Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Not Your Father's Press Conference

Hey, here’s something you’ve never heard me say before: "Mmm-Hmm. I’m sorry I missed that press conference.” Now, before you demand to know what I’ve done with the real Stewart Pittman, lemme 'splain...

Intrigue is afoot in Greensboro. At first, the bungled regime change of the city’s police department held little interest for me. I’m all for bureaucratic uproar, mind you - but the cries of racism and political wrongdoing in the Wray Case sounded an awful lot like the kinds of stories I’d covered before in other Southern cities. Happily, I avoided those assignments like the plague I believed them to be, training my lens on the happier side of the newscasts instead. But last week, as I slogged through a profile of an upscale clothier thirty miles away, news hawks of every description gathered around a podium at City Hall and a new media feeding frenzy ensued. Throw in coffee and donuts at the end and you may have the perfect presser…

But it wasn’t just the salacious source material. Sexual skylarking, dirty police and tracking devices - they’re the ingredients of a buddy cop blockbuster, all right. Just ask Jerry Bledsoe. Currently, the best selling author is doling out weekly morsels of the steamy controversy in his serialized investigation of the Wray matter - and moving lots of copies of a certain free weekly in the process. If that weren’t enough, the Gate City’s aggressive bloggeratti is also on the case, offering weekly synopsis, color commentary, and staggered jabs at satire. Whether you consider the whole affair to be proof positive of widespread corruption or a sordid witch hunt, even the most casual news consumer has to admit the coverage is cutting-edge. Take Friday’s microphone fiesta:

Alarmed at the weekly bombshells being lobbed by Bledsoe and the aftershock of blogger analysis, the city leaders called a news gathering to announce their answer to the swirl of cyber-chatter: their own website! Brilliant! Or so they thought. Truth is, the city only made it worse for themselves, for the gallery of rogues present at their podium were more than just the usual suspects. Sure the local newspaper and four TV news outlets showed up, but so did the citizenry - a plugged-in populace that make up for their lack of fancy lenses with their encyclopedic knowledge of the whole sensational mess. It’s that kind of acumen that can shame the professional chattering class come ‘question and answer time‘. Did the speakers squirm more at questions lobbed by the over-coiffed, or was it the insistent queries of the laptop press that made them fumble their attempted spin?

Hard to tell. But one thing’s for sure, the way this story is being unfurled is just as interesting as the myriad of misdeeds it chronicles. Whether you peruse the hard copy of each week’s installment, skim a local physician’s timely summations, admire the collation of a prophetic columnist, or chortle at a gadfly’s trenchant take - there are countless ways to absorb all this local shock and awe. As for me, I still check in with the lights and lenses crowd, surf my favorite aggregator and top it off with a local editor’s newspaper view. Maybe then I’ll be able to coherently dish the dirt with those linked above and many, many more - as Greensboro’s vibrant cyber-scene coalesces at that yearly summit known forever more as ConvergeSouth. It’s free, smart and perhaps a little hip. I’ll be there, ruining the cool ratio and looking for YOU.

3 comments:

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in-gun-ear said...

OT: You should have hauled your lens over to Ed Cone's and did that promo shoot for Converge South with Amanda Cogdon.

Carolyn said...

you know....

After leaving news, I went into academia - and am currently working on a PHD in technical and Professional Communication - my area of interest is crisis communication. I just read an article about how govt and corproations are turning to the internet in times of crisis to disseminate info - precisely BECAUSE of the increasingly plugged in public. I think I'm going to send the link to this post to my classmates. STU: CHECK YOUR E_MAIL. I'm in town, and would love to see you.