Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Crocodile woman


Read a blurb last night about a woman trying to smuggler crocodiles into a country in the Midddle East.

Seems she had two crocs strapped to her waist, but the border guards got suspicious when they noticed a bulge from under her clothing.

Journalism: it's stranger than fiction.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Winthrop coach to get big pay increase?


In recent days, Winthrop head men's basketball coach Gregg Marshall, whose photo appears with this blog post, has been testing the waters to see what he can get and where he might get it.

We're talking big money here.

Currently, the extremely successful Marshall is the highest paid employee at Winthrop University, raking in about $225,000 a year, according to a recent USA Today report.

But because other schools--such as the University of South Florida and the University of New Mexico--have been courting Marshall, look for the popular coach (seven Big South Conference titles in nine years) to get a whopping pay raise.

Already the talk is that it will take at least $400,000 a year to keep him at Winthrop--a place where the president makes a yearly salary of about $150,000 and deans get from $110,000 to about $130,000. Departmental administrative assistants, who used to be called secretaries, earn in the range of $20,000-$25,000 a year. Winthrop's highest paid tenured full professors pull in about $85,000 a year, and many professors earn less than that. Groundskeepers get... (Okay, get the picture?)

Will Gregg Marshall stay, or will he go?

And how will rank and file Winthrop employees--faculty and staff--react if he is increased to $400,000.

What will Winthrop's students think?

For more intriguing background on this situation, read Gary McCann's column--from the March 25, 2007 edition of The (Rock Hill) Herald--in the above link.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Story I've written about Ann Caulkins


By Larry Timbs

The president and publisher of the largest daily newspaper in the Carolinas made her mark at an early age as a super star at selling Girl Scout cookies.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Ann Caulkins, given the reins of The Charlotte Observer in May 2006, says her Girl Scout experience proved to her that she could sell.

She parlayed that success into selling ads for her high school newspaper in Texas and eventually into selling ads or working on the promotions side for newspapers in Baylor, Texas, and Fort Worth, Texas.

Stints in various top advertising and newspaper management roles followed for Caulkins in Lexington, Ky., and in Columbia, S.C.

As publisher of the 291,000-circulation daily Charlotte Observer, based in what Caulkins, 44, calls “the second fastest growing city in the United States,” she’s determined to see that The Observer maintains a small-town community journalism feel for its readers. A big part of that sense of newspaper connectedness to readers and neighborhoods derives from The Observer’s targeted sections of the paper, according to Caulkins.

Examples of such sections are “Southern Mecklenburg County,” “Lake Norman” and “University City.”

Plus, there are the Observer’s niche magazines: “South Park” targeted for shoppers at upscale, impressive South Park shopping center in southeast Charlotte; “Carolina Bride” for recent or soon-to-be married women and for those searching for homes or places to live.

Such targeted sections of the newspaper and Observer-owned niche magazines are all about “attempts to be a small town paper for that area of town, and people love it,” Caulkins said recently to journalism students, faculty and others at Winthrop University. “People want to see people they recognize. They want to read about dining and shopping in their local areas,” said Caulkins, a featured speaker during “Mass Communication Week—2007”) at Winthrop.

She said readers hunger for such niche sections and publications; these don’t have to be fancy but they do have to be authentic. “People are craving information and connections that a newspaper can provide,” she said.

Caulkins said she does all that she can to see that The Charlotte Observer is financially successful and that it delivers the best journalism possible.

Does being a woman—and, at that, the first female publisher in The Observer’s 120-year history—make that challenge more difficult?

Some folks in her audience got the sense that maybe things, in 2007, aren’t as daunting as they once were for female pioneer newspaper executives like Caulkins.

For example, Caulkins can recall the era when America’s newsrooms almost exclusively were the provinces of 50-year-old plus cigar-smoking white men.

Today, the culture of the newspaper industry has changed dramatically—with more women, more young people and more (but still not enough) people of color populating newsrooms.

Still, sometimes it can be a struggle for a female CEO, Caulkins noted. Before coming to The Charlotte Observer, for example, Caulkins was president and publisher of The (Columbia, S.C.) State, another large daily. In Columbia, she didn’t have much of a female support network, she said.

In Charlotte, however, it’s a different story.

“There’s a lot of women doing interesting, interesting work here (in Charlotte),” said Caulkins, married and the mother of two small children, “so it’s been very good to be here.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ann Caulkins blazes trail for women in journalism


Ann Caulkins, the first female president and publisher in the 120-year history of The Charlotte Observer, said recently that the culture of America's newspapers is drastically different from what it was when she got started years ago in Baylor, Texas.

Caulkins, 44, noted that 50-year-old+ cigar-chomping white males pretty much filled the nation's newsrooms in the 1960s and 1970s.

Today, visit almost any newsroom and you'll notice young people, women, persons of color (and men), she recently told an audience of journalism students, journalism faculty and others at Winthrop University.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Can an 11 seed beat a 5 seed?


11 seed takes on 5 seed.

And we're not talking about gardens or plants.

Will this be the first year in the Big Dance that Winthrop gets a win?

We'll have to wait four more days.

The clock in ticking, and Eagles' fans are hoping...

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Payola and broadcasting in the news today


If you don't know what payola is and/or why radio stations or broadcast companies should not embark on payola, best to read this link (in the headline above.)

Seems the FCC is really cracking down on this illegal practice and hitting radio stations where it hurts them most--in the pocketbook.

The "N" word in the news again...


I'm pretty much a First Amendment absolutist, but some words may try to stretch the First Amendment too far, I believe.

What about the "N" word (racial hate word epithet to some, but historical language to others)?

Read about how this word can be taken (or not taken) in an editorial in The (Rock Hill) Herald.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Winthrop's team going "dancin"!


Saw one of the most tense and exciting college basketball games ever at the Winthrop Coliseum yesterday.

Guess who won?!

Guess who's goin dancin?

Look closely at the guy holding the trophy in the accompanying photo.

Recognize him?

Hint: He's in one of my courses this semester.