Friday, August 31, 2007
The must-visit Website of local high school football headlines, statistics and multimedia has added pregame and post-game videos to production this year (opener and pregame shows 1, 2, 3). Admittedly raw, these efforts are meant to offer new doorways into shreveporttimes.com’s constant coverage. Our learning curve is beginning on this new method of coverage. The most-visited parts of our site last year were the photo galleries from games. You’ll notice an increase in the number of photographs and the number of games handled there this year.
We are a football field of dreams
Go to some games this year even if you don’t have kids. You might see some of the BEST players at the beginning of their young careers. Some of the nation’s most-watched players in college and the pros come from Louisiana. Read more about former Evangel Christian Academy’s John David Booty, #1 ranked USC’s star quarterback. Football greats like Joe Ferguson (Buffalo Bills) and Arnaz Battle (a must-visit site about this 49er) have come from our area. Woodlawn’s Terry Bradshaw (1966) went on to achieve NFL fame with the Pittsburgh Steelers, helping draw attention to our football-player-making Mecca.
Photographs (top to bottom): Calvary’s James Michael Miller in Thursday’s game against Southwood at Independence Stadium (Photo by Greg Pearson/The Times/2007); USC QB John David Booty hopes to lead the Trojans to another successful season (Photo by Larry Armstrong); And Arnaz Battle for C.E. Byrd HS (Photo by Jim Hudelson/The Times/1997) and is now a player for San Francisco 49ers.
Friday night lights
With the start of Friday Night Football, we adjust our deadlines and headline priorities to help target early editions circulated in outlying parishes. The “city” editions will roll off the press later, remade as more game headlines are compiled. Our sports crew works through the night filling prepsbeat.com (some of last year's data is still being cleaned out). Throughout the week we produce Prep Sports pages to review and preview standings and players.
Come back to prepsbeat.com often to read the blog and find videos in production. We’ll be having fun right along with you.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Two years ago...
Hurricane Katrina's category 4 winds and tidal surge hit New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005. The catastrophe left 1,464 dead in its wake.
- By 9 a.m. that day, fears of a disaster had us preparing the rare "EXTRA" edition to get the word out.
- Reports of flooding neighborhoods and levee breaches were unfolding by noon.
- Nightmares of a worst-case scenario were being realized by 2 p.m. Reports of Lower Ninth Ward flooding included anecdotes about people hacking their way through attics onto rooftops.
- Heroes came out of the woodwork. Every boat found was put to work.
The next 48 hours would leave most of New Orleans under water. Chaos ensued and headlines across the country shifted from a focus on the Mississippi coast to New Orleans as people realized a major metropolitan center was drowning.
Most of us will never forget the cacophony from the Superdome that caught local, state and federal leaders flatfooted. Those images stain their legacy. Review Katrina numbers.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
– Walter Boasso, Louisiana gubernatorial candidate
Boasso chose to label himself a Democrat “because an independent cannot win in Louisiana.” Listen to the audio stream.
Some points Boasso made during the meeting:
-- Wants a constitutional convention to restructure state government. Among other things, he favors three strong independent branches instead of the somewhat imperial governorship we have now.
-- Wants to pull government apart to look for waste, putting is back together in a more efficient form.
-- Asks: “Why does a teacher have to come every four years and beg for raise?”
-- Sees a hybrid health-care program in our future to provide a safety net (public and private dollars).
-- Wants to mesh technical and community colleges with high schools to provide vocational training and job prep.
-- Wants a different type of accountability in schools. Doesn’t like No Child Left Behind and will put all of the “rules on the side” looking at education reform.
-- Doesn’t see getting rid of income tax as a reality.
-- Believes everyone in elected office should have “glass pockets” to address ethics and corruption.
-- Confronts capital outlay system for funding local projects, sort of.
-- Describes how creating a better barrier system is an immediate plan to protect the shorelines. Would use navy surplus to create reefs.
-- Agrees with major problems dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane. Believes it is the biggest “man-made” disaster ever.
-- What would he say to President Bush? “George, I hope you go home and look in the mirror.”
-- Prioritizes focus as education, health care and jobs.
