Media

Monday, May 5, 2014

FOX 21 gets slammed for Cosmos broadcast

Posted By on Mon, May 5, 2014 at 3:28 PM

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If KXRM-TV learned anything last night, it was not to mess with with people's viewing of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Apparently — and I hate to admit this based on how cool the reboot sounds, but I wasn't watching it — multitudes of duplicated commercials interrupted the program multiple times.

Of course, this wasn't just annoying: It was a conspiracy. Just ask the people on Facebook who aren't hip to the fact that FOX 21 is an affiliate, not an offspring, of FOX News.

"In a conservative evangelical town like Colorado Springs, you're 'accidentally' censoring an episode that deals heavily with evolution, climate change and the age of the earth," wrote user Tristan Schwartz. "You have a shitload to answer for. I don't believe for one second that this is outside your control. FIRE WHOEVER NEEDS TO BE FIRED."

The channel responded that the problem came from an issue with its ownership, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, and that it's seeking to re-air the episode. In a call with the Indy today, news director Joe Cole explained that the actual problem was that the wrong block of commercials was automatically queued locally, meaning they all ran at the wrong time.

Anyway, here are some angry tweets about the episode titled "The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth":

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Utilities goes on the offensive vs. Gazette

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 2:25 PM

David Neumann
  • David Neumann
In a highly unusual move, Colorado Springs Utilities has issued two public statements in the wake of two newspaper articles in efforts to have the city's position known about the Neumann Systems Group emissions control technology being installed on the Drake Power Plant downtown.

The statements are in response to two stories that appeared in the Gazette in March, both highly critical of the NSG technology. The articles quote Tim Leigh, who wasn't re-elected to City Council in 2013 after he spent two years on a campaign to discredit the technology. Leigh beat an ethics charge filed by NSG owner David Neumann, who alleged Leigh maligned his business, among other things.

The March 2 article, titled "Costs, doubts rise at Colorado Springs power plant," also quoted Boris Nizamov, a scientist who worked for Neumann:
In fall 2012, Leigh got an email from a chemist who had recently left Neumann Systems Group. Although Leigh would not disclose the name of the sender, The Gazette confirmed it was Boris Nizamov, who was instrumental in creating the Neumann technology and shares credit on 17 patents with David Neumann.

"I left NSG last summer when I came to the conclusion that NSG has no future because there will be no customers other than CSU," he wrote in the email.
The article also quoted Nizamov as saying the NSG system was initially going to cost $13 million and now is estimated at $130 million.

On March 10, Springs Utilities issued a statement titled, "Neumann System right decision for Drake."
In response to the March 2, 2014 article in The Gazette regarding emissions control at the Martin Drake Power Plant, I want to provide the following points to clarify several inaccurate and misleading statements:

The NeuStream scrubber is the correct option for Drake Power Plant to comply with emissions control requirements.

* It is cheaper and more efficient than competing scrubbers;
* Compared to other technologies NeuStream works best for the facility's
unique space requirements;
* It has lower capital, operating and maintenance costs, and
* Uses less water and power than conventional systems.

The cost of the Neumann system on which the 2011 decision was made was $121 million, which includes required plant upgrades (due to inflation current total cost projections are $131 million) compared to an independent study estimate of $168 million for conventional technology (including plant upgrades). Cost estimates quoted before 2011 are not pertinent as there was no design work done and no agreement to build scrubbers at that point.

Our 3-year testing process showed that the NSG system reliably removes 97 percent of sulfur dioxide from plant exhaust compared to 90 percent removal for conventional technology. In addition, an Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) study was performed which verified the system was scalable to the level needed and provided realistic cost estimates. Early testing indicated that the NSG scrubber could also remove nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, but we chose to go only with SOx removal based on regulatory requirements and financial considerations.

The royalties on future sales were not a factor in the decision to move forward with NeuStream. We are confident that a market exists for the scrubber, and such proceeds would always be an added benefit. Using the NSG scrubber is a sound business decision for our community even if no future sales are made.

Bruce McCormick
Chief Energy Services Officer
Colorado Springs Utilities
PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
On March 30, The Gazette came back with another article, "Cost of scrubbers at Colorado Springs power plant keeps rising." 

But Utilities jumped the gun by issuing a statement two days earlier, on March 28, with the heading "NeuStream - A Sound Investment for Our Customers."
Recent news coverage about an emissions control project at the Drake power plant has lacked complete information, and Colorado Springs Utilities would like to share the facts about the approach we are taking to meet new EPA mandates by the end of 2017.

