21Nov
GMA INTRO

#GoodMorningAtlanta: Photos from 11/17-11/21

In October 2014 I began posting a photo every weekday morning with the hashtag #GoodMorningAtlanta. The goal? To inspire, enlighten, or just plain help others start their day with a smile. See each week’s photos by clicking on the #GoodMorningAtlanta category, and view the daily photo by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

One of the crown jewels of the city of Atlanta is its botanical gardens.

And one of the crown jewels of the botanical gardens is its holiday lights display.

I do not normally go wild for holiday cheer, but here I make an exception. The display is elegant, ornate, and timeless, with unique experiences to be found every year. Here are some photos from this year’s display, which just opened this past weekend.

Read More »

19Nov
picstitch

Tom Brokaw, Brenda Wood, and learning from legends

An icon was in the building, and everyone knew it.

Technically, he was on the phone, but that did not matter to the 20 students in the Broadcast Writing class at Northwestern University.

We were juniors in college, we were aspiring anchors and reporters, and we were about to speak to Tom Brokaw.

The whole situation had taken everyone by surprise. We had arrived at the TV lab for our usual class, only to be greeted by the chair of our broadcast department, Joe Angotti.

“I think we’re going to be able to get Brokaw on the phone,” he announced.

Angotti, I should mention, was once Brokaw’s executive producer at NBC Nightly News. We students already knew that fact and revered Angotti accordingly, but we never expected this.

The man can just summon Tom Brokaw on an ordinary weekday afternoon? What other mystical powers does he possess?

But our questions about Angotti quickly gave way to our excitement about Brokaw.

He’s calling? Right now? About what?

And then, once the A/V folks in the journalism lab had patched Brokaw’s call to the classroom’s speaker system, we waited until …

“Hello?”

That voice — part gravel, part gravitas — confirmed our hopes. Tom Brokaw was on the line. Read More »

17Nov

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring November sweeps

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

Bay Area photographer uses kite to capture bird’s-eye view (11/11/14, KGO-TV): November, in TV terms, is a giant ratings month.

Naturally, numerous local TV stations use the month to unleash some of their strongest work.

Such is the case with this clever visual piece from KGO-TV multimedia journalist Wayne Freedman. The industry veteran has received enough awards and done enough powerful stories to fill a book.

The good news is: he can practice what he preaches. Freedman tells the story of a local photographer who has published his own book, featuring photos from a camera the author attaches to a kite. Freedman uses the kite as a photographic device; he combines it with some heartfelt storytelling to produce a smile-worthy piece. Read More »

14Nov
Good Morning Atlanta INTRO 2

#GoodMorningAtlanta: Photos from 11/10-11/14

In October 2014 I began posting a photo every weekday morning with the hashtag #GoodMorningAtlanta. The goal? To inspire, enlighten, or just plain help others start their day with a smile. See each week’s photos by clicking on the #GoodMorningAtlanta category, and view the daily photo by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

I remember my utter delight the first year I moved down south.

Accustomed to seeing the leaves change colors in September and October, I could not help but be pleasantly surprised when the fall foliage appeared in Atlanta in November.

This week, one final look at the fall colors, this time from Georgia’s Cloudland Canyon and Red Top Mountain State Parks.

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12Nov
Glenn Stout

PODCAST EPISODE #21: Glenn Stout, Series Editor, Best American Sports Writing

Play

I have spent a lot of time on this site talking about my annual tradition.

Every year, around this time, I purchase the Best American Sports Writing anthology and go to town. I crack it open and find 25 of the year’s finest pieces of sports writing. I read them, learn from them, and get inspired by them.

While I work in television, I can honestly say I have been affected professionally by these annual collections of print journalism. I always walk away with various insights on how to connect as a storyteller, from structure to character development to perspective.

Beyond that, quite simply, I leave with a better understanding of the world. That is the inevitable result of reading 25 stories that make you ponder, wonder, and feel.

For me, the Best American Sports Writing series has always been special.

And for that reason, so is this podcast.

