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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Williams’

The FishbowlDC Interview With WTOP’s ‘Brickin Brackin Sassafrassin’ JJ Green

Say hello to WTOP’s National Security Correspondent JJ Green, who has worked at the station since 2004. Asked for his thoughts on new versus old media, he replied, “I’ve always been sort of forward leading when it comes to technology. The title for my senior thesis for broadcast journalism was ‘Selected Implications of Satellite Electronic Surveillance.’” Mr. Smartypants graduated from Hampton University, near Virgina Beach. “I had no idea, no understanding that led me to believe I’d be involved in covering national security now. I had no clue, no interest and look where I ended up.” Green praises new media, but stresses that you still have to go that extra step of verification. “We’re so breathless now, with so many other avenues and sources for people to get their news that there is pressure individually to want to keep up and be recognized,” he said. “We have to be really careful when using social media.” Green covers global intelligence and terrorism. His career history is extensive, but we’ll give you highlights. He came to Washington in 1989 to work as a reporter for WMAL radio. After working as a weekend reporter on FOX-5 WTTG in the early 90s, he worked on air as a correspondent-in-training on ABC News NIGHTLINE. He covered various elements of the O.J. Simpson trial and race relations. Asked if he thinks O.J. was guilty, he said, “No, I did not and I do not now have an opinion on that. As a journalist, I don’t think that my opinion really counts when it comes to covering the news.” Green’s resume includes working at CNN, where he covered The Million Man March and The Balkan Peace Talks as a general assignment reporter in Washington. In the late 90s he began working for the Voice of America Television and as host and correspondent of Africa Journal while traveling extensively. Don’t try trash talking him in another language. He’s fluent in Spanish, speaks working level French and is studying Korean and Arabic. Among the problems he faces with government public affairs is they have lumped radio into one pool, so that it all appears to be talk radio. “WTOP is a news radio station not a talk radio station,” Green said fervently. “We have people who do opinion for us. It’s not designed to be a talk radio station.”  In 1996, Green landed what he looks at now as “the” job: host of C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Asked if he kept a straight face with callers, he said, “I think I laughed once while I was at C-SPAN. A caller phoned in and said ‘Dude, you dress almost as nicely as Brian Lamb.’ I cleared by throat and regained my seriousness.” Lamb is purportedly a great dresser. And Green? “I like nice clothes.”

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? One that is finished.

How often do you Google yourself? Whenever someone says “hey have you googled yourself lately?”

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? “No” is the worst I’ve ever said. Thoughts are another matter.

Have you ever goofed up on air? What happened? Yes, a colleague at a radio station, who shall not be named, sneaked into the radio studio years ago and lit my news copy on fire and I huffed and puffed my way through it.  True story.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Tavis Smiley, because one day when I used to host C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” and I was getting hammered by some guy on the phone for being political, which I was clearly not, Tavis, who was my guest, immediately pivoted from the cool intelligent scholar he is and verbally assaulted this guy on live television to get him off my back.

Do you have a favorite word? Yes… is my favorite word. No is such a waste of effort.

Who are you named after and what are people’s general reaction to your name? I’m named after JJ Green Sr. So Jessie James Green Jr. is my full name and our middle name, James, came from his mom’s maiden name. She was not inspired to name her son after a gunslinger.

Who would you rather have dinner with – NBC’s Brian Williams, CNN’s Roland Martin, ABC’s Sherri Shepherd or Fox News’ Megyn Kelly? Tell us why. I’d choose NBC’s Brian Williams, because I tell him how Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube are always cutting up at the Pentagon gaggle. No actually, I’d ask him if he wanted to switch jobs for about 10 years. Read more

Koppel: Cable TV is Cheap

On NBC’s “Rock Center” with Brian Williams last night, newsman Ted Koppel ripped into what he sees are the cheap and trashy ways of Cable News.

“What works about cable TV is it’s cheap and it makes a ton of money,” he said, in a segment in which he interviewed conservative author and commentator Ann Coulter, comedian and HBO host Bill Maher and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). “It’s about the money. It’s about the fact that our bosses have had to shut down most of the foreign bureaus you and I knew when we were young correspondents. There’s nothing cheaper than a pack of talking heads.”

Hoyer had a pretty pointed comment about journalists: “Today’s journalists see their jobs as not to inform but to incite.”