Colorado Springs Utilities and its board selected a wet scrubber process, called NeuStream in 2011 - a technology developed by local business Neumann Systems Group (NSG). The NSG technology has been rigorously tested and is proven to control sulfur dioxide emissions. Springs Utilities recommended and the Board has supported this solution because it will allow us to meet strict federal regulations, cost less than other technologies, and accommodate the unique construction requirements of the Drake plant.

A Sound Decision

Colorado Springs Utilities is moving forward with construction of the NSG project. Our goal is to hire as many local contractors/vendors as possible to build the system, providing needed economic stimulus for the local economy.

Changing direction at this point is not in our customers' best interest. Springs Utilities has already made the majority of the required investment in the NSG project. And based upon extensive testing, we remain confident that the NSG technology remains the best approach for Drake.

Facts about Drake

Drake reliably generates about one-third of our electricity and is a key reason we can deliver cost effective electric service to our customers. Colorado Springs Utilities electric rates for residential and commercial customers are lower than both Xcel and Blackhills Energy in all categories. Additionally, Drake and all of our power plants meet or exceed all EPA air quality standards.
Answers to frequently asked questions


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Has the price increased?
The cost of the Neumann scrubber on which the 2011 decision was made was $111.8 million. When accounting for required and expected site improvements (necessary for any type of scrubber), as well as price escalation for construction and materials, the 2013 projection is $131 million. Cost estimates quoted before 2011 are not representative as there was no design work done and no agreement to build scrubbers at that point.

Does it work?

The 3-year testing process, verified by an independent 3rd party, demonstrated that the NSG system is capable of reliably removing 97 percent of sulfur dioxide from plant exhaust. An Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) study was performed which verified the system was scalable to the level needed and provided realistic cost estimates. NSG system components are commonly used in a wide variety of applications, including power plants. The proprietary NSG process has been effectively used in other applications as well.
Did NSG originally expect removal of all emissions?

Early testing demonstrated positive results for removal of SOx, NOx, particulates and CO2, and NSG believes there is market potential for removing these substances. However, Colorado Springs Utilities purchased only SOx removal to meet regulatory compliance requirements at the lowest cost for the following key reasons:

Particulate removal and mercury standards are already being met with existing emissions control equipment;
NOx removal can be achieved at lower cost using other methods, so NOx was not purchased from NSG; and
No regulatory mandate currently exists for CO2 removal.

Has Colorado Springs Utilities benefitted from the sales of NSG to other customers?

Using the NSG scrubber is a sound business decision for our community even if no future sales are made. We believe that a market exists for the scrubber, although, no other company has purchased the technology at this point. As scrubbers are sold, our agreement with the vendor allows for proceeds to benefit our customers.

Why invest $131 million on an aging coal plant?

While the Martin Drake site has been in operation for over 80 years, the three units currently in operation are units 5, 6 and 7, built in 1962, 1968 and 1974, respectively. The Drake power plant has been well maintained over the years to operate efficiently and reliably while meeting regulatory requirements. The units have had continuous runs exceeding 100 days several times in recent years, which is an industry benchmark of excellence. The plant complies with all EPA environmental regulations.

The Drake facility provides about one third of the community's electricity needs. Shutting the plant down would require purchasing power from for-profit utilities or spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a new power plant, which would have adverse rate impacts for our customers. The Utilities Board and our customers are currently reviewing a third-party study on decommissioning options and will make a recommendation on the future of the plant.
The release also contained this comparison:

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Meanwhile, NSG filed suit on March 28 against Nizamov, alleging that he signed a nondisclosure agreement when he began working as a consultant for NSG on June 21, 2004. In it, Nizamov agreed to "protect proprietary information." Nizamov left NSG Aug. 19, 2011. In December 2012, he agreed to a settlement agreement with NSG after "he made public certain confidential information about NSG that he obtained when he worked for the Company," Nuemann's lawsuit states.

Yet, the lawsuit states, he disclosed information to The Gazette for his March 2 report.

The lawsuit also alleges that Nizamov's disclosures interfered with NSG's contract with Utilities and thereby jeopardized that contract, as well as a potential new contract for scrubber technology at Ray Nixon Power Plant south of Colorado Springs.

Nizamov's response to the lawsuit characterizes the newspaper article as "the exchange of ideas in a healthy public debate regarding a public works project. Any statement made by Mr. Nizamov was simply a spontaneous remark that was injected into this debate."

