a strapless gown?)

The cutline beneath the picture of Collins and Esch (courtesy of the Leavenworth Street blog) says Collins said her father wrote the check, and that she was just building rapport with candidates. Collins also provides a more detailed explanation of the contribution to MSNBC in a separate story.

For the record, Collins has previously told Media Watch that the Facebook posting was a mistake and that at the time she asked former KPTM news director Allen Beckner not to assign her to stories involving Esch so as to avoid a conflict of interest.

World-Herald Reports On ESPN, But Not Local TV

ESPNOmaha World-Herald reporter Chad Purcell works himself into a frenzy writing about the behind-the-scenes action in the ESPN mobile broadcast unit in a story that appears in Thursday's editions of the newspaper.

Already, several people who work in the local TV industry have e-mailed Media Watch, each of them wondering pretty much the same thing: Would the World-Herald write a similar story if a local TV station was producing a national broadcast?

The answer here is "no."

For nearly 10 years, the state's largest newspaper has taken the attitude that "competing media" are not to be seen nor heard from on its pages. When it comes to reporting on news concerning national TV items (i.e. Rosie leaving "The View" or the latest ratings for the "CBS Evening News"), the World-Herald typically relegates it to the back (or last) page of the paper.

Follow-up To That CWS Headline
We now have proof that the "Beavers by a Hair" headline seen earlier in this week's World-Herald was an intentional double entendre cooked up by the newspaper's deputy presentation editor.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Letter That Has To Be Published

Normally, mail received in the Media Watch inbox is not published verbatim. But a recent e-mail brings to light something often pointed out by viewers who are non-industry types (i.e. the "typical viewer") – that TV newscasts seemed to be filled with typographical errors.

Here's the letter:

Seriously, the folks at WOWT need to hire somebody to do a little proofreading for them. I'm sure they could find a high school student who'll do it for 10 bucks an hour. In a single "awlful" story on the WOWT website about lighting on a bridge:

Jacobs says "It's not well lit, it's not well lit. It's awlful tough because traffic goes up and merges and sometimes the lighting at night is worse that others."

And there's more:

"It's one of those issues that the lightening is down far enough that it needs to be taken care of, fixed up or repaired," says Jacobs.

Not to mention their Daybreak blog. Where Jim Siedlecki managed to mangle several athletes' names in a single post. What's worse is they act like they don't even care. Terrible!

Here is that Daybreak post (with misspellings in BLUE):

Top Six Showboat Athletes

These lists are always open for discussion and every sports fan with a pulse will agree that Terrel Owens deserves a higher ranking on this list. Obviously they have picked only current players because Deion Sanders is not on the list.







See you all Tuesday.

Public Chimes In With Comments on 'Big Boom'

By 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, more than 300 people had left a comment on the website of WOWT (Cox Channel 8) about the "big boom" that was heard throughout the Omaha metropolitan area around 11 a.m.

The loud noise is thought to have been a sonic boom from a military aircrraft. Several people posting on report that windows were broken and pictures knocked off walls. KETV (Cox Channel 9) captured the sound while shooting video on the Missouri River.

Other sites documenting people's experiences concerning the noise include: Omaha Forums,,, and on a few blog topics listed at

Grand Island Independent Gets A Makeover

Although it is not available in the Omaha metropolitan area, it should be pointed out that the Grand Island Independent newspaper unveiled a complete makeover Wednesday for its print and online editions.

The new look comes on a slightly smaller size newspaper. It includes new headline styles, new colors, new layouts and four sections of content.

"You'll notice a slant toward local content in the news pages," reads a story outlining the changes. "You'll find a feature section every day dealing with topics you care about. You'll see photos of people you know. You'll get many chances to voice your opinion, share your stories and offer your advice to fellow readers."

The Independent said it had to move up several of its deadlines to accommodate the changes. However, registration for its website is not required and stories that occur after deadline are posted on-line.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Former Omaha Anchor Works At Threatened Station

Greg Peterson, courtesy of WPMIA Mobile, Ala., man was arrested earlier this week for sending threatening e-mails to WPMI, the NBC affiliate in Mobile where former Omaha anchor Greg Peterson anchors the evening news.

A joint city police and FBI investigation into the e-mails led to the arrest of 38-year-old Daniel Leonard. He faces charges that could send him to prison for up to 10 years.

