Friday, October 2, 2015

Meditation, suicide, and mental health

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 9:26 AM

  • Courtesy AspenPointe
  • Dan Harris

Hundreds showed up to laugh and cry at AspenPointe's Heroes of Mental Health Luncheon on Thursday at the Broadmoor Hotel.

Keynote speaker Dan Harris, the co-anchor and Nightline and the weekend edition of Good Morning America on ABC News, gave the keynote address, sharing a personal story of his own struggle with panic attacks and drug use. Harris, who had the audience laughing throughout his speech, started off by showing an on-air panic attack that he had on Good Morning America about 10 years ago. 

He went on to explain that his star had risen quickly when he was still quite young. Early in his career, he took trip after trip to war zones in the Middle East following 9/11 without ever considering the effect it had on his mental health. He ended up turning to ecstasy and cocaine to ease his anxiety, only to have panic attacks.

After the on-air episode, he decided it was time to see "a shrink." The therapist explained that the drugs were only flooding Harris' brain with adrenaline, causing the panic attacks. He ended up quitting drugs and continuing therapy, and at the urging of Peter Jennings, he begrudgingly agreed to do regular coverage on spirituality.

Harris said he didn't really connect with any of it, having never been religious. ("I went to my bar mitzvah," he cracked, "but only for the money.") But then he ran across the Oprah-endorsed author Eckhart Tolle. Initially, he was turned off by Tolle's rather far-out, self-help approach. But Harris realized he connected with Tolle's contention that the major problem humans have is the inability to shut off the voice in our head that tells us to do things without really considering them — hence we find ourselves eating junk food, or doing drugs.

Later, Harris said he realized that Tolle's concept was rooted in the Buddhist concept of "the monkey brain." Buddhists believe that the trick to turning it off, or at least having some consciousness of it, is meditation. Harris was, again, skeptical — envisioning every hippie stereotype. But he decided to try it. In short, it worked.

"You're breaking a lifetime habit of walking around in a fog," he said.

And Harris found out that there's plenty of research to back up the claims that meditation is good for the mind and body. Harris has since authored the book 10% Happier, documenting his experiences with meditation, and the improvements it brought to his life.

"Meditation," he said, "is the next public health revolution." 

Guy and Jane Bennett - COURTESY ASPEN POINTE
  • Courtesy Aspen Pointe
  • Guy and Jane Bennett

Later in the program, AspenPointe honored Guy and Jane Bennett with its 2015 Heroes of Mental Health Award. The Bennetts lost their only child, 17-year-old Matthew, to suicide in 2002. Instead of crawling into a hole of grief, the couple decided to try to prevent other suicides and help other survivors. They have been instrumental in training the community about preventing suicide. Their involvement spans many groups and programs, including Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills, Colorado Coalition of Suicide Prevention, and HEARTBEAT. 

On a similar note, AspenPointe was asking for donations to support its free eight-hour program, Youth Mental Health First Aid. The class helps people identify warning signs for self harm in adolescents. Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 has been training all its staff in the program in an effort to help kids who often are under stress due to being in military families that relocate frequently.

In 2014, seven adolescents died by suicide in El Paso County. Between May and June of 2015, however, there were five such fatalities.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Man not attacked by bear

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 12:20 PM

click image It wasn't me. - JITZE COUPERUS
  • Jitze Couperus
  • It wasn't me.

There's an old saying in journalism that goes something like this: A dog biting a man isn't a story, but a man biting a dog is.

Well, what about a bear not biting a man?  Colorado Parks and Wildlife has concluded that a Grand Junction hunter in his 60s was not attacked by a bear, as he claimed. The man crashed his ATV after he says a bear attacked him. But the CPW says that there is "conclusive evidence that a bear did not attack this individual."

The CPW isn't releasing the hunter's name, and it clarifies that the man may have seen something that startled him. Just not a bear.


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Wildlife officers from the Grand Junction area have completed their investigation of the reported bear attack and mauling on the Grand Mesa Saturday evening, concluding that the injuries to the individual were not caused by a bear.