The lawsuit also states that the only statement by Nizamov "that is not clearly in the public domain is the '$13 million' figure that was misquoted and relates to estimated costs of the NSG scrubber six years ago. However, a figure of 'less than $20 million' has been in the public domain for a long time."

Moreover, the response says, if Nizamov did want to inject his opinions into the debate, those statements would be protected by the First Amendment.

On Tuesday, NSG issued this release:
Neumann Systems Group, Inc. (NSG) has filed a lawsuit against Dr. Boris Nizamov alleging violations of the employment agreements he signed when he was employed by NSG. The suit is tied in part to actions by reporter Dave Phillips and the Gazette in publishing information provided to them by Tim Leigh and Dr. Nizamov. In his employment agreements with NSG, Dr. Nizamov agreed to, among other things, not disclose confidential and proprietary information that he obtained when he was employed by the company. NSG has alleged that Dr. Nizamov disclosed NSG’s confidential and proprietary information, including technical, project-specific, cost, and customer information to third parties on several occasions. An initial hearing on the case will be held Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in El Paso County District Court. Joel Neckers of Wheeler, Trigg, O’Donnell LLP will represent NSG. The hearing involves NSG’s request that the Court enter a temporary restraining order against Dr. Nizamov preventing Dr. Nizamov from disclosing information in violation of his employment agreements.

During the almost five and one-half years Dr. Nizamov was employed by NSG as a senior scientist, he received total compensation in excess of $700,000. While at NSG, Dr Nizamov was named as co-inventor on 39 US and international patents and patents pending for which NSG holds all the rights. He also gained his US citizenship during his time at NSG. When Dr. Nizamov voluntarily resigned from the company, he gave notice in writing and stated, “I appreciate the opportunity I was given at NSG and I want to thank you for it.” During his out-processing from the company less than two weeks later and after he had been denied a follow-on consulting agreement with the company, he made broad accusations of wrong doing by the company. He declined, in writing, to elaborate. Dr. Nizamov did not respond to a subsequent second written attempt by the company to obtain specifics. More recently Dr. Nizamov interviewed with Dave Philipps, reporter from the Gazette, and released an email and statements about NSG which he had previously sent to Mr. Tim Leigh under a false name.

According to recent publications, Dr. Nizamov works for a company in Denver called either Pioneer Astronautics or Pioneer Energy where his work involves development of a carbon capture system for application to enhanced oil recovery. Dr. Neumann, NSG’s President, said: “This is an area that NSG has been involved with dating back to laboratory experiments in 2007 and 2009 measurements at the Martin Drake plant. I am concerned that given Dr Nizamov’s demonstrated disregard for his legal responsibilities to protect NSG confidential and proprietary data, he may have employed NSG owned intellectual property and trade secrets in the performance of his duties at Pioneer.”

NSG is an advanced technology company conducting externally funded research and development projects in emissions controls and carbon capture. Its largest contract is for desulfurization equipment for the Martin Drake power plant owned by Colorado Springs Utilities. Most of the forty+ contracts and grants received by NSG over the past decade have been competitively awarded by the federal government. NSG is pursuing national and international market opportunities for its NeuStream® emission control and carbon capture systems. More information on NSG can be found at www.neumannsystemsgroup.com.
At a court hearing Tuesday afternoon, attended by one reporter, yours truly, District Judge Gregory Werner granted NSG's request for a temporary restraining order against Nizamov disclosing information. A hearing for a longer-term injunction is set for April 11.

Nizamov's attorney, Gregory O'Boyle, argued, "If Mr. Nizamov is commenting about information in the public domain, he has a right to do that. This agreement doesn't prevent him from doing that."

NSG's lawyer, Joel Steven Neckers, countered that Nizamov's statements have violated the confidentiality agreement. "He's done this four separate times," he said. "The information was not in the public domain when he was speaking. NSG is involved in a very public debate on its scrubber technology. Having past or current employees talking about price and other things causes harm."

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Field guide to Colorado stereotypes

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 2:07 PM

KONSTANTIN YOLSHIN / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Konstantin Yolshin / Shutterstock.com
Cliches don't become cliches unless there's an element of truth to them.

And while that's less often the case with stereotypes, Boulder magazine The Rooster recently managed to inject a bit of truth into its caricatures of Colorado "types," at least some of whom may have a ring of familiarity to you.

Maybe you'll recognize the "ex-weed dealer who won't stop calling you even though weed is legal."