Police spokesman Officer Eric Gallichant said Leonard is accused of making threats to harm people at the station. The investigation began June 7 after several threatening e-mails were sent to the station saying the sender intended to harm employees.

Gallichant said Leonard is not directly affiliated with the Clear Channel-owned station but “does have an acquaintance and knows one other employee who is a member of NBC 15.”

Monday, June 18, 2007

Former Omaha Anchor Michael Scott Resurfaces In Huntsville

According to Bottom Line Communications, former Omaha anchor Michael Scott will be the new anchor and managing editor at WAAY-ABC in Huntsville, Ala.

Scott is best known for stumbling and falling during a live segment on KXAS-NBC in Dallas when a lizard jumped on him during an interview. Huntsville is the 84th largest TV market in the country, according to Nielsen Media Research (Omaha is No. 77).

In Omaha, Scott worked at KETV (Cox Channel 9) and KMTV (Cox Channel 5) - with a stint at "Entertainment Tonight" in between - before heading to Dallas, Charlotte (for three months) and Kansas City's KCTV-CBS. Scott worked at KCTV until suddenly leaving the station Dec. 1, 2006.

Kansas City Star TV columnist Aaron Barnhart dropped hints on his blog that sexual harassment had something to do with Scott's departure.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Leftovers from the Laptop

BeaverHeadline on the front page of the Omaha World-Herald's College World Series special section Sunday: "Beavers by a hair."

NRG Media allowed competitor Journal Broadcast Group to purchase commercial time on its College World Series broadcasts to advertise Journal-owned KMTV (Cox Channel 5).

Congratulations to long-time World-Herald sports writer Stu Pospisil, who tied the knot Friday night.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association's decision to come down hard on journalists who blog at events (read what happened here) is also drawing the attention of columnists. Read what Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman thinks about it by clicking here (Registration may be required).

The Omaha World-Herald has added sign offs and byline information to its videos on its website. Watch Saturday's report by "videographer" Greg Cabrera by clicking here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

KXSP Not To Be Outdone On CWS Coverage

Big Sports 590 logo, courtesy of Journal BroadcastingNot to overlooked when it comes to local radio coverage of the College World Series is the extensive pre- and post-game offerings on KXSP (590 AM).

Matt Perrault, host of "The Big Show" (weekdays, 2-6 p.m.), will broadcast his show from "radio row" outside Rosenblatt Stadium and will carry every post-game press conference live when it falls within the time slot of his show. A special aspect of coverage will be produced by roving reporter "Wally" from Budweiser, who will share stories and interviews about life at the CWS.

The "Big Sports 590" website, in conjunction with broadcast partner KMTV (Cox Channel 5) is also offering streaming video of all postgame press conferences.

"We have a lot of things going on, plus the non-baseball fan can still hear sports talk radio," Perrault said. "Many people don't care about the games unless they are

KMTV Shuffles Anchor Lineup

KMTV (Cox Channel 5) viewers will soon wake up to see a new face on "Action 3 News This Morning."

Mary Williams is moving to a dayside reporting shift but will continue to anchor the popular "Action 3 News at Midday" program. Replacing her on morning newscasts will be Kerri Stowell, who previously co-anchored weekend newscasts with Devon Patton.

KMTV News Director Ken Dudzik said Patton will solo anchor the weekend newscasts, in addition to continuing to report. Stowell will also continue to report, giving the station an extra reporter to file reports for the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.

What Is The Bigger Story: Sentencing Or Series?

Radio and TV news directors will have a tough call to make for their early evening broadcasts Friday. What to lead with: the sentencing of murderer Christopher Edwards or the opening day of the College World Series?

Either way, baseball fans will be brought up to speed on the now-familiar story of how an Omaha man killed a 19-year-old college student who was thought to be pregnant with his child; how he used ornamental swords to do it, and how he took extraordinary measures to cover up the killing by hiding her body (which has not been found).

A jury convicted Edwards in March of second degree murder in a case thought to be the most high-profile of the past 50 years. Edwards was not charged with first-degree murder because prosecutors didn't think they could prove Edwards had planned to kill O'Grady. He faces 20 years to life in prison.