Boasso has a vision to plug Asian trade into the Mississippi River: “You are going to light Louisiana up like a Christmas tree (48:03 in the audio stream).
A Helping of Politics with Breakfast
Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Foster Campbell (D) raised the volume today during the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Group at Brother’s Seafood in Shreveport.
It may have been the bad PA system causing Campbell to raise his voice. He was noticeably passionate about his belief that eliminating income tax as a key to economic prosperity in Louisiana.
Campbell also explained that he believes Louisiana is last in many state comparison categories because we “squander our natural resources.”
He said he would fund gap left by the income tax break by getting more money from the oil and gas giants. To fund projects to address coastal erosion? Campbell said he’d go after those causing the problem, targeting oil and gas again to pay their fair share.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Robert Trudeau's blog offered some notes saturday about this author of On Our Way to Beautiful. Listen to her NPR interview.
The positive notes and points Young makes offer counterviews conjured by the debate over "sagging pants" ordinances, headlines picked up by the much-visited drudgereport.com earlier this month.
About 2,000 online votes and 400-plus mailed ballots in The Times comic survey came to matching conclusions: "Baby Blues" should graduate from a Sunday-only run to the daily comic grid and "Mary Worth" has been voted off the daily Cartoon Island, a reference used to frame the survey.
From day one, voters were pushing "Mary Worth" into the boat, 2 to 1. No other strip came close to the commanding nod given to "Baby Blues," receiving more than 50% of the total votes, as the favorite in a swap.
As with any call for input that results in change, some will be happy and some will be mad. A few handwritten letters decried, "Don't touch the comics." Others relayed passion for more change than many (including me) would accept. Indeed, it is easier to NOT change.
We will remain open to new ideas. I try to keep that mindset.
Thank you for all your passion, your notes - for getting involved.
The votes are counted.
The single swap of "Baby Blues" and "Mary Worth" will start next month on the daily comics page.
Sunday Comics update at 1:57 p.m.: Upon delivery of the 9/2 Sunday comics from our printer, a printing error duplicated a page. This left some comics pushed out. We are sorry for this irreversable error. We will print any missing comics in Sunday Living. You will not be charged for laughing twice.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Consider the statistics regarding how often these tragedies are replayed.
If technology alerting parents (Child Minder) can save lives, maybe it should be standard issue with car seats (ParentDish.com comments). The nightmare of 2-year-old Michael Dupaquier dying after being left in a hot car is still raw. His father forgot the day-care run on way to his shift at the General Motors plant in Shreveport (August 2006). I still remember my own close call.
Technology might have saved Dupaquier. New parents should consider.
Another thought, always put your purse or lunchbox in the backseat with a sleeping baby.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
- Laying out his 31-point plan for ethics reform. This is his no. 1 priority; he understands our negative reputation as a top impediment to luring companies and growing our economy. He suggested the Legislature had a chance to crack down on corruption and “dropped the ball.” He is dedicated to starting with a special session on ethics.
- Putting a stop to out-of-control spending in Baton Rouge. He wants to ensure transparency in spending bills so the public knows what projects are being done.
- Talked about what is wrong with health care in Louisiana, mentioning the need to double the R&D tax credits. And he answers a question from Times Community Board member Dr. Ricky Bass about money following the patient concepts.
- Changing the higher education funding apparatus to help institutions like LSUS and discourage duplication. He wants to change the ways they are rewarded. He said the future should include more appropriate admissions standards and praised Louisiana Tech for a “risk” it took limiting admissions – and thus enrollment-based funding – years ago.
- Explaining why he is “NOT a fan of No Child Left Behind.”
- Expressing a hope to move closer to a no-state-income-tax model.
- Calling the most recent legislative session and spending “irresponsible.” He suggests some of the surplus should have been put into a highway trust fund. He calls the spending spree “wild.”
- Reiterating priorities for I-49.
- Reporting Cyber Command possibilities and potential. He shares his thoughts on how Cyber Command might stem the loss of young people from the region.