Or the "mountain man who still thinks Y2K is a thing."

Or, for Manitou residents, there's the "penniless trustafarian who is only penniless in the sense that he's converted all his change to cryptocurrency."

So are they missing anybody?

Well, there's the screaming, swearing, scary, shirtless guy who's always jogging through my neighborhood. But that's a phenomenon that has yet to reach critical mass. 

Anyway, if you're feeling snarky on a Monday afternoon, you can go have a look here.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Student vote could possibly end UCCS' newspaper

Posted By on Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Part of a flyer touting the paper's efforts towards sustainability.
  • Part of a flyer touting the paper's efforts towards sustainability.
A 2010 sustainability initiative that began in a geography and environmental studies class may ultimately kill the print edition of The Scribe, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' student newspaper founded in 1966. It might all depend on how a vote plays out over the coming days.

Here's how a recent editorial described the initial 2010 vote that requires the paper to kill its print edition by Aug. 1, 2015, which 176 students voted for, and 104 against, in a campus of 8,500 at the time:

"Considering more than three times the number of students that voted to do away with this print newspaper actually pick up this print newspaper every week, it’s a tough sell to think students as a whole don’t like having this print newspaper," the piece says. "It’s a piece of history and a piece of UCCS."

"I see it as important for all students," says UCCS professor and Scribe advisor Laura Eurich (who also periodically pens a column for the Indy and often sends us interns). "Number one, we are the watchdog. And number two, it is an educational opportunity — mostly [for] communications majors but we have plenty of non-communication majors who work there. And, really, with a lack of journalism programs in the state it is a little bit of a lab for journalism. ... It would be like asking chemistry students to learn chemistry without the chemicals in the lab."

One fear is that if this follow-up vote being held from today until March 14 is unsuccessful, then a digital-only presence won't be sufficient to inform the campus. The paper currently prints around 600 copies, and just moved the process to a local printer using soy ink on biodegradable paper. Previous experiments with web exclusives yielded low readership.

"In last year's academic year, we did some online-only editions, because of budgeting, and we really did find our readership was down when it was online-only," says Eurich. "Because people don't seek it out — they pick it up because they're on their way to class and there's a rack in front of them."

The paper says it also sold around $12,000 in print advertising last year, which was used to pay back debt and offset costs normally covered by student fees. Because the newspaper's site is moving to a server hosted by UCCS, it would be unable to sell ads of any kind there.

And either way, the readership's not there, says editor-in-chief Jesse Byrnes in an email: "For some large outlets it makes sense to have an online-only format," he writes, "but The Scribe doesn't have the online readership of a BuzzFeed or HuffPo to generate the online ad revenues that we've been able to generate through print."

"We do already have an iPhone app, and our Green Action Fund has approved creating an Android app as well, so if our paperless re-resolution fails, we will have money from the Green Action Fund to create a Droid app," says Eurich. "So, no matter what platform you're on, you'll be able to have an app for The Scribe — but I still don't think that's going to make people read it. ...

"I mean, we need to be everywhere anyway, but without that print version to remind people that we exist, and if our numbers come down, I wouldn't blame student government for not funding us in the future, if we don't have a solid readership."

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Monday, January 20, 2014

The 16 best reactions to KKTV dropping the Broncos game

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Midway through the first quarter of yesterday's AFC Championship Game — which saw the Denver Broncos defeat the New England Patriots 26-16, sending Denver to its seventh Super Bowl —  KKTV's signal froze for about five minutes. Not only were hundreds of thousands of people forced to stare at Tom Brady, but the Broncos were driving (and eventually kicked a field goal to open the scoring).

"There's probably 30 computers that are all online that make the signal get to the airwaves," explained general manager Nick Matesi to the Gazette. "One of them crashed and there was no way to go around it."

This sent people, including yours truly, into paroxysms of panic, which KKTV tried to soothe with a Facebook post. Naturally, this just gave everybody a place to freak out, and what follows are some of our favorites from among the 320 comments.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

KOAA almost hires infamous anchor

Posted By on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 12:47 PM

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OK, so "infamous" may be a bit strong, but former Wichita, Kan., anchor Justin Kraemer made a little bit of a name for himself a few weeks ago, when he ended a 10 p.m. newscast the same way I end most work days: by saying, "Let's get the fuck out of here." It came while the credits were rolling on a Saturday night newscast, and by Monday Kraemer was unemployed. (See video here.)