The man, a hunter in his late 60s, was parked on his ATV on Forest Service Road 105, above Powderhorn Ski Resort, when he says a bear approached and attacked, causing him to drive over a small cliff into large rocks below. The crash resulted in extensive but non-life threatening injuries.

"We investigated this incident thoroughly over the last three days, including the use of specially trained dogs from the USDA's Wildlife Services, examination of the injuries, and forensic crime scene examination and we found conclusive evidence that a bear did not attack this individual," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager JT Romatzke. "This individual is certain that he saw a bear. We are not discounting that he saw something that caused him to react."

Romatzke adds that some of the initial media reports that a bear had attacked and mauled the individual, based on law enforcement scanner traffic, proved to be premature.

"People get very concerned about wildlife conflicts, and it is not helpful to cause unneeded alarm," said Romatzke. "Just like a typical crime scene, all possible conflicts with wildlife require extensive investigation to come to accurate, factual conclusions. It's important for the public to get the right information, especially when it comes to issues that potentially affect their safety."

The hunter's name is not being released.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

UPDATE: City Council limits communication with media

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 11:48 AM

Council President Merv Bennett is among councilors who are limiting how reporters can contact them. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Council President Merv Bennett is among councilors who are limiting how reporters can contact them.
This just in from Council Administrator Eileen Gonzalez:

"saw your blog post from earlier today, just wanted to set the records straight - City Council is not trying to limit communication with the media. By asking the media to contact Councilmembers through their work email address or work phone—cell or office—we’re trying to make sure they’re not using private email for City-related business, which you referenced in your April 2015 article “Got the message?” Since they have access to mobile technology now, they’re often more available on mobile devices via City accounts now than they were in the past."

———ORIGINAL POST 11:48 A.M. FRI., JULY 17, 2015——-

Having been in the news business for nearly 38 years, I've found that elected officials are often more easily reached on their private emails and telephones rather than their official emails and phones.

That's especially true if the elected officials are considered part-time. Try reaching someone by office phone who's in the office only once or twice a week, or less.

So many times over the past years, I've contacted Colorado Springs City Council members on their private emails with good response.

But now, Council is cutting off that type of contact, according to the following message I received from Council's communications officer Vicki Gomes, who writes in an email this morning:

Hi, Pam, when corresponding with City Council, please use their city email address or city office phone. Council will not respond to a media request sent to their personal email address.

Merv Bennett
President, At-large
(719) 385-5469

Jill Gaebler
President Pro-tem, Dist. 5
(719) 385-5483

Don Knight
Dist. 1
(719) 385-5487

Larry Bagley
Dist. 2
(719) 385-5493

Keith King
Dist. 3
(719) 385-5470

Helen Collins
Dist. 4
(719) 385-5492

Andy Pico
Dist. 6
(719) 385-5491

Bill Murray
(719) 385-5485

Tom Strand
(719) 385-5486
It's worth noting that this message comes after we asked Councilors to comment on our story, "Full force," which examines the Colorado Springs Police Department's use of force on citizens.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sen. Bennet knocks Gazette advertisement

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 2:09 PM

On Sunday, the Gazette ran an advertisement from the Friendship Assembly of God Church titled "DON'T CATER TO THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA."

"It's time for common sense Americans to stand up and speak out against the Homosexual Agenda," the advertisement begins. "The recent events in Indiana, Utah, and Arizona have caused most Americans to be in great fear for their personal, academic and religious freedoms."

Because newspapers have discretion in the advertising they accept and run, the Gazette's been getting hammered by commenters on its Facebook page. It's a continuation of its regression from a Pulitzer Prize-winning source of news to a confused uncle shouting in the corner. 

(Check out today's screed against climate change, to go with one from a few days ago, something about how people who smoke cannabis don't have jobs or something. Oof. Ten bucks says the next one is a warning against the evils of dancing to the radio.)

Reader Jim McFarland wrote this to the Gazette: "Between 'Clearing the Haze' and now allowing bigoted hate to be printed as ads in the paper, it is getting harder to justify keeping my print subscription. ... Allowing hate as ads and continuing to give Wayne Laugeson [sic] an outlet to spread his right wing nonsense is something I don't want to support."