Barrels of information and ideas were packed into the just-over-an-hour session. His speaking mode mirrors the urgency he declares. This can be energizing … and intimidating to some. Just listen to the Jindal audio (streaming file). Consider comparing the candidate audio files to go beyond sound bites and commercials. Learning about the candidates is a process. (John Georges audio, available as a stream too.)
Candidate Walter Boasso is coming next week. After canceling his session, candidate Foster Campbell has yet to reschedule. A list of all the open races in the Oct. 20 election will be published Sept. 2 in The Times .
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
When Georges met with The Times' editorial and community boards Tuesday, he brought Iacocca’s book on leadership as a prop. "We lack people like Lee Iacocca, like myself," he suggests. Georges believes he can provide that kind of leadership (session audio -- streaming file).
Among the points he made at the gathering:
-- Expressed admiration for former U.S. Senator John Breaux (D) to stress he is not a party loyalist.
-- Referenced his meeting with former Governor Mike Foster when possible, and seemed proud that Foster considered him dull.
-- Underlined his accomplishments as a church leader, a business turnaround "guy"and gaming profiteer. He added he is divesting himself of gaming interests to run a campaign free of special interests.
-- Supports eliminating a state income tax, but acknowledges it as a false promise in the immediate future.
-- Wants charity hospitals in New Orleans fully restored.
-- Stressed leadership over ethics despite recent headlines and Louisiana’s lingering reputation for corruption. He did support full disclosure of an official’s household income.
-- Expressed disbelief that the Massachusetts health care model would work in Louisiana because of the indigent patient numbers.
On the way out the door, he pushed his recent poll. He believes it shows him with an opportunity to beat campaign front-runner and U.S Rep. Bobby Jindal (R).
Georges introduced himself to us as an amateur politician.
This was endearing at first, but he did come across as naïve on health care. His school administration experience seemed short dealing with real-world public school issues of dropouts and poverty. He never really answered the high-stakes testing question. His solid business acumen comes across, but his references to the plight (and flight) of affluent Louisianans left me wondering if he can relate to the range of Louisianans that’ll vote. Some board members took issue with his position on ethics and his understanding of health care issues. Georges believes he’ll win -- if you will just get to know him.
These are just impressions. Of course, we are still digesting and reviewing his comments. You can too. Listen to the complete recording (streaming file) of the editorial board meeting.
We are meeting with candidates as part of our election coverage and editorial board review process.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Powell has said there is nothing to this and that he didn't do the work. Instead, he says it was his daughter. But just what kind of ethics review is behind closed doors ? (Reference is an Aug. 19 story by Marsha Shuler - Advocate Capitol News Bureau.)
Talk show comments by Elliot Stonecipher led to this complaint. The political analyst called attention to a trend in poorly filed campaign reports.
Lapolitics.com pointed out Adley’s concerns in May (scroll down). This local concern was referenced in Gambit Weekly’s review of ethical issues that “paint Louisiana as a political backwater, if not a cesspool of corruption, cronyism and incompetence.”
We are still waiting on details regarding the review of the Adley complaint.
As Stonecipher says, it may be an innocent happenstance. Stonecipher may be suggesting this only as a remote possibility. As large as Powell’s family is, his children will be into everything. A Louisiana political tradition or something else?
The public deserves the details so we can watch the roots of our politics grow. The public has a right to know if elected officials are hiding inside the campaigns of others. When campaign reports are detailed, the public can develop their own questions and get their own answers.
Where do we go from here?
Consider what columnist John Maginnis poses on ethics.
In other ethics news: Today’s Times-Picayune editorial highlights another blow to our state’s reputation.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Hurricane Dean On Our Mind
Of course, the path of Hurricane Dean has Louisianans on alert. The ever popular NOAA National Hurricane Center is a "must visit" for storm watchers. Another great site is emergencyemail.org. Try out their excellent e-mail alerts (sign-up). The Hurricane Dean information and maps on the left rail are worth your time. Check our weather site too.
NOAA = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Mine Collapse: Tragedy Upon Tragedy
As you check major network and national newspaper online sites, here are some direct links to newspapers close to the Utah mine collapse and rescue attempts:
-- Salt Lake Tribune and current front page.