Then rumors started to swirl that Kraemer was headed for KOAA, here in Colorado Springs. We looked into it last Thursday. "Thank you for checking," responded general manager Evan Pappas via email. "Despite reports, Justin Kraemer will not be working at KOAA."

What we didn't know at the time, but later learned from the Kansas City Star, was that he was going to.

But on Thursday morning, station managers called and told him they couldn’t offer him a job after all, he said.

“The conversation was very clinical and professional, and they informed me that this got a lot more attention than anyone could have possibly imagined when everything got started,” Kraemer said. “They’re in a difficult situation because they don’t want to get national or global publicity just for making a reporter hire.”

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Monday, December 16, 2013

UPDATE: Callicrate in talks to buy Gazette building

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 4:30 PM

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UDPATE: Callicrate emailed to say that the sought building was misidentified in our conversation as the Gazette's main building. He is actually purchasing an old paper warehouse at 522 N. S. Wahsatch Ave.

——— Original post: Monday, Dec. 16 at 1:48 p.m. ———

Mike Callicrate
, owner of Ranch Foods Direct and longtime local-food supporter, confirms to the Indy that he's in talks to buy the Gazette's building at 30 S. Prospect St. The newspaper's moving into a new location on Tejon Street on Dec. 19.

The amount is still under negotiation, but Callicrate hopes to close this week and be open to the public May 1.

"It’d be the new home of Ranch Foods Direct — it would let us expand," he says. "Right now, we’re in 11,000 feet [at a location off of Fillmore Street] and this would give us just a little bit more than 30,000 square feet. It’s a 20,000 square-foot building, but then it’s a tall sidewall, so we’ll have an upstairs area."

"We totally outgrew [the current headquarters], so this gives us a much bigger location. And we’ve got some ideas: We want to connect with a culinary school so we can teach a meat-cutting course, you know, and we’ll go all the way back to butchering, slaughtering and all that."

Callicrate would also expand the retail side of things, which he says accounts for 40 percent of the company's business.

We reached out for comment from California-based Freedom Communications — which still owns the building, though not the paper itself  — and will update if we hear back. A Gazette representative had no knowledge of the sale when contacted.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Tweet time with Gallagher Meow, Barack Obama and The Music Slut

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 7:29 AM



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Through the years, Twitter has exposed me to the innermost feelings of both Miley Cyrus and Drunk Hulk, and for that I am eternally grateful. But there's so much more to know, as I'm constantly reminded when emails like the one above find their way into my inbox.

So yes, I'll admit it: I don't know J.R. (@GallagherMeow), or Barack Obama (@BarackObama) or The Music Slut (@TheMusicSlut), at least not personally.

And yes, I am aware that one of them is a president. I can more or less guess what a music slut does. And I'm glad to know that J.R. is an adventurer, writer, and love detective.

I'm also certain there's some affinity propagation algorithm out there that already knows my interests better than I ever will. Just as Pandora's Music Genome Project is certain that — regardless of what "artist radio station" I select — I'll soon need to hear either Coldplay or Lady Gaga.

In the economy of affirmation that is social media, we can all pretend to know people we'll never meet, to like things we'll never read, and to follow anyone who'll follow us. And as Knifepoint's "Internet Friends" points out, once you get in, you can never get out.

Have a listen, and then say hi to J.R. for me.



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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Daily Show does Morse wrong

Posted By on Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 3:04 PM

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I'm, like, 90 percent sure that The Daily Show had no idea that the people on the 16th Street Mall in Denver were the wrong crowd to interview if you wanted to talk to those who might have voted in former Sen. John Morse's recall.

Nevertheless, Jason Jones makes a good show of highlighting the disparities between gun measures the majority of the state supported and the obviously successful recall effort.

"You could shoot yourself in the foot trying to protect other people from, uh, getting shot .. all ... over," Jones joked. 

A bit ruined for the mix-up, but not bad, I guess.


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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Low Power FM application window extended

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 at 12:33 PM

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One of the very few benefits from the government shutdown is that those of us who want to start our own radio stations now have additional time to apply for licenses.

As detailed in our October 9 cover story (Tower of Low Power: Is Pirate Radio Finally Ready to Go Legit?), the Federal Communications Commission is opening up the airwaves to community members who want to start their own low power FM stations

This morning, the back-in-business agency told us that the window for license applications will be extended. The revised dates will be announced in the next few days and will be posted on the FCC’s media bureau page at fcc.gov/mb.