 

The FishbowlDC Interview With Vintage Fashion Blogger and Olympic Sangria Drinker Lisa Rowan

Say hello to Lisa Rowan, a fashion blogger for Goodwill of Greater Washington and an online communications consultant. She contributes to the Goodwill’s fashion blog and represents the organization at events and workshops. She also writes about vintage and consignment clothing for Quarterlife202.com. Rowan formerly worked as a Community Host for TBD, but as Robert Allbritton‘s Titanic began to sink, she was laid off in March. She earned a B.A. in history from the University of Maryland and is expected to earn an M.A. in Arts and Liberal Studies from Georgetown in December, 2013. Rowan was kind enough to photograph her favorite item of clothing. She wrote in late one night to say, “I’m back and full of sangria! 1. Dress photo attached. I didn’t even Instagram it, but I did do my best to make the sparkles stand out. It’s tough when all your walls are yellow or ivory. Maybe you can run it through Blingee? 2. Resume attached for your reference. It’s pretty boring. 3. [Re: TBD] I got laid off when everyone else did. I left in mid-March, about halfway through the marathon of last-day ‘happy’ hours. (We called them ‘sad hours.’)” Follow Rowan’s unique, self-deprecating wit on Twitter at @Lisatella. As for her photograph, she says: “Please note that I don’t actually have jaundice and that one of my weak points is naming image files.”

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? Champagne.

How often do you Google yourself? With Google Alerts, self-Googling comes to you!

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? “My dad gave me the same advice.”

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Elizabeth Holmes, style reporter at the Wall Street Journal. She can embrace the fun side of her beat, but has her thumb on related economic issues, too.

Do you have a favorite word? I like a lot of words. Playing favorites would be unfair.

Who would you rather have dinner with – CNN’s Anderson Cooper or ABC’s Katie Couric or Dr. Phil. Tell us why. Anderson Cooper would be the sassiest. And he sounds like a picky eater, which would make me look like a culinary adventurer in comparison.

The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Gabby Sidibe (“Precious” etc..) or Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). Who will it be? (Neither is not an option.) Gabby Sidibe. Hollywood!

What swear word do you use most often? Fucking.

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) Ann Curry, Brian Williams, Amanda Hess, The Rev. Al Sharpton. I think Amanda and Al would get along great.

On a serious note for a moment, if you could have dinner with a person who has died, who would it be? Peter Jennings.

Who is your favorite Boybander and why? (Ezzy, Hazy, Weigel, Attackerman, Beutler) Are these not those boys from One Direction?

When you pig out what do you eat? Cookies. So many cookies.

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? We want the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible. If it’s a certain kind of underwear we don’t want to know about it. On one of my last vintage buying trips to an undisclosed location, I found a slinky evening dress by Palm Beach designer Ann Herwig that’s from some time in the early 1960s. It’s got a scoop neck, an open back, and ivory sequins from shoulder to toe. I bought it for $60, had the zipper repaired, and kept it for myself. God only knows when it will ever make it out of the closet.

Pick one: Mad Men, Scandal or True Blood. Mad Men.

Have you ever had a tarot card reading? No.

Have you ever had a near-death experience? I have felt like death on a number of occasions, but have never actually approached it.

Ever been arrested? No.

Read more

Fish Food

(A Sprinkling of Things We Think You Ought to Know…)

A book signing not to miss: WaPo Associate Editor and Pultizer Prize-winner David Maraniss will be at Politics & Prose this Wednesday at 7 p.m. to discuss his book, Barack Obama: The Story. From the site: “Starting in Kenya and Kansas before Obama’s birth, Maraniss traces the influences the future president absorbed in Hawaii, Indonesia, New York, and Chicago, influences which shaped his developing political career.”

Congresswoman Berkley disses Bloomberg scribe: It’s safe to say that NBC’s Brian Williams shouldn’t feel threatened by the latest package from Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols, who does his best ever Gayle King/Brian Ross impersonation (no, not really, we’re joking). Nichols ever so suavely visits The Source Restaurant in downtown Washington to cover a fundraiser for Las Vegas Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley‘s Senate race. In the clip we learn that House Maj. Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who invited lobbyists to the fundraiser, ate cantaloupe. We never find out what Berkley ate for breakfast because Berkley tells him how inappropriate he is when he “catches” her exciting the fundraiser and tells him to call her office, which translates loosely to: “Go to hell.” She tells him, “I think this is an inappropriate way to talk to people. You’re welcome to call my office.” Watch here.

Byers Goes BOOM!

It’s been quite a day for Politico’s Dylan Byers. He broke the story of John Stanton taking the reins of the Buzzfeed D.C. Bureau. He announced his scoop on Twitter.