Thursday, June 14, 2007 Packaging Stories About CWS

The Omaha World-Herald's online portal,, is now packaging stories, rather than just offering raw video of press conferences and local news events. joins radio station KFAB (1110 AM) as a non-television entity jockeying for position among photojournalists from the four Omaha TV stations.

Click here to watch Thursday's report on the NCAA Fan Fest.

Big Party Leads 'Pie In The Face' Contest

Big Party, courtesy of 94.1KQCH (94.1 FM) radio personality “Big Party” is the leading vote-getter in the Omaha Royals’ promotion to determine which Omaha radio talent should get hit with a pie in the face at a game on July 12.

Facing off against him for the “honor” of getting a face full of cream pie from Village Inn are: KFAB (1110 AM) afternoon talk show host (and City Weekly columnist) Tom Becka, KSRZ (104.5 FM) morning co-host “Glennboy” and KOZN (1620 AM) afternoon sports talk show “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-host Kevin Kugler.

As of Thursday morning, Big Party led with 41 percent of the votes, followed by Becka (34 percent), Kugler (21 percent) and Glennboy (four percent). More than 4,400 votes had been cast in the promotion that ends July 3. The winner will be announced July 9. Cast your vote by clicking here.

KOZN Has Bases Covered For College World Series

KOZN Logo, courtesy of NRG Media OmahaKOZN (1620 AM), the ESPN sports radio station of Omaha, will also be the official station of the College World Series. Like it has in the past, “The Zone” will carry special pre- and post-game versions of its weekday afternoon “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” shows.

Mike'l Severe will host “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” with broadcasts beginning at 10 a.m. and leading up to the pre-game of that afternoon’s game, said KOZN producer Stacie McElligott. Kevin Kugler, the other half of the UC show, will handle play-by-play for all CWS games for the Westwood One Network. Joining him for all but the championship series will be Adrian Fiala, who will provide color. For the championship series, Fiala will be replaced by Jerry Trupiano, former voice of the Boston Red Sox. McElligott will produce all the CWS broadcasts for Westwood One.

KOZN will also be piped into the NCAA Fan Fest area outside Rosenblatt Stadium and its live broadcast booth will be on the west side of “Radio Row” outside the ballpark. McElligott said a number of guest co-hosts will join Severe throughout the CWS, including former Nebraska football player Damon Benning, KETV (Cox Channel 9) weekend sports anchor Matt Schick and Kendall Rogers of and

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Capitalizing On Ordinary Technology To Capture News

Viewer Photo, submitted to KETV, courtesy of KETV.comThe photo shown at right was submitted Wednesday night to KETV (Cox Channel 9) after a viewer snapped it during a felony traffic stop of a car near 156th and West Center Road.

Although this is hardly the first time "citizen journalism" has contributed to a local newscast, it is a growing aspect of news gathering, thanks to the prevalance of digital cameras, cell phone cameras and camcorders. These devices allow news events to be captured long before professional journalists arrive on the scene.

CNN's "I-Report," which allows anyone to contribute content to a section of or have it considered for on-air use, is a bustling section on the network's website. Locally, every news station has invited viewers to submit weather-related photos at one time or another.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Clear Channel Replacing Bakers

Clear Channel Omaha Operations Manager Mitch Baker and his wife, Donna, who was the group's vice president and market manager, are out as of Monday. The two were escorted from the building this morning and a 4 p.m. staff meeting was announced.

Clear Channel's corporate communications director did not return phone calls, nor did Donna Baker or Dave Crowl, Clear Channel Radio Senior Vice President of the Midwest region, who is handling operations in the interim.

The Bakers had been at Clear Channel since June of 2003. Donna replaced Tracy Gilliam, who moved to Los Angeles.

According to industry insiders, the five stations in the Omaha cluster – KFAB (1110 AM), KXKT (103.7 FM), KGOR (99.9 FM), KHUS (93.3 FM) and KQBW (96.1 FM) were on target for budget projections.

Monday, June 11, 2007

NET Radio Names Replacement For Ray Dilley

Nancy Finken, courtesy of NETNancy Finken will be the permanent network manager for NET Radio, Nebraska's NPR station, according to NET General Manager Rod Bates.