In the meantime, interested parties can get a head start by going to low-power advocacy group Prometheus Radio’s application support page. There, you’ll find a wealth of essential information and worksheets to make the application process easier.

Good luck, and we’ll be listening for you!



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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ira Glass at the Pikes Peak Center: journalism and jest

Posted By on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 9:51 AM

You’d think that when you meet the person who has been your artistic icon, you would have come up with some halfway decent question or observation. Who knows, maybe you even stretch yourself so far as to provide him or her with some of your own material, like the person in line behind me did.

The line was to meet Ira Glass, host of WBEZ's radio show This American Life, before his talk at the Pikes Peak Center, last Saturday. I wonder how that went for her, the girl in line behind me. All I know is how my exchange went:

Gracie: Hi Ira, it’s so nice to meet you, I’m Gracie (going pretty well so far).
Ira: Hi Gracie, how are you?
Gracie: I’m great. I just want to say how weird it must be to know that people pay money to be in your presence.
Ira: ... Uh huh.
Gracie: And I just want to say that, you know, unfortunately, I’m one of those guilty, weird people.

Okay, so let’s break this down. Not only did I point out my fandom rather jarringly, but I also referred to it as “unfortunate”—unfortunate that I’m a fan? Unfortunate that I’m a fan of him?

Ira: Right ... I feel like I should give you a hug. (we hug)
Gracie: Also, you have this really debonair look in pictures. It sort of looks like this ...
Ira: Really? I look like that?
Gracie: Yeah, it’s sort of this “What? Try me,” kind of look.
Glass taking photos with me, both of us attempting to do our best Ira-Glass-try-me impression. - GRACIE RAMSDELL
  • Gracie Ramsdell
  • Glass taking photos with me, both of us attempting to do our best Ira-Glass-try-me impression.





After our brief modeling session, Ira asked if I was a writer and I told him yes, and that I was an intern at the Indy. He told me that he too had started out as an intern.

Afterwards, I sat in my seat in the third row and let the man use that strangely distinct voice to tell us, the audience, his stories — specifically, the stories of how his radio show, This American Life, set itself apart from the rest of broadcast journalism.

The show began with Steve Hayward, host of KRCC’s Off Topic radio program and Colorado College professor, presenting Ira for the night. (Shout out to Steve — not sure if you know this, but you’re teaching my next block class.)

Glass then emerged onto a pitch-black stage, the only light a glowing iPad. He spoke for a few moments this way. At times, I wondered if it was him speaking, or if he was playing a track of his own voice. The message was clear, though: Audio has the unusual ability to propel your mind to fill the gaps, imagining what could be.

Within a couple of moments, Glass signaled for the lights to come up, and there he stood.

For he has come to bring light into the darkness. - GRACIE RAMSDELL
  • Gracie Ramsdell
  • For he has come to bring light into the darkness.

The talk began with a look at the ways the folks at TAL bring fun to modern journalism. “We wanted to take the whiff of broccoli out of the air.” Glass spoke of a “segregation between serious and funny journalism,” referring to it as a “failure of craft that we should destroy.”

“If you can’t be funny, you’re just lost," he says. 

Glass then offered some of his “best tips to make you fascinating” through storytelling, a few of which I will share with you, dear Indy reader:

• "Every good story has the structure of a detective story.” It starts off surrounding a few central questions, giving you “teases that pull you forward, providing little answers along the way.”

• What is the universal something that we are all relating to? He used the example of those moments in which you’re feeling particularly charismatic and something suddenly happens to make you look like a complete and total ass.

• “You wanna get hit by lightning, so you wander around in the rain for a really long time.” That is, if you want to get a good story, you may have to explore many different avenues before you find something truly special. Glass said that for every three or four good stories they feature on the show, there are probably about 20 that were investigated and then dropped.

Though Glass clearly takes his storytelling job seriously, he adopts his own advice regarding humor. At several points throughout the night, he poked light fun at the disasters Colorado has been experiencing, saying that Colorado must be “working its way through the 10 plagues.”

Another favorite moment was when he spoke of the demographic in the auditorium. “It’s been explained to me that all of the liberals in town will be at the show ... And because of that, you won’t even fill the hall.” It was true: The balcony section was sparse. Hey, Colorado Springs.