Another reader, Clay A. Nash, told the newspaper, "You should be ashamed of yourselves! Allowing blatant hate to circulate throughout this community? get with the times, Gazette!"

The paper responded to all with this statement from publisher Dan Steever: "Gazette managers discussed the option of rejecting this ad, which did not violate basic guidelines. We decided doing so would set a dangerous precedent. ..."

The ad even drew the attention of Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who yesterday wrote: "A recent ad in the Colorado Springs Gazette used hurtful, venomous words to urge people to stand up against a so-called 'Homosexual Agenda.' Instead, we want to urge you to stand up against this hate speech and end discrimination. ..."

As usual, this led to a whole thread of people talking about what a backwards place Colorado Springs is. Between Rep. K-Schmitt and the smelly stuff being deposited on people's driveways when the newspaper's dropped off, we're getting downright medieval in these parts. Anyone for a little Catholic Inquisition?

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

'Democracy Now!' host Amy Goodman to speak at Colorado College

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 1:35 PM

As a slogan, “democracy now!” may be more ideal than reality, with less than 40% of voters casting ballots in last week’s mayoral race.

But with a runoff election on the horizon, next week is an especially opportune time for Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman to be paying a visit to Colorado Springs

For the past two decades, Goodman’s radio show has made her the best-known left-leaning broadcaster in a medium that consistently swings to the right. The much-celebrated progressive news show is currently heard on more than 1,250 stations, including here on KRCC Monday through Thursday evenings at 7 p.m.

Goodman, who in February received Harvard’s I.F. Stone Lifetime Achievement Award, will be speaking at Colorado College next Thursday, April 23rd. The 7 p.m. talk will be free and open to the public.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

More issues with Gazette's marijuana opinion series

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 10:35 AM


It's been three weeks since the Gazette published "Clearing the Haze," a four-part opinion series written by the paper's anti-marijuana editorial board and a Denver-based anti-marijuana activist named Christine Tatum, who's married to anti-marijuana activist.

We asked if it was a joke, then heard about the communications company banning its employees from discussing its own stories on social media. Eventually, in came national criticism from the Columbia Journalism Review. In that last piece, which was also covered by Colorado Public Radio, publisher Dan Steever essentially acknowledged that the Gazette's goal wasn't to report on reality. Instead, it was an exercise in weaving cloth, "to try to tie some of those facts and data so that readers say, 'Huh, maybe this isn’t going as swimmingly as everybody has said.'"

Now comes news that co-writer Tatum is releasing a book with her husband with the exact same title as the Gazette's series: Clearing the Haze. The 160-page effort is aimed at parents worried their kids are on drugs; will cost $36; and includes fun recruitment bits like: "The authors encourage families entering the 12th step of 'giving back' to consider advocacy for smarter public policies surrounding drug access and addiction treatment."


Considering the timing, and the fact that a Google search of the ISBN reveals pages dated before the series ran, it makes it look like the Gazette's series was also a back way to promote Tatum's book.

So, not only did the paper deceive its readers into thinking opinion was news, but it may also have been offering a quid pro quo to the anti-pot activist.

Emails to editorial-page editor Wayne Laugesen, editor Joanna Bean and Steever were not returned. On Twitter, Tatum responded, "The two projects have nothing to do with each other, but thanks for the promotion of both!"

Some more:

 • It's not very interesting to watch a national corporation inject its opinion into the public consciousness, but because it's local, here's the deal: Phillip Anschutz's Clarity Media, which owns the Gazette, used its PR arm at MediaDC to solicit coverage of its opinion dump. FOX News talk show Fox & Friends bit, so Laugesen did four-and-half minutes with them. Another Anschutz newspaper, the D.C.-based Washington Examiner, also ran the series.

• The Gazette found a market for its opinion, and is selling reprints of the series for $2.95 plus $1 for shipping. As Laugesen wrote on Facebook a few weeks ago: "This package will wind up in the hands of every state legislator, every member of Congress and every governor in the country. It is also making the rounds among politicians throughout the world. ... To call this a 'whopping success' is an understatement."