-- Deseret News and current front page.
A smaller Utah newspaper handling headlines: Daily Herald.
The hard-to-accept news of 3 rescue workers dying overnight makes you wonder just how this community might cope.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
If we were to start Winkerbean, the current dialogue and social commentary would add to approaches we see in Doonesbury.
To some, Winkerbean might add balance.
To others, it would add to the fray. A few suggest we move Doonesbury to the Conversations section.
Review the compelling efforts in the Winkerbean archive, especially the landmine story. To keep up with storylines, we’d have to consider it for Sunday too.
Take the survey and send us your "funky" thoughts.
Note: Funky Winkerbean is by Tom Batiuk. It was eliminated from The Sunday Times by Editor Buddy Baker in 1987 .
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Cast your vote.
If you have a suggestion not listed, send me a line. Write-in ballots are OK.
We hope to make a decision by the end of the month.
Note: Baby Blues illustration (right) is by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott. Get to know Wanda, Darryl, Zoe and Hammie.
Here are some additional contenders: Cafe Con Leche, Dog Eat Doug, Flo and Friends and On A Claire Day
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Other names reportedly in the race are Raymond Brown (D); Anthony Gentile (I); T. Lee Horne III (L); Hardy Parkerson (D).
Names in the mix or considering a run: Richard Ieyoub (D); Chris John, (D); Ray Nagin (D) and Dave Treen (R)
We'll know the official candidates for office after qualifying in September.
Louisiana governor's race candidates are sparring for attention.
--YouTube spots are posted: Boasso, Campbell, Georges and Jindal.
--Polls get people talking: Georges and Boasso.
--Questions about whether New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin will enter the race are being chased by pundits and talk shows.
The La. Gov race is gaining interest nationally.
What topics will interest local voters most?
If the race ends up being about ethics, will candidates take questions head on? Would you support a pardon for former governor Edwin Edwards?
Republican Senator David Vitter's admission to D.C. Madam connections might drive attention to family values. Do you support gay marriage and/or gay couple civil unions?
SEND your questions.
Nagin to weigh in?
If Nagin jumps in, he could add energy to conversations about poverty, crime, race and New Orleans reconstruction. His re-election affirmed his political strength. Some believe his coy answers to a governor's bid are just a precursor to a different campaign. (View his famous "chocolate " city comments that did not seem to harm his political future.)
Endorsement work ahead...
The Times editorial board will be meeting with gubernatorial candidates as the election season heats up. These are endorsement interviews. We'll publish some of the board Q&As.
Don't assume our previous Jindal endorsement means we'll repeat. New players and new issues being reviewed with a new publisher and new community board members offer a clean slate. We expect to endorse a candidate roughly seven days before the election.
Important dates from Louisiana Secretary of State site:
Qualifying is September 4-6, 2007
Gubernatorial Primary Election is October 20, 2007
Gubernatorial General Election is November 17, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Comments on the kid “surfin’ the gator” photo today are expected. But think about it. Offer your thoughts on how the kid on the gator is different than your Uncle Hank holding a big mouth bass by the lip for the camera?Weegee-like moment and newsworthy. Running it doesn’t mean we promote the behavior. Just because we run a photo of an abandoned building in flames doesn't mean we promote fire as a solution to urban blight.
It is what it is: a jarring and conversation-starting image.
As Times writer Alexandyr Kent puts it, "The dead gator offered them a chance to play the brave dragon slayer, and what is more fundamental to our attitudes about the “demons of nature” than that? That the kids celebrate the death, however inadvertently, is to be expected." (Read his blog notes on the same item.)
If the kids playing on the gator bothers you, consider the community values on display ...and don't blame the messenger.
Uncle Hank would have this gator over the mantle and the clipping from the paper framed.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
This change will also include content from new military news sources and other bases when needed. Times Military Reporter John Andrew Prime will contribute, as will retirees committed to sharing news. Colonel Steve dePyssler, USAF Retired-1978, will write a column and share notes on events.