Laughing light-heartedly about his apparent anonymity in the region, the radio journalist joked that there were probably a few bewildered people in the audience who ended up there on a date, not really knowing what they were getting themselves into. One girl raised her hand in recognition and, pointing to her, Glass said coolly, “I hope you get sex out of this.”
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Progressives demand KRDO break up with the Chieftain

Posted By on Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 12:33 PM

ProgressNow volunteer Carolyn Cathey delivers the petition. - COURTESY PROGRESSNOW COLORADO
  • Courtesy ProgressNow Colorado
  • ProgressNow volunteer Carolyn Cathey delivers the petition.
A press release from ProgressNow Colorado says the group, along "with the Daily Kos progressive community," thinks KRDO should drop its news partnership with the Pueblo Chieftain. The call comes after the daily newspaper was criticized for some of its executives taking active roles in the drive to recall state Sen. Angela Giron.

"Voters in Southern Colorado deserve better than blatantly misleading and biased news coverage," says PNC's executive director Amy Runyon-Harms in the release. "If they can't get it from the Pueblo Chieftain, they should at least be able to trust an ABC News television station. KRDO needs to cut ties with the Chieftain for the sake of their own credibility."

Dishonesty by association seems a bit of a slippery slope. For instance, parts of the Indy are sometimes printed by the Chieftain, and I'm not sure the sins of the typographer necessarily rub off. And, using its access to the paper's executives, KRDO did an excellent job of covering the issue back in March.

In any case, 43,000 people apparently signed the petition, which we contacted the TV station for comment on and will update this blog if we hear back.
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Friday, August 30, 2013

From the Indy Hall Monitor

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 3:25 PM

IndyIcon.jpg
We're a fairly quirky lot, and we generally love how you blend your own neuroses into the messages you post in the Indy's comments. That said ...

Sometimes you come to a tipping point. Like when you can. not. read one more screech from an abusive person who fires from behind the anonymity of a screen name. And so it was the other day when we looked under the hood of the Independent’s comments machinery and found Siggie ... again ... behaving reprehensibly.

Siggie was once Smartestman, who was banned from posting in the Indy’s comments. He snagged a new email account and came back as Siggie. And because we consider our comments zone to be a bit of a free-for-all ... and because we are not prudes ... we let him blather on. But, and this is where that tipping point thing comes in, we’re done. Siggie/Smartestman has been banned from posting in our comments. (And to Siggie: Don’t just get a new email account, strap on some coconut shells and come back as Betty. You’re not welcome.)

To the rest of you people who look upon the Indy comment utility as your personal bully pulpit, hiding behind your screen name while you heap verbal abuse on other commenters — and we all know who you are — either quit with the name-calling and childish behavior or get the hell out.

America’s public discourse is in the crapper, and this week we proudly make a flush. (BTW: You can read the Indy's user registration agreement here.)
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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Republican Party executive coordinated Gazette opinion pieces

Posted By on Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Daniel Cole, executive director of the El Paso County Republican Party. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Daniel Cole, executive director of the El Paso County Republican Party.


A couple years ago, local Republican politico Daniel Cole was writing columns for the Gazette mocking those offended by Rep. Doug Lamborn's use of the term "tar baby." Months ago, he was running the campaign of future City Council President and longtime Republican state senator Keith King. And on June 3, Cole fully submerged himself into party politics when he joined the El Paso County Republican Party as director of operations.

But it took Cole being promoted to Republican Party executive director last week for the Gazette to finally decide that after four months, maybe he wasn't the best person to coordinate the daily newspaper's "Community Conversations" section. Not that the daily paper ever disclosed his role regardless.

For an example of the work Cole did in managing the point-counterpoint project, here's an April 5 column called "COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS: Colorado’s new gun control laws" featuring the writing of former Colorado Springs local Laura Long (who also briefly worked for the Independent's Give! campaign). Last Friday, Long tweeted:

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Former County Commissioner Jim Bensberg also confirms that when he wrote a column in July, he "worked with Daniel Cole directly. He submitted the 500 word op/ed to the Gazette, but I’m not sure if he worked with [editorial page editor] Wayne Laugesen or [systems editor] Pula Davis."

And though Cole's gig was unpaid — he tells the Indy in an e-mail that there's "a lot that's more important than a little bit of money" — his dual roles created a clear conflict of interest, says Kelly McBride, a senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute and author of The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century.

"Readers should be able to tell who is responsible for every section at their newspaper," McBride writes in an e-mail. "So the fact that there was this shadow supervisor coordinating a section of the paper where the community gets to have a voice in the marketplace of ideas goes against the principle of transparency. ... These days, because the marketplace is so crowded with voices and opinions, a news organizations needs to be completely and proactively transparent about how it works in order to maintain credibility."