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Publisher defends Gazette's marijuana opinion dump

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 10:34 AM


Last night, the Columbia Journalism Review ran an interview with Gazette publisher Dan Steever, closing this fraught chapter in the publisher's tenure. (Steever ignored multiple Indy requests for an interview, including an email from our editor-in-chief.)

The opinion series "reads like a fact-dumping, throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach to proving the argument that pot legalization in Colorado was a bad idea," writes CJR reporter Corey Hutchins, who's based in Colorado Springs.

Hutchins also spoke with several Gazette staffers, including capital reporter Megan Schrader who admirably asked for permission to speak on the record to deliver a rebuttal. "I wish that it had been labeled more clearly than what it was, especially online ..." she was quoted as saying. "I thought that there was a lack of transparency with that element.”

One anonymous Gazette writer said, "Everyone in the community thinks it’s a news piece and that we wrote it — and we’re not responsible for it at all.” Another confirmed the paper's order not to discuss the series on social media, saying, "Being told to not do that is different and new and unusual."

As for Steever, he defended the newspaper's actions at every turn. The full Q-and-A is worth the read, but here are some highlights:

• Asked if the Gazette did all the disclosure possible when it came to writer Christine Tatum's relationship to anti-marijuana forces: "I guess that’s for the reader to decide."

• Steever says he has received "two to three times more emails than any story we’ve ever done," which presumably includes last year's Pulitzer Prize-winning series. 95 percent of the emails have been positive, he says.

• Asked the paper's intention in running the series, Steever doubles down on the paper's slanted take: "To try to tie some of those facts and data so that readers say, 'Huh, maybe this isn’t going as swimmingly as everybody has said.'"

• Steever doesn't understand how fact-checking works:


• Steever might not understand how news-gathering works:


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

UPDATED: Gazette employees reportedly could be fired for commenting on marijuana stories

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 11:19 AM

  • screenshot

Update: This really is a disaster for the Gazette.

As Westword's Michael Roberts points out in his post, multiple former Gazette staffers have taken to Facebook to criticize the series, including former editor Jeff Thomas.

Former reporter R. Scott Rappold started it off: "I have held my tongue as long as I can. Shame on my former employer for passing off as 'news' what is clearly a 4-part editorial rant against voter-approved legalization of cannabis."

Former city hall reporter Daniel Chacón, who left the Gazette for Santa Fe in 2013 under a cloud of suspicion that Mayor Steve Bach influenced the move, wrote, "I'm not one to say, 'I told you so.' But I told you so!"

In a separate post, former reporter John Schroyer eloquently and thoroughly ripped the report: "I’ve contemplated this for several days, and in the end, I realized I just can’t think of enough negative adjectives to describe this journalistic farce," he writes. "... And incidentally, Gazette publisher Dan Steever has been completely mum when it comes to inquiries from other news outlets. ... Steever hasn’t uttered a word in defense of the series. Which is strange, because he was so vocal last year when the Gazette won a Pulitzer."

And here's former editor Thomas with a high-level take:

Update: Editorial-page editor Wayne Laugesen writes on Twitter that Gazette website comments were "disabled to protect kid, per policy" on that particular story.

——— Original post: Tuesday, March 24, 3:15 p.m. ———

According to
 national media reporter Jim Romenesko, employees at the Colorado Springs Gazette are being told to sit down and shut up when it comes to its recent marijuana series, "Clearing the Haze," which, as we reported, is plagued with ethical problems.

Gazette employees have been strongly discouraged from commenting on or sharing opinions about the series," Romenesko quotes a source anonymous to readers. "Privately editors have mentioned that public criticism could jeopardize reporters’ jobs.”

An unnamed Indy source with knowledge of the Gazette's operations says, "From what I understand, it's dead silence in the newsroom on the subject of the Potgate." Which would help explain why the Indy has received no responses to inquiries made both yesterday and today about the series.

The problems stem from who wrote the pieces: editorial-board members Wayne Laugesen and Pula Davis, and anti-marijuana activist and former business reporter Christie Tatum. (She's pictured above debating the con side of Amendment 64 on Rocky Mountain PBS. We can't seem to embed the video, so click here if interested.) Her husband, an anti-pot activist himself, is even used as a source in today's piece.

