Lost Professionalism in Local News?




Image by Paul Kiser

Local news just bloggers with big cameras?

This week the Reno, Nevada NBC affiliate, KRNV, ran a lead story that was blatantly biased (See article.) The story was meant to stir up anger against the government. More significantly, the story was not by a local news reporter, nor a seasoned professional, but a ‘National Correspondent’ with a very questionable resume.

Local news stations are under  severe financial pressure. Once, the local television station was the 800-pound gorilla in the communication market and could demand the largest fees for advertising. Local stations had a team of reporters eager to go after a story and get the scoop before their competitors.

Today, even national news teams struggle to get the news before it becomes common knowledge on social media. Local stations lost their status as primary sources of information and that has led advertisers to seek other ways to reach the public. As advertising revenue has collapsed, local stations have shredded their news teams and moved away from costly investigative reporting.

To fill the gap, local news stations have resorted to news services and national stories provided by their parent organizations. This has pushed local news aside for commercialized news that is created, packaged, and sold to local stations.

In the case of KRNV, the story lead story was produced by Kristine Frazao, a young reporter who specializes in anti-government stories. Almost all of her national reporting experience with an American version of Russia’s Pravda news organization. She lacks the professionalism of a journalist, and seeks to incite her audience, rather than offer insightful information.

It is left to us to recognize nonprofessionals as local stations have sacrificed good reporting for desperation.

Freedom of Religion is Not a Mandate For Religion

Evangelical's Goal:  An American Church-run State?

Evangelical’s Goal: An American church-run State?

 Religious freedom is a term that the Christian Taliban is throwing around by the bucketful lately. The problem is that they use it to justify a desire to inflict their religious beliefs on everyone else. They claim that if they are not allowed to force others to follow their mythological ideology of controlling women’s health choices, defining love and marriage, and replacing science with stupidity, then their religious freedoms are being restricted.

However, religious freedom is exactly opposite of what many Evangelicals believe. The First Amendment to our Constitution states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

It’s the first ten words that are skipped over by Evangelicals. They focus on the next six words and claim that the Constitution says they can do whatever they please, including forcing non-believers to be subject to and abide by their mythological beliefs, but the first ten words clearly indicate that establishment of a religion (a set of mythological beliefs) is forbidden.

The brilliance of the Constitution is that it protects the individual, not the group, which prevents the United States of America to serve all people, and prevents rule by a Christian lynch mob.

Too Much?

Housing on the University of Nevada campus looks great from this view, but things are about to get ugly

Housing on the University of Nevada campus looks great from this view, but things are about to get ugly

347°  I was on the University of Nevada’s campus today to take pictures for my next article. Nevada will be adding almost 1500 student beds in on and off campus housing in the next two years. They claim the need for more housing is justified, but the numbers do not add up. If they are wrong, rental and housing prices will take a nosedive in the Reno community. The impact to local renters could be severe enough to cause a new foreclosure crisis.

More to come. 

Too Many Degrees

The Celsius system is the definition of simple. The Fahrenheit system is the definition of stupid

The Celsius system is the definition of simple. The Fahrenheit system is the definition of stupid

281°  America is the dumbest when it comes to measurement units. We refuse to accept the metric system, which are intelligently designed units. Instead, we have stuck to the Fahrenheit scale for temperature — a system that has too many degrees.

In the Celsius system, zero is freezing. Anything below zero is really cold. Zero to ten is cold, and ten to fifteen degrees is cool. At 20 to 30 degrees most humans are comfortable, but anything over 30 degrees is hot. That’s it. Fahrenheit has no easy numbers to go by when equating temperature to human experience.

It’s time we switched to the same units that the rest of the world uses.

Can’t Afford Beauty?

Building functional structures defines humans, building beauty defines humanity

Building functional structures defines humans, building beauty defines humanity

187°  If beauty is not part of any physical structure, then we have betrayed ourselves. Beauty adds to the cost of building anything, but ugly subtracts from our lives. Russia and East Germany have many examples of buildings for purpose, but not beauty…and look at the morale of the people were who forced to live among the utilitarian housing, factories, and offices.

Before any construction worker picks up a hammer, before the engineer creates a blueprint, the artist should create the image that people will see.

When Cars Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Cars

I'm in control, so get government off my back!

I’m in control, so get government off my back!

13°  I bought this car. I OWN this car, so why should I have to take it in tomorrow for its 50,000 mile servicing? It will probably cost me $100 OF MY MONEY!

AND THEN I have to PAY for a Smog Check so I can PAY to have a little square sticker on my license plate that will have a ’15’ on it. I don’t even get a whole license plate! I say again, I OWN this car, so I have to pay someone for the privilege of driving it? Who cares if I’m polluting? If people want clean air they should go get a job and make some money so they can take a vacation where there is clean air!

But it doesn’t stop there. I have to PROVE I have insurance on the car to get that little sticker with the ’15’ on it. WHY? Why should I have to buy insurance? If I’m in an accident, it’s between me and the other guy, and if he wants money he can sue me…and good luck with that!