History note: The Times was a key player in bringing Barksdale Air Force Base to the community. Our editor and publisher at the time, former U.S. Army Capt. John D. Ewing, led a campaign to get the base here. Read Images of America: Barksdale Air Force Base by Shawn M. Bohannon, John Andrew Prime (Times reporter) and H.D. “Buck” Rigg.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
- The Celebrations section is being combined with Sunday Living;
- The TV Book is being separated out as a standalone section (again);
- AND the Sunday Comics will return to the format they had a year ago, larger.
For Larry Anderson of Benton, this will be good news. He wrote asking us to run comics larger on Sundays. Here you go.
Previous changes allowed us to offer more local content. Now, we have a way to maintain that initiative and return comics to a size readers have asked to have again. Phew!
Later this month, we will ask readers to help consider new daily comics against some aging daily comic strips. Anderson suggested Mallard Fillmore. Get ready for that review. Watch for a Teddy Allen column on this soon.
Teddy has the latest technology , requisite laptop and such. But that new-fangled equipment may not be ready for him. His "Day -Timer" (cell phone image at right) reveals his proven method for recording history. Cavemen would be proud.
He recalls the good old days in his recent column.
Monday, August 6, 2007
The review on New Orleans recovery and preparedness is pessimistic at best. Repaired levees don’t appear ready for another modest storm. “They're a frigging disgrace," says University of California, Berkeley, engineering professor Robert Bea. Louisiana State University hurricane researcher and author Ivor van Heerden anticipates another storm, "We better start getting ready." More “Katrinas” may be brewing.
Photo: Floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina flow over a levee along Inner Harbor Navigational Canal near downtown New Orleans Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. (David J. Phillip, AP Photo, 2005)
If Hightower is convinced the hotel will be successful and pull everything along, maybe he should buy the hotel property from the city and ease our concerns competing against so many middle-sized markets. The addition of a hotel made this downtown project a high-stakes roll of the dice. Now, we are staring at potential shortfalls. When the Bossier City Boardwalk tax revenue projections came up short, Shreveport’s palms became sweaty waiting for the dice to fall. We hope everything everyone saying just isn’t cr…
The August edition of Wired magazine reviews how Gannett newspapers might be better off than some. They are running to address reader shift and circulation declines. "It's adapt or die," said Tom Callinan (right), editor of The Cincinnati Enquirer. Contributing editor Jeff Howe suggests, "Gannett has emerged as the first big publisher to attempt a wholesale reinvention of the newspaper."
Note: The mother sites to our redrivermoms.com site are referenced: cincymoms.com and indymoms.com. You'll read about Gannett investments made in video and other media.
Louisiana Gannett newspapers: The Times, Shreveport;The Town Talk, Alexandria;The Daily Advertiser, Lafayette;The News-Star, Monroe;Daily World, Opelousas
Friday, August 3, 2007
These newspaper fronts reflect where our attention is today, but where will we focus tomorrow?
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Obviously, a review of our bridges is needed. The Jimmie Davis Bridge (right) comes to mind, but that may be an easy target. Send our reporter John Andrew Prime ideas and your list of local bridges of concern. What do you want to know most?
His stories on investigations and trials of former governor Edwin Edwards led coverage in Baton Rouge.
"My career is forever intertwined with (Edwards), for which I'm grateful because he is the most colorful person on the planet," said Hill.
We'll miss the way his columns raise the ire of talk show hosts and provide public discourse.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Chicago Tribune: "We're not doing it," said George de Lama, the managing editor for news. "Absolutely not." If the rule doesn't change, the paper will cover the NFL without visuals.” More coverage boycotts are being considered.
The question goes beyond the fashion statement.
“Seriously, journalists are supposed to be objective. And running around the sidelines with advertisements on our backs could make our credibility look even more questionable in already dubious times.” – Staff Photographer Greg Pearson (The Big Picture blog, The Times, Shreveport, La.)
The Canon camera company logo is a concern. What next? Will we be told what camera equipment to use on the sidelines? See more photos of the vest at Photo District News online. See more photos by Jeanine Fijol.
Along with the letter from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the sentiments of the Associated Press Managing Editors, we strongly encourage the NFL to reconsider.