In our initial post, we asked if the four-day series had gone through the traditional news process. Tatum writes on her Facebook page that it did not. The Gazette stories, released to the public to look like news features, stayed mainly within the paper's opinion department.


Lastly, we'll just note that Dennis Huspeni, a former reporter for the Denver Business Journal and former head of the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, tried to post to the Gazette's Facebook page website that in his opinion their stories violate SPJ's Code of Ethics. His posts, he says, were removed.


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Monday, March 23, 2015

Is the Gazette's new marijuana series a joke?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 12:19 PM

  • shutterstock

Update: Gazette employees are at risk of being fired if they discuss the series. Our latest post here.

Well, this is embarrassing. It looks like the Gazette accidentally published a bloated anti-marijuana opinion column as news.

To its credit, "Clearing the Haze" does have a vaguely menacing presentation — and, ooh, parallax — but if the organization had any sense of journalistic ethics, the four-day series would never have hit the page.

Let's start with the way news is supposed to work. The Society of Professional Journalists says reporters should "avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts." For reference here's the Los Angeles Times' policy: "A fair-minded reader of Times news coverage should not be able to discern the private opinions of those who contributed to that coverage, or to infer that the organization is promoting any agenda."

It's probably not fair to hold the Gazette to such a standard, because it publicly espouses no such intention, but let's just do it anyway. Let's clear the haze.

The four-day series was written by three people: Wayne Laugesen, Pula Davis and Christie Tatum.

None of these people work for the news division of a newspaper. Laugesen and Davis are members of the Gazette's editorial board, which has written so many diatribes against cannabis, all compositions led by Laugesen, ownership is practically screaming in the woods.

As for Tatum, a former business reporter at the Denver Post, she reminds me of a quote by former New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal, on the subject of journalistic ethics: “I don’t care if you [screw] an elephant, just so long as you don’t cover the circus.” As the wife of Chris Thurstone, a doctor making his living on addiction treatment and leading anti-marijuana crusader, Tatum is screwing the elephant while covering the circus.

(Among other savvy moves, Thurstone thought he might capitalize on the death of Michael Brown by attributing being killed by a police officer, somehow, to marijuana, a post that led to charges of racism. It has since been removed. The good doctor has also said he fears teens will start injecting THC into each other.)

The website for the family business even states that Tatum "frequently collaborates with her husband to produce communications designed to educate and inform the public about substance abuse and addiction." Naturally, Thurstone shows up in the newspaper's comments cheerleading the piece.

But the best source of Tatum's bias is herself. Of the pieces she authored for the Gazette, Tatum yesterday wrote on Facebook how she thought of "you prevention folks out there" while she "looked at the sorry state of prevention in Colorado."


On Twitter, Tatum refused to answer how she became involved with the project. We emailed Laugesen and editor Joanna Bean asking why no news staff are bylined on the story, and if it went through the traditional news process. We also asked about the conflicts of interest. Bean said she forwarded our email to publisher Dan Steever, and then ignored a follow-up. Laugesen never responded.

It's entirely possible there's useful information in the paper's stories. There are two more days to find out. But the Gazette's disregard for ethics here is disturbing. The first thing you're taught in journalism is to consider the source.

We have.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Jupiter Ascending: The next big thing ... or not

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 12:59 PM

Jupiter Ascending, in theaters now, is a film that has nice visuals but lacks depth. It builds itself up as epic. You could say it is epic in a sense — an epic failure.

When the first trailer was released, people got excited about what seemed like the next big space opera. Eye-catching graphics, rich story-worlds and intriguing characters. But you’re only as good as your word. And Jupiter Ascending failed to follow through, being rife with problems. Not everything about Jupiter Ascending is terrible. It's bursting with potential. Yet it manages to miss the marks of a great or even good film.


Jupiter Ascending
follows housemaid Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who discovers she’s royalty but that her life’s on the line. She’s “rescued” by a trained hunter (Channing Tatum) who whisks her away to safety. She must fight to protect herself and Earth as she knows it.

This goes downhill. The characters are mere puppets. They travel from place to place without much explanation, making it a struggle for the audience to keep up.

