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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Finnegan’

LA Times Wins Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism

The LA Times has won the prestigious Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism for the paper’s 18-month, 6-part investigation into the $5.7 billion plan rebuild nine community colleges in Los Angeles. Michael Finnegan and Gale Holland were the lead reporters on the pieces, along with investigative reporter Paul Pringle, data specialists Doug Smith, Sandra Poindexter and Ben Welsh and graphics producer Raul Ranoa.

“This was an extraordinarily challenging reporting assignment that documented pretty much every abuse of the public trust that could be made by public officials when they have a lot of taxpayer money to spend,” said Bingham award judge Walter Robinson. “This was an important public works project whose biggest beneficiaries should have been working class community college students. Instead, the funds were used to award lucrative contracts to politically connected companies, with lax oversight. The result, richly documented and compellingly presented by the Times, was wasteful spending for inferior design, shoddy construction, excessive and unchecked billing practices, and a boondoggle for the relatives and friends of many of the decision-makers. This work by the Times is a stark reminder of the importance of the watchdog role the press plays when government spends scarce public funds.”

The Bingham award comes with a $20,000 prize. Not too shabby. Congrats to all involved!

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CA Right-Wing Radio Becomes Victim of Right-Wing Conspiracy

ON AIR.JPGAfter the Republicans were in power for eight years (with totally unchecked and unprecedented power for six years), the economy tanked. Tanked like very few people alive have ever seen. Big old sloppy right-wing valued, freed market meltdown – tank.

And because of wide-reaching powers becoming a wide-reaching recession, the once wide-reaching California right-wing radio is the latest casualty of the economy.

LAT’s Michael Finnegan reports:

But for all the anti-tax swagger and the occasional stunts by personalities like KFI’s John and Ken, the reality is that conservative talk radio in California is on the wane. The economy’s downturn has depressed ad revenue at stations across the state, thinning the ranks of conservative broadcasters.

For that and other reasons, stations have dropped the shows of at least half a dozen radio personalities and scaled back others, in some cases replacing them with cheaper nationally syndicated programs.

Casualties include Mark Larson in San Diego, Larry Elder and John Ziegler in Los Angeles, Melanie Morgan in San Francisco, and Phil Cowen and Mark Williams in Sacramento.

Didn’t the monster Dr. Frankenstein created eventually kill him and his family?

LAT In 90 Seconds

They’re With Stupid: We applaud the LAT effort to sex up its Web coverage with video, but why does that video have to come from KTLA? The incomparably stupid report by a star-struck, ill-prepared Jaime Chambers detracts from Dan Morain and Michael Finnegan measured story about Barack Obama‘s Beverly Hills fundraising effort. At one point, after showing shot after shot of fancy cars driving up to the funciton, Chambers says, “Ron Howard just walked by.” Yeah? How about catching that on film, Jaime? The idiocy continues as he talks to a random Obama detractor who says she’s going to vote for McCain. The detractor’s name? Cindy Cheney. Any relation? We’ll never know: Chambers DIDN’T ASK HER.

41775506-22104628.jpgAt Least Someone Is Making a Smart Call The LAT might not be wise enough to leave KTLA in the cold, but at least the Obama camp is. From the piece mentioned above: “Lest anyone be diverted by the Hollywood spectacle Tuesday evening, Obama’s campaign denied TV crews access to the mansion and hotel events.”

41944255-29110756_preview.jpgAP TV The LAT thankfully had the sense to go with the AP’s video on this story about how Alaska state employees are refusing to honor subpoenas in the Sarah Palin Troopergate scandal… though, a perverse part of us would love to see how Jaime Chambers would have handled that story.

LAT In 90 Seconds

42299559.jpgGibson on Palin, Finnegan on Gibson: Charlie Gibson was tough on Sarah Palin in the first of their two ABC interviews, but we think Michael Finnegan was even tougher on Gibson: “Gibson, however, mischaracterized her as simply asserting that the nation’s leaders were sending troops to Iraq on a task from God. (snip) Gibson went on to take a second part of her comments out of context.”

palin_500.jpgGibson on Palin, McNamara on Gibson: Mary McNamara had a clearer (we think) take on the whole interview: “Everyone seemed to forget that this is a vice presidential candidate, a public servant who should not be playing hard to get with reporters and whose main job it is to articulate the positions and policies of her ticket. Even Gibson acted as if he feared this might be the one shot the entire Fourth Estate gets, conducting what was essentially a high-level, high-pressure interview with a job candidate who quickly revealed that her skill set is heavy on can-do-attitude, and light on company policy comprehension.”

PH2008091200448.jpgMcCain on Fact-checkers, Rainey on McCain: James Rainey comes to the defense of news organizations like FactCheck.org: “News organizations and these admirable truth-squadding outfits, including PolitiFact.com, do not collaborate. But in independent news reports and commentaries this week, they seemed to reach a consensus to say ‘enough’ to the McCain camp’s efforts to demonize Barack Obama.”

LAT in 90 Seconds

Better Than A Shrimp On A Hamster Wheel: Reporters Mark Z. Barabak and Michael Finnegan call the YouTube/CNN Democratic debates a success. And by success, they mean that somehow democracy was served by having presidential hopefuls respond to questions posed by a snowman.

lilomug.jpgLindsay Lohan Arrested on Suspicion of DUI While Chasing Her Assistant’s Mother In An SUV And Wearing An Alcohol Ankle Bracelet. Oh, And She Allegedly Had Cocaine In Her Pocket: Some people make this too easy.

27754872.jpgJoke Theivery: Reporter Robert W. Welkos totally stole our idea to do a story about comedians who steal jokes. But we forgive him for these two interesting facts in his story: Milton Berle’s mom used to write down other comics’ jokes and give them to him, and Bill Cosby admits to lifting a bit from George Carlin early in his career. Carlin, apparently, was so disgusted he never talked to Cosby.