For the newspaper's part, Laugesen says that, despite the undisclosed eight-week-long overlap in roles, action was taken as soon as it was deemed necessary.

"Daniel Cole contacted the Gazette shortly after his appointment Wednesday as executive director of the local GOP," he wrote. "We agreed he should no longer help coordinate our Sunday Community Conversations feature, given the high-profile and political nature of his work. An email went out to all six editorial board members Thursday explaining the conflict. ..."

In a follow-up, Laugesen wrote that the Cole had an interest in helping the daily find opinion writers "long before" his work with the Republicans. As for the rest of the content: "The Gazette's editorial pages are a forum for writers on the right, the left and all points between. We keep a spread sheet and maintain a rough balance of 60/40, excluding in-house editorials, with 60 percent of space going to right-of-center content and 40 percent to left-of-center content."

Ultimately, the party's executive director tells the Indy he doesn't think his mixed allegiances changed the paper's content one way or the other.

"I’ve never pretended to be without views of my own, but that didn’t prevent balanced commentary," he said in an e-mail. "Jefferson wrote that 'error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.' For the conservative argument to overpower the liberal, I didn’t have to be biased. I needed only to give both sides the opportunity to speak freely."

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

UPDATE: Pueblo Chieftain accused of 'unethical' actions over recall

Posted By on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Chieftain-Logo-southern-colorado.jpeg

UPDATE: Today, the Chieftain's editorial board — made up of Bob Rawlings, his accused daughter Jane, Charles Campbell and Tom McAvoy — fired back at its critics, sort of.

"While Sen. Giron apparently believes she’s been treated poorly by The Chieftain, we maintain our news coverage of her has been fair and balanced," reads the piece, adding later: "As far as Chieftain executives signing recall petitions, that’s another freedom guaranteed ALL Americans in the Bill of Rights."

The actual complaint — that some of the paper's executives were involved in these causes, and that this was not disclosed to the daily's readers — remains unaddressed.

------ORIGINAL POST: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 4:23 p.m.------

How the über-conservative Pueblo Chieftain does so well in a county where 55.4 percent of 2012 voters colored in the oval for Barack Obama is anybody's guess. But it does, with managing editor Steve Henson telling the Indy back in September that the paper enjoys "awful good penetration."

Henson also weighed in on a problem common to any newspaper with a perceivable political slant: the question of newsroom neutrality. Said the editor: "The news coverage is just about as balanced as [it] could be," and people "really work hard on that."

That sentiment took a blow in March, though, when the paper's general manager, Ray Stafford, used his work e-mail account to write Pueblo Sen. Angela Giron — Senate President John Morse's companion in recall — with the hope that she not support several contentious gun bills being considered at the time.

"We met on one occasion when you visited The Chieftain in the fall of last year, " he wrote, according to a good report from KRDO. "I am the General Manager and responsible for the entire newspaper, including the newsroom."

And of course the last part, along with his signature of "General Manager, The Pueblo Chieftain, And gun owner," came off as a threat to use his position at the paper to influence coverage of the senator. However, by way of explanation, assistant publisher Jane Rawlings (daughter of publisher Bob) told KRDO: "As a way of identification, as he still is fairly new to the area, Ray Stafford told Senator Giron that he is the general manager of The Chieftain and in charge of its operation, including the newsroom."

If you look at Stafford's LinkedIn page, it seems that's true. In fact, it seems like he might well have wound up with a similarly gun-pimping organization: Stafford apparently worked for Freedom Communications, former owner of the Gazette, for over a decade.

Either way, Stafford fell from the news until Sunday, when ProgressNow Colorado — a Denver-based organization whose mission "is to build and empower a permanent progressive majority" — said it had "clear evidence" that Rawlings, Stafford and production director Dave Dammann signed recall petitions against Giron.

"The Pueblo Chieftain faces a major credibility problem reporting on the recall election in Senate District 3," said Amy Runyon-Harms, the group's executive director, in the statement, "with upper management at the paper clearly biased against Sen. Angela Giron — without disclosing that bias to their readers."

It's tough to check that claim because of the newspaper's paywall, but if Rawlings, Dammann and Stafford are involved in news-gathering — as Stafford said he is — the least the paper could do is disclose. Certainly, we encounter this issue often enough, and endeavor to keep participating parties away from all news involvement; when that's not possible, we try to let readers know.

We've reached out to Henson for comment and will update this post if we hear back.


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