If we keep going this way, pretty soon NOBODY will be able to afford to buy cars and then see what happens. There will be fewer cars on the road, and people will have to take the bus, and then the illegal immigrants will want abortions, and then..then, the Apocalypse!

Well, I’m ready for it. I’ve got my gun and you don’t need any licenses, permits, or stickers for that. Just point and shoot. Point and shoot. Point and shoot….actually, you don’t even really need to point it. Just shoot!

It’s Not Time!

No! Snow is coming. Don't leaf out yet!

No! Snow is coming. Don’t leaf out yet!

180°  I want Spring to arrive as much or more than most, but February is the wrong month for our trees to decide it’s Spring. Within a few days our plum tree will be leafing out and Global Warming or not, we will have another major snow storm before June.

We have had several days of 60°F plus and the trees don’t know that this is all an evil trick. Trees will leaf out, it will snow, branches will break, ….it’s all happened before. To bad trees can’t be reasoned with, forewarned about what will happen based on our past experience. People, you can warn….but they don’t listen, and they become just like trees.

The Sympathy Strategy

Pit-y, pit-ee: See dog in back of pickup

Pit-y, pit-ee: See dog in back of pickup

175°  Today I saw a dog on a short leash in the back of a pickup. The dog was resting his(?) head on the side of the pickup bed and he looked pitiful. Everything about this dog said, “My master has abandoned me here, I’m sad, do you have any treats?”

Humans, most humans, have a great capacity to respond to perceived unfairness. It is a useful tool for those who seek to manipulate other people. People who create problems have learned that if they disguise the problem that they have created as a response to an injustice, then they can gain the sympathy of others.

This week in Colorado, a conservative candidate for Governor said that State funds were being used for abortions. Of course, if you can suggest that a child is the victim, you get extra sympathy points. As it turns out, his statement was a lie and he had no proof to offer. He was just using the sympathy strategy to gain support.

Of course, I question the statement in the first place. So what if State funds are used for abortions. Doctors perform abortions and they are more qualified to make medical decisions. The last I checked this was not the Catholic United States of America, so a religious opinion does not qualify as a limitation of people who don’t believe in that opinion.

Public Building Names

Coming Soon: Another building with a ridiculous name

Coming Soon: Another building with a ridiculous name

182°  Public buildings are the prostitutes of the world of architecture. In today’s world, buildings are named after the person who gives the most money. I can live with that, because the family name associated with the building will eventually take on a life of its own. The name will be shortened, abbreviated, or changed completely by the people who use it. Few will know anything about the person for which it was named.

On the campus of the University of Nevada in Reno, the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center will join the Pennington Health Sciences Building and the Pennington Medical Education Building. If you haven’t guessed it by now Pennington was a Nevada gaming tycoon. Since the newest Pennington building will be near the center of campus, it would not be surprising if it becomes referred to as Penn Center, but time will tell.

What I do take issue with is the rest of the name. Some organizations seem to be in a contest for the most complicated building name. The University of Nevada must be winning. “Student Achievement Center” is one of those titles that scream, we’re-trying-to-disguise-the-reason-this-building-exists. The National Security Agency doesn’t have a building they call ‘Spy Operations,’ but you know they have at least one.

In this case, the name is used to refer to all those programs and services that are required to help Nevada’s under educated high school graduates. It’s a great idea and I can understand why they wouldn’t call it ‘Pennington Stupid Students Senter,’ but isn’t the university being a little optimistic by calling it an ‘Achievement Center?’

I guess if they called it for what it is, no one would give money for the building, but if smart people don’t understand the name, how are the intellectually challenged going to understand it? Maybe they should call it the Pennington Party Center and put neon signs in the windows that say, “Free Beer,” and “Ladies Nite.” The students who need ‘achievement services’ will be able to find it blindfolded with one leg tied behind their back. 

The All Important 1%

It's a long way to the next place with air, but right now our air has a problem

It’s a long way to the next place with air, but now our air has a problem

250°  Air is a good thing. In fact, one might even say that if someone were off-Earth for business or pleasure, they might find air more important than even sex.

For those of us who don’t frequent outer space, air is almost taken for granted…but we shouldn’t.

Last night I had the pleasure of talking to a graduate student who is finishing up his doctorate this year. His field is atmospheric studies, in particular, the amount of infrared radiation (energy) being absorbed and re-emitted by particles or aerosols in our atmosphere.

Breakdown of our atmosphere

Breakdown of our atmosphere

He reminded me that 99% of the air around Earth is Nitrogen (78%) or Oxygen (21%.) Those two elements don’t absorb or transmit infrared radiation. Only 1% of our atmosphere is affected by infrared radiation. One percent controls the amount of energy retained or emitted in our air.

When scientists talk about global warming, they are talking about the mechanisms that drive and control the behavior of our atmosphere. One percent. It is the penny in our dollar that will determine whether our children and their children spend all their time and money on fixing what we screwed up, or on moving forward into a bright new future.

I would suggest that we literally and figuratively stop pouring coal (and other carbon-based fuels) into the engine that is energizing our atmosphere.