Finken has served as NET Radio's programming director/assistant radio network manager for seven years. Previous to that, she was NET's radio news director for eight years Her duties will include scheduling the nine-station public radio network, managing day-to-day operations, developing new programs and planning on-air fund drives.

"We are delighted to have someone with Nancy's experience and talent to lead NET Radio," Bates said in a press release. "I'm confident she is the best possible person for the job."

Finken replaces Ray Dilley, who died in April. He had served as the Radio Network Manager for Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) since 2001. The 67-year-old founded Virginia Public Radio in 1975 and served as its CEO until 1993.

He joined NPR in 1993 to launch its first broadcast service outside the United States. In 1995 he won an award from the Society of Satellite Professionals for innovative use of new technology in establishing that service. He joined NET after serving as General Manager for four years of NPR station WJHU in Baltimore, MD.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Behind The Scenes NASA Footage Resurfaces

Clayton Anderson, courtesy NASAThough it is no longer in production or actively airing episodes, footage shot for "This is Nebraska" is making its way onto the airwaves this week.

"This is Nebraska" creator Barry Kriha traveled to the Kennedy Space Center earlier this year to chronicle the training of astronaut Clayton Anderson, the first native Nebraska scheduled to travel into outer space. If everything goes as scheduled, Anderson will lift off aboard the space shuttle Atlantis Friday at 6:38 p.m. CDT.

Kriha, who has worked as a producer, reporter and account executive at several TV stations, said KETV (Cox Channel 9) was among several stations that called to request video he shot of Anderson.

"This is Nebraska" ceased production this spring, Kriha said, when not enough advertisers were secured. It aired on stations in Omaha, Lincoln, Sioux City and Kearney.

"The sad part," Kriha said, "(was) I never got to do that story and air it on my show, so I'm glad someone used it."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

WOWT Daybreak Blog Sheds Light
On Morning Team Behind The Scenes

Courtesy, WOWT.comIf you want to know what WOWT (Cox Channel 8) morning newscast staffers Malorie Maddox, Jim Siedlecki and Michael Born do outside of the two-plus hours they appear on TV, visit the "Live at Daybreak DayBlog" on

Most days, the posts feature a "top six" of some sort - rainiest cities, most trustable (sic) celebrities, pop culture dogs. Occasionally, photos are posted (like the one at right showing Maddox at her April wedding to attorney Greg Bolton).

One post, though, over the past couple of weeks, does stand out from all the rest.

Writes Siedlecki:

I don't feel sick but I felt my voice going yesterday and despite my best efforts with tea and drops there was just no way I could do the show this morning. I tried for the first half hour but at some point you just have to swallow your pride and understand that a nasty voice is not good for the product, even if I feel physically fine. So it's behind the scenes work for me today including a quick update here.

This incident brought to mind a 10 p.m. newscast in the spring of 2003 when former WOWT news co-anchor Pat Persaud could hardly speak, her voice reduced to a hoarse whisper by a cold. For reasons unknown, she remained on the set, delivering the news in a barely audible tone.

WOWT is strongly ramping up its promotion to make a run at KETV's heavily-promoted - and new-look - morning newscast. KETV has had to shuffle its talent in the absence of morning co-anchor Elictia Hammond, who went on bedrest last week while awaiting the birth of twins in September.

With Hammond sidelined, weekend morning co-anchor Brandi Petersen has joined John Oakey in the mornings - leaving her former weekend co-anchor, Todd Andrews, on the desk with reporter Lisa Stites.

KETV Leads Ashland Firefighter Shooting Coverage

KETV (Cox Channel 9) scored an exclusive that provided its viewers - and competing media outlets - with insight into what happened Wednesday when a man started shooting at volunteer firefighters near Ashland.

During the station's 6 p.m. newscast, a witness to the shooting described the scene and events that had transpired earlier that afternoon. She told anchor Julie Cornell that deputies were involved in a standoff with the shooter and that at least one firefighter had been shot.

Area law enforcement agencies, which include Saunders County, are notorious for providing a lack of information during emergency situations.

Tom Becka Will Broadcast Thursday From United Nations

United Nations BuildingKFAB (1110 AM) afternoon talk show host Tom Becka will broadcast live from the United Nations on Thursday.

Becka's 4 to 7 p.m. program will originate from an area of New York City that is considered international territory. (For those of you keeping track, the project to remove asbestos from the UN buildings continues - seven years after it got underway.)