The villains’ goal is to kill the heroine so they can rule Earth. The heroine has some motivation, initially just to get home, since she’s whiny and weak, but she decides to save the world as an afterthought.

It gets worse. Being subtle about what someone wants is one matter. Sometimes it’s more powerful when hinted at, allowing people to think it through. However, characters go from undeveloped to disappearing from the film after introductions that make them seem important, so there are bigger flaws in the story.

The whole film, in an attempt to be complex yet engaging, ends up convoluted. It’s not that it has too many characters but too many major ones. None are done justice within adequate screen time. Despite many directions Jupiter Ascending could take, just when it gets interesting, it goes on a tangent. It’s almost as if the filmmakers had multiple budding ideas. Somewhere along the way they grew bored before the ideas had a chance to blossom. Instead of cutting out these fillers to replace them with better, or just different, concepts, they sloppily left them with no place or purpose. The stuff of writers’ nightmares: a plant without a payoff.

One would think that given the pushed-back release date to handle special effects, the filmmakers would have noticed and fixed more pressing issues like everything wrong with the plot line and character development. But apparently, appealing films is all that matters to Hollywood these days.

One positive element about Jupiter Ascending is eye candy, from graphics to costumes to pretty faces that fans love to see. That at least it got right. What it got wrong was everything else. If the most that can be said about a film is how it looks, that’s saying very little. In this technological age, graphics are not challenging. Long gone are the days when big filmmakers valued lovable characters and a good story.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

'I Heart Colorado Springs' trumps 'Live It Up!'

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 3:33 PM

Granted, it’s no “Colorado Springs: Live It Up!”

And that’s just fine, especially for those of us who actually remember the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau's ill-fated 2011 branding campaign, which cost $111,000 and netted little more than local and national ridicule. 

In fact, the Pikes Peak Equality Coalition’s “I Heart Colorado Springs: A Colorado Springs Love Story” is actually pretty good. Posted to BuzzFeed Community earlier this week, the photo-feature includes 14 brief and articulate testimonials from a diverse range of local community members. You can go check it out here.

Sadly, all traces of the original and unintentionally hilarious “Live It Up!” video have disappeared from the convention bureau’s website, while the clips on YouTube yield a black screen along with a sad face and the words "This video is private. Sorry about that."


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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More on frostbitten KRDO reporter Eric Fink

Posted By on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 4:23 PM


Recently, we posted the tale of KRDO reporter Eric Fink, who was hospitalized earlier this month with severe frostbite shortly after the station ran a story about the risks of frostbite. Additionally, an unnamed insider told TVSpy that other reporters had previously criticized the station over a lack of training for extreme weather.

Now comes our source, who requested anonymity but is known to the Indy, for another take from inside the TV station. Here's the email we received today:
Everyone here is very surprised and saddened with Eric's situation and we're all praying and hoping for a speedy recovery.

Many of us have been in the news business for many years in cold weather climates and never heard of a reporter or photographer getting frostbite like this.

• Accusations about the station being criticized by reporters for not warning reporters about the dangers of cold weather are not true and laughable. It's unclear who the source for this is, but the only concerns about safety ever brought up by reporters are about covering crime news at night in certain areas of the city. Those concerns have always been properly addressed. No one has to do anything they are not comfortable doing.

As far as the cold weather — the station not only provides winter jackets, but managers and senior staff members frequently remind crews to wear those winter coats, gloves, hats and layers when it's cold. Many of us have worked in different markets in cold weather climates and no station has ever given any type of "formal training" on how to dress yourself for the cold.

• The News Director was never notified about Eric's condition until after he was taken to the hospital. She asked if he'd like her to come see him, since his family was not here, and he said yes.

• According to Eric and the producer who worked that shift, Eric never asked to come back to the station because it was cold.

According to Eric, the only thing he said was he was concerned about the wind blowing over his tripod at 6pm. The weekend anchor told him to prop it against the car. Eric couldn't get the backpack live unit to work so he took off his gloves. The live shot failed and the producer cleared him to come back at 6:05pm. It's unclear why he did not get into the car to try to power up the backpack unit. It's also not clear if he put his gloves back on.

