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ABC Anchor Just Says “No”

A plethora of local TV talent turned out for the ABC 7 Family Health & Caregiver Expo this weekend, to sit on stools, sign some autographs and, of course, talk about the importance of being healthy. In addition to headliners Maureen Bunyan and Alison Starling, anchor Beverly Kirk, reporter Adam Caskey and meteorologist Brian van de Graaff all made it by to show off their toothy grins (no cavities in sight) and meet and greet thousands of local attendees.

kirkhealthy.jpgKirk, who joined ABC NewsChannel 8 in January after a long reporting stint at NBC News Channel, was especially buoyant during her two-hour appearance on Saturday afternoon. While the newscaster normally likes to focus on biotechnology issues, she said it was great to be at the health fair, seeing “all kinds of happy people coming in out of the heat” (although one older gentleman was disheartened to see Kirk at the booth instead of Starling — “Where is Alison?” he repeatedly asked Kirk, who just smiled and said that the cheery morning anchor had already left). She added that she was a little jealous that Kyle Osborne is able to bike and run between newscasts, but due to an old knee injury, she has to take it a bit easier. Still, she enjoys doing gyrotonics, pilates, and playing an occasional game of tennis.

“We always try to look good,” she said of her fellow newscasters,”so we try to be healthy.”

drunkenbrain.jpgDespite a bit of good-natured prodding, Kirk would not step inside the “drunken brain” tent, sponsored by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, suggesting that she’s normally “a bit of a teetotaller.” And there was no word on whether Kathleen Matthew’s impending exit from the ABC 7 newsroom will lead to a healthier journalism environment overall.

Gannon, Couric & Blitzer Vie for Audience

Washington Whispers’ Paul Bedard gives us an update on Jeff Gannon’s book progress (summary: not much has changed since the last time Gannon gave an update). The book will discuss “what happened to me and why it happened and what it means for the future of journalism.” FishbowlDC can also tell you that Gannon says a portion of the book will focus on hate mail he’s received as a result of his column for the Washington Blade. He’s also going to share tales of how people within the gay-focused newspaper treat the former male escort on a daily basis.

Bedard did give us some news to ponder with his coverage of Katie Couric’s raid on Washington, saying that she’s taking the time before her first big CBS Evening News broadcast to “reintroduce herself to key Republicans and Democrats.” Don’t they know her toothy grin by now? Couric, of course, is trending in Wolf Blitzer territory here, who, Bedard notes, is celebrating his first year as host of the Situation Room. The anchor has apparently lost twenty pounds thanks to the “grueling pace” of the show and the fact that he likes to keep himself well-hydrated. Let’s hear it for water.

Poll of the Day: Reporters Are Like Magicians?

That very well may be the case, because we’re all apparently using sleight of hand tricks in covering politicians these days, according to presidential adviser Karl Rove in a speech he gave Saturday at George Washington University:

“It’s odd to me that most of these critics are journalists and columnists,” the Associated Press quoted him as saying. “Perhaps they don’t like sharing the field of play. Perhaps they want to draw attention away from the corrosive role their coverage has played focusing attention on process and not substance.”

Does he mean substance as in the President Bush’s handling of the War in Iraq, the War in Lebanon, or that ongoing Snafu with North Korea? Let’s put it to a vote:

Hitchens: An Inspiration

Christopher Hitchens, we’ve got some good news and some bad news.

The good news is, you’re the inspiration for a character in Woody Allen’s new flick “Scoop,” about a cub reporter (Scarlett Johansson (who would certainly make the Hot List, we assure you).

The bad news? According to Editor and Publisher, actor Ian McShane rumpled older reporter character physically on “the man he calls ‘the old British hack,’ Christopher Hitchens.”

To Leak or Not To Leak?

WaPo’s Marc Fisher

weighs in on comments made by former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines about lawyers who leak (oh, that doesn’t sound pretty).

Seems that Raines thinks most information leaks about ongoing court cases to the press come from lawyers, and Fisher seems to agree, saying, “As a reader, when I read some phrase such as ‘a source close to the situation’ or ‘a source involved in the negotiations’ or ‘a source who had firsthand access to the principals,’ I assume–and I pretty much know–that the information came from the lawyers working on whatever case I’m reading about.”