Becka will also be a panelist at Talkers Magazine's 16th consecutive annual convention on Saturday. The event is one of the largest gatherings of key players in the talk media industries.

No Pie In The Sky For Radio Guys

Omaha RoyalsThe Omaha Royals baseball team is inviting fans to cast their vote for which local radio personality should get hit with a pie in the face later this season.

The four personalities up for the honor are: Tom Becka (KFAB 1110 AM), Kevin Kugler (KOZN 1620), "Glennboy" of KSRZ (104.5 FM) and "Big Party" of KQCH (94.1 FM).

The promotion is a spin off of the club's stunt at the home opener where team mascot "Spike smashed a pie in the face of Royals President Alan Stein. The "lucky" winner will get a face full of cream pie from Village Inn later in the "2007 Fun For Everyone Season presented by Werner Enterprises." Click here to cast your vote.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

News Changes at KXSP Eliminate Bill Jensen

[Updated June 6, 11 a.m.]

Just 18 months short of his retirement, Bill Jensen was shown the door Friday at the Journal Broadcast Group, which owns KXSP (590 AM), one of several stations for which Jensen provided news and information throughout the day.

“I think in this business, you always wonder about your job security,” Jensen said. “But what happened is one of the natures of our business. Changes are made and they sometimes involve personnel.”

Read more in this week's print edition of the Omaha City Weekly.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

AP, NET Television Tops at OPC Awards

NET Television (Cox Channel 12) and The Associated Press were the two big winners in the Omaha Press Club’s fourth annual “Excellence in Journalism” awards competition.

The Associated Press earned seven awards, including top honors in best sports photo, best feature photo and best photo essay. NET also took home seven awards, including first place honors for best sports story and best public affairs program.

Shiloh Woolman of KETV won for best feature story (print) and best news media website while KPTM (Cox Channel 10) anchor Taylor Wilson won for best TV feature story.

In the radio division, Rich Denison and Colleen Cook of KFAB won for best newscast.

Judging was performed by the East Bay Press Club, the San Diego Press Club and the Los Angeles Press Club. A portion of the proceeds from the OPC Excellence in Journalism Awards goes toward funding college scholarships for journalism students.

The complete list of winners:

Best Special Section
First Place: metroMAGAZINE (“Journeys”)

Best Feature Story – Print
First Place: Shiloh Woolman, (“High Heels Raise Pain Levels, Other Problems”)
Second Place: Shiloh Woolman, (“Fix Your Fitness with Pen, Paper”)
Honorable Mention: Andrew Norman, The Reader (“Barrio Therapy”)

Best Column – Print
First Place: Tim McMahan, The Reader
Second Place: Joel Stevens, Glenwood Opinion-Tribune (“Does Mother’s Day Really Say Enough?”)

Best Enterprise Reporting – Print
First Place: Joel Stevens, Glenwood Opinion-Tribune (“Methamphetamine Devastation”)
Second Place: Oskar Garcia, The Associated Press (“Swift Schoolkids”)
Honorable Mention: Josh Funk, The Associated Press (“Coal Crunch”)

Best Editorial Cartoon – Print
First Place: Neal Obermeyer, The Reader (“Stem Cell Research”)

Best Print Newsletter
First Place: Jon Brooks, Image Building Communications (“In the Crease”)
Second Place: Joel Long and Ashley Delisi, Omaha World-Herald (“Between the Lines”)
Honorable Mention: Jon Brooks, Image Building Communications (“Drippings”)

Best Media/Press Kit
First Place: The Nebraska Medical Center (“Serious Medicine, Extraordinary Care”)

Best Annual Report
First Place: Marian High School (“Counting Our Blessings”)
Second Place: The Salvation Army / SKAR Advertising (“Lean On. Trust In.”)

