Brian Tierney, Sam Zell: journalism needs the business attitude

WITH THE 300-YEAR HISTORY OF NEWSPAPERS IN A SEEMING STRANGLEHOLD, plenty of wildly successful business men have gotten involved – all certainly interested in claiming a portion of history, which reviving and settling the newspaper ship would merit.

Public relations firm namesake Brian Tierney got all sorts of publicity when he led a group of investors in buying Philadelphia Media Holdings, taking control of the Inquirer and the Daily News, though he promised to stay out of editorial decisions.

The work he is doing is the same as Sam Zell, who gets more attention for working on a grander stage – majority owner of Tribune, which owns a handful of the countries largest newspapers – and being in worse fiscal trouble.

But like Tierney, what he is doing is what the industry needs. Bringing a truly business-mind to a self-proclaimed public service and, simply, trying something, anything. Just making moves – at least they’re getting attention, an important first step.

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Legislator beset by reform movement (Philadelphia Inquirer: 7/22/08)

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signs legislation on reforming state laws on lobbying and gaming, as Rep. Babette Josephs D-Philadelphia, looks on in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Christopher Wink | July 22, 2008 | Philadelphia Inquirer

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Babette Josephs came to the Capitol in 1985 vowing to be a voice for “people who have no voice.” For years, the Center City liberal waged a lonely fight against the pervading conservatism in the General Assembly.

In 2007, after Democrats took control of the House, Josephs ascended to a powerful new role: chairwoman of the State Government Committee, the panel charged with considering legislation related to government operations.

But Josephs, 67, now finds herself the scourge of the newly energized reform movement.

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Most powerful political reporters in Pennsylvania

I HAVE BEEN ROLLING WITH PENNSYLVANIA’S MOST POWERFUL POLITICAL REPORTERS THIS SUMMER.

So says a list released by PolitickerPA.com yesterday.

The state politics blog ranked the Commonwealth’s 10 most influential journalists, all of whom were print folks. Because of this internship I am currently serving with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association, of the 10, I have worked with four – seven by September – and met an additional two. Just Brett Lieberman of the Patriot-News, to whose blog I subscribe is a stranger to me, though his work is not.

Check the list here.

See a double byline story I had last week with No. 1 ranked Mario Cattabiani of the Inquirer, one with No. 4 ranked Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and one with No. 10 ranked Pete DeCoursey of Capitolwire.com.

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Inquirer: Babette Josephs criticized by “reformers”

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signs legislation on reforming state laws on lobbying and gaming, as Rep. Babette Josephs D-Philadelphia, looks on in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This ran today for the Philadelphia Inquirer. The coverage is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association (PLCA).

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Babette Josephs came to the Capitol in 1985 vowing to be a voice for “people who have no voice.” For years, the Center City liberal waged a lonely fight against the pervading conservatism in the General Assembly.

In 2007, after Democrats took control of the House, Josephs ascended to a powerful new role: chairwoman of the State Government Committee, the panel charged with considering legislation related to government operations.

But Josephs, 67, now finds herself the scourge of the newly energized reform movement.

Read the rest on Philly.com.

Photo from Daylife.

Number of Views:3402

My Honors Thesis Web site: The Philadelphia Republican Party

Updated: My thesis has now moved to a subdomain here, as explained here.

CHECK OUT A (SEMI) COMPLETED WEB SITE I made for my year-long thesis project that I only finished now, having spent a couple months as a college graduate.

I graduated from Temple in May, with honors I might add, because of that thesis project on which I worked. Despite being a couple months removed from college, I only recently finished the final revisions offered to me by my paper’s adviser, the eminent Dr. Joseph McLaughlin.

Back in April, I announced I had the site running, but now have the final paper available. I hope to add some more features and supplemental info, but for now, it is a nice collection of the research and work I’ve done.

[www.phillypolitics.wordpress.com]

Number of Views:3046

Google Image Search: The next frontier

I'd prefer this for an online image search of my name, of the address I gave at my graduation from Temple in May, but obstacles persist

Today’s journalists need a Web presence. No one is arguing that anymore. Indeed, the brighter and more Web savvy, young journalists have already made the step and are looking to refine the quality and searchability of their product so that when an employer (or future, crazed romantic interest) runs their name in a search engine, the right product comes up.