Does that mean reporters today will be headed for the closest copy of Martindale-Hubbell today to bolster their story output?

Ahrens On The Enron Trial

WaPo’s Frank Ahrens writes for the American Journalism Review that he believes there’s room in the world of journalism for traditionalists, as well as the more recent kids on the block, news bloggers.

Ahrens got a taste of doing both at the same time while covering the recent Enron trial in Houston for the Post, and suggests that the news blog, which he sees as a combination of news and opinion, is probably more interesting and less likely to cause readers to fall asleep while getting their dose of current events.

“It should be clear by now that personality is key to building a news audience, be it via print, Web, radio or video. I compare a news blogger to the character of the stage manager in ‘Our Town’: not a player in the drama, but indispensable to its telling. The casting of the role is critical; a boring stage manager will ruin the play.”

Summer Reading

If you’re looking for some “lite” reading, some area pundits and reporters are taking a break from their craft and hitting the book tour trail in town in the coming week. Local independent book seller Politics and Prose will be hosting three of them:

Tonight at 7 p.m., Geoffrey Nunberg, a Berkeley professor and NPR commentator will be reading from his just-released book, with the roll-off-your-lips title, Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show.

This weekend, you can catch Peter Beinart, editor-at-large of the New Republic talking about his book The Good Fight, about “why liberals—and only liberals—can win the War on Terror and make America great again.”

Monday, Thomas E. Ricks, WaPo’s Pentagon correspondent stops by Politics and Prose to promote his book, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, a look at the current Iraq war, which includes criticism about the conduct of the war that comes from some of the “top the American military establishment itself.”

Politics and war make such great beach reading!

Amy and Roxy Pick Dana

DC gossip worlds collide. The Reliable Sourcettes fielded a question about the Fishbowl Hot DC Media Type contest during their chat (scroll down) today:

    Medialand, D.C.: So where’s the smart money on the hottest journos in D.C. contest over on Fishbowl? Will we be seeing photos (Finally!) of the lovely Reliable Source ladies when they are, as they surely will be, finalists?

    Amy Argetsinger: Dana Milbank is emerging as frontrunner this year. Vote early and often!

And to the anonymous tipster who wondered how to nominate someone, either shoot an email to patrick AT mediabistro DOT com or drop a note in the anonymous tips box (although we love you long time if you send an email with a pic).

1, 2, 3, 4! We Don’t Want No Stinkin’ War!

Former Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger takes on Tikkun about the current war coverage in the Middle East in her Poynter online column,
An Open Letter to Rabbi Michael Lerner

Lerner, in his piece, suggests that “cheerleading journalists” and militarists are contributing to the suffering in the Middle East.

Medsgar fires back by saying, “What journalists are cheering? This strong and awful description of journalists, especially at this crucial beginning point of your essay, is never returned to for explanation. It seems as though you believe it is acceptable to ridicule all journalists who are covering the current conflicts in the Middle East. I deeply regret the possibility that someone as empathetic about circumstances and careful about fact as you are would feel free to ridicule journalists with that wide brush.”

L.A. Times Profiles Anschutz

Washington Examiner publisher and owner (and historically media shy personality) Philip Anschutz was described as “the Wizard of Oz” in an L.A. Timesspecial report over the weekend. In addition to being on the road to creating a newspaper empire, he owns The Washington Examiner, The San Francisco Examiner and The Baltimore Examiner.

Anschutz apparently is also after the title of “real estate mogul,” at least in Los Angeles, where his projects include the Staples Center and the Harbor Freeway.

According to one economist quoted for the article, “‘[Anschutz] is the man behind the curtain pulling the levers. Nobody sees him, yet he has a huge impact on Los Angeles.’ ”

Mr. Anschutz, could you be the man behind the curtain in Washington, too? D.C.’s infrastructure could really use your help … could you spare a little pocket change to fix a few of our infamous potholes and work our way up from there?