Eric came back to the station and said his hands were cold, and staff members present at the time report that the weekend anchor told him to sit on them to warm them up. Only later did Eric start to show signs of a blister. He went out into the station parking lot with a photographer who set up his live shot for him and did a report for the 10pm.

It is very sad that this situation has played out the way it has. Eric is a very nice man and does not deserve the negative comments posted in the comments section from several publications that reported this.  
For his part, Fink never responded to our request for comment.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween playlist on Spotify

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Stop. What are you doing? Are you listening to the Independent's Roky Erickson Halloween playlist on Spotify?


Well, how convenient that there's a big button to let you do just that right here.

Enjoy, and have a safe & spooky holiday!

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Monday, September 29, 2014

New radio station seeks to reveal the Springs' underrepresented

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 2:17 PM

There's a growing sentiment, most easily seen in this manifesto, that Colorado Springs' media doesn't do an adequate job of giving voice to those in the minority by virtue of their race, income or sexual orientation. And while the charge is probably accurate, the effort is always being made — at least by everybody I know — so it's nice to see additional sources springing up, sources like new radio station KCMJ.

Founded by former Colorado House of Representatives member Dennis Apuan and launched Sept. 21, 93.9 FM plans to start broadcasting community radio in 2015 from a station near Jet Wing Drive and South Academy Boulevard. (Programming airs online, currently.) It's a low-power station, meaning it will only reach approximately a quarter of the city at first, but it will headquarter in, and tell some of the stories of, one of the poorest, most economically neglected areas of town.

"At first, our local, original program offerings will be limited," says programming chair Arlene Hall in a press release, "but we'll add programs as hosts, producers and needed equipment come online." Hall later expanded in a roundtable that the focus will be on two things: talk and music. Talk will include public affairs, local news and spoken word, while music will be eclectic, similar to what you might find on KRCC: jazz shows, Celtic hours, '80s playlists, local bands and independent artists.

But the bootstrapped effort can't do it without equipment and transmitters and towers, so the station is running an Indiegogo campaign until Nov. 13 in an attempt to raise $20,000. So far, it's brought in around $2,400. As far as rewards, $35 gets you a one-year radio membership; a sticker; discounted drinks at the Nov. 13 launch party at Ivywild School; and a pound of free beef from Ranch Foods Direct.

"There is a thirst in our city for radio that plays more than Top 20 Hits, radio that focuses on everything local, and radio that celebrates all the good that’s happening here," reads the campaign. "A station that respects its audience, promotes diversity, and gives a voice to those who are under-represented."

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Editor swap: Hight out, Bean in at The Gazette

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Joanna Bean, left, takes over for a departing Joe Hight.
  • Joanna Bean, left, takes over for a departing Joe Hight.

Today, the Gazette announced that Joe Hight, the editor who had led the paper's transition from ownership by Freedom Communications to Clarity Media in 2012, is returning to Oklahoma. Assuming the role will be longtime employee Joanna Bean, who previously worked as managing editor.

"We wanted our next newsroom leader to be one who understands this community and the vital historical role that The Gazette has had in Colorado Springs since its founding in 1872," said publisher Dan Steever. "We also wanted a leader who understands our readers, the changing consumer media habits and direction we're headed with The Gazette, and our other brands."

The direction the paper's headed online has so far included a new paywall, which debuted recently to gripes on social media from people already irritated by the constant Google surveys. We emailed Bean for more on what her new role might mean and will update this post if we hear back. 

As for Hight, he oversaw the expansion of a newspaper suddenly flush with billionaire Philip Anschutz's cash, adding sections, pages and staff. In a separate piece, he says that one of his daughters moving back to Oklahoma, and his wife's desire to do the same, were strong motivators to depart.

"I'll never regret my time here or what we've accomplished since Clarity announced its purchase in 2012," Hight says. "I spent more than a month before coming here in studying The Gazette, reading about the history of the community and seeking to understand its demographics. I have to admit that I'm still learning.

"As for when we return to Oklahoma, I will enter another chapter of my life — literally — a family venture that will be announced soon. However, I'll always be connected to this community. Thank you for letting me be a part of it. I'll miss being a daily part of the newsroom and your lives."

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