Boom, indeed. It’s quite a way to announce breaking news. We’d like to see more of that from journalists. When Brian Williams kicks off the evening news, we want to see him start out with, “BOOM!!  12 children die in the latest attack in Syria!!” Byers was on a roll today and when he broke the news of Mark Leibovich being named NYT MAGAZINE Chief National Correspondent, he turned to his old friend, Boom.

Byers was forced to explain his “boom” to John Podhoretz who asked what the hell was going on with the booms. Byers tweeted, “Because I’m a media reporter. And in medialand, things go boom.”

The best reaction to this boom-fest came from Roll Call’s Meredith Shiner who tweeted the following video to Byers.

 

P90X Creator is an Exercise Whore

At the National Press Club last week, Tony Horton, creator of the popular P90X exercise regimen, led a public hour-and-a-half workout. We joined and are admittedly still sore. But before the torture we were able to sit down with him for an interview.

In addition to working out with a smattering of congressmen famous for doing P90X, Horton has worked with the first lady and is “aware that there are copies of the program in the White House.” He calls that “a real honor.”

Horton has visited Washington several times, sometimes working with the National Press Club and other times on Capitol Hill. “I just love this town!” he gushed. “I’m sort of a political junkie anyway. I watch CSPAN and MSNBC and Fox [News] and NBC Nightly News, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.” Notably, Horton didn’t mention CNN.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is Horton’s favorite TV news personality, although he accidentally called him Brian Wilson. Some fan! “Did I say Brian Wilson? I meant Williams,” he said, correcting himself. “I like him, but I don’t know his name,” Horton joked before letting loose a stream of cartoony sounds that also pepper his workout routines (“Yikes! Rzzyabbit!”). Horton’s other two favorites are Colbert and Stewart, though he wouldn’t identify who he prefers. “It’s kind of a tossup. I like them both for different reasons, ” he said. “I don’t want to say favorites because if I’m ever asked to be on one of their shows…”

At about this point, a woman interrupted our interview to greet Horton, apparently he has met her before. She complimented him on his hair, so naturally, we asked who styles it. “James back at Juan Juan,” Horton said, referencing a glitzy-sounding salon based in California. “I’m like Brad Pitt. I’m like a guy who thinks he’s in movies so I like to change it,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll just buzz it. I was on a kick last year about growing it out and I got over that… I’m just glad I have it. And it’s still coming in fairly brown.” Horton, 54, said the sides of his hair are starting to come in gray.

Back to real questions.

As with Colbert and Stewart, Horton abhors playing favorites….

Read more

Williams Says Being College Dropout is Huge Regret

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams spoke to GWU graduates on Sunday. He spoke to estimated crowd of 25,000 people on the National Mall.  At the close of his speech he implored the graduates to improve the country. “You don’t actually have to build a rocket and take us into space but please, take us somewhere,” he said. “Please keep us moving, push us, lift us up, make us better.”

Willams never graduated from GWU. He attended community college, transferred to Catholic University and then moved on to GWU. He left to intern for President Jimmy Carter’s administration.

Highlights:

  • Mr. Williams told the story of how he first arrived in Washington, D.C. – tagging along with a friend visiting his girlfriend for the weekend — and eventually to GW for a semester but not before first enrolling at Catholic University.
  • “(Catholic) have run out of dorm space and I’m a little late in applying so they find room for me in the administrative building across the street in Trinity College. There are eight of us living on the top floor: eight men and 600 Catholic women. It was fantastic.” Watch here.
  • However, Mr. Williams said with money for tuition dwindling and “the taxi meter was running,” he dropped out entirely and never went back to college.
  • “I walked out of college for the last time,” he said. “I like to say to people I was in a big hurry and I needed to go make a living, and I never looked back. But the truth is, as the last college I attended, I look back every day. And I look in the mirror, and it’s one of my great regrets. Don’t forget that by being here today that you have now achieved something I was not able to achieve.”
  • Mr. Williams acknowledged the heroics of people like Chuck Yeager and John Glenn and how there was no guarantee that their missions in the early days of the space program would be successful yet they did it anyway.
  • “When our American astronauts needed a ride up to the International Space Station, we have to ask the Russians. We don’t have a way to get them up there ourselves. It’s a last insult to Chuck Yeager. He’s still around and with us and he can see this. And it’s an insult to John Glenn who’s still with us and living in the Washington area and he can see this. It breaks their hearts and mine.”
  • Mr. Williams asked the U.S. veterans graduating to stand up for a round of applause for their service.
  • “Our civilian life and our military life are going down two separate paths. Picture it as two train tracks that don’t intersect because of the small percentage of people we call upon to fight our wars, because we don’t have a draft. You can walk door to door in this country and have to go to 250 homes before you come to a home of a military family.”

