Boardwalk Empire: five lessons to learn from season one of the hit HBO drama

The celebrated HBO historical drama Boardwalk Empire, set in Prohibition-era Atlantic City, is making its way through its second season, and I’m catching up, having recently finished watching the first season.

The well-funded period piece, with backing from Scorsese, Wahlberg and others, tracks the life and times of a character based on a real political boss of the time. It’s a compelling story, tinged with real happenings, heavily researched authenticity and complex characters. In short, it’s a great watch.

Having finished the first season, there are a few takeaways I found myself internalizing:

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History Channel: America, The Story of Us

Happy Fourth of July.

A couple weekends ago, while filing a lot of copy, I was engrossed in the 12-part History Channel documentary called America: The Story of Us.

It reminded me of what the History Channel does best. In a world where the access to information is endless, the context of that information was powerful.

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The Social Network: thoughts and reading on the Facebook movie

I tend to watch films in move theaters when I think they’ll have a particularly significant impact, will be worth remembering years from now and, of course, when I’m lured in by the story.

The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin’s film that tells with some literary license of the meteoric first-year rise of Facebook, fit the bill.

Last week, I saw and was greatly entertained — call it a 9 out of 10, not perfect but sure close and worth the price of admission.

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The Wire: yeah, the HBO Baltimore drama is mad decent

I take something of pride in sometimes indulging in great cultural luxuries long after their novelty has waned.

With that knowledge, I’ll share my thoughts on finishing the complete five-season DVD set of celebrated HBO drama ‘the Wire‘ to encourage readers to watch it again, assuming you’ve seen the show at some point since it first aired in 2002.

It’s not difficult at all to piggyback that suggestion onto the concept of the state of media and the future of news.

David Simon, the creator and primary writer of the serial drama based on the inner-workings of drugs, policing and politicking in gritty post-industrial Baltimore, was himself, quite famously, a newspaper reporter for the Baltimore Sun, giving him a career of insight.

Notably, each of the five seasons take on a different focus of the Baltimore city structure — from the drug trade, to unions to policing to, yes, reporting. So in the past few weeks after finishing the final season, I’ve delved into writing, stories, concepts and conversations. Even if you know the show well, it might be worth seeing what’s out there and, yes, connect it to media.

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Have a sound byte for your TV news interview

I’m 24 and have made just two appearances on TV news, so take this piece of advice as much or as little as you’d like.

But a friend was being interviewed by her local news affiliate and asked for any advice I might have.

I offered her what I thought was most important: have a sound byte ready.

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Temple Review: Profile of lawyer-turned TV producer Lukas Reiter

I contributed a short profile of a 1995 Temple University law graduate to the winter issue of Temple Review, the university’s alumni magazine.

Trial lawyers are storytellers, and Lukas Reiter, LAW ’95, always wanted to be a storyteller. He’s just taken it one step further now.

After graduating from the Klein School of Law, Reiter, 39, took a job as an assistant district attorney in the Queens County of his native New York City. Two years in and exhausted from the grind of the homicide investigations bureau, Reiter decided he needed a break. That break became a fast-paced ride toward another avenue for storytelling, as one of TV’s most respected authorities on crime and law drama, with a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced prime time show that premiered on ABC this fall…..

Pick up a copy or browse other stories here. Watch the trailer of the Forgotten TV series.

Metro: Philly Parking Authority hate ahead of “Parking Wars” season three

Metro: Rikard Larma
Metro: Rikard Larma

In today’s Metro-Philadelphia, I covered the always vitriolic response to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, ahead of next week’s debut of the third season of “Parking Wars,” though I’ll have a more directly related piece next week.

Clarence Shippen Jr. keeps watch outside his office at 8th and Locust streets.

Read the rest here.

Below check some quotations that didn’t make it into the piece.

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Changing ways in which society collects information

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The way we have gained information has apparently changed in the past 200 years, according to a really interesting and insightful graphical analysis of those trends by online magazine Baekdal.com.

The graphic analysis, as depicted above, aims to give some sense of the how the sources of information developed in common society. It suggests that in the next 10 years, we’ll find more and more news and information via social networks, with declines in TV, general Web sites and blogs.

After a few hundred years of newsletters, pamphlets and other written news sources known of in Europe and perhaps present elsewhere, the idea of a regularly published, verifiable collection of news source was developed in the United States in Boston, New York and Philadelphia in the mid-18th century. Leading to that turn of the century, more than 50 newspapers of varying stripe were bubbling in the colonies, leading to the idea of “freedom of the press” when the 1791 Bill of Rights were ratified.

This graphic and its explanation — well worth your time — gets the history down, if briefly, but I can’t say I agree with all its prognosticating about the future of news gathering.

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The Wire: Should I learn something from Season 5

I’ve been told relentlessly that The Wire is the best show that has been on TV in years. Aside from Slate magazine, I got that message no less than a dozen times from friend and journalist Chris Reber.

I watched the first episode for the first time yesterday and, instead, got caught up in reading about the background from creator and writer David Simon, a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun. He wrote a fascinating piece in a February issue of Esquire, focusing on his time and learning with the Sun – whose then editor, Bill Marrimow, now leads the ship at the Inquirer – to whom I recently offered advice.

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Philly Mayor to be featured on ABC's 'World News'

Tomorrow, new Mayor Michael Nutter will be interviewed by ABC’s Charles Gibson, host of the network’s signature newscharles-gibson-world-news.jpg broadcast, World News Tonight.

ABC will also follow Nutter to film a day in the life segment. Gibson will host World News from Old City tomorrow night, as well.

The feature comes as Nutter comes into one power of one of the largest cities in the country, determined to take on urban problems with big plans.

World News broadcasts at 6:30 p.m. on ABC 6.