Booze, grudges and paranoia: what makes a journalist a journalist

Jobs are meant to include “occupational mythology,” expectations that are perhaps more commonly taken on than commonly found in a given position. Many with those positions relish in embodying these traits: rock stars use drugs, athletes use women, lawyers love the gray and green in their lifestyles. It’s why politicians kiss babies and go door-to-door.

These are ways we characterize someone, which makes it a hell of a short cut to being regarded as a rock star, an athlete, a lawyer or a baby-kissing politician.

Men and women become journalists, I have experienced, because they think their task is important, they are bearing light on what needs light most: from Washington D.C. to school board meetings. Journalists are self-righteous, unfailing in their belief what they are doing is good and just and unappreciated.

Of course, by journalists, I am speaking quite generally and referring almost exclusively to the breed of journalist that came from the urban print daily mold. I made the distinction in an earlier post.

They are independent, competitive and insular because sources won’t help, other media don’t stop, and no one understands.

Back in January, Slate magazine had a great article on this phenomenon, particularly in the newspaper field:

The journalist likes to think of himself as living close to the edge, whether he’s covering real estate or Iraq. He (and she) shouts and curses and cracks wise at most every opportunity, considers divorce an occupational hazard, and loves telling ripping yarns about his greatest stories. If he likes sex, he has too much of it. Ditto for food. If he drinks, he considers booze his muse. If he smokes, he smokes to excess, and if he attempts to quit, he uses Nicorette and the patch.

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ESPN: Temple University Top 20 college basketball programs

LAST WEEK ESPN RANKED THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS MEN’S BASKETBALL PROGRAMS of the modern era, since 1984-85.

It came as no surprise that Temple University, my alma mater, was among them – ranked 20th.

20. TEMPLE OWLS, Atlantic 10
Positives: 13 conference titles (6 regular-season, 7 tourney); 15 20-win seasons; 17 NCAA berths; 5 Elite Eights; 6 NITs
Negatives: 1 losing season; 0 first team All-Americans; 0 Final Fours
Total points: 179
Did you know? The 2007-08 season was the first 20-win season for Temple since the 2000-01 season, but the Owls have been respectable in that downturn, falling under .500 just once (2006-07). The Owls have five Elite Eight appearances since 1985, a tally that helps them fly up the charts, but we’d be remiss not to mention that they are 0-5 in those chances to reach the Final Four.

I was an avid fan myself. The same research ranked the Atlantic 10 the No. 8 conference in the country of the modern era.

Image courtesy of PBase. Source. See Top 10 here.

Number of Views:6772

Reader Response for Babette Josephs story

THERE IS SOMETHING THRILLING ABOUT READER INTERACTION. In my short experience with professional journalism, readers rarely contact reporters about their story without a strong reaction – either an article is of great importance or is trash.

Getting a big story above the fold on the cover of Inquirer local section, like my story on state Rep. Babette Josephs was on Wednesday, will bring in some phone calls. It’s refreshing to see old forms of reader interaction still can work, and unsurprising the calls ranged from complimentary to insulting.

On the good end, one woman – whom I can only picture with hair curlers and face cream on a stoop of a Passyunk Square block that hadn’t yet been flipped – referred to my article as “excellent.” She talked to Babette until she “was blue in the face.” The sentiment this woman, and a couple other calls gave was that over the representative’s incumbency since 1984 – Josephs is the General Assembly’s longest-serving female member – she had lost her mission. “She’s a disaster now,” the woman told me.

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How walkable is your neighborhood?

PHILADELPHIA WAS RANKED the THE FIFTH MOST WALKABLE CITY IN THE COUNTRY – not as high as I would have suspected, but impressive nonetheless.

But what is even cooler about this is Walk Score itself, the online application used to create the rankings. Walk Score ranked 2,508 neighborhoods in the largest 40 U.S. cities to help you find a walkable place to live, but you can also search any address in the country – I think – and, using Google Maps, you can get its Walk Score.

I can compare the walkability of my new digs in Harrisburg, Pa. – 62 out of 100 – to my old haunts in the 3300-block of North Park Avenue in Philadelphia – 80 of 100.

For the city rankings, each is broken down and evaluated by neighborhood, as can be seen here for Philadelphia.

1. San Francisco
2. New York City
3. Boston
4. Chicago
5. Philadelphia

See the rest here.

Hat tip to Broad and Cecil.

Number of Views:2798

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.

Number of Views:3913

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:3457

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:3156