You want your Web site, clips, appropriate photos, a mature, healthy online persona. Considering I’m part of a generation that will find answers through technology, for ourselves and broader issues, I’ve thought plenty of how to do that, including using online applications, most notably actually giving in and joining Facebook recently.

But, once you get that much figured out – No. 1 Google search for Christopher Wink and among the top for Chris Wink, damn you Blue Man Group founder with the same name – the next step becomes clear: image searches.

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Downtheshore in Wildwood for the weekend

Me with my sister and mother on the Wildwood boardwalk in summer 1991.

Today and through the weekend I will be in familiar territory: downtheshore. Growing up in the rural northwest corner of New Jersey, My family spent each summer in the friendly confines of the Jersey Shore, the boardwalk of Wildwood and the the beaches of the nearby crest.

I fought the waves, played skeeball and wiffleball, ate pizza and funnel cake, and made about the best sand castles in history. I hope to recapture it all this weekend.

There is a 15 percent chance I could be killed in an ironic tram car death, having taunted the yellow trains my entire shore-going life.

Number of Views:2261

Pa. lawmakers seek special session on ethics reform (Philadelphia Inquirer: 7/17/08)

By Christopher Wink and Mario F. Cattabiani | Jul 17, 2008 | Philadelphia Inquirer

HARRISBURG – A week after 289 criminal charges were filed in a wide-ranging government corruption probe, a group of lawmakers yesterday called for a special legislative session devoted solely to restoring the public’s faith in Harrisburg.

“There is a crisis of confidence in Pennsylvania. . . . We must respond with action,” said Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R., Dauphin) who was joined by eight other members of the House and Senate who are pushing for a special session dubbed “Governmental and Ethics Reform.”

Said Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D., York), “We are under a dark cloud. . . . We need to get back to the people’s work.”

The group yesterday called on Gov. Rendell to convene such a session beginning in September. Rendell recently made clear he has no plans of doing so on his own, arguing that the legislative agenda for the rest of the year is already crammed with other key bills.

Anticipating that Rendell might not call a special session, the lawmakers yesterday began collecting signatures of their colleagues to force the issue. A governor must call a special session if the majority of the 203-member House and 50-member Senate ask for one.

In prepared remarks released hours after the news conference, Rendell said he would “happily” call a session if petitioned to do so.

“The fall schedule will be a busy one, as the vital issues of energy conservation, utility rate mitigation, and health care are the primary matters we must address,” he wrote. “But, I believe if we dedicate ourselves to work over the summer to try to reach a consensus . . . we can address all of these issues by the end of the year.”

A week ago today, Attorney General Tom Corbett announced criminal counts against a former top House member, 10 Democratic aides and a sitting lawmaker, alleging they conspired to use millions in public funds and resources for political campaign purposes.

Some believe the charges could revive bogged down reform efforts to improve accountability and transparency in Harrisburg that started after the 2005 pay raise debacle.

Dozens of bills have been introduced in the last 18 months dealing with so-called reform efforts. They range from banning gifts to lawmakers to placing limits on campaign donations to abolishing government bonuses. Some of the bills have passed one chamber only to get bottled up in the other, and could be among the agenda items in a special session.

Such sessions are designed to focus lawmakers’ attention on one topic alone and, in theory, to speed the legislative process. In recent years, special sessions have been called to consider legislation dealing with property taxes, drought relief and energy policies.

Some legislators believe the call for a special session on reform is nothing more than a needless headline-grabber.

“If there was the true desire to move on these reform issues we could come back next week and do it,” said Steve Miskin, press secretary to House Minority Leader Sam Smith (R., Jefferson).

Advocates for the special session spoke minutes after another news conference on the topic of reforming Harrisburg wrapped up on the Capitol steps.

A group of 17 Democrats seeking House seats endorsed a slate of policies they dubbed the Pennsylvania Candidate Platform for Reform, or PennCPR. Members of the group pledged, if elected, to cut legislative perks, reduce the influence of lobbyists and increase transparency of campaign funding, among other things.

The agenda, said Paul Drucker, who is running for Chester County’s 157th House seat, is “designed to bring reform efforts off of life support.”

“We are tired of having to explain the embarrassing stories that are coming out of the Capitol,” said Drucker, a Tredyffrin lawyer.

See it on Philly.com.

Number of Views:2466