My guest: Glenn Stout, series editor of the Best American Sports Writing anthology. Read More »

10Nov

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Amazon, Isaiah Austin, & insurance

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

The War of the Words (December 2014, Vanity Fair): It lasts six web pages and covers so much, but this story impresses me most because of its restraint.

Writing for Vanity Fair, Keith Gessen discusses the landscape surrounding the current battle between Amazon and book publishers, who feel they are being squashed by a behemoth. He gives a great summary of the current disputes; more importantly, he provides powerful context.

Isn’t it funny how Amazon was initially seen as a force of good for the publishing industry, a counterpoint to the giant chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders? Now Amazon is the giant, and in many ways, Gessen writes, its ascendance represents the more cyclical nature of business rather than a sea change. This poignant paragraph sums it up:

The dispute between Amazon and the publishers is a dispute between an e-commerce giant and companies that have for generations been printing text on paper. In some respects it is also a dispute between the East Coast and the West Coast. It is definitely a dispute between hyper-capitalism and cultural conservation. But in the end it is a dispute that comes down to different visions of the future of the written word.

Read More »

7Nov
Snowvember INTRO

#GoodMorningAtlanta: Photos from 11/3-11/7

In October 2014 I began posting a photo every weekday morning with the hashtag #GoodMorningAtlanta. The goal? To inspire, enlighten, or just plain help others start their day with a smile. See each week’s photos by clicking on the #GoodMorningAtlanta category, and view the daily photo by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

This week’s theme? Snow. In Georgia. In November.

It happened … and I naturally chose to hike in it.

The fall colors of the north Georgia mountains faced a mighty challenge this past weekend from four inches of white. Snow fell atop the highest points in Georgia, and it created a beautiful winter wonderland. Enjoy: Read More »

5Nov
IMG_2232

5 lessons from the Best American Sports Writing Stories of 2014

I said it last year, and I’ll say it again:

One of my favorite fall traditions is opening the annual anthology of the Best American Sports Writing series.

In this space alone, I have spoken of its influence on my career, interviewed a writer whose work has been featured in the anthology, and thanked one columnist whose entry more than a decade ago touched my heart.

Now, the fall has arrived once again, and so has this year’s collection.

And, much as it did last year and every year, the 2014 edition of the Best American Sports Writing anthology provides both inspiration and valuable journalistic lessons.

Here are five such lessons from five stories that made this year’s cut: Read More »

3Nov
times square

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Putin, Times Square, & rollercoasters

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

Putin’s friend profits in purge of schoolbooks (11/1/14, New York Times): The day after this article was published, it ranked among the most viewed stories on NYTimes.com.

And it should have. This is the type of hard-hitting, well-researched journalism that is claimed by so many to be missing.

New York Times writers Jo Becker and Steven Lee Myers present a sobering situation taking place in Russia: the country’s Ministry of Education and Science has cut more than half of the 14 million books allowed to be used in school, with one lone exception: a publishing house, Enlightenment, whose newly appointed chairman once worked very closely with President Vladimir Putin.

The whole article is fascinating, but the most powerful paragraph comes early on:

“The country is now run by a few families, or clans, close to Putin,” said one publisher, who like many others spoke only on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. “They used to focus on the very biggest businesses: oil, gas, big infrastructure projects, the banks. But now that they have eaten all the food in that cupboard, they are eating the mice, and the mice’s food, going after smaller and smaller markets.”

Read More »

31Oct
P1090311 copy

#GoodMorningAtlanta: the week’s photos from 10/27-10/31

In October 2014 I began posting a photo every weekday morning with the hashtag #GoodMorningAtlanta. The goal? To inspire, enlighten, or just plain help others start their day with a smile. See each week’s photos by clicking on the #GoodMorningAtlanta category, and view the daily photo by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

This week’s theme? The fall colors in northeast Georgia. The photos below are from October trips to Black Rock Mountain State Park and Tallulah Gorge State Park, both of which are currently seeing peak fall foliage. Read More »

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