NBC’s Williams to Give GW Commencement Speech

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams will deliver George Washington University’s commencement address on May 20.

The event will take place on the National Mall.

RSVP: Media who wish to attend Commencement should RSVP by Thursday, May 17, 2012.  To RSVP, contact Latarsha Gatlin at 202-994-5631 or lgatlin@gwu.edu.

Twits on Twitter

We all know those journos who will go on and on about the importance of Twitter in today’s reporting. A new report from the Pew Research Center suggests that the value of Twitter may be slightly overblown. TWTs Jennifer Harper writes that the annual “State of the Media Report” reports the following:

“Facebook and Twitter are now pathways to news, but their role may not be as large as some have suggested. The population that uses these networks for news at all is still relatively small, especially the part that does so very often.”

In other words, using Twitter and Facebook to report isn’t a brilliant idea, but rather useful tools to help promote your already brilliant ideas. Here’s some raw data.

  • Among those who access Twitter through their computer, 85 percent say that they “never” follow through to click and read stories that are shared.
  • Among those who access Facebook through their computers, 53 percent say they “never follow up” on shared stories.

With the constant drumbeat of editors emphasizing the importance of social media, it’s a refreshing change of pace to remind journos that there is a large swath of the country that doesn’t know what the hell a Twitter is. The study reminds us that good, honest writing and reporting should be the focus of your work, not trying to make it go “viral.”

We can’t paint a clearer picture of this than looking at NBC’s Brian Williams. He’s the number one newsman in the country. He has close to a million followers on Twitter….. And he hasn’t sent out a single tweet.

Now excuse me while I tweet this. I bet this gets decent pickup.

Fish Food

(A Sprinkling of What we Think you Ought to Know…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newt’s campaign still upset about tame audience– Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich complained Tuesday about NBC’s Brian Williams requesting that the audience remain silent during Monday’s debate. After experiencing a relatively docile audience during Thursday’s debate, the Gingrich camp is now getting conspiratorial. Kevin Kellems, a senior adviser to Gingrich, accused rival Mitt Romney‘s campaign of manipulating the makeup of the audience. “They definitely packed the room [with Romney supporters],” Kellems told HuffPost. Goddammit. Where are those moon colonists when you need them?

In jealous rage, The Atlantic calls Weigel a “raging jerk”– As bitchy as journalists can be, the ones on the Republican primary campaign trail have a lot to be happy about. They’re in Florida where the temperature is hanging around a balmy 70 degrees. But that doesn’t mean The Atlantic, founded in frigid Washington, has to be happy for them. On Thursday the magazine called out the braggy tweets from journos in Florida. They called Slate‘s Dave Weigel a “raging jerk” for sending out a tweet last week in which he said, “High on the pleasantness scale: That moment the Florida sun retreats behind a cloud.” And WaPo‘s Philip Rucker is “cruel” for tweeting about the “sunset in Ormond Beach.”

Two Speakers sit down for “This Week”– Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will appear on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday to discuss his campaign and the Florida primary with ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper. Then it’s out with the old and in with the orange. Speaker John Boehner will be on after Gingrich to comment on the details of President Obama‘s State of the Union speech. Other guests: conservative columnist George Will, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, and conservative talk radio show host Laura Ingraham.

Editorial writer recalls “most embarrassing correction” of his career– After The Daily Caller‘s Matthew Lewis found glaring errors in a Thursday morning article about Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio published by Reuters, Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner offered up a quasi-defense of the wire service. In a blog post, he recalled his own time at Reuters and a mistake he once made that resulted in a dirty mudslide of corrections:

“[B]ecause it was the most important news of the day and it was rattling many markets, other Reuters reporters simply grabbed my wording to put into our stock report, bond stories, foreign exchange dispatches, and so on. So after I corrected the story, it triggered what my co-workers teased was a ‘global correction tsunami,’ as reporters throughout the world had to issue corrections because of my bungle. It was one of the moments in my career where I could have starred in a Southwest ‘Wanna get away?’ commercial.”

Klein went on to lambast Reuters for their errors Thursday, saying that it was different from his own experience because “this isn’t the type of breaking news financial news story that needs to be pumped out in minutes. It’s a longer feature that the writer and editor had more time to work on. There’s no excuse for being this sloppy.”

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