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PODCAST EPISODE #58: Carolyn Hall & Sierra Starks, hosts, Women on Deadline

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Our jobs as journalists almost always begin with listening. We listen to our communities for story ideas, our audience for feedback, and our interview subjects for a piece’s deeper meaning.

But how well do we listen to the concerns of our co-workers?

Last month the Harvey Weinstein accusations and #MeToo hashtag refocused attention on issues that have never left: sexual harassment and gender and power imbalance in the workplace. I appreciate the strength of every woman and man who has come forward. I hope their efforts do more than capture a momentary spotlight; I hope they achieve systemic change.

But change begins with communication, and I choose to point my comparatively tiny spotlight to a pair of journalists who are amplifying the voices of women in TV news.

Carolyn Hall worked for many years as an elite photojournalist. Sierra Starks has swung from magazines to TV and now reports and fill-in anchors in Monterey, California. They are the hosts of a new podcast: Women on Deadline, which emphasizes *her* experience in TV news. By Episode 3, they had tackled the challenges of solo video journalism, the issues that creep into many local newsrooms, and – in the most revealing episode for this reporter – the extension of #MeToo.

Hall and Starks join me on Episode #58 of the Telling the Story podcast.

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3 GREAT STORIES: Starring a fallen star, Conan, & hockey in Iowa

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.

Last week I spoke of wanting to include more pieces of straight-ahead reporting in this column, as opposed to pieces of opinion and analysis.

Two of the stories chosen this week are strong examples of such storytelling: taking newsworthy items and presenting them in a creative way.

The third is a clip from Conan O’Brien.

(Two out of three ain’t bad, I guess …)

For Victor Page, reality of fall from stardom difficult to grasp (10/15/13, Washington Times): Interestingly, this story is labeled as “analysis/opinion” by the Washington Times.

But I found it a powerful example of enterprise journalism about a one-time local legend.

Nathan Fenno writes about the fall from grace for former Georgetown basketball star Victor Page, who is currently in jail. Despite signing an agreement to do the interview with Fenno, Page insists on getting paid and forces the writer to talk with the player’s former agent instead.

This is a tough, sad read.

But Fenno allows that sadness to speak for itself. He does not interject his own opinions or flowery words; he realizes the power in simply recounting his futile attempts to get Page to speak.

And when he does finally find Page’s agent, Fenno has to break the bad news of Page’s imprisonment. It is one of several brutal exchanges.

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PODCAST EPISODE #2: Ed Kilgore, Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Famer

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At the end of my latest podcast interview, with my former co-worker and dean of Buffalo sportscasters Ed Kilgore, the former WGRZ-TV sports anchor reminded me of a conversation we once had during a slow moment at work.

Apparently (and I vaguely remember this), I asked Kilgore — in all sincerity — if he felt Tommy Lee Jones had underachieved.

And then, he recalls, we seriously discussed this topic for several minutes.

Such is the spirit of Ed Kilgore. He is a man who enjoys discussion, no matter what the topic. I shared a cubicle with Kilgore during my time at WGRZ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Buffalo, and I always knew I could rope him into a deep conversation if I so desired. Kilgore, like myself, enjoys thinking about and dissecting topics — even a topic as seemingly silly as Tommy Lee Jones’ movie career.

Kilgore joined me for Episode #2 of the Telling the Story podcast. A quick bio: he worked at WGRZ-TV for 40 years before retiring last month. He covered four Super Bowls, the Miracle on Ice, and pretty much every big recent sporting event involving the city of Buffalo. He was inducted in 2010 to the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and he is by far the most famous sports anchor to have graced Western New York.

In the podcast, we touched on very little of this, because the last decade of Kilgore’s broadcasting career was arguably the most interesting in the context of storytelling. He saw his role change, learning how to edit highlights and becoming a force on social media, and experienced a much darker period in Buffalo sports (the NFL’s Bills have not made the playoffs in more than a decade, and the NHL’s Sabres have not played in a Stanley Cup since 1999).

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