Best Brochure/Direct Mail
First Place: Don Doll, SJ, Photographer and Pat Osborne, Designer (“St. Augustine Indian Mission 2007 Calendar”)

Best Web Site
First Place: The Nebraska Medical Center (“”)
Second Place: Jon Brooks, Image Building Communications (“”)
Honorable Mention: Jon Brooks, Image Building Communications (“Quantum QRE”)

Best Photo Essay
First Place: Nati Harnik, The Associated Press (“Layover of the Cranes”)
Second Place: Don Doll, S.J. (“CAT Scan”)
Honorable Mention: Nati Harnik, The Associated Press (“Chimney Rock”)

Best Feature Photo
First Place: Nati Harnik, The Associated Press (“Guard Return”)
Second Place: Nati Harnik, The Associated Press (“Aptopix Heat Wave”)

Best Sports Photo
First Place: Nati Harnik, The Associated Press (“Dodge Stapleton Football”)

Best Magazine Layout & Design
First Place: UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications students (“In the Wake of…”)
Second Place: Rick Davis, Sheila Swanson, and Corporate 3 (“DaVinci Code Factor”)
Honorable Mention: UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications (“One Big Family”)

Best Magazine Cover
First Place: Amanda Walden, UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications (“Platte River Odyssey”)
Second Place: The Nebraska Medical Center (“OneThousandOne”)
Honorable Mention: metroMAGAZINE (“Journeys”)

Best Magazine Feature Story
First Place: Leo Adam Biga, Nebraska Life Magazine (“How ‘Mr. Grand Island’ Became a Holocaust Rescuer”)
Second Place: Creighton University Magazine
Honorable Mention: metroMAGAZINE (“Life is But a Dream”)

Best Feature Story – Television
First Place: Taylor Wilson, KPTM (“Crazy Leonard”)
Second Place (tie): Perry Stoner, NET Television (“Heritage Camp”)
Second Place (tie): Taylor Wilson, KPTM (“Polka Man”)

Best Sports Story – Television
First Place: Sue Maryott, NET Television (“Halftime Segment”)
Second Place: Brad Pace, NET Television (“Nebraska-Kansas Volleyball Intermission”)

Best Videography – Television
First Place: Ben Drickey, Torchwerks and Susan Eustice, The Salvation Army (“Tree of Life”)

Best News Media Web Site
First Place: Shiloh Woolman, KETV (“”)
Second Place: NET Television (“”)

Best Public Affairs Program or Documentary – Television
First Place: Bill Kelly and Jim Underwood, NET Television (“Don’t Touch That Dial”)
Second Place: Sue Maryott, NET Television (“Omaha’s Creighton Family”)
Honorable Mention: Mike Tobias and Ray Meints, NET Television (“Nelson vs. Ricketts: Nebraska’s Senate Race”)

Best Newscast
First Place: Richard Denison and Coleen Cook, KFAB Radio (“5:30 a.m. Newscast”)
Honorable Mention: Bill Boyer and Mitch Cooley, KGFW AM (“Dec. 31, 2006 Newscast”)

Friday, June 1, 2007

Online Feedback: Comments Not Always Wanted

Two columns posted yesterday on The Poynter Institute's website address a topic that many news organizations with online components are struggling with: how to handle visitor comments.

Pat Walters, in a story titled, "Dealing with Comments: A Few Interesting Approaches," examined three newspaper websites (Wall Street Journal, New York Times and the Washington Post), a news aggregator ( and a radio program site (

Al Tompkins, Poynter's Broadcast/Online Group Leader, attempts to shed light on the legal implications media outlets face should when they allow online visitors to freely post comments on their websites.

In Omaha, only a handful of media outlets allow visitors to comment on stories on their websites.

WOWT (Cox Channel 8) allows people to submit comments on news stories on, but the submissions are reviewed before being posted.

KETV (Cox Channel 9) does not allow comments to be posted after stories on However, its forum provides a number of opportunities to comment on local topics such as news and sports, as well as national issues. All discussions are moderated by a team of editors and submissions are limited to 500 words.

KPTM (Cox Channel 10) provides for visitor comments and the ability for users to post stories and photos in its "Community Correspondent" section of its website, People who post content must be at least 18 years old and must register and agree to terms of an agreement governed by California law.

The Omaha World-Herald newspaper's website, KMTV (Cox Channel 5) and KXVO (Cox Channel 11) do not provide the opportunity for comments on news stories. However, KMTV does allow people to comment on posts on its Weather Blog.

The Reader and City Weekly newspapers do not allow reader comments. However, the online component of the City Weekly's Media Watch column (this site) permis visitors to comment without requiring registration or pre-posting moderation.